West Hartford Beverage Buzz is a column providing information and advice about wine, spirits, beer, and other libations and their accompaniments.
By Matt Whitney
Pinot Season? – Noir that is.
Is there such a thing? Well if there is one, it’d be now. Just as spring starts to make its slow crawl from winter and we enter into holidays like Easter and Passover, it’s Pinot Noir that we constantly find ourselves pairing with this season’s fare.
Most of us will dine on something that resembles lamb, fish, brisket, or roast chicken. The bravest among us will begin to get that gas grill roaring on a weekly basis. Pinot Noir’s versatility lends itself as a wonderful companion to any one of these endeavors.
Here are a few wines you’ll find around town in stores and on wine lists (and maybe even my neck of the woods), and from places we don’t normally associate with Pinot. They will bring you value each and every time you pop that cork:
Ryder Estate Pinot Noir 2014 –$14
Central Coast, California
This is a great intro to Pinot Noir. The fruit is source from the Central Coast which spans from the San Francisco Bay all the way south to Santa Barbara County. I used to loathe Pinot Noir under $15 – the wines typically had off flavors or weren’t indicative of the varietal. This was one of those wines that proved me wrong!
Juve Y Camps Cava Rose – $17
Inexpensive Sparkling, check. Rose, check. Pinot Noir from Spain … huh? Yes, we don’t find much Pinot Noir in Spain, if any, but this Rose from Cava is truly delicious. Equal parts fruit forward and refreshing, this Cava from Spain is perfect for those looking to get off the Prosecco wagon, if only for a moment!
Comte John du Monceau Pinot Noir Reserve – $18
Malbec, right? In Argentina, over 100,000 acres are planted with the Malbec grape. Pinot Noir? Yeah, only about 5,000 acres. Mendoza is home to many different micro-climates, but these vineyard sites in Tupungato are around 4,500 feet above sea level, so the climate is much cooler. This produces wines that are fresher and brighter. I am amazed how some of the characteristics in this Pinot Noir resemble those of Burgundy. This is one to search out!
Hartford Court Russian River Pinot Noir – $30
As I thought about a “best bang for the buck” scenario, I kept ending up here. Its pretty simple: I tasted this one blind and had it in the $50 range, with a score of 9.3/10. This is a lot of wine for the money that reminds me of some Oregon Pinots we find in the $50-$60 price point. If you’re interested in being blown away by a $30 bottle of wine, this is it. Gorgeous nose of potpourri, cinnamon, and bright fruit with a robust mouthfeel and lengthy finish. Wow.
Finding different styles and interpretations of Pinot Noir can be hard, but there are values to be had from all over the world. Later on in the Summer we’ll dive into some other regions – Italy, France, Chile, and maybe even a fruit bomb from New Zealand, so stay tuned! Cheers!
Got a wine or general beverage question? Email Matt at[email protected].
About Matthew Whitney
With over 12 years of industry experience, Matt is a manager of all things beverage at Maximum Beverage! Directly involved in business and creative development at both Maximum Beverage West Hartford and Farmington. Email: [email protected].