Insane Value Alert: 2014 Castle Rock Kristy Vineyard Pinot Noir

Saturday, January 14, 2017

2014 Castle Rock Kristy Vineyard Pinot Noir: Outstanding
Wine Spectator quietly released [web only] a very interesting rating for the 2014 Castle Rock Kristy Vineyard Pinot Noir recently: 90 points. That in itself isn't that extraordinary. Lots of wines are rated 90 points or better.
Wine Spectator tasting note
But at a release price of just $18 it's a rather fantastic value. Thinking back to the theory behind the WWP QPR Calculator I ask myself: What do I need to spend to find a reliably outstanding bottle of California Pinot Noir? Probably around $35. Maybe $40.

But it gets better. While this wine carries a release price of $18 it's not that hard to find it for $10 or less.

Plugging this into the WWP QPR Calculator (using a $40 baseline price and a $10 purchase price) we get a value rating of 4: Outstanding.

I was poking around Wine Spectator's ratings database just now and a rating like this is quite the outlier. In looking at 2014 Pinot Noirs rated 90 points or better with a release price of $30 or less only one other wine came up: The 2014 Hahn SLH Pinot Noir at $30 with a 92 point rating. The Hahn is noteworthy in itself especially since the 2013 vintage of the same bottling was also rated 92 points. And you can find it for around $20. I've had prior vintages and was indeed impressed.

But the street price of this Castle Rock is half of the Hahn.

I was looking back at prior vintages for similar QPR ratings I notice this isn't the first time Castle Rock has done this. They had another $18 bottling also rated 90 points a couple years ago. I never got around to tasting that one unfortunately, but this time I was bound and determined to trying this one.

I tracked down a bottle of this wine and tasted it. Here are my thoughts:

2014 Castle Rock Kristy Vineyard Pinot Noir
$18 Release Price
13.5% Alcohol
4,890 Cases Produced

A tremendous achievement at this price point.
Light in color and full of characteristics I expect in California Pinot Noir.
Fresh, perfectly ripened fruit on the nose.
Satisfying depth of flavor with silky mouth feel. Well balanced.
Most impressively, the wine is free of any "off" notes.

90/100 WWP: Outstanding

Bottom Line

Most times when I hear about a wine that's 90 points and costs so little I'm disappointed. But this is the kind of wine I love to have on hand. It drinks like a $30+ California Pinot Noir and is quite an achievement. Especially if you can find it for less than $10. Highly recommended.


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