Posts in Pinot Noir
A Surprise Arrival from Rodney Strong Vineyards

I was surprised and delighted to see a set of wines from Rodney Strong arrive the other day. I used to buy this family-owned winery’s juice in considerable volumes as the National Wine Director of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, and I have always felt the wines represented good value for the money.

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Eye on Irancy: Maison de la Chapelle

Irancy is one of THE most beautiful appellations in France, with a postcard perfect town snuggled into the bottom of the appellation’s bird nest shape. So, it isn’t too curious that the appellation sells about 80% of its wine from the cellar doors! It’s a popular day and weekend trip from Paris.

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Joseph Wagner’s New Projects: Böen and Elouan

Joseph Wagner grew up in a Napa Valley family legend in-the-making, Caymus Vineyards. In establishing his own brands, he has impressively translated his understanding of “what the consumer wants” into a series of “must haves” that have largely been based on Pinot Noir rather than Caymus’ Cabernet Sauvignon. Staking out on his own, Joseph previously created the much-loved Belle Glos Pinot Noir line-up as well as Meiomi, the latter now under the ownership of Constellation Brands.)

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FEL Wines

FEL Wines is the newborn of the Cliff Lede duo of wine estates. Lede began his wine adventures in Napa in 2002, making Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. I distinctly remembering visiting in 2006 and tasting those first wines. They were good, so it isn’t too surprising the company’s expansion into the Anderson Valley is making good juice.

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Paolo e Noemia d’Amico

Hailing from a corner of Lazio that overlaps Umbria – almost smack in the center of Italy, this family-run estate makes wines primarily from international grape varieties. Whereas most Italian wines made from “outsider” grapes tend to be rich and boisterous, these are all incredibly graceful.


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Exploring Pinot Noir in Burgundy’s Northern Reaches

As Pinot Noir from Burgundy becomes ever more expensive, I’ve been keen to learn more about some of the region’s more budget friendly Pinot Noirs. That search led to me the Yonne, Burgundy’s northernmost département

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NZ Wines During Pinot Noir NZ

Nanny Goat 2015 Pinot Noir Central Otago: This is classic Otago. Rich in body but refreshingly acidic, it is packed with blueberries and mulberries. And, it’s all about the fruit - an abundance of fresh, zingy, super-pure fruit. No doubt that, with its elegantly lacy palate and fine, talc-like tannins, this is Pinot Noir, but there’s none of the earthiness or forest-floor one often finds.

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An Overview of Crown Range Cellar from New Zealand

Grant P Taylor 2015 Pinot Noir Central Otago: This is brilliant Kiwi Pinot Noir. Stuffed with ripe boysenberries and tart cranberries, it runs through the full range of red and black fruits from the time you crack the capsule until you pour the last dribble.

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Under $25 Pinot Noir Values from Sonoma

Pinot Noir isn’t an easy grape to grow and it isn’t an easy grape to vinify either. Combine those two points with low yields and you have a wine style that tends to be pricey, wherever it hails from. Plus, Sonoma isn’t an appellation known for its bargains, whatever the grape variety may be. So, when I recently purchased a dozen Sonoma Pinot Noirs under $40, I was particularly pleased to find these three bottlings under $25.

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Copain Wines: Suave & Subtle

Copain Wines mix European stylistic sensibility with Californian fruit. To add a layer of complexity, these wines are made in Healdsburg, one of Sonoma’s sweetest towns, yet none are made with Sonoma fruit. Alas, it’s hardly the first time something in the wine world has seemed contradictory. What is utterly clear with Copain Wines, however, is that they are supremely delicious.

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Wine List Pick: Aldo Sohm Wine Bar (Manhattan, New York)

The unassuming and ultimate wine guru host Aldo Sohm just opened a wine bar with chef Eric Ripert. The duo has long worked their Midtown magic at Le Bernardin, which connects to the wine bar by underground passage. In this chic yet comfy space permeated by 60’s, 70’s and 80’s tunes, you can feast on wine selections geared to the geek, yet not foreign to the main-streamer.

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