Pinot Noir

Review: 2014 Sean Minor Four Bears Pinot Noir

I found this wine on the wine rack, but I have no idea how it got into the house! It may have come from a birthday party or been left over when we had guests. We really don’t know! But I’m glad this Pinot Noir entered our lives.

This is one smooth Pinot 🍷

A photo posted by Wine For The Win (@wineforthewin) on

When my husband and I started drinking we almost in unison said “This is so good.” It’s true! This smooth, delicious red is an easy drinker with ripe plum and flowery flavors.

This is from Sean Minor’s Four Bears brand. The grapes are gathered from several wine growers along the Central Coast. The bottle doesn’t get more specific than that.

Nuts & Bolts:

Winery: Sean Minor
Type: Pinot Noir
Origin: Central Coast
Vintage: 2014
Price: $16
Alcohol content: 13.5%
When to drink: This is an everyday wine sure to please a variety of folks. Bring it over to a friend’s house for a party or better yet, throw a party at your place and buy a couple bottles of this Pinot and celebrate.

Review: 2012 Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Pinot Noir

We drink so much wine, that our landlord finally noticed. After my other half did him a favor using his technical ninja skills, our landlord gifted us a bottle of a 2012 Francis Coppola Pinot Noir. The Diamond Collection wine has a fruity, long-lasting flavor— think raspberry! raspberry! It’s a bit dry, but does the job.

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For those staring at the photo, yes, we watched House of Cards as we finished off the bottle.

This is an average pinot noir, I’d say. It’s not the best, but it’s pretty good, as my other half said. But, he was quick to point out, it’s no Wolff Vineyards Syrah.

Nuts and Bolts

Winery: Francis Coppola
Type: Pinot Noir
Origin: Monterey
Price: Gifted, but on wine-searcher.com, it’s between $14-$20
Alcohol content: Forgot to write it down!
When to drink: Have the in-laws over for dinner and bring this red out. It can be a conversation piece—who doesn’t want to talk about The Godfather—and it’s middle-of-the-road enough to please a crowd.

Review: 2012 Menage a Trois Pinot Noir

Friends recently moved to a lovely new apartment and they’ve been hosting intimate dinners to celebrate their new abode. When it was my and my other half’s turn to head on over we were tasked with brining dinner and wine. Well that’s easy.

We had a couple bottles other friends gave us from a box of extras after their wedding rehearsal, one of which was the 2012 Menage a Trois Pinot Noir. I was at first a little skeptical about bringing a wine with that label to a home dinner, but ya know, sometimes you got to grab what you’ve got.

This Pinot Noir felt flat! I say that with an explanation point because I mean it. It was fruity up front and cherry sour, yes, but nothing special, and honestly not as good as the 2012 Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir Vintners Reserve, which I’ve reviewed before (And that one I’d say straddles the A-/B+ line, leaning closer to the latter.)

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The bottle describes it as a “slow jam” on your tongue, which sounded pleasant, but it may have been a little too slow for my tastes? I wanted R&B, I wanted the sexiness of Frank Ocean. Didn’t happen.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Menage a Trois
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: St. Helena
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $12.99 (according to wine.com, although we got ours for free)
  • Alcohol content: 13.5%
  • When to drink: Skip and buy the 2012 Estancia Pinot Noir for $13 instead.

Review: 2012 Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir Vintners Reserve

Yes, the 2012 Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir Vintners Reserve was pungent and peppery, two characteristics I look for in Pinot Noir, but something was off. It felt like I was drinking a watered down version of other Pinots I like.

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The flavors were loose at first, but they picked up as the wine headed toward the back of my tongue, but not enough to save me from being disappointed.

This plummy wine also tastes of vanilla and a soft mouth feel, so the tannins were pretty supple. If you’re into that, this is for you. If you’re like me and want a little more punch, grab something else, like the 2012 Melville Estate Pinot Noir.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Kendall Jackson
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Santa Rosa
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $15
  • Alcohol content: 13.5%
  • When to drink: When you want a less expensive Pinot and you’re not in the mood for something tightly wound.

Review: 2012 Habit Pinot Noir

I got the dark red, nearly black 2012 Habit Pinot Noir as a birthday gift from a dear friend.

It’s a playful Pinot Noir, what with its acidic bubbly feeling that waves hello to your tongue when you first take a sip. Not only does it give a nice welcome, but the wine absorbs into your tongue for a long finish. The spicy flavors hang out for a bit between sips.

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It’s warm, smells like blackberries and tastes like dark fruit. It’s a little sour on the kick, but in a good way.

  • Winery: Habit
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Santa Rita Hills/ Los Olivos
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: Gifted
  • Alcohol content: 13.4%
  • When to drink: When you’re looking to sit and chat with your significant other and finish a whole bottle of wine in one sitting.

Review: 2012 Melville Estate Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

I went to Phoenix area this past weekend to visit my sister for her birthday. And what do you do with your older sister when it’s her birthday? Get a babysitter for your niece and nephew and head on over to the closest wine bar!

Inside the wine bar in Old Town Gilbert, Postinos, is a dark and romantic setting and outside, it’s set up like a picnic–fit with bocce ball and giant Jenga.

