2011 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir, CA $3.99 (375 ml.)

Silverdale, WA    14.1% alc.    (Purchased on 8/29/14)

Banshee_PNI’m following up BargainWhine’s last review with another Pinot Noir.  Reader RB didn’t really care for this wine and said, ” The Banshee struck me as kind of odd. Maybe it’s a style of PN that I’m unfamiliar with, but it reminded me of a ruby port, both in the nose and taste. It isn’t for me (though I love a good port), but maybe someone else would go for that… It wasn’t really that the Banshee PN was sweet, more that it seemed dominated by ripe fruit flavors that brought port to mind. Very different from the more austere style that I’m used to.” 

I really didn’t find those flavors or that style at all.  Here are my notes: Clear medium ruby color.  Lots of smoke, black tea and typical black cherry (though somewhat restrained) in the nose with understated Pinot funk in the background.  In the mouth it has very nice texture due to moderate, yet firm tannins and fine acidity.  The flavors are more tea, smoke, cherry, dried orange peel and earth.  A very well-rounded, balanced, lilting and flavorful Pinot Noir.  Definitely not the often found rich, ripe, deeply-colored Russian River Valley CA Pinots I’ve purchased from GO lately.  I enjoy that style too, but it’s nice to find a lighter Pinot that’s still this tasty.  Great with food.  I like it a lot.  I only wish it was in 750 ml; went to pour another glass and it was gone!

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20 thoughts on “2011 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir, CA $3.99 (375 ml.)

  1. PW

    Well Lim13, I wasn’t going to pick this up until I read your description. I’m just so picky about pinot noir. I’d almost rather drink any other kind of wine and have it be bad, than a bad pinot noir.

    My husband and I shared one with dinner tonight. Admittedly it’s not like the pinot that I’m used to, but we liked it. At first, without food, it tasted a bit plummy…and a taste sort of like chaparral smells…if that makes sense. I liked the earthiness of it. With fajitas, it rounded out a bit…more cherry and even a bit of cocoa came through. Medium mouthfeel too…more robust body than the pinots that I normally drink. Super unusual (to us) pinot and yet it was worth it. I’d said before that I thought $8 was too much for 750ml. Now I think it’s a bargain.

    Glad I bought another bottle…probably should have picked up a couple more.

    Reply
    1. lim13 Post author

      I was hoping you’d give it a try, PW. And I’m happy to hear that it was enjoyable for you and your husband. I’m feeling that this Pinot is a true conundrum. Port-like qualities, “more robust body”, and “lilting”. If anyone else tries it, I’d love to hear your take on it. Which Pinot will you get?

      Reply
      1. PW

        Re: the conundrum, I agree. Which to me means it’s at least worth trying once. I think that at this stage in my wine enjoyment, a lot of what I like or taste comes by comparison. We’d just had an Eola Hills Wolf’s Hill PN. It was extremely smoky…and that had bearing on my not thinking this one tasted smoky. And a few days before, we’d had this horrible wine that tasted like unripe cherries and coke…it was thin…no body at all…so it made me really enjoy what then tasted like a more medium body of the Banshee. The spice and alcohol also contributed to my robust comment. Many of the Oregon pinot noirs have a peppery spice that can be a bit over powering. But this one had a nice balance of the pepper/alcohol bite to make neither seem overt.

        Anyway, I just listed that because I do think that so much depends on what we’ve (here in this house) been drinking and move to. Sometimes I absolutely love a wine after having a slough of bad ones and then drink the same wine after having some excellent ones only to find it’s mediocre at best.

        But I still think that this Banshee is worth the price. I didn’t get any Port taste at all in mine. It is unfortunate about the bottle variation. I hope my other one has not evolved in that direction.

        Reply
        1. lim13 Post author

          I really appreciate your very thorough description of how you determine a wine’s flavors and textures in comparison to other wines, PW. Thanks!

          Reply
          1. PW

            lol! I suppose that was a bit rambling. Sorry. I was just thinking that so much of what we base our opinions on has to do with previous experiences, the food we have it with etc. I know that we always try to taste our wine before food, just to see how much differently it evolves. And I was wondering if that, maybe even more than bottle variation, had an effect on the differing tastes we are finding here. This wine was extremely different with food compared to without.

            Reply
    1. lim13 Post author

      I was thinking of you when I wrote my review, SB. I remembered you saying you’d like to find it and I think this might be right up your alley. Hope it shows up down there.

      Reply
  2. RB

    Thanks for the follow up on this one, Lim. It really does not sound anything like the bottle I had. I wonder if something was off with mine, or if I just totally misread it. I’m glad you enjoyed it and hope that others will post their impressions.

    Reply
    1. kmdunder

      I bought a bottle first, had a few sips, and then looked it up here to see what you guys thought. Read the line comparing it to the flavor of a “ruby port” and thought, “Bingo!” (Mine was purchased at the Eugene, Oregon GO.)

      Reply
      1. lim13 Post author

        Man! That is strange…or perhaps not, considering that bottle variation always seems to be somewhat of an issue with some GO wines. I got absolutely nothing in the one bottle that I had that could be described as Port-like. But thanks for the input, kmdunder.

        Reply
            1. lim13 Post author

              Thanks a whole lot for your research and the link, Joel. Very impressive group of winemakers indeed. I found the statement, “He prefers elegant, balanced and focused wines” to be right on the mark in regard to this Pinot. Eight bucks for a 750 ml. ($3.99 a 375 ml.) seems like even more of a steal now.

        1. lim13 Post author

          Went in to pick up a few more at Silverdale today, BW and there was only one left. Now what do I do? : ~) Actually, the wine guy there said it got cleaned out over the weekend, but it’s still on his order guide. So he’s gonna’ try to order more…no promises. I think he originally only got one case of 24.

          Reply
          1. lim13 Post author

            Five cases arrived at this store today…and they’re cases of 12, not the 24 that I assumed. I bought three more bottles (so my wife and I don’t have to fight), but apparently at least two of the cases are already spoken for. If you’re reading this, a local and interested in more, I’d suggest you call the store first.

            Reply
            1. lim13 Post author

              And this evening I was made aware that there are about three cases (36 bottles) at the Bremerton store.

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