2009 Joseph Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune Pinot

Starting out on an unrelated topic today (or slightly related), I watched Sideways the other night.  The first time I saw it I didn't care for it; this time I liked it a little more (though I still didn't think it deserved all the awards it won).  But it was an interesting portrayal of a wine fanatic (and bit of a snob), in particular a pinot fanatic.

So I've been drinking a 2009 Joseph Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune Pinot that ran me about $25.

(That's my guy Dexter.)  It didn't convert me to being a pinot lover but it was interesting -- notes to it that may be anise/licorice but not overwhelmingly so, and very fruity, black cherry maybe.  It held the notes well for a second drinking the next night.

A nice Burgundy; I bet it would go well with a bacon-wrapped filet.  Or maybe even a paella.

2010 Jean-Paul Picard (red) Sancerre

So, beaming ourselves over to the Loire Valley today (I guess the other guy's name was Jean-LUC Picard, wasn't it), we have the Klingon out of water, a red (pinot noir) Sancerre.  (End of the Star Wars puns.)

I bought this from the nice people at invino.com, and it ran me about $20.  Only about 20 percent of the Loire grows pinot noirs; most estates produce whites, of course.

The bottle label is your typical French Just the facts, madame, not very big on description.  The invino listing has a very good one though:  "A bright, clear, ruby color, the nose is remarkably intense. There are intense spice and forest floor notes that burst out of your glass, enough to make you stop and smell again and again, to try and analyze what is in it. Spice, earth, damp forest and tangy black cherry notes rise out of your glass. In the mouth, the wine is pure fruit, all cherries, berries and an interesting note of fresh cranberry. "

When I first tasted this I got a note that I couldn't identify (and still can't) and that I found very interesting and out of the ordinary.  I'm guessing it might be the cran-raspberry thing going on that invino talks about (the raspberry in another part of the listing).  As they say, it "make[s] you stop and smell again ... to try and analyze what's in it."  A lighter red in the decanter and in the glass, and even more fruity than most usually fruity pinots.

All in all, I liked this a lot and would get it again (now sold out at invino).  I just drank it with cheddar, but I bet it goes great with grilled pork chops.

2011 Stemmler Pinot Noir Rosé

This week I tried a 2011 Stemmler pinot noir rosé from Napa that ran me about $13 from invino.com

No poofy descriptions on the label, just the minimum as required by law.  It does identify this as a 'vin gris', which is another name for rosé made from pinot that you don't see on every bottle.

This was ok, better to my taste than most rosés, though not as outstanding as last week's Spy Valley.  I got a slight chalkiness from it, like you'd find in a Spanish cava.  The description at invino says 'minerality', so that must be what I picked up.

A nice wine, worth trying, but try the Spy Valley first.

2011 Spy Valley Pinot Noir Rosé

The first of the week I drank a 2011 Spy Valley pinot noir rosé from New Zealand's Marlborough region that ran me $13.  And here's the news:  I REALLY liked this rosé.

Up till now rosés have been like oysters for me: I've really tried to develop a taste for them but my general reaction has been Meh.  (Or in the case of oysters, unless they're deep fried on a Po' Boy: Yuck.)  This one, on the other hand, is radically different.  I could see it easily becoming my summer go-to wine—if I can find it locally.  I bought this bottle from invino.com.

 The label describes notes of cherry and plum.  I didn't get the plum, maybe a lighter cherry.  What I noticed was a floral essence to it.  The label describes it as having a 'refreshing and bright palate', which is spot on.

A very nice rosé; if you don't think you like them, try this one.

2011 Guenoc Petite Sirah

This week I drank a 2011 Guenoc petite sirah that ran me about $12.  I'll get this little factoid out of the way first:  the vineyard was established by Lillie Langtry, the famous 19th-century actress.

The label says 'Made correctly, "Pets" become the benchmark for big, hedonistic wines; blueberry flavors wrapped in silky tannins."  So I got to thinking:  What's a hedonistic wine?

Dr. Vinny at WineSpectator.com defines it like this:  "“Hedonistic” is usually saved for those really amazing wines—ones that are joyful, pleasurable and gratifying on several levels. Since the word refers to all of the senses, I’d expect a hedonistic wine to be aromatic, lush in texture, visually appealing, and of course to taste good, with a long, lingering finish. It’s not a term typically applied to snappy, juicy wines, or rustic, tannic ones either."

Looking at comments in the forum section at vinocellars.com, people seem to think of shiraz and occasionally zin or cab when they hear "hedonistic".  I was thinking more of a dessert wine (which someone on the forum mentioned) like a sauternes or an amarone, which as a certain Dr Lecter once noted (in the book version) goes well with census worker.

Anyway, I wasn't crazy about the Guenoc; it was one of my least favorites of the "Pets" I've drunk this fall.  I didn't have any particular subtlety of flavor and had maybe a bit too much tannin for my taste.  I found it more to my liking on the second night actually.

Not a bad wine, and maybe I got a bottle that wasn't as good; just not the wine for me.

2009 Carmel Road Pinot Noir

The last couple days I have been drinking a 2009 Carmel Road pinot noir from up around Santa Rosa that ran me about $16.

This is my favorite of the pinots thus far this fall and winter.  As soon as I got the nose I noticed something different from most of the other pinots I've drunk that I couldn't put my finger on.  When I tasted it, it had interesting notes to it, more subtlety than most of the others.

The label isn't much help; it just says the usual red berries, 'warm spice', and 'mineral characteristic'. Maybe I'm getting the minerality; I've liked that in syrahs and French whites.  This the first instance where I've thought, I really wish I was drinking this with an expert who could tell me what it is I'm tasting.

This was good for sipping and with some soup.  The only one negative thing I'll say is it didn't hold well corked; 2 nights later when I finished it, it wasn't nearly as good, and most pinots I've drunk do ok for 2 days.  All in all, though, my favorite pinot and a nice choice.

2009 Georgetown Divide Grenache Rouge

There's so much packed onto this label I don't know where to start, so here's everything:  2009, Rouge, Grenache, Georgetown Divide Vineyard & Winery, El Dorado, Duarte Georgetown Vineyards, Geyserville, CA.  The rest of the label is pseudo-philosophical noodling, so don't worry about that.  I got this as part of a mixed half case so I can't really a price.  Geyserville is in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco.

(Sorry for the not so great picture.)

I took a break from my pinots and petite sirahs to try this rosé ("rouge", whatever).  I've really tried to develop a taste for them but I haven't gotten there yet.  This one was very nice, though, not sweet (thus right up my allée, since we're going French), a nice mix of floral and fruit notes.

This went well with some ribs and a hearty soup.  I'm betting it would go well with a wide range of both winter and summer dishes.