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Am I the Only One Who Doesn't Like Pinot Noir?!

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Okay, I can enjoy a better than average+ Burg, but New World PN always seems uninteresting, unbalanced, too light, flabby, Kool Aidy, over priced and overhyped. Why does everyone rave about them?

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  1. Gross generalization: I think there is a lot of mediocre to bad pinot out there, especially among new world efforts. However, do you not think the same thing can be said about many wine grapes? Think of all the syrupy Australian shiraz. Or the vanilla-sweet, new world Cabernet Sauvignon. Or insipid butterscotch Chardonnays.

    Having said that, I can think of many new world PN producers who have wowed me: Ken Wright, Domaine Serene, Archery Summit, Domaine Drouhin, and Navarro, just to name a few (must admit I have had much greater exposure to the Oregon producers than I have to California). I also like Amayna PN from Chile.

    The magic for me comes when pairing pinot with the right foods...i.e. recently paired a new world PN with braised duck with green olives topped with duck cracklings. The wine really came alive. I live in the Pacific Northwest and eat a lot of wild salmon. Stating the obvious, but PN and salmon are usually really good together (that is if the salmon is prepared simply).

    But I understand that PN is not everyone's cup of tea. Certainly my wife doesn't rate it among her favourite grape varietals. Que sera, sera.

    1. I think it goes better with food. It's not a drinking wine for me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: linguafood

        "I think it goes better with food. It's not a drinking wine for me."

        I do find that PN is more food-friendly, with a broad brush, than many other varietals. OTOH, I find that many of the definitely New World, CA (think Santa Barbara, Santa Rita, etc.) PN's are great by themselves. Yes, many do not display the traditional characteristics that many associate with the PN grape, and some could be mistaken for Syrah, but we enjoy them - both with the right foods, and alone. For the general food affinities, I do feel that a more Old World style is more universal and has a broader affinity than those bigger, bolder examples.

        Just my personal tastes, though my young wife seems to agree.

        Hunt

      2. You just have not tried the right ones. I have multiple vintages, many different styles from different winemakers. I can have some that you can not tell from classical french burgandy, I have others that are as big as a big Cali PN, and I have everything in between.

        But maybe PN is simply not your thing. I have several folks at parties and tailgaters that are always looking for a white zin, they don't care for PN either.

        15 Replies
        1. re: duck833

          Oh, I've tried the "right ones".

          Williams and Selyem
          Penner Ash
          Domaine Serene
          Talley
          Erath
          Patz and Hall
          Sea Smoke
          Acacia
          Flowers
          Iron Horse
          Sanford
          Testarossa
          Derbes
          Calera
          Auteur
          Freeman
          Goldeneye

          ...and many, many more. I gave them a fair shake. And thanks for the WZ dig.

          1. re: invinotheresverde

            It is all a matter of taste. What you don't like apparently is the CA PNs specifically, and Oregon PNs to a lesser extent. Of course, if your idea of the good PN is a Burg, you will probably be disappointed in a big CA PN, because they are very different in both style and alcohol content.

            Personally, I like the CA PNs, but love a good Burg too. I suggest you might want to try a Radio Coteau Savoy Vineyard PN, but if you just don't like CA PNs, be content with drinking Burgs.

            1. re: dinwiddie

              I've tried RC in the past, although not the Savoy. Maybe I'll give it a whirl.

              I'm not saying they're all terrible: I just don't get the hype. Some which I've tried have been borderline flawed and the sheeple still rave. I agree it's subjective, but to me it's bizarre.

              1. re: invinotheresverde

                No you're not the only one. But then again, new world PN is not the only wine out there that is overhyped and overpriced. You could say the same for Brunellos, Tuscans, Amarones, Champagnes, red and white Burgundies, Bordeaux, Rioja, Priorat, Alsace, and just about every other region or grape. And it's not that bizarre really. The wine world as a whole is fashion. Things get hot and cold, and it all goes in cycles.

                1. re: mengathon

                  I realize that it's all cyclical, but I just have a hard time understanding why people go so crazy over something that is so void of goodness, except, perhaps, in the best bottles.

                  I mean, I'm pretty open WRT wine. Besides White Zin and Pinot
                  Grigio, I'll drink and enjoy almost any varietal. And I'll definitely try anything twice...or more. I'm a seasoned taster. I don't ever like or dislike something because something (Sideways...cough) tells me to.

                  Maybe it's just my region of the World, but all of the other wines you mentioned PALE in sales (both dollars and volume). Almost everyone I know is on the PN train.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    Wine is not cyclical. You're talking about marketing and hype. Burgundy has changed very little since the monks first planted vines there over 1000 years ago.

                    Or maybe you're talking about 1000 year cycles?

                    For hundreds of years, the Bordelais led the world in hype. But they've been blown away by the New World. It's the Emperor's new clothes phenomenon. Lots of hype and not much in the bottle. Why worry about it? I love Burgundy, but never buy new world PN.

                    Don't get me wrong, there are good west coast PNs, just not many and not worth the money. Other people like them, and that's great. It'd be worse if they wanted to buy the wines that I like.

                    1. re: crw77

                      I should've said wine trends are cyclical; things fall in and out of fashion. Obviously, the wines themselves don't change all that much.

                      I'm not "worried" about it; I was more looking for someone to explain their love in PN to me. I'm also glad it leaves more of what I like on the shelves.

                      1. re: crw77

                        It's more than just marketing and hype. People's tastes changes as well, and not necessarily according to the other two factors.

                        And I would think Burgundy has changed quite a lot in 1000 years. As has Bordeaux. While the Bordelais has led the world in hype for hundreds of years, if you told them way back when that minimum alcohol levels would never be a problem, they would have scoffed.

                        While hype is certainly a factor, there's quite often substance in the bottles too. And there's plenty of hype regarding a ton of mediocre Burgundy.

                        1. re: crw77

                          "Burgundy has changed very little... over 1000 years..."

                          Except for the vinification and the phylloxera-resistant rootstock, which is American, right?

                      2. re: mengathon

                        Astute observation. Not so much here, but on many other more wine-centric boards, the common post is "what's the next BIG thing?"

                        To me, who cares? It doesn't matter if the producer only does two bottles - one for me and one for Robert Parker, Jr. It's about what pleases me, and not what someone in the NYT thinks is "in vogue" at that moment. Heck, five years ago I could not get people to try Tavel Rosé. Suddenly, an article in the New Yorker hit and ladies were doing Rosé for lunch everywhere. The price of Tavel jumped up.

                        In the end, drink what amuses you, and disregard the press and the clamor. It's a fad, and it too shall pass. Should you only like Burgs - drink Burgs. Should you like big, bold, higher-alcohol PN's that could be mistaken for a Syrah by a sommelier - drink those. And, everything in between that you enjoy.

                        Hunt

                  2. re: invinotheresverde

                    What didn't you like about the wines listed, and how do you feel they were flawed? I've had 14 of the 17 wines you listed, and maybe not all of them WOWED me, but they were all more than drinkable. The ones I have not had are the Iron Horse, Derbes, and Goldeneye.

