Retailer Wine Selections

For this issue, we asked members of the Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend some of their favorite pinot noirs. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’€™s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’€™re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Richard Brandes at 212-353-3832, or email him at rbrandes@m2media360.com.

FIVE STARS

(99) Hubert Lignier Les Chaffots Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru 2007 (Burgundy). This is the Rockstar of Morey-St-Denis; premium Burgundy at its finest; full and bright, the flavors are of raspberries and cherries with notes of herbs and dried leaves. ($130)

(97) Wild Horse Cheval Sauvage Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2005 (California). Sourced from the Bien Nacido and Sierra Madre vineyards tucked in a cool corner of the valley, this is a world-class wine; ripe, rich, silky, perfectly balanced Burgundian Pinot; an exquisit blend of raspberry, spice, earth, oak and smoke, and would enhance any dish from Rabbit Terrine to glazed salmon. ($65)

(96) Walter Hansel Cahill Lane Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2008 (California). Big and full bodied, with amazing fruit on the nose and the palate; a real steal at this price. ($40)

(95) Pannonhalmi Apatsagi Pincaszet Pinot Noir 2009 (Hungary). From vineyards established by Benedictine monks in A.D. 996; intense aromas and flavors of smoke, bacon and terroir are followed by black cherry, currant, and spice after two hours of decanting; astonishing wine. ($25)

(95) Lockwood Pinot Noir Block 7 2009 (California). A nice touch of oak influence lends well to the deep ripe cherry flavors and chocolate notes; silky and elegant; pairs nicely with mushroom dishes. ($18)

(95) Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Rouge Loire Valley 2009 (France). This Domaine, noted for its marvelous white wines, produces a small amount of Pinot Noir; a nose of wild flowers and under-ripe fruit leads to flavors of raspberry and cherry with a hint of minerality; soft tannins and delicate spice flavors linger on the finish. ($38)

(94) HK Hop Kiln Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2008 (California). On the way to becoming a major cult wine; really bright fruit and medium body; grab this one before it can’€™t be found any more. ($40)

(94) Fulcrum ‘€œOn Point’€ Christina’€™s Cuvee Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Bouquet of spice and floral notes; bright cherries and pomegranate wash over the palate; the finish has hints of oak, but is extremely well balanced and silky. ($40)

(94) Estancia Pinnacles Ranch Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Comes from Monterey County with cool ocean breezes making this an ideal growing region for this finicky grape; deep red in color with dark berry and plum aromas; a soft luscious finish. ($16)

(94) The Crossings Pinot Noir 2009 (New Zealand). Ripe plum in color with berry aromas; fresh, elegant and approachable; drink now or hold for a couple of years. ($17)

(93) Archery Summit Premier Cuvee Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon). Intense aromas of ripe blackberries and blueberries; a complex wine of many layers, it delivers flavors of dark cherry, blueberries combined with hints of dark chocolate, ginger and peat; a beautiful, lengthy finish confirms this wine will improve with some aging. ($50)

(93) Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon). From Eola ‘€“Amity Hills in Oregon, clean and bright fruit flavors showing beautifully now; a great food wine but the bright fruit also makes it great for sipping by itself. ($40)

(93) Patz and Hall Jenkins Ranch Pinot Noir (2009). This Pinot displays depth and suppleness, red cherry elements, alongside ripe boysenberry and floral layers; though this wine offers remarkable density on the palate, with soft, round tannins, it is remarkably approachable now. ($50)

(93) Domaine Serene Willamette Select Pinot Noir 2007 (Oregon). Notes of cinnamon and spice round out flavors of red and dark fruits; plum, raspberry, blueberry and cranberry; medium-bodied with a velvety texture on the palate; soft tannins add to the depth and personality of this wine. ($30)

(93) J. Lohr Falcon’€™s Perch Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Soft berry flavors and

aromas, but has just the right amount of tannins to stand up to the most delcious of meals; the velvet texture leaves a wonderful finish. ($17)

