2011 Samuel Roberts Winery Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Vintner’s Reserve

Lisa's Wine 12011 Samuel Roberts Winery Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Vintner’s Reserve $15.99    12.5% alc.
Salem, OR.  Purchased October 9, 2014

We’ve just spent the last several days enjoying some very excellent Napa & Sonoma Cabernet. It was a special occasion and I only mention this because, during the course of this review, I wondered if my palate had been prejudiced; if that makes any sense.

I was trying to figure out which G.O. wine to choose for tonight in hopes that it would make a good showing after last weekend.  I picked this one for two reasons:
1. I love Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
2. Price (I figured that at $15.99 G.O. price, it should have a decent taste).

I have looked at the cellartracker notes for the non-Vintner’s Reserve version of this wine.  It has a decent rating and describes everything I would expect this wine should taste like.  The vineyard’s description of that wine, same vintage but a step down (I could not find the Vintner’s Reserve on their site) was thus: “Offering aromas of black cherry, cranberry, raspberry, spice, and new leather. A rich essence of fresh Bing cherries, pomegranate, and blueberry with hints of cola, oak and anise.”  Again, everything I would expect.

Basically I was disappointed.  My husband opened the wine and poured it.  I was doing other things.  I’ve debated on telling you actually what happened when I tasted it.  In fact, I considered not writing a review at all.  I decided, for the price, you should have my honest opinion.  He handed me the wine and gave me an odd look (we’ve been married a very long time and he knows me extremely well).  I tasted it and said “Very funny….what is this?”  I (truth here) thought he’d poured me something else as a joke.   I was shocked when he said it really was the wine. So much so that I poured a completely different glass (not that I don’t trust him, but he can be a prankster) to see for myself. Honestly I tried a fresh glass because of any possible taste transference…dish soap residue or anything that might have mistakenly made it taste poorly.  It was exactly the same.

I tasted what (to me) was a perfect example of watered down wine.  At least that’s exactly what I would suspect watered down wine would taste like.  There was no taste of pepper, no spice, no heat, no distinguishable fruit, no yeast, no layers; nothing that I would identify with a traditional Willamette Valley (or any) Pinot Noir.

This wine is not flawed (technically) in my opinion; not as actual wine flaws are defined, unless it’s completely oxidized.  In any case, I cannot give it a drinkable, because something is definitely wrong here.  I did end up pouring it out.

FWIW, before pouring it out, I opened another inexpensive wine (half this price) to see if it was just my palate.  I was expecting that one to be bad (not a G.O. purchase) and it tasted adequate/drinkable.  We ended up drinking that one with dinner.  I have no idea what happened with this wine. I would like to deliver good, decent or drinkable reviews and I’m just not able to do that here.  Hopefully it’s just a bottle variation.  At this price though, I’m not going to purchase another to find out.  Perhaps during the wine sale, someone else will be interested in picking up a bottle and be able to further investigate.



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