2008 Brancott Pinot Noir

In this issue of The Amazing Spider-Man our intrepid hero fights ... oops, wrong blog.  Today we have a 2008 Brancott pino noir from New Zealand's South Island.  It ran me about $11.

The label describes this pinot as having "silky, smooth tannins" and "ripe cherry and red berry fruit flavors".  Not to be snarky, but what pinot couldn't this description go with?

Like the label description, I thought this wine was ok if generic -- one that I'd drink with a good pizza (not store bought frozen).  The first night I drank it I thought the first glass had a few off notes, although I'd aerated it.  The next night I liked it a little better.  It wasn't undrinkable like the pinot a week or so ago, but not more than average either.

Even if you're just eating pizza or spaghetti and meatballs you can find a better pinot for the price.

2009 Nicodemi Cerasuolo Rosé

The last couple nights I've been sipping a 2009 Nicodemi Cerasuolo rosé from Abruzzo (across the boot from Rome) made from Montepulciano.  It ran me $13 at invino.com.

I'm just going to quote invino here:  "The 2009 Nicodemi Cerasuolo Rosé is made in the only appellation in Italy that’s regulated to make rosé by the traditional technique, which is setting aside a certain lot of fruit for rosé alone - hence, the deep and dark (yet romantically elegant) color of this wine."

Cherry is the distinguishing note in this rosé, and I'd agree with that.  It tastes a bit like drinking cherry Jello.  The invino description also gives notes of macerated strawberries and marzipan (=almonds), which I'd agree with too.

A bit on the Montepulciano grape from wikipedia: "The grape is widely planted throughout central and southern Italy, most notably in AbruzziLatiumMarche,MoliseUmbria and Apulia, and is a permitted variety in DOC wines produced in 20 of Italy's 95 provinces. Montepulciano is rarely found in northern Italy because the grape has a tendency to ripen late and can be excessively "green" if harvested too early."

The invino description says this works as an aperitif or with desserts, both of which I'd agree with.  A nice, flavorful rosé for people who don't think they like rosés.

2011 The Other Guys Petite Sirah

This week I tried a 2011 petite sirah bottled by The Other Guys that ran me about $12.  TOG are based in Napa (www.togwines.com).

I liked it, but this is one of those rare wines that I liked better by itself, not with food.  When I drank it with food, it just didn't seem as subtle as it had going solo.

When I sipped it without food, I got an unusual note that I couldn't identify.  I looked at the label, which claims 'delicate fig aromas', and I knew right away that that's what I was getting.  (Not so sure about the 'deep old vine flavors'.)  I'll also agree that it has a 'delightfully sweet finish'.

A nice petite sirah at a good price.

Wine and Food Pairing Chart

Lifehacker.com linked to this chart for matching food (including vegetables) (as if those all taste the same ...) to wines.  It looks a bit like an electrical schematic but interesting and probably helpful.

Wine Chart

2008 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir

The last couple nights I drank a 2008 Kim Crawford pinot noir from New Zeland's Marlborough region.  It ran me about $16.

The label claims oak, red berries, the usual dark cherries.  A nice wine, perhaps a little sweeter than a lot of high end pinots, but not bad by itself or with some pasta and gravy that I had tonight.

Well worth checking out for the price.

2010 Trivento Reserve Pinot Noir

The last couple nights I drank (or tried to) a 2010 Trivento Reserve from the Mendoza region of Argentina that cost me about $10.

In a word: Yuck.  When I first opened it and aerated it, I got a small glassful down.  I wasn't crazy about it, lots of unpleasant notes, but it at least tasted like red wine.  I thought it might be better after sitting overnight.

I wuz wrong.  When I tried it the next night, I took one drink and threw the rest out.  Very unpleasant taste.  I might have just gotten a bad bottle, but I'm not putting out another $10 to find out.

You can find some decent pinots for $10 (so I've heard, can't say I have), but this one isn't one of them.

2011 Cameron Hughes Lot 391 Field Blend

Last weekend I drank a 2011 Cameron Hughes Lot 391 red Field Blend, which is a mix of zin, petite sirah, and syrah.  It ran mne about $15.

The label describes it as having "aromatics of cassis and raspberry" with "ripe texture and pure fruit deftly ... in a lovely mouthful."

It was ok but it didn't blow me away.  I drank a glass with chips and salsa, and it did go very well with the spicy salsa

I bet this would go well with ribs or grilled burgers.

2010 Napa Cellars Pinot Noir

Today a 2010 Napa Cellars pinot noir that ran me in the mid-teens.

Not a bad pinot and drinkable, but pretty generic, no special notes to my taste.  The label claims notes of cherry, strawberry, and spice--again, all pretty generic to most pinots.

I drank it with some bean soup and it went well with that, and with white cheddar for a snack.  The label suggests trying it with salmon, tuna (I agree it would go well with either of those), and grilled chicken.

An OK wine for the price, good choice for a dinner party or grilling.

2010 HandCraft Pinot Noir

Last week I drank a 2010 HandCraft Artisan Collection pinot noir that ran me about $25.

Frankly I've drunk other pinots that were cheaper and that I liked better.  I had their petite sirah a few weeks back and my reaction to that was sort of meh too.

Nothing wrong with this wine; if you want a nice red for, say, chicken or sipping in the evening it should be fine.  I just didn't think it was very distinctive.  The label says they add a bit of sangiovese, which adds spice and berry notes to the mix.  Pinot already is known for "berriness" just by itself although I may have picked up the additional spice notes.

An OK wine but if you like pinot you can do better for the money.