                    From top to bottom, I have had some great bottles of Williams Selyem. Even recently we've had a few from the late 90's and early 2000's that have been good. I love Sea Smoke with some age, and still haven only popped one from my 2005 allocation. These will continue to rest on their sides along with my 06's and '07's. I think the '04's however are drinking nicely right now.

                    Many of the Oregon's you listed need time on their sides as well in my opinion, but that is just my preference. Many will disagree, and say that the '07's are good to go now, which many of them are.

                    Had an '06 Sanford on Halloween that was popped and poured and fabulous! I think the '06 is lmost as good as the '04 was, and may surpass it in time. Love this wine. Calera too I feel is born to age. Had many from the ealy 90's in the last 2 years, and they have been amazing wines. Their wines however do not do much for me when much younger. As for Auteur, these wines too are incredible with a few years in the bottle! Just my 2 yen... -mJ

                    1. re: njfoodies

                      I've tried them young and old, as I get a respectable amount of severely discounted wine, due to my job and friends in the business.

                      They simply never seem memorable or remarkable. Every time I drink a well-respected a/o pricey PN I feel like I could've jusy used those calories on something so much more interesting.. Something apparently doesn't register with me. It's like the varietal lacks anything special. PN only gives me a teeny fraction of the enjoyment of, say, Nebbiolo.

                      I guess it's just one of those things.

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        I’ve decided I have a Nebbiolo addiction. Maybe that’s the connection.

                        1. re: BN1

                          Doesn't "addiction" imply it's a problem? ;)

                  3. re: duck833

                    Cool. Someone else who likes the grape across the full spectrum. So long as the wine is well-made and balanced, I do not feel the need to award "points" for pure varietal integrity. If it's good - regardless - I tend to enjoy it.

                    Of course, I am drinking these for my pleasure, and not trying to fit them into a wine list, or match with any menu other than the one that night at my house.

                    Hunt

                  4. Yes, there're too many inferior Pinot Noirs. Yes, I think that none of the good ones are value-priced.

                    It's a great food wine because it's very easy to pair with a wide spectrum of foods.

                    The OP may be the only poster who doesn't like Pinot Noirs. I just don't like the bad ones. And I've had quite a few.

                    I dig California Pinots, and have had a couple from Chile that were very, very impressive and not expensive (sadly for y'all I've forgotten which -- I took a look around and couldn't summon the names in my memory).

                    It's easy to hate a varietal that for all intents and purposes is being exploited -- not unlike the Syrah/Shiraz business of a few years back. I have to laugh at the people who go out and will buy awful Pinot Noir by the glass when there're actually better choices offered in another red varietal.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: shaogo

                      "The OP may be the only poster who doesn't like Pinot Noirs." I don't like them either and my wife won't hardly try them. I have to have a specific reason to choose one, like the mushroom quiche with an Anderson Valley PN we had a couple of weeks ago. It is the last red I consider when trying to pair a dish. I agree completely with the OP.

                      1. re: shaogo

                        I have a personal request. Can you please go back into your memory and list a few of the Chilean PN's that you enjoyed? With one exception, I have really not encountered any Chilean wine that I would buy, regardless of the price. I've had several retailers and distributors, who have filled my basket with free Chilean wines, in hope of changing my mind. With that one exception - no go, so far. As I try to keep an open mind and not brand any one area totally, I have gladly tried all the recommended wines without any that I'd purchase. I have thanked these nice folk, but have always moved on. Even free vs for $, I go with what I enjoy.

                        Thanks, and looking forward to your recs.

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Hi Bill:

                          Can't say I'm an expert on South American PN, but one that I really enjoy is from the Amayna winery (Chile). I do not think it has a vineyard specific designation (simply look for Amayna PN). Amayna also makes excellent sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. I would definitely say that their wines are more "new world" than "old world" but at the same time I find them to be elegant, balanced, and complex.

                          1. re: anewton

                            Thank you. I have not seen it, but will look. I have to admit that I do not recall having a Chilean PN, but will now keep my eye out.

                            I still cannot quite get my head around NZ PN's, though it would seem that they should be on the cusp, and about to produce some great ones. Maybe it's just been the samples that I have experienced.

                            So much wine - so little time!

                            Thanks,

                            Hunt

                      2. I suggest you don't buy another bottle in on this category, but instead try a bunch more at wine bars and pinot noir tastings at reputable shops.

                        I despised pinot for about 15 years, then one day, almost overnight, I loved that category. It could happen to you too :-)

                        That said, here are two different, but great pinots that I'm drinking now:
                        http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku... (richer, more flavorful style
                        )http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku... (lighter, fruity, with balanced acid)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: stalkingwine.com

                          Thanks for the links. I haven't heard of the Redemption. I'll keep an eye out. I sell a metric shit-ton of A to Z for work. It's extremely popular where I live. I don't care much for it, but I think it gives Joe Average PN Drinker good QPR.

                        2. New World Pinot is a different animal than Burgundy. That said, while you've had lots of Pinots that people talk about, you didn't list any that I would have (Merry Edwards, Rivers-Marie, August West, Martinelli) given your desire for more richness and complexity. I'm finding myself less and less able to drink New World wines of any sort, though.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: whiner

                            sorry to dredge up your old post, but I just had a 2008 Martinelli PN and REALLY liked it. Which surprised me, because I've always been fairly consistent in not much liking PN, whether from Cali or France.

                            So....can you help me learn what it is that I like in a PN? Are the other three you mention in a similar style, or are those just your favorites? Is this what people in this thread mean when they say a PN is Syrah-like? Thanks for the education!

                            1. re: danna

                              Glad you enjoyed it seeing how young it is! If you like it now, wait another 5 years and you'll be in love with that pinot! -mJ

                          2. Two things:

                            1. "too light, flabby, Kool Aidy" are pretty much the opposite of what most people I hear find negative in most CA and OR Pinots. In fact, many wineries are accused of adding Syrah.

                            2. The one single thing that I would swear by in wine preference discussions is that, while there are certainly 'standards' of what a specific varietal should taste like, what people PREFER is a totally different thing. People like what they like and the easiest way to start a never-ending argument is to question why. The extreme is asking why so many people say they like Charles Shaw @ Trader Joe's. Your list above contains many Pinots I have really loved, while I find many Old Word Burgs to be so subtle as to be uninteresting....... and some where I find that subtlety highly enjoyable.

                            Wine seems to be all about personal taste.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Midlife

                              I feel like Goldlilocks.

                              My major complaint with most Pinots, especially with most inexpensive Pinots, is that they are "too light, flabby, Kool Aidy" and generally vapid. Happens all the time.

                              My other major complaint is with Pinot that's too heavy, like Syrah.

                              I want the middle ground. I want Pinot fruit, suppleness, finesse, concentration but not high-alcohol. It's around.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                that combination is most often found in burgundy where unfortunately on e must kiss a lot of toads to find the handsome prince. once found, the the prince will hook you forever in the quest for more.

                                best bet for a domestic pinot that meets your criteria is arcadian.

