Hill Wine Co. 2012 Black Dog series Pinot Noir

Napa Valley, CA; 14.5% ABV
$8 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 30 Sept

JeffHill_2012_Napa_PNAlthough I was wary that a Pinot Noir from Napa Valley would not be the style of Pinot I like, I thought I’d give it a try anyway. Although it is indeed not in my preferred style, it’s pretty good for the money and will almost certainly improve with age.

When I first opened it, it was definitely the kind if Pinot I hate: simple, thick, red cherry candy.  However, after about 2:45 to 3 hours in a decanter and glass, it had become less offensively candy-like, and had developed some complexity of raspberry, plum, and maybe a little spice / earth.  It’s still very ripe and full-bodied — far from the delicate and ethereal Pinot I prefer — but I could see how some folks could like it and how it could improve with age.

A couple days later, the saved half bottle (stoppered with very little air) was definitely better, showing dark red cherry / plum, with some darker spice, and no offensive candy-like character.    It’s still quite ripe and heavy, and although I suspect I’d like it better with a few years of age, I bet it will never be a Pinot I’d be all that fond of.  Weak Thumbs Up.


8 thoughts on “Hill Wine Co. 2012 Black Dog series Pinot Noir

  1. Pasowino

    It was my “go to” wine at thanksgiving and I brought 9 bottle of wine to the party. It did the bird a solid!

    1. JoelA

      It’s a pretty good pinot noir, Napa Valley style, which means less fruit-forward, a bit more austere, pretty well structured. Won’t ever be ethereal or delicate but ought to be more open in a couple of years. The alcohol isn’t particularly dominant.

      1. seedboy

        This wine is still available in many stores, too, unlike the Carneros wine. I think Oakland still has the more expensive Mt. Veeder pinot, also, which I think is not worth the additional money.

  2. Alan Reinke

    To me there is so little PN taste or smell to this wine that it is simply red wine. It isn’t bad as generic red table wine, but not worth a second bottle.

  3. BargainWhine Post author

    To add a contrary opinion, in the middle of writing about another Pinot, G. L. Pease wrote, “I actually quite like this one, though it’s not as refined or as nicely presented as Hill Wine Company’s 2012 Napa PN, which to me is a dead steal at $8.”


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