California, 13.5% ABV
2009 vintage was 82% “cool climate” Pinot Noir, 12% other reds including Syrah
$5 at the Richmond, CA, store on 21 July
I resisted buying this wine for a while because of the cheesy labels, both front and back. But I kept looking at the nice color of the wine through the bottle, and I finally got one. Pinot purist that I am, I can’t really call this wine Pinot Noir, but it’s okay wine for the price.
I first poured out enough of this wine to fill a half bottle (375ml) and stoppered it with very little air. The other half I poured into a decanter and let it wait for an hour. When I came back to it, it showed reasonable Pinot Noir cherry with some orange and earth, but the more delicate aspects of Pinot that I prize seemed covered by riper, darker red fruit of darker cherry going toward redder plum, and maybe a little sweet black pepper. There was also a moderate “fruit punch” or “candy” character (maybe the vines are younger) and a slight “spoiled fruit” character I disliked. Overall, however, if you’re looking for a lively, tasty, and fruity medium-bodied red wine, this is not terrible. Just drink it soon.
Well… I liked the second half of the bottle better. Instead of the Pinot being buried by the “Syrah,” it tasted to me like the orders had reversed. The wine lead off with the “Syrah” and finished more like a Pinot, and the candy and “spoiled fruit” aspects had declined. So, I’ll move this from Drinkable to a mild Thumbs Up, and it also looks like it’ll hold on longer than I first thought. I still can’t call it Pinot Noir, though. 🙂