                            2. There are definitely some beautifully balanced and elegant pinots being produced in CA. Unfortunately, many of them are limited to mailing lists and have virtually no presence in retail stores. They aren't necessarily expensive but some are hard to obtain. Even Burgheads tend to have positive TNs for many of these wines, a few examples being:

                              Rhys
                              Arcadian
                              Anthill Farms
                              Ceritas
                              Chasseur
                              Copain
                              Kutch
                              Rivers-Marie
                              Siduri

                              Many of them are polar opposites from the high-alcohol, super-extracted (and super-expensive) pinots from Marcassin, Aubert, Kistler, Kosta Browne etc. Those usually get universally panned by the Burg crowd, despite their enormous expense.

                              EDIT: As for invinotheresverde's list above, I would agree that would have been "the list" of famous domestic pinots several years ago. But many pinot focused wineries have popped up and/or have become more prominent in recent years, and they seem to be much more serious about their craft than some of the older big names.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: hcbk0702

                                I've tried Arcadian, Copain and Siduri from that list. Still no love on my part.

                                Seems PN and I just aren't meant to be. I probably won't stop trying, though...

                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                  Rhys is probably the best on that list. See if you can find a bottle somewhere. Each of their pinots are single vineyard and there are very discernible differences between them.

                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                    The thing is all those producers make various bottles of AVA and single vineyard wines. Some of the wines, improve greatly with a couple years of bottle age. Drunk young, they are closed and difficult to enjoy.

                                    Siduri itself makes probably around 20 single vineyard designates each year each with varying "style" depending on the vineyard from which it was sourced.

                                    The cheaper $20-35 bottles from the famous producers will just not be as interesting and I can see how you could see them as "light" and "uninteresting".

                                    Try the 2007 Joseph Swan Cuvee de Trois for $27-30. Easy to enjoy now, but would also improve with a couple years of bottle age.

                                    New World pinot noir, like Burgundy, is a heartache. Lots and lots of mediocre pinots available in the marketplace.

                                    Try to get your hands on some single vineyard designates of Anthill, Rhys, Littorai, and Copain and shove them away in your cellar/storage unit for a couple of years.

                                    1. re: Cary

                                      I didn't write all the single vineyards, and just named the producers, because it was quicker and I didn't want to go look for my notes.

                                  2. re: hcbk0702

                                    Couldn't agree more on the Rivers-Marie, Rhys-Alesia, Anthill, Copain, Siduri, Kistler, Marcassin, and Aubert. I love Kosta Browne if I am in the mood for that kind of pinot, but a lot of people absolutely hate it, which I find hard to believe. I love them, but I have to be in the mood for a wine in that style. Loring falls into that same category, as well as some of Siduri's. All to my liking, unless I am in the mood for a more classic, old world Burg like wine. I guess I need to try the others again for a revisit! -mJ

                                    1. re: hcbk0702

                                      I must say, the Marcassin Marcassin Vineyard pinot is pretty damn tasty. It is super high alcohol, but it's still balanced, especially when young. Old age, however, creeps up on it very quickly.

                                    2. I feel the same way about beaujolais, invinotheresverde, so I sort of feel your pain. No matter how 'good' a bottle supposedly is, I really just don't fully get it.

                                      That said, do try to track down hcbk's Rhys suggestion. I agree that a good pinot noir is really, really hard to find. (Wasn't <<SIdeways>> all about how hard it is to make a perfectly balanced PN?)

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: cimui

                                        cimui: "(Wasn't <<SIdeways>> all about how hard it is to make a perfectly balanced PN?)"

                                        He was looking for a pinot noir made in Southern California; consequently, that flick did a horrible disservice to pinot noir. Pinot noir needs some frost and stress to bring out its best; it hails from Bourgogne, after all. The high altitude Mendoza region of Argentina produces some very drinkable and even more affordable pinots noirs.

                                        1. re: Politeness

                                          It may have done a disservice to the grape, but it almost singlehandedly exploded PN in the US market until the economy brought everything between $15 and $50 to its knees.

                                          1. re: Politeness

                                            What I find is that the pinot noir produced in South America lacks the fruit that North American pinot has. Granted, there are many different styles of pinot noir in just California alone. Sometimes you crave this, sometimes you don't, but that is part of the beauty of pinot as there are so many different styles. As I have said before, sometimes I crave something very Burgundian styled, and if I don't have a Burgundy that will fill that void in my cellar, I turn to Oregon. If I am in the mood for s fruit forward pinot with tons of cola, I head to the cellar and grab something from the Santa Rita Hills. If I want a high alcohol fruit bomb, I can turn to Russian River and grab a Kosta Browne out of the cellar.

                                            There are just so many options as far as pinot goes from California and Oregon alone, that I find it hard when someone cannot find something that appeals to them. There are however those who just plain and simple do not like pinot.

                                            I'll say that I am not a big fan of man pinot from South America, New Zealand, Aussie, etc. It just doesn't suit my tastes, but that is me.

                                            It's been said before that Sideways had a negative effect on pinot, and sure, it drove prices through the roof. Nothing worse than paying $30+ fpr a pinot that you used to pay $12 for. It stink, but I still love the juice. And obviously the consumer is paying it, and the wines are selling. Regardless, I miss the old pricing! =( -mJ

                                        2. I like pinot noir. I don't like (most) Pinot Noir. Of the latter, I will drink Evesham Wood, La Cadeau, Mount Eden, and Dehlinger.

                                          1. To address your title, I doubt it. Many probably suffer for "Sideways" backlash. I find this similar to the AVC movement of a few decades ago, and then the anti-Merlot movement spurred on by "Sideways."

                                            Now, you make a great point in the body copy. I find that PN is suffering, just as Merlot did 20 years ago. Popularity can kill a varietal. When accountants and bankers take over the vineyard, and base their clients' plantings on popularity, over-cropping, insipid wines usually follow. While great to very good PN's still exist, and probably in slightly higher quantities, they are overshadowed by millions of gallons of poor examples, that still sell. The only hope for PN is that it is a difficult grape to grow and produce into wine, so the Merlot profit engine is not in place - yet. I hope that the popularity does not get to that point, or the point of Chardonnay in the past.

                                            I see similar with Syrah/Shiraz. Too many producers selling too much mediocre wines, just because it's been deemed "hot," by someone.

                                            Just as it was difficult to find good Merlots (I'm really speaking US/domestic here) at a point in the past, it's getting tougher to sort through the legions of PN, to get to the good ones, whether one wishes to go Burgundian, or for a PN that thinks it's a Syrah. Actually, I have found ones on each end of that specturm, that I really have enjoyed. At least in general terms, PN is a very food-friendly grape.

                                            Now, what I have found really difficult is the "cheap" <US$20 PN's. Just a few $'s up, and the market does open a bit. <$20 it's a different "ball game." Recently, I was pointed to two different Beringer PN's, that squeaked under the bar, and they were OK. Still, these did not give me enough of a thrill to get me to spend less. For me, it's about the enjoyment, and fortunately not about the $. I'll pay more, and drink less, so long as I get the pleasure.

