Varietal bottlings are wines made primarily from a single grape variety that typically display the name of that variety on the label. More such wines are being created all the time as producers realize that specificity can lead to higher margins. The consumer may pay more but can also receive higher quality in return. This week’s column is about varietal pinot noir wines from the New World that are well-priced for the pleasure they deliver.
Notice how I qualified things. Black-skinned pinot noir is somewhat fragile on the vine, which translates directly into higher costs at the bottle because it is notoriously difficult to cultivate and transform into wine, particularly at the high end. The name itself is derived from the French words for “pine” and “black” alluding to its tightly clustered, pinecone–shaped bunches of darkly tinted fruit. It is grown around the world but mostly in cool regions. In spite of that, the grape is very malleable in that where it is grown has a huge impact on how it is perceived in the glass. It is thus an excellent vehicle for consumers to educate themselves on particular terroirs and winemaker styles. Such diversity equals a profile for every palate, which in turn means that pinot noir deserves a place on your table.
Familiarity and ease of pronunciation help to sell otherwise obscure wines to consumers, even when the bottles come from unfamiliar wine regions. There is much to celebrate in these iconic grapes and they deserve a spot in your cellar.
BEN WILL BE IN BULGARIA AND TURKEY, INCLUDING SOFIA AND ISTANBUL, AUGUST 8 – 18
Ben has been invited to tour the food and wine of Bulgaria (including Sofia) and Turkey (including Istanbul) in mid-August. Follow along with him on Twitter (@WineOnTheRoad), Facebook (Wine On The Road), LinkedIn (Benjamin Weinberg) and Foursquare (Ben Weinberg).
BEN’S ARTICLE ON THE RUTHERFORD DUST SOCIETY IN EDIBLE MARIN AND WINE COUNTRY MAGAZINE’S SUMMER EDITION
Ben has an article about the Rutherford Dust Society in the Napa Valley (as well as a sidebar on legendary grape grower Andy Beckstoffer’s contribution to Rutherford’s wine scene) in the summer edition of Edible Marin and Wine Country Magazine (www.ediblemarinandwinecountry.com). The summer edition will include stories on the recent Napa earthquake and also the Rutherford Dust Society. Check it out!
BEN’S WINE COUNTRY PICTURES ARE FOR SALE
Have you ever read one of Ben’s columns and wondered how it would look to have one of his incredibly vivid, high resolution pictures of wine country framed on your wall? We’re now offering various size prints of his quirky photography at Pixels.com, where you can also add his images to smartphone cases, greeting cards, and many other items. Pictures can be ordered loose or matted and framed in various sizes. Click Here http://pixels.com/art/all/benjamin+weinberg/all to take a peek.
WINE ON THE ROAD’S LUXURIOUS, BEHIND-THE-SCENES WINE TOURS
With Wine On The Road (www.wineontheroad.com), my wine-focused touring company, you can enjoy the ultimate wine country excursion with special access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines. Wine On The Road offers intimate wine country tours that combine award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor. We lodge at excellent and luxurious wine country estates (in the past we’ve occupied ancient yet completely restored castles as well as five-star resorts, all with modern amenities). We eat at amazing local restaurants and visit wineries that embody the best, most authentic expressions of local wine grapes.
You can learn more about these trips, book private groups in wine country world-wide and request more information on any of these extraordinary travel experiences by visiting www.wineontheroad.com, emailing me at email@example.com, or calling me at 303-522-6738.
Loveblock Pinot Noir 2013 (Central Otago, New Zealand) $34
Dark cherry/cinnamon, ash dark chocolate/umami, red currant/hilong
Wente Vineyards Pinot Noir Riva Ranch Arroyo Seco 2012 (Monterey County, California) $30
Dark red/pink cherry, wild strawberry/earth, cigar box/medlong
Chapter 24 Vineyards Pinot Noir Fire + Flood Fire 2012 (Willamette Valley, Oregon) $61
Moderate red/currant, black cherry/black tea, cola/hilong
Chapter 24 Vineyards Pinot Noir Fire + Flood Flood 2012 (Willamette Valley, Oregon) $61
Brick red/blackberry, currant/smoke, nutmeg/hilong
Chapter 24 Vineyards Pinot Noir The Last Chapter 2012 (Willamette Valley, Oregon) $91
Black red/currant, blackberry/hot stone, raw red meat/hilong
Left Coast Cellars Pinot Noir Cali’s Cuvee (Willamette Valley, Oregon) $24
Ruby/earth, leather, strawberry/black raspberry, smoke/himod
Frei Brothers Pinot Noir Reserve RRV 2012 (Sonoma County, California) $27
Bright red/blueberry, red strawberry, pomegranate/lavender, vanilla, clove/hilong
J Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate Grown RRV 2013 (Sonoma County, California) $40
Ruby/red cherry, raspberry/wild strawberry, cinnamon, blackberry/hilong
Trione Pinot Noir River Road Ranch RRV (Sonoma County, California) $39
Red black/black cherry, ginger/green tea, sous bois/hilong