(93) Rippon Mature Vine Lake Wanaka Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008 (New Zealand). Rippon is one of New Zealand’€™s true wine treasures; the wine is fruit forward with cooked strawberries and sweet spice; hints of licorice and herbs finish it off. ($40

(92) Bergstrom Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009 (Oregon). A very classy Oregon red; smooth and rich with nicely integrated cherry and vanilla notes; should open up nicely with a little more time. ($53)

(92) Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon). Delicate and nuanced; black cherry, spice and a plenty of acidity make this worthy of cellaring and one of Oregon’€™s finest. ($45)

(92) Rodney Strong Russian River Estate Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Red fruit and earthy aromas lead to a wild strawberry and bing cherry mid-palette; sur-lies barrel maturation soften the tannins to create a silky, long finish. ($22)

(92) Rodney Strong Reserve Pinot Noir 2008 (California). Dominated by raspberry and blackberries, the Russian River fruit in this wine is nearly irresistible. ($35)

(92) Irony Russian River Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Nice depth, richness and concentration; almost Syrah-like in color, this wine has many layers of fruit as soon as it hits the palate; black cherry, blackberry, strawberry and raspberry flavors are followed by a hint of cola and vanilla on a spicy finish; kudos to Delicato as it is not easy to find a Russian River Pinot Noir of this quality at such an affordable price. ($21)

(92) Vylyan Villanyí Pinot Noir 2006 (Hungary). This is an amazing example from the best red wine region in Hungary, the Villanyi Hills; the wine is full of strawberries and raspberries with notes of mushrooms and forest floor; a strong finish with

lingering flavors of vanilla and chocolate; good value. ($19)

(92) Hartford Court Land’€™s Edge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2007 (California). Deep and complex in the nose, more Burgundian on the palate with subtle and elegant nuance and long flowing flavors that carry through from first sip to last swallow. ($25)

(92) Domaine Alain Gras St. Romaine Rouge 2009 (France). Balanced fruit, tannin and spice; a pleasure with a simple roast chicken; silky long finish; drink within the next 5 years. ($32)

(92) Scene 17 Pinot Noir 2009 (New Zealand). Truly a complex pinot from the other side of the world; starts with earthy tones of blueberry and leads to dark cassis; finishes long with a touch of oak. ($25)

(92) Pierre Labet Bourgogne Pinot Noir VV 2009 (France). Delicate flavors of red cherry, spice, and subtle cocoa notes are complemented by an elegant palate. The acidity is perfectly balanced with a soft, long finish. ($20)

(92) Adastra Carneros Pinot Noir 2008 (California). Ripe raspberry, cranberry and plum on the palate; earthy notes round out this ruby hued 2008; medium-bodied but teetering on full-bodied, velvety thick, almost creamy. ($40)

FOUR STARS

(91) Carneros Highway Pinot Noir 2009 (California). There is a lightly earthy opening to the bouquet that is quite nice and then some lightly spicy notes move in, with plum, blueberry and ground tea aromas; medium-bodied, it opens mildly then builds in intensity across the palate, but maintains good balance and definition; ripe red cherry, black raspberry, cranberry, plum and blueberry flavors all mingle; a long finish. ($22)

(91) Louis Jadot Couvent Des Jacobins Pinot Noir 2009 (France). A well-made Burgundy in a great vintage; lush and creamy, this wine offers a nice blend of wild berry and cherry flavors along with exotic sweet spice on a lively, long, finish. ($30)

(91) Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Exceptional blend from Sonoma, Santa Barbara and Monterey counties; vibrant and food friendly with upfront fruit; blackberry aroma; blackberry, cherry and cola taste; medium long finish. ($20)

(91) Domaine Mestre Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravieres 2009 (France). Sourced by famous Burgundy broker Alain Corcia; bright fruit on the nose with exceptional balance and black berry fruit on the palate; another winner from an exceptional red Burgundy vintage. ($30)