                                            Over the next 5 years, I predict that there will be more PN's and many of us will enjoy them less. Then, it'll be another varietal. Sauvignon Blanc keeps hanging around, and is a food-friendly wine as well. Now, if the world could just decide between NZ and Bordeaux...

                                            Hunt

                                            1. In Oregon the 08's are a little different animal. I am finding lots of very drinkable PN's for $20 and under. With a little age on them they will be even better.

                                              With lots of 07's still in the system it appears most wineries are holding down prices, even though yields in 08 were down. I believe that those that are trying to sell PN's for the really big bucks are going to have lots of inventory for a long time.

                                              A lake of PN is building in Oregon right now, will be interesting to see if we can drink it all!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: duck833

                                                Duck,

                                                Good observations. It will be interesting to see how things sort out over the next 2-3 years. Some "players" are not conceeding that there has been a change in world economies, while some seem to be atop it. Time will tell.

                                                For me, it's about the return, the ROI, and less about the uint cost. Still, I need that "bang for [whatever] the buck,"] and do look closely for it.

                                                Personally, I do love many of the OR producers' wines, but also gravitate to the other end of the domestic spectrum. Each gets tons of "silver stars," depending on how well-made they are.

                                                From a purely economic point, I hope that OR does some great things, and can hold sensible prices for them.

                                                Thanks,

                                                Hunt

                                              2. You eat beef. Pinot is the wrong wine with beef. Try it with chicken sometime. Then you'll get it.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: seiun

                                                  " Pinot is the wrong wine with beef".

                                                  While I typically enjoy Bordeaux with a grilled steak, I certainly love Boeuf à la Bourguignonne. That seems like an excellent pairing of beef with Pinot Noir.

                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                    I usually prepare and pair my B a la B with a Rhone or even a Zin.

                                                    1. re: PolarBear

                                                      I have as well. It is a versatile dish. But it also works quite well with Pinot Noir.

                                                  2. re: seiun

                                                    Depends. Grilled/charred fatty beef - then yea pinot may not be the best. One may want something more full bodied/tannic.

                                                    But leaner cuts without much char - say in a peppery or slightly sweet marinade can go excellent with pinot esp. new world pinot.

                                                    1. re: seiun

                                                      In very, very general terms, I find that more beef goes with New World PN's, than with Old World PN's, but there ARE exceptions.

                                                      Hunt

                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                        Agreed.

                                                      2. re: seiun

                                                        To YOUR palate, "Pinot is the wrong wine with beef." But to many others, the answer is that it works perfectly fine with beef. With a steak, especially one off the grill, I too would opt first for something other than a Pinot Noir -- a Bordeaux, or perhaps a California or Washington State Cabernet; or maybe something from the Rhône or the Iberian Peninsula . . . but with a fine roast -- something like a whole tenderloin -- a Burgundy/Pinot Noir can work beautifully IMHO.

                                                        But it's "IMHO" that is the key, and certainly YMMV.

                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                          For those, who do not understand Jason's "YMMV," that means, "Your Mileage May Vary."

                                                          Hunt

                                                      3. Stop buying Calif Pinots.

                                                        OREGON !!!!!

                                                        54 Replies
                                                        1. re: collioure1

                                                          Boy, you work up with a lot of energy this morning! I counted 23 posts from you this morning . . .

                                                          ;^)

                                                          Obviously this is not meant as an absolute. There are some excellent Pinot Noirs made in California AND in Oregon . . . as well as New Zealand and elsewhere outside of the Cote d'Or. And I enjoy them all (almost*) -- delighting in the differences between, say, Pinots from Central Otago and the Santa Cruz Mountains is no different than savoring the differences between a Chambolle-Musigny and a Vosne-Romanée. (Only the distance between vineyards is different, and these too exist in the New World, between, say, the estate vineyards of Mount Eden and Rhys.)

                                                          Cheers,
                                                          Jason

                                                          1. re: zin1953

                                                            I just had some time on my hands, and yes, there are good Calif Pinots.

                                                            I much prefer the cooler weather examples from Or-gon. Black cherry vs cherry.

                                                            1. re: collioure1

                                                              And I'd say that depends upon WHERE in California . . . but that's me. YMMV.

                                                          2. re: collioure1

                                                            Do you not find that absolute to be a bit of an overstatement?

                                                            Many might be tempted to say similar, "Never buy CA, or OR Pinot Noirs. The only real ones are from Burgundy - hence France is the ONLY source. All others are dreck."

                                                            I would see no more truth to that statement, than, well some others.

                                                            Hunt

                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                              I don't know whom you are addressing, as there are no exclusive statements above.

                                                              In general I prefer Oregon Pinots to Calif, and I have always liked French red Burgundy which is rather food friendly IMO.

                                                              But I have had excellent ones from all three.

                                                              1. re: collioure1

                                                                1) "I don't know whom you are addressing, as there are no exclusive statements above."

                                                                2) "Stop buying Calif Pinots."

                                                                Hmmmmmmm . . . .

                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                  Oh, I forgot that.

                                                                  I was just being funny as there was a complaint about Calif Pinots.

                                                                2. re: collioure1

                                                                  Sorry, but I was addressing this post:

                                                                  <<Stop buying Calif Pinots.

                                                                  OREGON !!!!!>>

                                                                  Was that not yours? If so, then it was the one that I was addressing.

                                                                  While OR produces some great PN's, so does CA. Usually, there are major differences, but that does not diminish their quality, at least for me. Different wines, but very enjoyable, and useful in food pairings.

                                                                  Maybe someone else posted the "Stop buying Calif Pinots," and I got confused?

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                    Now that I'm no longer falling asleep at the wheel here, I will explain the source of my attempt at humor.

                                                                    My son lives and works in Silicon Valley and always touted Calif Pinots to me. I always said Calif was too warm for Pinot Noir, and they were too flabby and cherry like. (Yes, that's less true today).

                                                                    On one visit we had a taste-off - Robert Mondavi Reserve vs Lafarge Volnay 1er Cru. The gorgeous Mondavi won the tasting easily, but when the pork roast with cherries and cranberries arrived, the Volnay carried the day hands down.

                                                                    I've had some excellent Calif Pinots since, but I still prefer Oregon. And Oregon makes excellent Pinot Gris too and has the ideal climate for producing great sparklers.

                                                                    1. re: collioure1

                                                                      a) LOVE the wines from Michel Lafarge . . .

                                                                      b) California has a wide range of climates, as you know, and (IMHO) as is true for virtually all grapes, Pinot Noir is planted in some places which are too warm.

                                                                      c) The coastal side of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Anderson Valley of Mendocino are *very* cool climates (low Region 1, if that means anything to you), and have produced a string of excellent Pinots. These locations are as cool, if not cooler, than parts of Oregon.

