Pinot Paranoia Turned Sideways

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Let me just say that our relationship has been rocky from the start. It probably has a lot to do with our first encounters. There's nothing worse than purchasing a bottle of wine and being disappointed.

This was our introduction:

(insert dream sequence here)

I was at a local restaurant with my wife. It wasn't an overly fancy dinner, but somewhat special nonetheless. I remember salivating as I gripped the wine list. There were so many bottles to choose from, I just couldn't decide. I did have one thing made up in my mind: we would be drinking a Pinot Noir tonight. I had just watched the movie Sideways, and felt inspired by the awkward wine geek personality of Miles. Tonight, I wanted to be like Miles, minus the socially awkward quirks and receding hairline. Tonight, I wanted to drink a nice Pinot Noir.

Now maybe this was my first mistake. But what really sent my wine troubles flying happened next. Being a neophyte to the Pinot Noir persuasion, I turned to the waitress and asked her a question that I would very soon regret. Maybe I put too much faith in waitstaff, and ever since this moment my expectations have adjusted accordingly. It was a simple question, but I had no idea that I would be so disappointed with the answer I would get.

"I'd like a nice bottle of Pinot Noir... what would you recommend?"

I wasn't looking for the cheapest bottle on the menu. In fact, I would have spent quite a bit for this "nice bottle". Instead, I was suggested a relatively overpriced bottle of Mark West Pinot Noir. The deal was sealed once she commented that it was her "favorite Pinot Noir". Okay, how bad could it be?

Let me just say that this was one of those disappointing affairs. It was kinda like the date where you pull out all of the stops, the fancy pants restaurant, limo service, even walk her to the door, without as much as a kiss goodnight. It was like the husband or wife that falls asleep watching television while the other spouse lays impatiently unsatisfied on the other side of the bed. It was like the blind date with the girl or guy who turns out to be on the Most Wanted list....

...Get the point?

(...end dream sequence)

Ever since this scarring moment, I have lived in fear of this fickle grape. I've had a few that were memorable, but more that were monsters. Are there any Pinot Noirs out there that taste good for a relatively low price?

I will attempt to get over my Pinot paranoia for this week's show. I am going to put two bottles of Pinot side by side to see how these Sideways selections stand up. Click the TWWTV logo above to join me this Thursday @ 7:30pm ET as I perform this Pinot throwdown. Don't come empty handed. Bring a bottle of one of the Pinots that I'll be tasting which I've (posted here) or one you just having laying around, grab a friend and bring them to this Thursday's affair... I�ll see you there!

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The Happy Mrs. said...

Granted I have only been following you for a short time, but you are afraid of Pinot Noirs? Funny, because I'm afraid of Bordeaux and other more "old world wines"

Coincidentally, they are the wine my husband and I have had the most luck with!

A local wine shop told me (or someone with more experience than i have) that while you can spend hundreds of dollars on spectacular cabernet, there is no reason to spend that much on a pinot noir, because you can get such great ones at such great prices.

Here are some my recs. I'm away from my wine rack, but off the top of my head:

La Crema Pinot Noir: I have had it awhile back, but many people who's taste I trust, would pick this wine if they could only drink one wine for the rest of their lives. Its about $17 give or take a couple

Little Penguin Pinot Noir: Little Penguin wineries have a special significance to me, even though they are on the lower end of the quality and price scale. That being said, check out the Pinot Noir. Its your standard pinot. Nothing too scary or out there flavor or bouquet wise. We 'special ordered' this for my wedding. You can get this for $5 when its on sale, full price its $8.

Kim Crawford Pinot Noir : If you like the Sav. blanc, youll like the New Zealand Pinot (as odd as that sounds). I dont recall its taste, but you really can't go wrong with it. You can say its a "safe" wine: Probably about $15-$20 bucks

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Happy Mrs!

"Old World Wines" is a whole other story. I'll save that one for a future discussion.

That being said, there was one of your suggestions that peaked my interest. The KC Pinot Noir from New Zealand. I haven't tried this one yet but I am a huge fan of the KC white wines. Great quality for a fair price. I did however try several Pinot Noirs from another winery in New Zealand and was quite impressed. The style was much different than the ones from the States but quite enjoyable and relatively inexpensive.

I think you are onto something here...


The Happy Mrs. said...

Wanted to add, another solid Pinot for a very reasonable price is the BV Coastal. You know what you are going to get, and if you are tip toeing back into Pinots, this could be a good test too.

Curious now, what other Pinot from New Zealand have you enjoyed? I was i the Marlborough region earlier this year and have sampled (and brought back) quite a few...

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Happy Mrs.,

I've had a couple of the BV wines but not their Pinot Noir... I'll have to give it a shot.

The NZ Pinot Noir that I tried was:
Murdoch James Martinborough Fraser Pinot Noir 2006. You can read the full review here: http://www.winewhorin.com/2009/06/perfectly-pleasurable-pinot.html

Overall I was very surprised... I didn't expect so much character from this bottle. It also had a much different taste than a lot of the inexpensive and even expensive Pinot Noirs from CA that I've had.


overabarrel said...

If you want an inexpensive Pinot Noir that is very good, try the Hahn 2006 Monterey Pinot Noir. It is on their website for $12. While not complex, it is full of beautiful Pinot fruit, dark cherry and spice and really delicious.

The Wine Whore said...

Hello overabarrel!

I'll have to give that one a try... I think I am looking for something with more character. I tried another Pinot Noir the other day from Monterey which was slightly more expensive than the wine you mentioned. It was pretty good but still not quite my style...

Last night I tasted a 2006 Hitching Post Pinot Noir that was very nice!

The search continues...


Anonymous said...

I'm a HUGE fan of the Paraiso Pinot Noir - runs about $25 for full retail -- also a Santa Lucia Highlands wine - more complex, good fruit. totally enjoyable!

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Anonymous!

I've gad decent luck with Santa Lucia Pinots... I'll have to give that one a try!


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