Varietally Correct – New World Pinot Noir

Burgundy is grand but New World pinot noir can also be awesome!

Burgundy is grand but New World pinot noir can also be awesome!

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.

 

Pinot noir vineyard in Carneros

Pinot noir vineyard in Carneros

Notice how I qualified things.  Black-skinned pinot noir is somewhat fragile on the vine, which translates directly into higher costs at the bottle.  It is also notoriously difficult to transform into wine, another cost factor.  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.

Pinot noir is grown around the world but mostly in cool regions.  It is also known for difficulty of cultivation and production, particularly at the high end.  In spite of that, the grape is very malleable and is 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.

 

UPCOMING WINE DINNER AT IL POSTO RESTAURANT: EXPLORE CAMPANIA

Il Posto

Il Posto

Il Posto’s Owner/Chef Andrea Frizzi and Wine On The Road’s Chief Wine Sherpa Ben Weinberg will be hosting a special Campania dinner on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, starting at 6:30 P.M. at Il Posto, 2011 East 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80206. $65 per person (including wine) plus tax and tip. To make your reservation for this special dining opportunity please call the restaurant at 303-394-0100 or go to www.ilpostodenver.com.

 

CAMPANIA UNFILTERED WITH ANDREA FRIZZI AND IL POSTO RESTAURANT: SEPTEMBER 14-21, 2014

Il Posto's Chef/Owner Andrea Frizzi

Il Posto’s Chef/Owner Andrea Frizzi

Immediately after Wine On The Road’s Champagne-Burgundy Unfiltered tour, I’m leading an exploration of Campania, Italy, another of the world’s most renowned wine regions, with behind-the-scenes access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines.  With Wine on the Road tours, Il Posto’s chef/owner Andrea Frizzi and I have created the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.  Check it out at www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php.

Highlights of the Campania Unfiltered tour include:

• Seven days in Campania during the heart of harvest focused on acclaimed wine estates, wineries selected by Andrea and me for their distinctive expressions of local terroir and culture

• Up-close-and-personal time with well-known winemakers, as well as one-of-a-kind, winery-focused tours, tastings, meals and lodgings

• Superior accommodations at the Radici Resort in the heart of wine country

• A cooking class with Andrea focused on regional specialties and techniques

• Privately guided tours of bustling Naples (the “Great Pizzas” excursion) and hallowed Pompeii

• Unique non-wine experiences such as helping to make world-renowned Mozzarella di Bufala in its hometown of Caserta, attending cultural events, and joining up with locals for evening activities

• Optional activities such as visiting local markets, personal appointments with select artisans who handcraft unique local products, golf, and spa treatments

Price is $5,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between eight-and-twelve paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php.

 

OREGON WINE COUNTRY WITH DAVIDSONS LIQUORS: MAY 15-19, 2015

Davidsons Liquors

Davidsons Liquors

Davidson’s Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Maher, who leads this tour with his special knowledge of Oregon wines, and Davidsons Liquors have partnered with international wine writer Ben Weinberg and Wine on the Road to offer this extraordinary opportunity. This is the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Davidsons Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Mayher

Davidsons Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Mayher

Highlights of our Portland and Willamette Valley tour with Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Mayher of Davidsons Liquors include:

• Five days and four nights in Portland and the Willamette Valley focused on acclaimed artisanal food producers and wineries selected by Aaron and Ben, based on distinctive expressions of local terroir and culture

• Up-close-and-personal time with well-known artisans and one-of-a-kind, tours, tastings, and meals

• Accommodations in upscale hotels

• Special access to cultural events, including joining up with locals for evening activities

• Free time in the picturesque towns of Newberg, Dundee, and McMinnville

• Optional activities such as visiting local markets, personal appointments with select artisans who handcraft unique local products, spa treatments, golf, and other cultural events

Price is $2,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between 16-and-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php.

 

UPCOMING COVERAGE: CELEBRATE WALLA WALLA WINE

Celebrate Walla Walla!

Celebrate Walla Walla!

Ben will be covering the upcoming Celebrate Walla Walla Wine Festival from June 17-21, 2014, in beautiful eastern Washington.  Follow along live with Ben on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, and be sure to check out his Wine On The Road column after the event.

 

SEATTLE AND EASTERN WASHINGTON WINE COUNTRY: MAY 22-26, 2015

Ben WeinbergExplore one of the world’s most renowned wine regions with behind-the-scenes access to top agricultural artisans and winemakers and their incomparable foodstuffs and wines.

International wine writer Ben Weinberg and Wine on the Road offer this extraordinary opportunity as the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Highlights include:

• Five days and four nights in Seattle and Eastern Washington focused on acclaimed artisanal food producers and wineries selected by Ben and based on distinctive expressions of local terroir and culture

• Up-close-and-personal time with well-known artisans and one-of-a-kind, tours, tastings, and meals

• Accommodations in upscale hotels

• Special access to cultural events, including joining up with locals for evening activities

• Free time in the picturesque towns of Walla Walla and Yakima

• Optional activities such as visiting local markets, personal appointments with select artisans who handcraft unique local products, and spa treatments

Price is $2,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between 16-and-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities.  For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/washingtonunfiltered.php.

 

WINE ON THE ROAD’S LUXURIOUS, BEHIND-THE-SCENES WINE TOURS

Wine On The Road

Wine On The Road

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.