                                                                      d) It is VERY typical of California wines to be preferred when tasted alone, but when paired with food, it's often a different story. (Think "Thunderbird Corollary")

                                                                      e) I have no problem -- nor, I am willing to venture, does anyone else -- with you PREFERRING Wine Type A over Wine Type B (in this case, Oregon Pinot Noir over California Pinot Noir). But I (and probably others) *do* have a problem with what comes across -- whether you mean it to or not -- as the wholesale dismissiveness of entire regions and/or wines, be it California Pinots, Rioja whites, and so on and so on . . .

                                                                      You have a lot to contribute here, and clearly you know a good deal about *some* wines. I know that it is difficult to have wide and easy access to a broad array of the world's wines in continental Europe*, outside of major cities (and even then . . . ), but I hope you can have a more open mind (and heart -- wine after all is a passionate thing!) when it comes to the rest of the world . . .

                                                                      Cheers,
                                                                      Jason

                                                                      * One of the great advantages of living in or near a large city OUTSIDE continental Europe -- think London, or most of the US as an example -- is the access to the world's wines. It is, admittedly, a trade-off. Living in the Languedoc-Roussillon, you have access to some great wines that we here in the US may never see, whereas we have access to some great wines that will never reach Narbonne or Perpignan. ;^)

                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                        Thank you, Jason, for the sound advice.

                                                                        I do understand that California has a number of microclimates that produce Pinot Noir, some more suitable than others. In recent years I have had excellent Pinots from Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. Way back when it was not so as I recall. In case you haven't noted, today I think California wines really have arrived.

                                                                        I will be more careful about dismissing wide swaths of wines. It may be because I do not have a delicate palate and do not prepare subtle-tasting food that I dismiss very light whites. That white Rioja really surprised me, yet I do not read good things about them in general even today.

                                                                        I do have an open mind. I just bought two very fine examples of local whites which I snub in general as not being substantial enough to pair with flavorful cuisine. One of them has recently been "fortified" with 20% Roussanne. So maybe I'm not so far off.

                                                                        BTW I don't drink great wines. I buy good wines to go with good food.

                                                                        Access to great wines here? Not exactly. Certainly not in the shops here. I am thinking about ordering certain varietals direct from vintners to which you probably do not have access. I am looking for purchase partners, but among my circles of friends which run through several hiking and bridge clubs, I am one of the few who drinks bottled wine daily.

                                                                        Thank you again.

                                                                        Andy

                                                                        1. re: collioure1

                                                                          "I will be more careful about dismissing wide swaths of wines."

                                                                          Thank you.

                                                                          You have written you know little about great wines, German wines and Italian wines, that you know only a small amount about Spanish wines, that you not all that familiar with Rhone wines (which you do recommend), that you do not like sparkling wines, yet you criticize or condemn recommendations of these wines, or infer your recommendation might be more informed or better! Such hubris!

                                                                          Jason/zin1953, among others on this board -- Bill Hunt, Chef June, Brad Ballinger, Whiner, Riccardo, myself -- have world palates and decades of wine expertise. Learn from them.

                                                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                            I know a lot about Italian wines, but they are primarily for Italian food which I only encounter in Italy. Where I live I can't obtain the few I desire.

                                                                            I know all the Rhone wines too. They are similar to the wines of Roussillon with different terroir. However, a few of the Rhone whites I find hard to match. There are not many appellations in France with which I am unfamiliar. I've traveled all over the country. I know it and its wines better than all of my French friends do. (They don't travel in their marvelous country.)

                                                                            Spain - only a limited number of appellations interest me. In particular, Ribero del Duero and Albarino. I tend to avoid Riojas - just too much American oak for me. I prefer wines which emphasize fruit.

                                                                            I do not know German wines and I do not need to, but I am interested to try the red cited here yesterday.

                                                                            However, I do not have the palate or breadth of experience that you aces have. I respect that and will learn therefrom. I'm not a "natural." More a technician who gets to the right choice by a process of elimination.

                                                                            I might add that when I go into an art museum, I spend about an hour seeing the very best items there and then I leave. I have the same approach to a country's or a region's wine. There are tons of different wines in Italy. You can find them all in Burton Anderson's books. However, when I am in southern Italy all I want is excellent Fiano, Greco and Aglianico.

                                                                            1. re: collioure1

                                                                              "I do not know German wines and I do not need to, (...)".

                                                                              Now that's a shame.

                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                Sorry, but they do not go with anything I make. And we have gobs of dessert wines down here (mostly served as aperitifs).

                                                                                1. re: collioure1

                                                                                  There a plenty of German wines that will go with anything. Are you saying you are only familiar with sweet German dessert wines?

                                                                                  Never had a good Riesling? Weißburgunder? Grauburgunder?

                                                                                  Whatta bummer.

                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                    Yes, I've met Germans who think their semisweet Rieslings are perfect with a steak, but I don't. Different strokes for different folks.

                                                                                    FYI a good Riesling for me comes from Dom Weinbach in Alsace, for example, and it's dry. And a great one comes from Zind-Humbrecht.

                                                                                    1. re: collioure1

                                                                                      What about Germany's bone dry Rieslings?

                                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                        News to me

                                                                                        Doubt I could find them here, but I will look.

                                                                                        Thank you.

                                                                                        That and Dornfelder. Getting an education here.

                                                                                        1. re: collioure1

                                                                                          That's just the thing, you speak as if you are an authority.

                                                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                            Food and wine is one of my passions. I don't think I come at it in the same way as many of you here. So we can probably learn a few things from one another.

                                                                              2. re: collioure1

                                                                                Andy, there are great wines produced all over the world. So when you say things like "insipid whites from Spain and Italy" (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8720... ) or "I do not know German wines and I do not need to" and "I tend to avoid Riojas - just too much American oak for me" (see above), it shows not only a lack of understanding but also a lack of desire to understand about some of the greatest wines produced in the world.

                                                                                >>> I might add that when I go into an art museum, I spend about an hour seeing the very best items there and then I leave. <<<

                                                                                And what determines "the very best"?

                                                                                When my daughters were 10 and 12, my wife and I took them to Paris and London. (It was the first time I went to France and did NOT travel through any of the wine producing regions since the age of three.) Among other places, we naturally visited the Louvre. Because we arrived early (opening time), we went straight to the Mona Lisa. My youngest worked her way through the crowd to the painting, then came back to us and said, "OK, I've seen it. Can we leave now?" OTOH, the older one wanted to see not only the Renaissance paintings (for which the museum is justifiably known) but also the Egyptian antiquities (for which the museum is less well known, yet excellent). Now, I never would have thought go to the Egyptian wing in the Louvre (British Museum, yes; but Louvre?), but it was amazing . . .

                                                                                My point is: if you never look around the corner, be it in a museum or, metaphorically, in the world of wine, then you never know what you're missing . . . .

                                                                                Cheers,
                                                                                Jason

                                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                                  Jason, I like flavorful food. So, beyond the best Italian and Spanish whites for me, I don't care about others. They do not work with my recipes and when we travel there, they do not pair with the flavorful dishes we order.

                                                                                  I have no need to learn about German wines. I'm not going to travel there and they wouldn't add anything essential to my wine cellar. Frankly it's pretty cold up there and they chaptalize some of their wines. In any case there's more than enough variety here in France and Spain to satisfy me.

