The Most Enjoyable Wine on the Planet?

Monday, August 1, 2011

In the past couple years, few categories have captured my attention more than domestic Pinot Noir. And within that category, few wines have defined the essence of what I'm looking for more than the Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir. The 2008 was the first vintage that caught my attention. Tonight I had a chance to try the 2009 vintage of the same wine. A lot of friends and I have purchased this wine and are wondering... will it live up to its predecessor -or- prove to be a disappointment? Read on...

The Belle Glos label comes to us from the Wagner family - producers of Caymus - one of the most reliably outstanding Cabernet producers in Napa Valley. Their Pinot Noir label is Belle Glos. When I tasted their 2008s I was blown away. The Belle Glos Meiomi is a screw-capped $25 bottling produced from grapes grown in Santa Barbara, Sonoma, and Monterey. But they also offer a trio of single vineyard Pinot Noirs with a release price of $44:
  • Santa Maria Valley - Clark & Telephone Vineyard
  • Santa Lucia Highlands - Las Alturas Vineyard
  • Sonoma Coast - Taylor Lane Vineyard
The good news about these single vineyard wines is they've been available at retail for around $34.99 without much effort. Heck - even the notoriously unfavorably priced Wine.com has them available at this price point. Deep discounters have offered these wines for right around $25 (as a limited time offer) which has established a new benchmark for value hunters. Every Pinot Noir offer that comes along is compared to this wine at $25 dollars.

Perhaps what makes this wine so desirable to me is its versatility. It's perfect for so many occasions. It's full-bodied enough it provides a viable gateway for Cabernet lovers to transition to Pinot Noir. It's light enough it plays to a broad audience. And it comes in nice looking package so it works well for gifting. At under $30 it's a wine I can't imagine buying too much of.

Wine Spectator rated all of the 2009 single vineyard wines between 92 and 93 points. Here are my notes on the 2009...

2009 Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir
$44 Release Price
14.7% Alcohol

Hard to think of a more delicious wine than this. It brings the same rich, plush satisfaction of the 2008 but (at this point) balances it out a bit with a layer of brighter flavors on initial attack. Behind this are the same slightly-sweet spice notes, cherry pipe tobacco, and enjoyable fruit flavors found in the prior vintage. Dangerously difficult to stop drinking. Highly recommended - back up the truck.

95/100 WWP: Classic

Further Reading:
Question of the Day: Have you tried the 2009 Belle Glos single vineyard Pinot Noirs? What did you think? Either way - any tips for wines you'd consider utterly enjoyable?

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