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Tag Archives: pinot noir

Wine of the week: Root:1 Pinot Noir 2012

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Wine of the week: Root:1 Pinot Noir 2012Today's wine of the week is another lesson in tasting the wine before you judge it. Regular visitors will remember the Wine Curmudgeon's ambivalence toward Chilean pinot noir until I was forced to taste it last summer; in addition, Root:1 wines have rarely impressed me, being inconsistent more than anything else.

Nevertheless, I tasted the pinot noir ($10, sample, 13.5%) with an open mind, because that's what I'm supposed to do. And guess what? The wine was worth the effort. It's light, fruity (some sort of red berry?), and balanced, without any of the excesses that plague other $10 pinots -- like adding syrah or grenache -- to make them taste fruitier and heavier. And, blissfully, the tannins were more or less what they were supposed to be.

It's not exactly pinot noir, lacking the earthiness and subtle of great pinot. In this, it tastes more like Beaujolais, which seems to be the case with a lot of $10 pinots from South America. But it's clean, food friendly, and a fine value for $10 -- so fine, in fact, that it merits consideration for the 2015 $10 Wine Hall of Fame.

Expensive wine 61: Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir 2011

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Expensive wine 61: Adelsheim Elizabeth's Reserve Pinot Noir 2011The Wine Curmudgeon has long lamented the state of pinot noir, in which much of the expensive stuff doesn’t taste like pinot any more. And that the expensive stuff is way past expensive, priced so that only tech moguls and Chinese generals can afford it. And that many winemakers get annoyed when someone asks them about this, as if we’re questioning their ability.

Fortunately, there are still producers who can remind us of pinot’s greatness, and Oregon’s Adelsheim Vineyard is one of them. The Elizabeth’s Reserve ($55, sample, 13%) is beautiful and classic Oregon pinot noir. Look for elegant red fruit, a subtle but full middle that is almost coy, and tannins the way they should be in pinot noir — a hint and not a kick in the teeth. The oak shows through more than I would like, but that’s probably a function of youth. The wine is still a little young, and could use another year or two in bottle.

This is not necessarily a food wine, but would be even better with it, including and especially the classic pinot pairing of roast lamb. Highly recommended; in fact, I found another bottle after I drank this one. Don’t know where it came from, but I’m glad it did. I’m going to let the second bottle age and save it for a special occasion.

Wine of the week: Hardys Nottage Hill Pinot Noir 2012

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BT008501-ARDAGH-460g-PinotNoir-NottageHillWhen we did this year’s great cheap pinot noir tasting, Diane Teitelbaum and I were surprised at how many wines labeled as pinot noir didn’t taste like pinot noir. Regardless of anything else, cheap merlot tastes like merlot, cheap chardonny tastes like chardonny, and so forth.

But that wasn’t the case with the pinots. There were some exceptions, but the most of the wines we tasted made us wonder: Was what the wine business considered pinot noir changing to meet pricing and consumer demands?

Fortunately, the Hardys ($10, sample, 13%) shows what can be done when the winemaker and the Big Wine company that pays for the wine want to make pinot noir that tastes like pinot noir. Even more amazing: This is an Australian wine, and Australia is hardly prime pinot noir territory.

Nevertheless, this is quality cheap pinot — not nearly as fruity as most of the wines we tasted in June and with more structure. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end, and not just the juicy fruitiness that is what most other cheap pinots offer. Look for a telltale pinot herbal aroma as well as muted cherry and raspberry fruit. And while it’s not to be confused with a $75 red Burgundy (pinot noir from France), it will more than do for those of us who don’t have $75 for a bottle of wine. Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2014 $10 Hall of Fame.

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