(91) Monticello Oak Knoll Estate Pinot Noir 2007 (California). Good acidity to balance the fruit; aromas of raspberry, strawberry and blueberry; cinnamon, clove spice and toasty vanilla layering over the fruit. ($40)

(91) Tolosa Edna Ranch Pinot Noir 2008 (California). Fresh cherries, plums and cedar on the nose; abundant bright fruit flavors with a delicate finish; a Burgundy-style Pinot from California. ($28)

(91) Argyle Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2009 (Oregon). Lovely cherry and earth notes; bright bing cherry flavors surrounded by hints of cedar; very easy to drink due to its velvety and creamy mouthfeel; vibrant acidity and light plum round out the overall finish; a wonderful food wine. ($24)

(91) Wild Rock Cupid’€™s Arrow Pinot Noir 2008 (New Zealand). Finally the wineries of Central Otago seem to be getting the knack of making complex, enjoyable Pinots; made with care (hand de-stemmed and aged 1 year+ in 15% new french oak), the result is an herbal cherry-berry delight with seductive softness; great with lamb chops or game hen. ($25)

(91) River Road Russian River Reserve Pinot Noir 2010 (California). A good

representation of Russian River Pinot Noir; flavors of strawberry and cherry fill the mouth; balanced by toasty vanilla components from the French Oak barrels. ($18)

(90) Sonoma Cuvee Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Juicy red

strawberry, raspberry and cherry cola layered with notes of violets; hints of vanilla and spice; silky, velvety mouthfeel with soft tannins for structure. ($20)

(90) Santa Barbara Wine Company Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Dark ruby in color, the bouquet leaps from the glass, but still shows restraint, with a delightful mix of light spices, mild oak, tea leaf and moderate fruit aromas; a dry style, with nice tartness and firm tannins that slowly subside to let the red fruit spectrum move to the fore; the long finish beautifully echoes the ripe cherry notes. ($20)

(90) Decoy Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2009 (California). A relatively new entry into the Duckhorn Family of wines, this Pinot Noir offers rich and lingering flavors of plum, berry and cherry; the backbone of tannin and acidity are beautifully rounded out with the forward fruit; great quality for the price. ($22)

(90) Deloach Central Coast Pinot Noir 2009 (California). A nice balance of lovely fruit with a perfect amount of acidity; strawberry, wild berry and plum are evident up front with a hint of spice lingering on the long, silky finish. ($14)

(90) Domaine a Chopin et Fils, Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009 (France). Amazing complexity for an inexpensive red Burgundy; lots of

terroir and body on this wine; this could be overrun from their famous Chambolle Musigny Vineyards. ($19)

(90) Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Rouge Cuvee Margot 2009 (France). Although known for his world class white wine, Leflaive has applied his mastery to Burgundy’€™s other great grape, Pinot Noir; the alluring scents of black cherry and spice fill the air when first opened; on the palate the wine bursts with crunchy and juicy fruit, underlying spicy nuances and a long, satisfying finish. ($20)

(90) The Pinot Project 2009 (California). Affordable quality from August Briggs; versatile blend from Sonoma, Carneros and Russian River; medium bodied with ripe cherry upfront fruit and easy spice and tannin on the finish. ($13)

(90) Cru Montage Pinot Noir 2008 (California). Floral and black cherry followed by a raspberry filling note; spice, new leather, and earthy notes

complete the layered flavors on the palate; overdelivers. ($11.50)

(90) Muirwood Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Flavors of cherry, cola and raspberry; notes of French vanilla and sugar cookie combine to be velvety on the palate; soft tannins give depth and structure. ($17)

(90) Bethel Heights Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2007 (Oregon). This is a great value from the Willamette Valley; full of ripe cherries and fragrant strawberries; flowers dominate a long finish. ($18)

(90) Anakena Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010 (Chile). Layers of ripe red fruit; strawberries, cherries and notes of spiciness; just a hint of floral aromas and earthiness; soft silky tannins and good acidity to balance on the palate. ($14)

