Sunday, July 3, 2011

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: ***+ $$ Napa Cellars Pinot Noir, Napa Valley, California, 2009

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By way of background, opening thoughts: I have been on an often-futile mission through the pages of Spirit of Wine to search out high-quality, low-price pinot noirs resulting in high value consumer offerings.  Today, I am trying a pinot noir based on its maker, Napa Cellars, which has delighted me in the past with some of their other red varietals, including zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. 

Original tasting and review : This is Napa Cellars Pinot Noir, Napa Valley, California, 2009, finished at 14.5% alcohol.

In the glass: Deep ruddy red and magenta in the glass, almost opaque in the center.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows fresh and lightly oaked grape-creamsicle.  From the aroma, seems like this will be soft and pleasing to the palate. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact soft and pleasing as expected, with red berries and strawberries coming on first, with a brief wash of darker charcoal.  Cinnamon and curry-spices pick up as the sip settles into your cheeks.  The finish tucks in with some light, sandy acids in the roof of your mouth and at the back of your tongue.  Very clean, even as red currant flavors continue to drip from the prior sip. 

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, as I would certainly return to this pinot noir for a future engagement.   Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially-filled bottle:  More shy, light red nose.  Nice, integrated, mid-red palate, sweet and sandy.  Clean, friendly integration in a mid-red style.  Getting close to a good value now.

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