On a recent trip to Napa, I tasted a LOT of Pinot Noir. This finicky grape is thin-skinned, and temperamental, requiring extra care when harvesting. Most wineries harvest it at night, so the grapes remain cool, and pick by hand, even wearing gloves so the grapes stay as pristine as possible from the vineyard to the winery.
One of my favorite stories about Pinot Noir dates back to ancient Rome. Roman soldiers would bring their own wine with them into the lands they conquered, until they reached what is now Burgundy in France. They liked the wines being made there so much that they stopped bringing their own with them! Some vineyards today producing some of the most sought after wines in the world can trace their lineage back to Gallo-Roman times.
Pinot Noir translated is “Black Pine,” because the berries are dark (noir), small and tightly bunched, like the seeds on a pine cone. While it is most famous in Burgundy, Pinot Noir is being grown almost everywhere, even on islands in the south Pacific. New Zealand’s Marlborough region is where today’s featured wine comes, the Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir.
The 2009 Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir I had recently was truly one of the best examples of Pinot Noir I have ever tasted. A beautiful ruby-purple color in the glass, with aromas of lavender and cherry, ripe cherry and raspberry flavors, and hints of mint and spice. This is a really crisp, well-structured wine with an extremely long finish. It’s being rated worldwide between 92 and 94 points, and for $27, it’s an unbelievable value.
On my five-cork scale based on taste and value, the 2009 Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir gets 4.5 corks! It’s delicious, and compares to the finer red wines of Burgundy, but at a fraction of the price.
If you’d like to try interesting wines like this, please join me at our next private wine party at Matt the Miller’s Tavern! I host a wine dinner there every month, and we feature several interesting wines, each paired with a delicious course. There are always cool prizes to win, too, so listen Wednesday at 4:15 to win your spot on the guest list, or click here for a chance to win!