Tag Archive for 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.


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: 2013 Kynsi Barn Owl Blush Pinot Noir Rose

You know that euphoric feeling you get when the sun is shining, you’re lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds as you snuggle up alongside someone you love? Well my other half and I got a heaping dose of all that mushy stuff this past Valentine’s Day when we visited San Luis Obispo. We went for the wine, but also got a pleasantly fun surprise by saying at the quirky, and sometimes creepy, Madonna Inn.

Credit: Madonna Inn

Credit: Madonna Inn

Kynsi, a small winery we visited while there, made a special Pinot Noir Rose and we just had to bring some home. This Rose, which is more orange in color than pink, is crisp and lemony and just reminds me of summer days playing lawn games. The strawberry essence helps there, too.


The rose is different than your traditional White Zinfandel or White Merlot, so if those are your jam, be weary that this isn’t as sweet. It does have a spritzy body and a creamy aftertaste, though, and best of all purchases benefit the Arroyo Grande Hospital Breast Cancer Fund.

Plus, we when we bought the wine, Kynsi–which has an air of Anthropologie about it, perhaps because it has a French Country charm with its dairy farm roots–gave us complimentary chocolate bark. Yum!

Nuts and Bolts

Winery: Kynsi
Type: Pinot Noir Rose
Origin: Edna Valley
Price: $24
Alcohol content: 13.6%
When to drink: Valentine’s Day, duh!

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.)


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 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.


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.

giraffe 2


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.”


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.

No land, no problem: These guys still started a new Sonoma winery

This is how the story goes: three guys from the Midwest and East Coast all worked in the wine industry, but wanted to start their own new winery in Napa. They didn’t have the land or the money, but they found an opportunity and ran with it.

In 2009, when the recession hit, they bought up 20 extra barrels from the winery one of the three worked at. The barrels, which were supposed to turn into bottles of wine worth about $50 were sitting in waiting as the winery at the time didn’t have the cash to bottle the raw product during the economic squeeze, according to Forbes.

Read the full Forbes article.

Like developers flip houses, the trio–Noah Dorrance, Baron Ziegler and Steve Graf– flipped barrels, branding their wine with a new label, Banshee Wines, and selling out in three months.

Now the winery leases land and rents space for their barrels from other established wineries, according to Forbes. They also blend the wine they cull from other wineries to make their own creations, according to K& L Wine. Their tasting room is in Healdsburg, Calif. and looks like a vintage living room. The winery has another label, too, Rickshaw, and sold 45,000 cases of wine last year.

According to wine-searcher.com, you can find Banshee at liquor/ wine stores in states such as New Jersey, Colorado, North Carolina and California. The winery produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, according to their website.

K&L Wine describes the $19.99 bottle of 2008 Banshee Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir like this:

“With its nose of fresh blackberry, volcanic ash, fried sage and porcini mushroom and deep rich flavors of kirsch, Asian plum, finely cracked white pepper and a touch of tarragon, there may not be a better Pinot for $20 this year.”

And the $21.99 2010 Banshee “Mordecai” Red Blend like this:

“The 2010 blend consists of thirteen different varietals in all, but several varietals take center stage: Napa Cabernet sets the tone with an intense core of dark fruit and solid tannic structure as Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Franc add spice, body, and lift in a sort of Bordeaux-meets-Rhone story set in California. The cooler than average 2010 growing season comes through in the form of this wine’s exceptional fragrance and elegant stature.”

That’s some high praise! Has anyone tried Banshee? I’d love to see some thoughts in the comments.

Friend Banshee Wine on Facebook and follow the winery on Twitter.

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.


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


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!


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.

Wine in a can? Wine in paper bottles? What’s up with that?

For those of us who went to college in the past 10 years, we’ve had our fair share of wine in a box. Who can forget slap the bag? 

But wine in paper bottles and wine in cans? These are new and intriguing entries to the U.S. wine market.

First, the paper bottle:

It’s made by a U.K company called GreenBottle and the eco-friendly company’s first U.S. partner is California-based Truett-Hurst. Inside this interesting container will be Paperboy, a 2012 red blend from Paso Robles. What’s in the blend doesn’t seem to be portrayed on the bottle, but it does clock in at 14.5% alcohol and it’s coming to a Safeway stores soon. The paper bottle has already been used by Kingsland Wines on the other side of the pond. That winery used the label Thirsty Earth for its paper bottle wines, which included a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and an Australian Shiraz.

Photo: thedieline.com

Photo: thedieline.com

Much like boxed wines, paper bottles are lined with a plastic bladder to hold the liquid. According to Fox News, you can put it in ice for up to three hours without the paper disintegrating. I feel like I need to test this out myself before believing that one. I don’t know how much it will cost, but once I figure that out, I’ll update.

Now, the can:

An Oregon winery has canned Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in 8 ounce containers! Union Wine Co., which cans the wine under the label Underwood, wanted to reverse the craft beer trend, where beer has been elevated out of Miller and Bud territory and into the world of tastings and fancy glasses, much like wine.

Photo: Union Wine Co.

Photo: Union Wine Co.

“We wanted to come up with a product that embodied our company’s philosophy of making great craft wine minus all the fuss,” Ryan Harms, owner of Union Wine Co., told Fast Company.“There is a ‘winification’ of beer trend going on and Union Wine Co. is at the forefront of a new trend, the ‘beerification’ of wine.”

It’s about taking the snobbery out of wine and making it more accessible, which seems to be the trend du jour. The cans even feature the Twitter hashtag #pinkiesdown.

They’ll be available next year; $5 for an 8-ounce can.