                                                                                  When I say that Riojas generally have too much oak for me, that is my taste. Now there are a few labels that are less oaky, but I am more easily satisfied by bigger Ribero del Dueros from the very same grape.

                                                                                  I spent 5 hours at the Louvre the last time (with a list of the top 25 attractions in hand), but in general one hour is sufficient to capture the best in most museums (cf. Rick Steves). By then my brain is fried and won't appreciate the work of lesser artists anyway.

                                                                                  I think I have a pretty good idea of what I'm missing and I want to miss it.

                                                                                  I spend enough time maintaining a cellar of about 250 bottles from numerous appellations so that three times a week, I can select the right wine.

                                                                                  1. re: collioure1

                                                                                    Andy, you are fluent in English, so I'm hard-pressed to believe this is a matter of "Lost in Translation." But as Chinon said above, "That's just the thing, you speak as if you are an authority." And yet no authority would say half of the things you do.

                                                                                    >>> I think I have a pretty good idea of what I'm missing and I want to miss it. <<<

                                                                                    Then, with respect, I'd say don't comment on it. For example, when you say "I don't know much about German wines, and I don't need to," you just sound foolish, and yet I know you are not a fool.

                                                                                    When you say, " . . . (The Germans) chaptalize some of their wines," I am not sure what point you are trying to make. After all, some French wines are capitalized, too. And, while it's illegal to add sugar to the must in California, it's legal to add acid (which is illegal in France).

                                                                                    It's one thing to say that you're perfectly content and happy to be drinking wines from France and Spain, and occasionally Oregon. It's another thing to be dismissive of wines from elsewhere, and to make the sort of blanket pronouncements that you've been making . . .

                                                                                    Cheers,
                                                                                    Jason

                                                                                    1. re: zin1953

                                                                                      I am only dismissive of wines that do not pair with the cuisines I prefer. That's my taste. If something is worth my pursuing, it has probably come to my attention already.

                                                                                      Your taste may be different. I haven't told you to ignore German wines, Vernaccias, Riojas . . .

                                                                                      1. re: collioure1

                                                                                        But you admitted that you weren't aware of dry German Riesling (similar to the Alsace you enjoy) so how would you know if dry German Riesling paired well w/ what food you like or not?

                                                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                          When I leamed something about German wines 30 years ago, it was Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese . . . and exports to the US were less extensive.

                                                                                          As there are dry ones now, I said I will look.

                                                                                          1. re: collioure1

                                                                                            Andy? There have ALWAYS been dry ones. At times they have been called Diabetikerwein¹. They can be currently labeled (for example) Trocken or Halb-Trocken, as in "Spätlese Trocken."

                                                                                            Cheers,
                                                                                            Jason

                                                                                            ¹ Diabetikerwein: eine besondere Herausforderung Wein, der auf Grund seiner Beschaffenheit auch von Diabetikern getrunken werden kann. Die DLG überprüft, ob ein Wein die Anforderungen erfüllt und als Diabetikerwein zugelassen wird oder nicht. [Diabetics wine: a particular challenge. Wine that can be drunk by its nature by diabetics. DLG checked whether a wine meets the requirements and is approved as a wine diabetic or not.] http://de.mimi.hu/wein/diabetikerwein...

                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                              Perhaps, but I don't remember seeing them in the US when I had to put a Kabinett on my wine list.

                                                                                        2. re: collioure1

                                                                                          And here are many of the dishes I prepare, esp for guests. Few of these flavorful dishes pair with light white wines.

                                                                                          Lapin – avec champignons de bois, ou aïoli or chimichurri

                                                                                          Poulet – grecque, rôti, teriyake, cacciatore, tunisien, barbecue, citron-vert-coriandre

                                                                                          Agneau – catalan (citron, marjolaine, olive), côtelettes farcies avec tomates séchées et cèpes

                                                                                          Veau – côtelettes avec citron et champignons

                                                                                          Saumon – en croute des chiles ancho avec sauce au poivron jaune, ou avec lentilles

                                                                                          Poisson blanc - St Pierre aux oignons confits et au beurre de tomates (Boyer)

                                                                                          St Jacques – au gingembre et au citron vert ou à l’armoricaine ou sautées avec champignons, crème fraiche et emmenthal

                                                                                          Canard – au cassis

                                                                                          Thon – avec sauce soja ou balsamique

                                                                                          Mouclade Saintongeaise

                                                                                          Cotriade bretonne

                                                                                          Paella et Fideua

                                                                                          Côtelettes de Porc au citron

                                                                                          Crevettes à la Nouvelle Orléans ou Scampi

                                                                                          Salade de Canard fumé avec roquette, cerises séchées, cheddar et vinaigrette aux noisettes

                                                                                          Assiette de poissions fumé (Troisgros)

                                                                                          Foie gras à la mangue

                                                                                          Salade à la bavette et à la vinaigrette au citron et la framboise

                                                                                          Salade César au poulet ou aux crevettes

                                                                                          Mangue, avocat et crevettes

                                                                                          Tapenade aux figues

                                                                                          1. re: collioure1

                                                                                            A lot of these menu items IMHO would pair very well with Spanish and Italian whites.

                                                                                            1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                                                                                              No, I don't think those flavorful dishes would pair well with the light Italian and Spanish whites I ignore (e.g., Frascati, Orvieto).

                                                                                              I do buy a good Albarino (which acts much like an Alsatian wine), and I would buy Fiano, Greco, Friulano and Soave if I could find them. I consider them exellent food wines.

                                                                                              1. re: collioure1

                                                                                                >>> I do buy a good Albarino (which acts much like an Alsatian wine) . . . <<<

                                                                                                Really? Not the Albariño/Alvarinho that I know . . . ah, well.

                                                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                  I find Martin Codax is consistently excellent. Gets 89-90s at Wine Enthusiast. My wife loves it too. A mainstay in my cellar.

                                                                                                  Started with Condes de Albarei but the price went up and the quality in the other direction.

                                                                                                  There are better, but not within my grasp here at the opoosite corner of Spain.

                                                                                                  FYI Alvarinho is the Portuguese spelling; I buy Spanish bottlings.

                                                                                                  1. re: collioure1

                                                                                                    I don't disagree that Albariño/Alvarinho wines can be excellent. Indeed, I drink them frequently, from *both* sides of the border. But regardless of their national origin, there is nothing that, to my mind, is reminiscent of Alsace -- at least not the Alsatian wines with which I am familiar.

                                                                                                    Cheers,
                                                                                                    Jason

                                                                                                    P.S. >>> FYI Alvarinho is the Portuguese spelling <<< Uh, yes, that's true. That's why I included both spellings. The grape exists on both sides of the border, the wines are quite similar in quality and character, and I used to import several examples into the US.

                                                                                                    1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                      It is believed to be a clone of Alsace Riesling

                                                                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albari%C...

                                                                                                      and to me it has similar properties.

                                                                                                      1. re: collioure1

                                                                                                        And since when has Wikipedia -- to which anyone, genius and idiot alike, can contribute -- become an authoritative source?

