Category: "Pinot Noir"
I did not pick this bottle out, nor do I think I ever would have. I like Pinot Noir, but I typically find it to be a safe pick with guests and generally unremarkable. This wine was picked out for me at a dinner recently and I had an open mind. Delicious. Russian River Pinots, in my experience, have a reputation for minerality. And that quality is something that I feel needs to be handled with care. Robert Stemmler made it easy for me; this wine did not have that Earthy flavor. It was probably a little more "new world," so keep that in mind if you prefer the old style. According to the website this producer has an intense focus on Pinot Noir (they feature 3 different Pinot Noirs and a Chardonnay). From that specialization you hope to taste the expertise and I certainly did. A quick google search suggests this is a $40 bottle. On my budget, this is a celebration wine, but maybe I will be more lenient now with what qualifies as a celebration so I can have another bottle of the 2006 Robert Stemmler Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir.
This was the first pinot I have had from New Zealand, a wine country popular primarily for its Sauvignon Blanc. I was excited to try another varietal from the area. This was a very fragrant wine. It smells good and tastes good. My only complaint is that this wine finishes like Jesse Owens -- at Olympic speed. The taste disappears so fast it will play games with your memory -- Did I just have a sip or not? -- but then again this is a $8-9 bottle of wine. You want long-lasting finishes, maybe you should spend a little more. All in all this was a decent effort. At this price point I think this is a fine pick to take a bottle (probably two) to a friend's house for dinner. This would also be a good wine to have on hand one night when it's time to open that third or fourth bottle of pinot noir.
This wine sort of dispells two of my theories on Pinot Noir, well the one that Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley is super, super overpriced is not necessarilly my theory. The one that is mine is a little strange. I normally think that the worse a Pinot smells, the better it will taste. I cannot explain it, but there you have it. Admittedly I am unable to decipher many different aromas, but I typically find Pinot to be quite pungent on "the nose." This particular bottle was more subdued. But I think this wine is very drinkable. Most Willamette Pinots will run you north of $30 and you're paying for the reputation of the Valley. This wine is $16-17 (and is even available at Whole Foods).
This is not a great wine, but it is the most moderately priced Oregon Pinot I have stumbled upon that I consider to be worth drinking.