Value Alert: 2009 Alta Maria Pinot Noir

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2009 was a tremendous vintage for California Pinot Noir. They impressed early and the bottles I've recently opened continue to satisfy. After running Wine Spectator's ratings and prices through the WWP QPR Calculator (what's that?) the best values I found were from Chasseur, Alta Maria, Laguna Ridge (Lynmar second label) and Sarapo.

Of those, the Chasseur is a reliably fantastic if known commodity. I've never been able to track down the Laguna Ridge. The Sarapo was very good but not quite amazing enough for me to ring the Value Alert bell.

Now that it's cool enough to safely allow fall shipments, I was finally able to try the 2009 Alta Maria Pinot Noir. It wasn't what I expected, but it was outstanding. For whatever reason I was expecting it to be riper and more fruit forward. On the contrary it was somewhat lean and mineral-driven. Terroir hunters take note...

2009 Alta Maria Pinot Noir
13.9% Alcohol
1,660 Cases Produced
$28 Release Price

I was looking very forward to trying this after seeing so many positive accolades. And it mostly satisfied. It's leaner and more stemmy/herbaceous than I suspected it would be based on region. Fresh strawberries and pomegranate seeds on the nose. On the palate it turns more serious and light tannins and a chalky streak provide notable structure and define the wine's character. Quite nice. Gorgeous label and overall package. Super value at around $25.

91/100 WWP: Outstanding

Other Ratings:

92 Wine Advocate
91 Wine Spectator
91 Wine Enthusiast

See reviews on CellarTracker
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Further Reading: A full run-down of the best values in 2009 California Pinot Noir

Question of the Day: Have you tried Alta Maria Pinot Noir? If so, what did you think? If not, what are some of your favorite domestic Pinot Noirs south of $25 you can still buy?

I've got a couple more Value Alerts up my sleeve. I'd love it if you SUBSCRIBED to the WWP for updates.


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