                                                                                                        In the new book, "Wine Grapes, a complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavors," by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding, and José Vouillamoz (© 2012, published by Harper Collins in the US and Penguin in the UK), under the listing for "Alvahinho," (yes, it's listed under the Portuguese name, not Spanish, as it apparently originated there), there is no mention of Riesling whatsoever. That said, it does say that the CTPS, the official French committee in charge of plant selection and authorization, has agreed to Alvarinho's inclusion in the French national register of permitted grape plantings.

                                                                                                        Perhaps it will lose all of its acidity when planted in France, so it can accompany French cuisine, as opposed to Portuguese and Spanish.

                                                                                                        Oh, and by the way, what is "Alsace Riesling"? And how does that differ from the grape commonly known as Riesling, that is planted in Germany, Australia, Austria, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, and -- yes -- Alsace. I know of no such no such grape as "Alsace Riesling." There is, however, an Alsatian synonym for Riesling, but that is "Raisin du Rhin," but I've never heard or seen any winemaker/vigneron use it. The wines are labeled, and the grape called, simply "Riesling."

                                                                                                        Under the entry for "Riesling" in the aforementioned book, there is no mention of Alvarinho/Albariño. There IS, however, an extensive discussion of Riesling's DNA, which reads in part:

                                                                                                        "Regner, et. al (1998) established by DMA profiling that Riesling has a parent-offspring relationship with Gouais Blanc, one of the most ancient and prolific wine grapes of Western Europe. Since Gouais Blanc also has parent-offspring relationships with at least eighty other grape varieties . . . including Chardonnay, Gamay Noir, Elbling and Furmint, they all turn out to be half-siblings, grandparents or grandchildren of Riesling."

                                                                                                        1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                          Jason, I don't remember how the Alsace connection came to me. I don't remember when I first happened upon this wine. Maybe from the most competent wine rep who used to call upon me (and looked like golfer Beth Daniel). Maybe it was even on my wine list in 1993.

                                                                                                          However, that Albarino originated in Alsace and resembles in style an Alsatian wine (Riesling) has been with me for a couple of decades. I already knew about it when I went cycling in Galicia in 1993. So when I saw it on the shelves in la Jonquera circa 2004, I began to buy it.

                                                                                                          Someone put similar in Wikipedia. Could be a myth.

                                                                                                          1. re: collioure1

                                                                                                            Yes, well -- it's wrong. There is no DNA connection between Alvarinho (it was in Portugal long before Spain) and Riesling.

                                                                                                            Oh, and . . what's "Alsace Riesling"? You never answered how it's different than the grape the rest of the planet calls, simply, Riesling.

                                                                                                            1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                              OK. It's been disproven.

                                                                                                              So what? In terms of food and wine it's very much like a Riesling from Alsace, able to finesse numerous foods with somewhat different flavors.

                                                                                                              BTW when I speak of an Alsatian Riesling, I am referring to a clean dry Riesling normally vinified in stainless steel from Alsace. This is a staple in my cave. I now understand there may be German equivalents.

                                                                                                              1. re: collioure1

                                                                                                                Hmmm . . . well, PART of the issue is that you know more than 99.9% of the population, but I guess you didn't know that there was no relation between Alvarinho/Albariño and Riesling, and I guess you didn't know that there is no such grape as "Alsace Riesling," as there is "White Riesling," "Weißer Riesling," "Johannisberg Riesling," "Rhein Riesling," "Grauer Riesling," and so on.

                                                                                                                Clearly the Rieslings produced in Alsace vary greatly from one producer to the next. "Clean," "dry," and "stainless" make me think more of German and, to a lesser extent, New Zealand, rather than Alsace. But this clearly depends upon the specific producer. Some vignerons in Alsace *do* use stainless steel, while others use glass-lined tanks, or very old oak 600L ovals, or . . . or . . . or . . . This doesn't even address the level of rs (think Zind-Humbrecht versus André Ostertag, or Domaine Spielman versus Charles Koehly) . . . and, again, this doesn't address the issue of malolactic fermentation. Some producers permit; others do not. And none of this addresses Vendange Tardive or S.G.N. wines.

                                                                                                                So I am very glad you specified "a clean dry Riesling normally vinified in stainless steel from Alsace," as this is but ONE TYPE of Riesling wine produced by vignerons in Alsace.

                                                                                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                  Jason, as far as I know SS is the standard. Or glass-lined if you will. The point is that dry Rieslings there don't see wood and are rather clean wines. I have some Zinds which see some wood, but Olivier Humbrecht is the exception (in many ways, of course).

                                                                                                                  FYI I rarely post about sweet wines.

                                                                                                                  1. re: collioure1

                                                                                                                    The use of inox (stainless steel) is certainly more common today than 20-25 years ago; that's not really up for debate, I would have thought. Rather, it's (once again) that you refer to a particular wine (in this case Riesling from Alsace) as if all the wines there are produced in one single style, and then -- only later -- do you specify that you are speaking of *this* style (rather than that one).

                                                                                                                    Again, stainless is far more prevalent today than a generation ago, but several producers still use other fermentation vessels. For example, from Domaine Weinbach:

                                                                                                                    http://www.domaineweinbach.com/en/win...
                                                                                                                    >>> The main conditions are: grape picking scheduled on optimal maturity; rigorous selection; gentle and gradual pressings; a long fermentation in ancient oak barrels, under the action of the indigenous yeast for authenticity and complexity. <<<

                                                                                                                    From Domaine Schlumberger:

                                                                                                                    http://www.domaines-schlumberger.com/...
                                                                                                                    >>> Our Riesling 2008 was harvested from 3 October to 27 October 2008. Slow pneumatic pressing, static racking. Fermentation in thermo-regulated tuns for one to four months. Matured on lees during six to eight months. Bottled in February 2011. <<<

                                                                                                                    [Note: "tuns" are large oak vessels of roughly 950 litres.

                                                                                                                    ]

                                                                                                                    . . . and so on.

                                                                                                                    My point in mentioning this is NOT that you are wrong regarding (in this case) the use of stainless, but rather to say there are ALSO other styles of (in this case) dry Riesling, and blanket statements don't serve anyone any good.

                                                                                                                    1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                      A few producers use oak. OK. No big deal, Jason.

                                                                                                                      1. re: collioure1

                                                                                                                        I am told by more than a few Alsace winemakers that oak is the standard, but the reason why there is minimal oak influence on the wine is that typically, only old-very old oak barrels are used.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Julian Teoh

                                                                                                                          Well, I've always seen lots of oak when I visit there . . .

                                                                                                                          ;^)

                                                                                                          2. re: zin1953

                                                                                                            Jason,

                                                                                                            The reference to "Alsace Riesling" is a good one, at least for me. Not being a botanist, I do not differentiate the grape, but do the terroir, and the general production choices. I often, and freely, apply the country/region of origin, though in most instances the grape is the same - oh, there might well be clonal differences, but the grape is the same. Perhaps I apply such terms too freely, and possibly incorrectly.

                                                                                                            I assume that you are talking about something else, but would love clarification.

