April 13, 2009

Critique: 2007 Grayson Cellars Pinot Noir

2007 Grayson Cellars Pinot Noir
USA, California, North Coast, Napa County

After being impressed with their 2007 Paso Robles Cabernet, especially given it's $9 price tag, I decided to pick up a bottle of Grayson Cellars 2007 Pinot Noir.

Grayson really emphasizes the "Napa" name, even though none of their wines carry the Napa designation (Note: In order for a wine to carry the Napa designation, 75% of the fruit needs to come from the appellation). Their website claims the wine is from their "Napa Valley production facility very near Highway 29" and made by Larry Levin, who is "among the most experienced winemakers in the Napa Valley".

Appellation or not, this is the second bottle from this winery that has snagged my interest and has inspired me to try the rest of their lineup (a 2007 Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Merlot... all carrying the California designation).

My thoughts:
Purchased for $12, I didn't have high-hopes for this wine, especially after pouring. The color is a translucent "brick red". I was thinking to myself that this would likely be another poor attempt at a low-end, mass produced Pinot. But boy, was I wrong. This is actually really enjoyable stuff. It tastes and smells like a Pinot should. It's more elegant... not in-your-face; more red fruits than black. The nose is mostly dominated by raspberry and strawberry aromas, with a slight hint of asian spices and oak. It's the same on the palate, but the fruit shines through and gives it a bit of a sweet twist. It has almost a vanilla hint to it, too. The finish is rather short and turns a bit sour, but not enough to ruin the overall experience.

With summer fast approaching, Pinot is a great wine to have around the house. Personally, I like drinking lighter reds when the weather turns warmer. Pinot can also pair nicely with some of the lighter fare which is typically served during the summer months (like chicken, fish, grilled veggies, etc.). This was definitely worth the $12 and I plan to purchase a few more bottles.

Rating: Very Good


Arnold said...

We tried this wine at the recommendation of a wine store clerk and found it to be undrinkable. It had absolutely no body and was no more than a watery,unexciting mess. We poured it out and bought a bottle of Castle Rock.