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Tasting Report: 2008 Shea Wine Cellars Estate Pinot Noir

Saturday, August 7, 2010

With the tax free weekend coming up in Massachusetts I find myself scrambling around a bit trying to assess whether I'd like to add to my position in certain categories.  2007 Napa Valley Cabernet and 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir are hot right now so last night for pizza night I cracked open a bottle of 2008 Shea Wine Cellars Estate Pinot Noir.

The wine carries a release price of $40.  If you shop around a bit you can catch it in the low to mid $30s.  Tax free that's a pretty good price for a nice bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir.  But lately I'm finding it's easier to find an outstanding bottle of Pinot Noir for $20 and under.  Like the 2006 Londer Anderson Valley (CA) Pinot Noir, the 2008 Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir (also from CA), and the 2005 August Cellars Pinot Noir (from Oregon).  So the pressure is on for a $30+ wine to bring some excitement.

I tasted through a number of 2008 Pinot Noirs at an Oregon wine dinner a few month back and was impressed with the wines.  Shea Wine Cellars wasn't present at that tasting so this was my first chance to try their 2008.  When I first looked up the wine in Wine Spectator's database I was confused because I've seen retailers describe it as a 93 point Wine Spectator wine.  Spectator's database lists it as 91 points so I assumed it was a retailer error.  However after further investigation the 93 point rating came from a non-blind vertical tasting (the same wine over a series of vintages) their Oregon editor Harvey Steiman did on-site at Shea Wine Cellars just a few months ago.

I had the 2006 vintage of this wine a while back and rated it 90 points (kicking it old school with a Corkd review instead of CellarTracker!).  I also had a 2008 from Shea fruit made by Loring- again 90 points.

Did the wine live up to a 90 point "outstanding" rating as we sat down and enjoyed it with our Upper Crust Pizza last night?  Unfortunately, not quite.  Here are my notes:

2008 Shea Wine Cellars Estate Pinot Noir
$40
14.2% Alcohol
3,678 Cases Produced
(2007 label image shown)

Somewhat limited in aromatic volume even after being open for several hours.  It does hint at some pleasant cherry and fresh forest-after-a-rainstorm notes but I had to squint and search intently to find them.  Some vibrant shots of acidity the first few sips.  Surprisingly tannic when consumed on its own but works nicely with food.  The wine is young and may improve beautifully with time, but for now I can't see my way to enthusiastically recommending this wine as outstanding.  Still, a nice bottle to have on your table for a sit down occasion.

88/100 WWP: Very Good

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