Monday, October 22, 2007

Rating: **+ $ 2005 Smoking Loon Pinot Noir, CA

This crazy bird is part of the dirt-cheap, "practically-free" popular Smoking Loon series, made by Don Sebastiani and Sons. I'm taking a bold leap of faith by trying the pinot noir from this series, knowing the difficulty of finding a value-priced pinot. Well, let's see...

Before you even pour this, you may notice an odd (synthetic) cork. With the words "Whooh" spread all around it, there is a bigger word "Cough" in the midst of the "Whooh"'s. A clever visual depiction of the call of the loon and a bit of fun even before you drink the wine.

In the glass, Smoking Loon Pinot Noir is medium red, with even a touch of orange. That orange tint seems unusual for a vintage only a couple of years old. The aroma is fruity and grape-y, bordering on concord grape juice dusted with oak.

On the palate, there's a big, round, fruity middle, buttressed by a slightly raisin-y concentration following just behind. Not much in the way of tannins or character, but also not much to dislike about the wine. A pleasant summer sipping wine. I'll keep it at two plus stars out of five, just shy of three stars because there's no "grizzle" to the character.

Wine Enthusiast gave 86 points and said, "The Smoking Loon Pinot Noir has all the flavors that Pinot aficionados enjoy, without the high price these die hard fans have learned to tolerate. Flavors of smoked cherry wood with seductive aromas of eucalyptus and spiced tea make this wine the perfect gift. The fruit character is balanced with soft tannins and a smooth finish that is sure to please." I basically agree with this assessment too.
Update June 2008: Consistent notes. Not improved with time. Not deteriorating.

Find Smoking Look Pinot Noir at WineZap.

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