Two Oregon Pinot Noirs

There’s no real reason to group these two together, but they’re both on sale now and I opened them together last night.  I stored half of each of them in a 375ml bottle with stoppers and drank the rest.  The only problem is that we sucked them down so quickly, I think one did not have time to fully air, so consider this a preliminary report.

2010_RedDoor_PN2010 Red Door Cellars Pinot Noir
Oregon; 13.5% ABV
$8 at the Oakland, CA, store on 8 Nov.  Also at Berkeley.

I hadn’t been sure I wanted to try this but (1) RB found the link to this review by Paul Gregutt, which says, “Pleasant, light scents of pure Pinot Noir fruit lead onto the palate that has a brambly strawberry flavor. Tart and showing a hint of rhubarb, this is a clean, fruit-driven Pinot Noir.” and (2) I’m assuming that there won’t be a whole bunch of new stuff after the sale, so I thought I might as well get a few more interesting things to review.

The short story is that I agree completely with that review.  The wine showed nice flavors of tart and ripe cherry, light red roses, a little dried orange peel and oregano / rosemary, in a lighter body and with enough acid to make it a good food wine.  It’s not the most elegant wine, but it’s pretty good Pinot for $8 and definitely a good buy at the sale price.

2007_MonksGate_PN_OR2007 Monk’s Gate Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, OR; 13.5% ABV
$15 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 6 Nov.  Also at Oakland.

I was going to avoid something this expensive, but Darrell, a fellow GO wine enthusiast who happened to be there, gave me a sample pour in the parking lot.  🙂  It was good enough to entice me to get a bottle.

I gave my wife a taste of each of these wines, asking her to pick the one that sold for almost twice what the other one sold for.  She picked this right away and asked for a bigger pour.  It has riper, more complex fruit in a silky, viscous, slightly fuller body.  Its dark red cherry, heading toward plum, had complexities of allspice, cola and orange.  However, the pour in the parking lot, after a bit of shaking and swirling, lost that viscosity and became delicate, floral, and ethereally elegant (and persuaded me to buy it).  I suspect our bottle last night would have done the same with enough air, but we had already finished it after about 75 minutes.  I’ll update this after we open the second half.  Update 11 Nov:[ The second half bottle did not become “ethereally elegant” as I had expected and hoped it would.  It remained in the “silky, viscous, slightly fuller body with nice complexitites” vein, smoothing out very nicely into something akin to hard candy.  While my taste tends toward the lighter style of the Red Door, the Monk’s Gate is the more elegant and substantial wine.]

In summary, these are both are pretty good Pinots for the money, selling for about 1/2 – 2/3 of what I’d guess you’d pay elsewhere, and even less at the sale prices.

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17 thoughts on “Two Oregon Pinot Noirs

  1. Robert Luhrs

    I liked Red Door’s lightness and good flavor. It has a very subtle and complex taste, not exactly cherry, not exactly anything, just Pinot from OR but less power than usual. Nice gentle but sophisticated wine for warmer weather. I bought a case at the non-sale price as I know I’ll come back to it over and over as a drinking wine. It won’t do much for heavy food, however, it might be nice for very light snacks like fruit or veggies.

    Reply
  2. lim13

    Tonight, I tried the bottle of the Red Door that I bought on 11/8/13. All above descriptions seem to fit pretty well…varietal, spicy and orange peel. Unfortunately, it’s not the style of PN that I prefer. Seems a bit washed out and acid for me…though I suspect the acidity could point toward decent ageing potential. More tannin than I’d expect from a Pinot this light. A bit bitter in the finish. I’ll stick with the Ft.Ross and Jargon (half the price) Pinots. The Jargon is still around in Silverdale and so is the Red Door. Ft. Ross is long gone. I think I might prefer the Monk’s Gate, but haven’t seen it around here.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Lim13. Thanks for trying this wine. If you have any left over, please let me know what you think of it the next day.

      Reply
      1. Seedboy

        I rather liked this wine, it is pretty tasty, but more like a low end burgundy. Berkeley has lowered the Winfield Estate to $4.99

        Reply
      2. lim13

        Trying it again right now, BW. We’re having a small group over for a Christmas party and thought I’d better taste it before the onslaught of wines is opened. The fruit is showing a little “sweeter”, but it seems more tart and astringent now…very drying in the mouth. I can certainly appreciate others who enjoy this style…but I’m still not one of them.

        Reply
  3. bin5

    I first tasted the Red Door out of a one once plastic cup when it first showed up. I remember it being light and tart and passed on buying since I had my eye on the 08 Tremani for the sale. So then I get a Garagiste email last week where Ron Zimmerman talks about trying to find a decent low cost Pinot and offers the 2010 Red Door for $12. So with that recommendation I bought a bottle to try ($8). I found it to be what everyone else has said, a light style with dominate red cherry, decent acidity in the finish with some savory notes. Okay for the price and a decent quaff if you can find it at the upcoming sale on Dec. 20th if all the rumors are true.

    Reply
          1. Seedboy

            A pallet layer of the Red Door appeared at Berkeley this morning. I don’t know if Robair is going to put it all out at once (he probably won’t) but there should be some of this for a while.

            Reply
  4. Expat

    I had the Monk’s Gate and really liked the forest floor, barnyard elements. To me it had a light body that made it delicate and nuanced as opposed to thin. The fruit was there but not cloying, which I’m sensitive to. Overall I thought it was a sophisticated Pinot and prefer this profile to the many Pinots produced in my area (San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara counties).

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Expat. I agree I liked the Monk’s Gate Pinot better than many of the heavier pure cherry fruited Pinots that come out of the Santa Barbara area.

      Reply
    2. Darrell

      Continuing the tasting of older Go PN’s in the cellar, the Monk’s Gate has changed just a bit in that the PN character isn’t as strong as first tasted in late 2013, the first bottle I have tried since then. The nose is floral and perfumey, but which flower I’m not certain. There isn’t the orange rind character BW refers to in many PN’s. It is as above, “light body that made it delicate and nuanced” and the PN fruit isn’t nearly as strong as the recently tasted Wilson-Daniel PN. There isn’t any of the funky, horsebarn smell and is clean with just a tad of oak showing in the nose only. This particular bottle’s cork was in excellent shape as it broke my old West German “Ach-So” pronged cork puller, both prongs to boot.

      This the only PNW PN in the cellar. As a background of purchasing of GO wines, it has been mostly CA PN compared to other varieties because back when I cut my wine drinking teeth there weren’t a whole lotta decent CA PN’s. Most had little PN character. At the time, I just remember one PNW PN and that was David Lett’s Eyrie. Through the early years the cellar had accumulated enough CA CS so whenever I encounter a good GO PN , I tend to stock up compared to CS and other Bordeaux varietals. The GO PN’s seem to have a better QPR compared to GO CA CS and related wines.

      Reply
  5. RB

    Thanks for the review, BargainWhine. I opened a bottle of the Red Door right before I read your post and have to say I enjoy this lighter style of pinot noir. I’ll be getting more tomorrow – it will be great with the lamb roast I’m planning. Cheers.

    Reply
    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi RB. Thanks for including what I forgot, that the Red Door is a lighter style Pinot, which is generally also my preference for this grape.

      Reply

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