Hyper-Value: A $7.99 Pinot Noir and a $13.99 Napa Cab

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Perhaps more than anything, I want this blog to reflect the natural conversations I have with friends about wine in real life.  A subject that's come up frequently lately is how simple value wines can be as enjoyable to drink and discover as more sought after wines.  My wine collection increasingly has bottles that need to be aged, are better when consumed with food, or are otherwise too stuffy for weeknight consumption.  These wines sit and wait while 20% of the wines I have on hand are purchased and consumed within a month.

It reminds me of the clothes in my closet.  I only wear about 20% of the things I own and the rest just sit and wait for an occasion that may never come.  This being the case, determining which daily drinkers find a slot in our rotations can be as meaningful as the wines we splurge on.

For me, 2010 was a year where Pinot Noir zipped past Cabernet Sauvignon as the most frequently consumed varietal with Nebbiolo in 3rd place.  Since these continue to be popular categories in my house I thought I'd share my thoughts on two wines I picked up at the store yesterday, popped open immediately and enjoyed:

2009 Beringer Founder's Estate Pinot Noir
13.9% Alcohol
$7.99 Purchased at The Wine Cellar of Stoneham

A little bashful upon opening, but after just a little time it delivers round candied fruit backed by vanilla.  Scores points for revealing a variety of aromas as it evolves. However, it lacks acidity, depth, and length of finish so it's hard to be taken seriously.  But as a daily drinker it may deserve consideration in your line-up.  At least once.

Picked this one up on an adjacent recommendation in the comments section of Jason's Wine Blog's piece on the 07 Picket Fence Pinot Noir.  The tip was for an 08 Beringer California Collection Pinot Noir - I found the 09 Beringer Founder's Estate Pinot Noir and went with it.

Interesting side note: On their website this wine is listed as a Pinot Noir/Syrah blend, although Syrah isn't mentioned anywhere on the label.  Very interesting to see this especially considering Syrah is the steroids of Pinot Noir.

Bonus: Beringer donates $1 for each bottle of Founder's Estate sold to charity.

WWP 84/100: Good

2007 RouteStock Cabernet Sauvignon "Route 29"
2,600 Cases Produced
14.1% Alcohol
Cabernet Sauvignon 76%
Merlot 19%
Cabernet Franc 4%
Petit Verdot 1%
$13.99 at The Wine Cellar of Stoneham

Based on the information on their website RouteStock "crafts wines from the signature varietals grown along the wine routes one travels when visiting the world’s most celebrated wine regions" ... "sourced from family-owned vineyards."

The thing I like about this wine is how its aromas and flavor profile align with what I associate with more expensive Napa Cabernet.  As I smell an empty glass I get black currant, rich generous fruit and savory aspects that are extremely appealing. Cinnamon too. Makes me want to refill the glass.

The things separating this wine from one that's more expensive are occasional off notes, a lack of density, and a need to be aged in order for the tannins to soften.  But for immediate consumption I think it would fare better than a lot more expensive wines.  It's delicious and approachable.

Overall, the combination of the flavor profile with its convivial daily drinker nature make it a slam dunk at $13.99.  Well done. 

WWP 89/100: Very Good

Question of the Day: What are some hyper-value wines you've discovered lately?


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