Planned excursions in late 2014 include a combined visit to Champagne and Burgundy (www.wineontheroad.com/champ-burgunfiltered.php), and another to Italy’s Campania (www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php).  Early 2015 tours include Chile/Argentina (www.wineontheroad.com/chile-argunfiltered.php), Piedmont, Italy (www.wineontheroad.com/winebeesandcheeseinpiedmont.php), Oregon’s wine country (in conjunction with Davidson’s Liquors, www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php), and Seattle and Eastern Washington (www.wineontheroad.com/washingtonunfiltered.php).  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 benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or calling me at 303-522-6738.

 

Recommended:

Red

D’Arenberg Pinot Noir The Feral Fox 2011 (Adelaide Hills, Australia) $32

Burnt red/cinnamon, almond, red cherry/hazelnut, black plum/himod

 

Nobilo Pinot Noir Icon 2012 (Marlborough, New Zealand) $24

Dusty rose/black currant, maple, mint/blackberry, tomato leaf/himod

 

Villa Maria Pinot Noir Cellar Selection 2010 (Marlborough, New Zealand) $32

Red plum/raspberry jujubes, mace/raspberry juice, cinnamon, cola/hilong

 

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir 2010 (Central Otago, New Zealand) $45

Bright ruby/dusty strawberry, black pepper/sweet red cherry, black olive/himod

 

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir The Last Chance 2010 (Central Otago, New Zealand) $75

Electric red/mustard seed, cinnamon, cake/bitter orange, cranberry, red cherry/hilong

 

Two Paddocks Pinot Noir The First Paddock 2010 (Central Otago, New Zealand) $75

Red brown/saline, mint, dust/brown sugar, wild strawberry/hilong

 

Hamacher Pinot Noir 2011 (Willamette Valley, Oregon) $40

Black purple/black raspberry, smoke, butter/red cherry, cola/hilong

 

Elizabeth Chambers Pinot Noir Winemaker’s Cuvee 2011 (Willamette Valley, Oregon) $32

Rust red/red cherry, cedar/pomegranate, cream soda, lemon pith/medlong

 

Meiomi Pinot Noir 2012 (California, U.S.) $20

Reddish purple/bramble, blackberry, mocha/strawberry Koolaid, milk chocolate, turbinado sugar/hilong

 

MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir 2011 (Central Coast, California) $23

Salmon pink/cola, raspberry/mace, red flowers/medmod

 

Holman Ranch Vineyards Pinot Noir 2010 (Carmel Valley) $25

Raspberry hue/sour cherry, blackberry/sage, tobacco/medmod

 

Holman Ranch Vineyards Pinot Noir Heather’s Hill 2011 (Carmel Valley) $37

Dark ruby/boysenberry, caramel/mulberry, black cherry/himod

 

Holman Ranch Vineyards Pinot Noir Hunter’s Cuvee 2010 (Carmel Valley) $40

Crystal red/dark raspberry, cola, milk chocolate/blueberry, raspberry jam/himod

 

Wente Vineyards Pinot Noir Reliz Creek Arroyo Seco 2011 (Monterey, California) $28

Bright raspberry/sour cherry, black cherry, floral/earth, red currant/medmod

 

Cambria Estate Pinot Noir Julia’s Vineyard 2011 (Santa Maria Valley, California) $25

Dark ruby/red flowers, cola/black cherry, mocha/not ready

 

Cambria Pinot Noir Bench Break Vineyard 2011 (Santa Maria Valley, California) $34

Pomegranate red/sappy, red currant, menthol/dark cherry, cedar/hilong

 

Masut Pinot Noir Estate Vineyard 2012 (Mendocino County, California) $44

Red purple/root beer, milk chocolate/blueberry, pomegranate/hilong

 

MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2012 (Sonoma County, California) $28

Ruby/blackberry, raspberry/spice, sage, dark chocolate/medmod

 

La Rochelle Pinot Noir Carneros Donum Estate Vineyard 2010 (Sonoma County, California) $75

Ruby/red cherry, ginger, black pepper/dark chocolate, cola, red raspberry, black plum/hilong

 

J Vineyards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2012 (Sonoma County, California) $37

Ruby/black currant, plum, cherry/mushroom, blackberry/hilong

 

J Vineyards Pinot Noir Misterra Russian River Valley 2012 (Sonoma County, California) $50

Dark red/rustic dried fruit, flowers/Portobello mushroom, blueberry, mirepoix/hilong

 

Trione Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2010 (Sonoma County, California) $38

Brown red/dusty strawberry, mint, dark chocolate/wild strawberry, black tea/medmod

 

Etude Pinot Noir Estate Grown Grace Benoist Ranch 2011 (Carneros, California) $54

Red brown/brown sugar, dark cherry syrup/medmod

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4 Responses to Varietally Correct – New World Pinot Noir

  1. Jennifer Evanko says:

    Thank you so much for the recommendation of our Etude Estate Grown Pinot Noir. We certainly appreciate it! – Etude Winery

    • admin says:

      Thank you, Jennifer. Glad you’re reading my newsletter! Etude is one of my favorite wineries in NorCal and I’m happy to be able to recommend such a terrific wine. Thanks again and please stay in touch.

  2. Ben thanks so much from all of us at Two Paddocks for the notes above – great to meet you in Colarado. Wine & Golf Tour in Central Otago has to have legs?! Let me know if you want some help to organise. Cheers, Jacqui

    • admin says:

      Hi Jacqui:

      Thanks for the note, glad you’re reading! Sorry it took so long…been traveling A TON!

      Wine and Golf in NZ sounds great, email me separately and we’ll discuss how to make it happen. :)

      Thanks again and talk soon!

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