(90) Kudos Willamette Pinot Noir 2009 (Oregon). Made by winemaker Laurent Montalieu of Solena Cellars; nice bright, ruby color in the glass with ripe red fruits of cherry, raspberry and strawberry; alanced by earthy notes of spice and tobacco; soft pleasant tannins. ($15)

(90) Chime Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Aroma of caramel-covered Tootsie Roll, but in an earthy way; the flavor is complex, smoky, grapey and fruity; a pinot for red meats. ($13)

(90) Patrick et Jean-Marc Sorin Dom des Remparts Bourgogne Rouge 2008 (France). Cool climate wine from Cotes d’€™Auxerre delivers fresh pure cherry with a bit of a rhubarb note. With moderate tannins and good acidity, the red fruit has a touch of tobacco leaf. This light, lively wine can be slightly chilled. ($20)

(90) Joseph Hofstatter Meczan Pinot Nero 2009 (Italy). This is not a dark wine, and has a slight fresh red-fruit nose; a good example of Pinot Noir growing in the right place, so it has the acidity to drive the flavors; pretty cherry with a dark, tea/bark-like note and fine-grained tannins. ($22)

(90) Allendorf Exclusiv Spatburgunder Pinot Noir 2008 (Germany). Soft, supple, and very quaffable; aromas of lilac and berry lead to a palate of lush black fruit with a nuance of sweet apple; refreshing sweet/tart finish; lovely with grilled salmon; a good bargain. ($14)

(90) Momo Pinot Noir 2010 (New Zealand). Mocha, cherry truffles and oak are intermixed harmoniously on the nose and palate; beautiful acidity help to bring out the lush fruit flavors. ($17)

(90) Red Pony Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir 2008 (California). Very pleasant on the nose and on the palate; colorful, ripe raspberry and strawberry fruit with a touch of vanilla layered in; oft tannins to give back bone and structure; good value wine. ($12)

(89) J. Christopher Unfiltered Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2008 (Oregon). Blended from vineyards in Cheleham Mountains and Dundee, this classic Oregon Pinot has a base of soft earthiness, nice extraction and the warm fruit of a cherry cobbler. ($30)

(89) Frei Brothers Russian River Pinot Noir 2008 (California). A classic jammy Russian River Pinot Noir, with rich notes of berry and plum; the brightness of the mid-palate is balanced by the savory finish; a fantastic food-pairing wine. ($23)

(89) Seven Peaks California Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Silky texture with soft luscious flavors of bright berries, juicy plum and ripe black cherry; layered with hints of vanilla and toasty oak spice. ($10)

(89) Nevermore Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2009 (Oregon). Brilliant garnet in color with alluring scents of cherry in the nose, warm, round flavors, superb depth and length and a a lasting finish. ($23)

(89) Susan Fields Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2007 (California). A lot more complexity than most of the under $20 pinot noirs; bright fruit and medium body with just a hint of oak. ($19)

(88) Coppola Votre Sante Pinot Noir 2009 (California) The light bouquet leads off with ground tea and then intensifies into some cassis, cranberry and blueberry aromas; medium bodied and well balanced, it shows a deft array of ripe red and black fruit flavors with a very light veil of oak spice; well done. ($13)

(88) Bridlewood Monterey Pinot Noir 2008 (California). The mild bouquet has a nice, earthy truffle note tinting its light red cherry and cranberry aromas. Medium bodied and mild, the earth notes dissipate as it moves across the palate, allowing the fruit flavors to intensify. Ripe red cherry, plum, cranberry and very light oak spice notes all mingle about.

($13)

(88) The Naked Grape Pinot Noir NV (California). A wonderful introduction to pinot noir; light and extremely fruit driven; soft and smooth. ($9).

(87) Hangtime Pinot Noir 2009 (California). Showing moderate weight in the nose, there are some slightly funky earth notes that quickly move out to reveal nice spice aromas along with ripe cranberry and cherry; smooth, supple and medium bodied, the spice character gains momentum on the palate, but ripe fruit flavors never meander far away; moderate length on the finish. ($15)

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