Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.
Robert Mondavi

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Poll Winner: Pinot Noir!

Pinot Noir - 6
Sauvignon Blanc & Riesling - 4 each
Other (better not be White Zinfandel) - 2

So you guys picked a red varietal for your favorite summer wine?!

I am just kidding! I love Pinot Noir anytime of year, and besides Zinfandel it is my favorite summer red. Since Pinot was the poll winner, I will be devoting this entry to two recommendations from this varietal. One entry level, one moderately expensive and both of which can be found easily at your local liquor store (if you are in NH) and are popular enough to find if you live elsewhere.

2006, Domaine Drouhin, Willamette Valley, Oregon - $44
Domaine Drouhin has a very illustrious background. It is the product of the expansion of French wine houses into the “New World”. Maison Joseph Drouhin of Beaune, France sought to pursue this avenue and in 1987 purchased 225-acres of what was then a Christmas-tree farm.

The 2006 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir is one of my favorite wines. The nose is a beautiful rich cherry that is mirrored on the palate along with a hint of spice. The tannins are noticeable; however they are well integrated and even a somewhat delicate. This is a very thoughtful wine that is confident in structure and complexity, very much a classic Burgundy-styled Pinot Noir.

As always, I disagree with the Wine Spectator rating. I feel they are tight-wads in some instances, but then again as I explained in an earlier post, it is only one person’s opinion. WS gave them a 90 for the 2006 vintage and I almost feel slighted for them! This wine is very comfortably a 92 and I think this will only get better with time. Wine & Spirits gave the DD a 93. I think this illustrates that ratings are highly personal!

2007, Benton-Lane, Willamette Valley, Oregon - $22
Benton-Lane produces some very nice Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. In fact, their Pinot Gris has been a revelation. However I will be focusing on their lower-end (price, not quality) Pinot Noir.

The 2007 Benton-Lane Pinot Noir is a very tasty and crisp wine. It is not as complex or elegant as the Domaine Drouhin or its’ big brother, Benton-Lane First Class, but it is not nearly as expensive either. This should not detour you in the slightest. This is meant to be consumed in the near future and is extremely tasty and very well-suited for food.

This wine exudes some very nice strawberry and cherry on the nose. On the palate I found the aromas were reversed. I picked up mainly fresh cherry with some strawberry thrown in for good measure. The balance and finish on this wine are very nice and leave you wanting more!

I was unable to find any published ratings for the 2007 Benton-Lane, but I would put this in the 88 range. This is a very good wine with its nice fruit, balance and crispness keeping it towards the higher end of the 80s.

I hope you have a chance to enjoy one, if not both of these wines. That’s the whole reason why I these things!!!


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