The Many Faces of Pinot Noir
Although Pinot noir is best-known as the wine grape of great red Burgundies, it is grown around the world and is known for tasting slightly different in each terroir. Additionally, Pinot is not just the key ingredient for many red table wines, it is also quite versatile as a primary grape in rosés and in sparkling wines.
Here is a week’s worth of wines to sample.
NV Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé ($19). Made from 100% Pinot noir, the wine is a freshet of tiny, gushing bubbles tasting of strawberries and cherries with moderate crispness and a clean finish. It’s a nice aperitif when you want more than one glass.
2013 Inman Family “Endless Crush” Russian River Rosé of Pinot Noir ($19). My Pick of the Litter. A very sophisticated and complex glass, it is pure pleasure, so don’t overthink it. Cherry/strawberry. Clean and crisp. Minerally. Touch of creaminess.
2011 Waterstone Carneros Pinot Noir ($20). Lots of cherry flavors with good acidity, it nevertheless appears a little over-ripe and concentrated.
2011 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir ($20). A big wine — fruit-forward, concentrated, almost-grapey style that often is Sonoma — it has lovely flavors of ripe cherries with a hint of earthy smoke.
2012 Montes Outer Limits “Zapallar” Pinot Noir ($39). From Chile, this Pinot has nice, rounded fruit and rooty flavors within a lean structure that makes it a nice food wine.
2012 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($54). This is a big Pinot in flavor and structure with vibrant fruit — cola and ripe cherry – slimmed down into a lean body that has some chalky notes. Its higher alcohol (14.4 per cent) may be a barrier to some, but shouldn’t be.
2011 Gary Farrell Russian River Pinot Noir ($35). Rich, ripe, and complex — but not big — with some yogurt notes, light tanginess in the finish, and mild tannins, this all constitutes a very nice sipping wine.