February 6, 2007

2005 Erath Oregon Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Pretty nice wine for the price. We liked it despite the screwtop, and that says a lot. It's not that we have an aversion to screwtops and nice wine, but we have an aversion to screwtops and nice wine... if you get my drift. In so many ways, and much like the Faiveley Bourgogne that we reviewed a few weeks ago, this would be a terrific house Pinot Noir, a terrific house wine. Not expensive, good quality, and the screwtop makes for easy access when every second between bottle, glass, and mouth counts.

Seriously, though, Erath has a solid reputation and IS making wine in what is perhaps the most "perfect" place to grow and vint Pinot Noir... the Willamette Valley. Erath is in the northern part of the Willamette Valley, in the Dundee Hills, which is akin to being in the best place in the best place for growing and making great Pinots. Really, most Pinot Noirs from this area are typically that great mix of wonderfully opulent fruit, great winemakers, and Burgundian "influence" to the winemaking style. Works well for Cat and I.

We found this Pinot Noir immediately accessible. It smells bright with just a little sharpness to the fruit. There are hints of raspberry and strawberry, a little bubblegum (which is cool to us), and subtle Pinot Noir earthiness. The palate delivers soft, round strawberry fruit and is surprisingly balanced and elegant for a wine at this price point. The palate did not offer up much sophistication, though, beyond the fruit and some hints of vanilla. The finish was shortish, with some pepper and spiciness. We wanted more depth in the palate and a slightly longer finish. Still, though, it's solid and for a daily wine with dinner it is hard to beat a one with this flexibility at this price point. Between this, the Faiveley Bourgogne, and the Joseph Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir (which we will review shortly) you could put together a very cost efficient base to your cellar. Sort of the bond fund of your wine portfolio. I can't believe I just said that out loud.

cost - $14.99 on sale from $17.99

winecommando rating (1-10) - 7.75

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