2011 Orbiter (Carneros) Pinot Noir $7.99

Valley of the Moon Winery (under previous ownership)
14.5% ABV
Purchased: 11-6-2014 Corvallis, OR

FullSizeRenderFrom 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.


12 thoughts on “2011 Orbiter (Carneros) Pinot Noir $7.99

  1. lim13

    This Pinot just showed up late today at the Silverdale store. And actually, The Russian River Valley is considerably north and west of the Carneros in Sonoma County.

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Thank you for the correction Lim13. My mistake. I thought that the Echeclon was also labeled Carneros but apparently that was a random hallucination brought on by trying to remember too many facts…everything starts running together and sounding very much the the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher. ;).

      1. EHL

        Hey PW, too funny…..yes, Lim has a penchant for correcting me, too……I believe in a past life he must have been a very good school teacher……LOL!

          1. lim13

            This is all rather funny because I was indeed a parochial school teacher and counselor many years ago in Syracuse, NY. And my older brother was also an English teacher, who was always correcting me. Just let me know if I become a nuisance. I’m just trying to keep all the info straight. And of course I’m always learning from our readers too.

            1. EHL

              Nah…..just kidding, Lim…..I appreciate that you and others take the time to read the posts, contemplate, digest and then respond as necessary……all stemming from a common love of wine, yet branching out to shed enlightenment on a myriad of subjects……fascinating…..

  2. Kristen Lewis Dunder

    Thanks PW! I picked up a couple bottles of this today at the Eugene store’s wine sale, on the advice of Andy the manager (whom I have trusted greatly in the past and has recently returned after a long recovery from an injury). Usually I would peruse the sale with this website up on my iPhone, but this time I decided to listen to Andy, who highly recommended the Orbital for the price. I’ll be anxious to try this one out after reading your review as well!

    1. permiesworld Post author

      Hi & welcome, Kristen.
      I’ve been to the Eugene store (off of River Road) a few times. Is that the one you refer to? They have a pretty decent selection there. Sometimes quite different from farther north. I haven’t been to the other one though.

      I hope you enjoy the wine. Be sure and check back…I’d love to hear what you think

      1. Kristen Lewis Dunder

        We just opened it up tonight…delicious! Can definitely taste raspberry and a bit of blackberry, and would agree with you on the color. It’s hard for me to find a California PN that I like, as I tend to favor Oregon’s, but this was delightful and one I would be willing to pay a bit more than $7.99 for (though like you, I caught it on the 20% off sale).

        Yes, the River Road location is my GO of choice, as I live within a mile of it. The selection can be hit or miss, but mostly pretty good! Andy is their go-to wine guy there, and I’m very glad he’s back!

        1. permiesworld Post author

          Hi Kristen,
          Glad you found the Orbiter to your taste! That’s what this blog is all about…helping people pair their own tastes with wines they’ll like (without having to do a lot of trial and error themselves) 🙂

          And thanks for the GO info. I’ll be sure and ask for Andy if I ever need help down there.


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