Saturday, August 8, 2009

*** $ Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Noir, 2005, CA

Find Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Noir prices at WineZap.

Original review, November, 2007:
This is a modestly priced California from the value series of Beringer, a Napa-based estate. These are NOT from Napa grapes, however, but sourced from throughout California. The Beringer Founders' Estate line is a value-priced line from the well-known Beringer label. Beringer itself was founded in 1876 by brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer. In the intervening century, the Beringer line has grown from exclusive, high-end bottlings, to vast quantities of supermarket wine, including the ubiquitous Beringer White Zinfandel, the second-most-widely-served wine in U.S. restaurants.

Let's explore the Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Noir...

In the glass, this is medium red and fairly transparent, not atypical for a pinot noir. Aromas do build boldy in the glass and come spilling out, fairly classic bright spicy pinot noir aromas, touched with an edge of concord grape juice and musk. Suggests a pleasant but simple sip, devoid of challenging tannins or layers. But let's see...

On the palate, you do get an early blush of medium, full cherry fruit - actually deeper and rounder than I anticipated. It misses many of the deeper layers of more substantial pinot noirs, but makes up for this by a mouth-filling roundness and absence of sharp acidity. I'd call this "juicy and smooth." The finish is quite quick. Surprising even myself, I do believe I would drink this again. So I'll give it three stars out of five, with a special citation for being almost distinctively non-distinctive. By that, I mean a potential crowd-pleaser. Awesome value for sure at its low price point.


Updated review, almost two years later, July, 2009:

Colors are still fairly pale, now beginning to show just a hint of brick at the edge. Oily, sweet aromas - just bordering on sickly sweet cherry - now show. On the nose, seems like the wine has overstayed its welcome in the cellar.

Let's see what the palate says... still quite sweet, full and bold there. Cherries, cherries, cherries, plus some ripe Indian spices. Still drinkable. But I keep thinking it has reached to far - that it is on life-support at this point. Based on the the experience, I'd encourage looking to consume the Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Noir within the first three years of its life. That's when the sweetness will be paired with a touch of youth and fresh acidity to give it a needed lift.

Find Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Noir prices at WineZap.

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