Valley of the Moon Winery (under previous ownership)
Purchased: 11-6-2014 Corvallis, OR
From what I’ve been able to determine, Valley of the Moon Winery was sold in August of 2012; this appears to be their old label, prior to the sale. Also, while the Carneros AVA includes parts of Napa and Sonoma, this wine is labeled Sonoma.
A while back (I’ve done a search but with all the comments on this blog, I apologize, I am unable to find the reference or know who to thank) I’d mentioned that I was more of a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir, than the Californian styles…and someone here suggested that I try the Carneros region for California Pinot Noir. Since then I’ve been expanding my California PN horizons with most happy results.
The Echelon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (that was such a favorite of mine) previously reviewed by Lim13, is apparently from this same region.
As to this Orbiter, firstly, color is good for Pinot Noir…red garnet, transparent. Nose is fruity (mostly raspberry and plum) and there is definitely a scent of the alcohol. Taste is very unique. At first pour, there is a slightly un-ripe-cherry tartness with a very ripe raspberry followup. I expected, because of the tartness, to have an astringent-like mouthfeel..but it wasn’t like that. Right in the middle of swirling it in the mouth, plum and anise make themselves known and the mouthfeel is like a battle…the lushness vs. the tartness. It’s more of a medium bodied Pinot Noir, to me. As the wine opened up, a very slight hint of leather (note: later as I’m finishing this wine, I think it was the combination of our food and the wine that caused that taste…I don’t notice it at all without the food) could be noticed in the aftertaste but this is definitely a more fruit forward (and higher alcohol tasting) Pinot. At first a little unbalanced but as it opens up, no issues. There is not much in the way of spice or herbal; so if you are looking for that style, this isn’t for you. On the other hand, it’s pretty decent for the price in the fruit forward style (heaven help me…am I becoming Parker-ized? LOL). No odd aftertaste or candy flavors, IMO. I think on day two this might evolve a bit and perhaps move it to a different class but we had it with dinner and it didn’t make it to day two. It does balance a meal nicely.
It is what we’d call a “daily drinker”. I would consider this a $15 Pinot Noir, retail, but at $6.40 (sale price) it’s a pretty good deal. A point that my husband made…a high percentage of the retail store wine purchases (according to statistics) tend to stay under $10…in that case, this a better wine for the money, dollar for value. It’s between Drinkable and Thumbs up for us.