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Dec 11th
Around the World in Seven Pinot Noirs PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jacqueline Coleman, BT Contributor   
October 2019

Red, white, and you: Agreeable wine for $15 or less

HPix_Vino_10-19ow do you challenge yourself as a wine drinker? Often we get stuck in ruts of wine monotony where we find ourselves pulling the same bottles off the shelves to settle in for a night of drinking what is comfortable. Maybe we feel that branching out for a new bottle is a financial risk because we aren’t sure if we’ll enjoy it. Yet one of the greatest things about drinking wine is that when you pour yourself a glass, you’re transported to another place and time, so the idea is to stretch your comfort zone.

Where is the wine from? What year were those grapes still hanging on the vines? The contents of the bottle make it possible for you to travel to Italy, California, Oregon, or even Romania without leaving your dinner table. That specific bottle of wine is a capture of a place and time, and tells you exactly what the climate was like where those vines were growing, and the style of the specific winemaker, and it allows you to taste the land as it is expressed by what’s inside.

Journey with me around the world through these seven bottles of Pinot Noir, all of which can be found just minutes from your door but can transport you miles away to a different place and time while you imbibe.

Did someone say Italy? The land of ancient Roman ruins, gelato, pizza and pasta galore -- but Pinot Noir? Perhaps you typically visit France for a European Pinot; but venture down to the country of amore and taste the 2018 Le Colline Limited Edition Pinot Noir for a sturdier version. Medium-bodied and not too flabby, this Italian take on a classic has ripe fruit in all the right places and doesn’t leave you wanting more than its worth. At just under $10, the price is right for Le Colline to whisk you away for a bottle’s worth of Italian holiday.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try a jaunt to Romania through a bottle of 2017 Recas Castle Pinot Noir. Though I can’t guarantee a Dracula sighting, this wine does come from the land of Transylvania, where the oldest records for the vineyards associated with this winery date back to 1447. Just as the count himself, this Pinot is dark, but not quite as foreboding. In fact, the aromas of blackberries, black cherry, and vanilla are luring, and the flavors on the tongue won’t scare you away. Soft and pleasant, and at $5.99 a bottle, you won’t have to give up your life for a drop of this red liquid.

Drinking Pinot Noir from Germany sounds glamorous, but the 2017 Valckenberg Undone Pinot Noir keeps it simple. A self-proclaimed “naked” flavored wine, Undone is packing light as the most basic of Pinots, with no oak influence or much of anything that really enhances it. Faint cherry and raspberry flavors are discernable, but the finish is quick, leaving more time for our next stop.

We are transported to Chile’s Central Valley wine region by the 2018 Autoritas Pinot Noir. From a very stripped-down Pinot to one that has a complex bouquet of aromas ranging from an herbal earthiness to plums and black fruits, our Chilean tour guide demonstrates the use of oak aging with this wine. In the mouth, the fruit flavors melt away, as does the complexity, leaving us with a mix of spice and herbs that feels as distant as South American wine country.

Back in the United States, we visit California via two Pinots that represent the “big California” wine style. The 2017 Vampire Pinot Noir may be just ripe for your Halloween dinner table. Pungent jammy fruit like pomegranate dominate, without much else holding together the structure.

The 2017 Line 39, named after the 39th parallel that runs through California wine country, is a more pleasing California Pinot, with typical red fruit and cola that glide into robust raspberry and cherry flavors supported by noticeable tannins and held together in a firm body in the mouth.

Arguably the land of Pinot in the U.S. is Willamette Valley in Oregon, where the 2017 Corvallis Cellars Pinot Noir will take you with one taste. Fragrant floral aromas alongside spice and cherry coke complement that Oregon “terroir” from the nose to the palate. Elegant but rustic can describe the sense of place here, as Oregon Pinots like Corvallis Cellars always bring you back to their home.

 

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