We ordered a bottle of the 2012 Melville Estate Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir after a few off the “wine by the glass” menu. This is a spicy Pinot Noir that’ll warm you up, in a good way, even if you’re drinking it during a warm Arizona evening. The ruby red wine has layers of flavor, knitting together raspberry, cherries and sweet herbs.

It’s a silky number that felt light on the follow through. This is definitely not a chewy wine.

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I would drink this one again. In fact, I probably drank 3/4 of the bottle as my older sis couldn’t keep up!

And the next morning we took her kiddos to the Phoenix Zoo and I got to ride a carousel and feed a giraffe, so needless to say, it was a fun weekend all around.

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Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Melville Vineyards
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Lompoc
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $36 at restaurant; wine-searcher.com says $17-$20
  • Alcohol content: 14.5%
  • When to drink: With a cheese plate and artichoke dip, which is exactly how I enjoyed it last Saturday night.

Review: 2012 Red Tree Pinot Noir

Get ready for some complaining. I wouldn’t buy this wine, again and unfortunately I have another bottle since I got two at the BevMo 5 cent wine sale.

When I think Pinot, I think smoky, and while this wine had somewhat of a smokiness to it, it was lacking. It tastes like fake smoke. My other half called it “diet smoke.”

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It was pink for a Pinot and had a tart flavor throughout. It wasn’t a fruit bomb, although the label described it as “fruit forward.” The wine finishes sour and after leaving it out to breathe for a bit, takes on a leathery texture. I don’t usually mind that furry tongue feeling when it’s a good, bold wine, but this time, the prerequisites weren’t there.

Nuts & Bolts:

  • Winery: Red Tree
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Sonoma County
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $9 (2nd bottle for 5 cents)
  • Alcohol content: 12.5%
  • When to drink: Not again.

Review: 2012 Estancia Pinot Noir

I don’t think I’ve been able to use coffee and cigarettes as a descriptor yet on the blog, but now’s my chance. Plus, there’s a special treat at the end: cheese!

The 2012 Estancia Pinot Noir smells like berries and cloves and when you take a swig of the ruby colored wine it’s supple body reveals the same berry flavors as in the aroma as well as hints of coffee and cigarettes. It’s not a bad thing, in fact, I think it gives a little exciting flavor to this Pinot Noir. I like my Pinots to be flavorful with a somewhat dry finish, and this fit the bill. However, I can see how other tongues could dislike it if they translate some of the flavors, such as the coffee, into a sour experience.

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Overall, I enjoyed this spicy wine, especially with the pepper jack cheese that I devoured from an accompanying cheese plate.

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Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Estancia
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Monterey
  • Vintage: 2012
  • Price: $13
  • Alcohol content: 13.5%
  • When to drink: With a cheese plate full of pepper jack cheese, chevre goat cheese and aged cheddar

Igourmet.com has some great cheese pairing ideas, such as manchego (one of my fave cheeses) with Tempranillo or Rioja (another favorite), taleggio with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio with fresh mozzarella. Who else is hungry?

Review: Beringer Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir and Doritos

I got tongue-tied playing Celebrity at game-night with friends. I pronounced Zach Braff as Jaques Braff and Adolf Hitler as Adolf Hilter. I blame my pronunciation faux-pas on this fruity, easy-drinking, somewhat-nutty Beringer Pinot Noir.

A deep red (well, all the wines I had on Sunday night looked deep red in the blue solo cups), this silky wine had an earthy, plummy taste. And since the flavors didn’t stick to my tongue, it didn’t overwhelm my palate when I stuffed my mouth with Doritos during a short game-playing intermission! It’s not everyday you get to pair wine with Doritos!

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Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Beringer
  • Type: Founders’ Estate Pinot Grigio
  • Origin: Napa
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Price: $6.99, according to wine-searcher.com
  • Alcohol content: Unknown (I didn’t write it down!)
  • When to drink: This is another easy-drinking wine, that would do you good if your goal is to drink with friends and get buzzed on the cheap.

Review: 2011 Baileyana Pinot Noir

A friend of mine hosted a fancy fundraising event with wine and naturally, since she’s a good friend, she gave me a whole case of the leftovers, which included Baileyana’s “Firepeak” Pinot Noir. Free wine, and lots of it can’t be beat! She gave another friend a case, too and I wasn’t surprised to see it out on the refreshment table at a pumpkin carving party I went to this week.

Despite having several glasses of the easy-to-drink red, I still managed to carve a pretty good pumpkin. It’s a Cockateil! Alright, alright, it was supposed to be a cat, but I mistakenly cut off its tail. Luckily for me, I know how to problem solve. Sometimes it looks like a bunny, sometimes it looks like my bird, Pepe, but I’ve decided to just describe this jack-o-lantern a bird.

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The Baileyana tastes chocalatey and fruity and is easy to drink, but it’s not for me. I tend to like Pinot Noirs smoky and this, to me, didn’t have that essence. However, it was a crowd pleaser at the pumpkin party. Hey, everyone–and their tastebuds–are different.

Nuts and Bolts

  • Winery: Baileyana
  • Type: Pinot Noir
  • Origin: Edna Valley
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Price: I got it for free, but it seems to range from $17-$20
  • Alcohol content:13%
  • When to drink: While entertaining friends who come over early before going out to dinner.