Garnier Vineyards, Columbia Gorge, OR
Purchased: Salem, OR 9-27-2014
What is it with all these higher alcohol wines? I do remember when wines were more subtle and alcohol was an “enhancement” rather than a over-shadowing contributor. This wine is hot. The nose is heavy on the alcohol and it seems like even though we’ve given it a lot of air, you can still feel the alcohol as you swallow.
That being said, it’s the only strike against it, in my book. I looked it up online. There was one cellartracker review in 2012 that gave it an 85 points (and I disagree with this rating although it’s entirely possible that it was applicable back then). The review also mentions the alcohol (both on the nose and the taste). I don’t think much has changed there in the year +, since that review was written.
Don’t get me wrong though; with all that being said, I do like this wine quite a bit and I will buy more if it’s still around at the sale.
Alcohol aside, there are many good things to be said. Firstly, it is herbal without being “green pepper”. Bonus! It’s dry and not very fruit forward at all, yet there is a bit of cherry or possibly black raspberry making itself mildly noticed without being overbearing. Again, it’s a style I very much like; earthy with black pepper and very (very) subtle notes of leather (not usually a taste I associate with Pinot Noir) as well as more than a hint of tobacco. It reminds me of a good Italian Pinot Noir. Nuances galore. Body is perfect. Color shows no sign of bricking. It’s not showing its age in taste either. In fact, I think it’s got a few years left of on it…impressive.
The 2011 Pinot Noir is $24 on their website. I actually prefer the 2009 vintage of Oregon Pinot Noir to the 2011’s (on average). At $10 it’s a pretty good deal; at 20% off (during the sale next week, Nov. 5 – 9), it’s a no brainer for me.