                                                                                                            Thanks,

                                                                                                            hunt

                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                              There are any number of different names for grapes which contain the word "riesling" as a part of they name. I'm sure you remember the *very* popular wine from what was then called Wente Bros. (now simple Wente), "Grey Riesling." But it was really Trousseau Gris, and NOT a member of the Riesling family at all. The same is true for another popular wine from California, "Monterey Riesling," from Mirassou -- in reality, Silvaner/Sylvaner. "Sonoma Riesling" from Gundlach-Bundschu? Also Silvaner/Sylvaner. Another California grape: "Franken Riesling," also Silvaner/Sylvaner. "Johannisberg Riesling"? Well, OK. that USED to be an approved name for White Riesling/Riesling, until ATF banned it . . . and so on and so on.

                                                                                                              Clonal selections are something are entirely different.

                                                                                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                                                                                Oh yes, though that might not be a "trip down memory lane," that I wish to take now.

                                                                                                                That was then, but this is now... [Grin]

                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                PS - I still recall when "port" was sold in 1 gal. jugs, from Taylor (not THE Taylor), and used in large pots of "beach-party grog," but that was well before your time.

                                                                                    2. re: collioure1

                                                                                      The very best items according to whom?

                                                                                      1. re: JAB

                                                                                        The best Italian and Spanish whites for me?

                                                                                        Greco
                                                                                        Fiano
                                                                                        good independent producer Soave
                                                                                        good independent producer Pinot Grigio
                                                                                        (Tocai) Friulano
                                                                                        Pinot Bianco
                                                                                        Schiopetto's wines

                                                                                        Albarino

                                                                                        1. re: collioure1

                                                                                          No, "I might add that when I go into an art museum, I spend about an hour seeing the very best items there and then I leave. I have the same approach to a country's or a region's wine."

                                                                                  2. re: collioure1

                                                                                    Pinot Noir is not a grape, that all US producers have grown, and produced from, all that well. However, in the last 20 years, many HAVE done some great things with PN, and from CA. Usually not the same as from Burg, they are still producing some really good PN's.

                                                                                    Some years back, I did a tasting with the first PN wine maker, from Robert Moddavi. Our host had graduated from UC Davis, and at a time when heavily extracted wines were being taught. With self-deprecating humor, he shared his first Robert Mondavi PN's, from about 1976, IIRC. This was 30 years later, and those PN's would make one's socks fall around their ankles - tannic monsters! He was basically fired from that job, and Mondavi turned away from PN, for almost two decades.

                                                                                    Fast forward to about 15 years ago, and many were starting to look to the PN grape, for good, to great wines. Some were trained in Burgundy, but some were just not of the "heavily extracted" concept, and understood the grape better. That failed winemaker went on to do marketing work, but was kept away from PN.

                                                                                    Now, there are some, who do understand the grape, and are doing some interesting wines with it. Still, some appreciate the best examples (me), but some have yet to find a "lost love." Yet.

                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                2. re: collioure1

                                                                                  I am so sorry, as I missed the intended humor. I went over my pointed-little-head.

                                                                                  While I do enjoy many CA PN's, I also focus on FR PN's for more food pairings.

                                                                                  To me, that does not mean that some CA PN producers are creating inferior wines, but only that, when paired with foods (very general references here), the FR PN's, and especially those from Burgundy, are just better choices.

                                                                                  Much the same can be said for domestic (US production) OR PN's - with many foods, they ARE a better choice, but that does not always exclude many CA PN's.

                                                                                  Glad that you are back, among the "living."

                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                        2. To get back to your question chloebell and offering something more useful than a spelling correction, I have tried Belle Glos. Their.Meiomi strikes me as a fairly good QPR California Pinot Noir. It is usually a blend of Sonoma, Santa Barbara and Monterey fruit.Their Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir is better than the average California Pinot Noir but not something that I think is a great representation of California Pinot Noir..

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                            Thanks Fowler! I've tried the Meiomi and it's good - but I think it's a pretty heavy PNoir than I like. I enjoy more of the fruity Pinot's from Oregon. I think they're lighter as well.

                                                                            As for the Clark & Telephone, I have the other 2 single vineyard bottles as well. I haven't even tried them and they're sitting right here in my living room gathering dust. Tsk, tsk!! lol!!!

                                                                            1. re: chloebell

                                                                              I have spent the past year getting acquainted with OR PN. My daughter works for a well known winery there so I have been enjoying wine trail trips frequently :) I have been disappointed with expensive, trendy CA PNs and have found the OR ones a better wine for a much better value.

                                                                              As a side note on PNs around the states...The lake chelan area in WA state (I think it's our 11 AVA) is now making a few good PNs and have a goal of competing with OR. It's interesting to watch this area grow, the wine makers are getting better and more experienced. There is something called "the lake effect" in that area and is allowing for some good growing conditions. I had some stellar PNs there during crush, different still than OR PNs, it is certainly a place to watch.

                                                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                                                Oregon truly does make excellent Pinots.

                                                                          2. Everything has fashions it follows, including the wine community (and people like me, who just want to learn more). After checking out the expert opinions already given, my two cents is simply that individual taste genetics varies enough to make it such that there may well be some tastes that you notice, or notice more, that others either do not taste at all, or taste as a fit-in with something else that perhaps they taste that you do not. I would just advise, if you do not like it, just stop worrying about it as its hype is a creation of momentary fashion, and become a greater expert in what you *do* like. I have nowhere near the experience of most people here, I am sure, but I know enough to know that I prefer a decent Cabernet over most Pinot noirs. Heck, some of my home brewing experiments done with other fruit juices (like black cherry, or blueberry) are better than some bottled Pinots. (Well, better to me.) Some vintners try to overcome some of the issues you mentioned by blending into their inferior Pinots tad bits of other wines. <shrug> Eh. Purists will scoff, drunks will swallow anything, and the rest of us will either help prove or disprove a particular wine's worth with our wallets.

                                                                            1. To Jason and MariaLorraine -- it's perverse, but I'm happy about these discussions, as reading your incredibly-patient and amazingly-tolerant responses has been a fantastic education over the last few days.

                                                                              Your experience and education are amazing -- and I appreciate your sharing it with us.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Maria Lorraine is far more patient and educational than I. I'm just an old, semi-retired wine geek who grew up in the California wine industry, before I retired and went to work in the legal field. I just tell stories . . . but thank you for your kind words nonetheless. ;^)

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  +1

                                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                    +2. I've lurked on this board for quite some time, but just noticed this thread. I really appreciate the knowledge here and the generous sharing of it. -- Jake

                                                                                    PS, to stay on topic: We find a place for most varietals and blends, but have special affection for red Burgundy and balanced new world Pinot Noir, such as Calera, Littorai, ABC, etc.

                                                                                2. Pinot Noir is my favorite wine.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                                    As it is (one of) mine! ;^)

                                                                                  2. As usual in a wine thread with high Hunt content, a great education. I haven't added PNs to my cellar in awhile, so some stuff to explore here.

                                                                                    As a coffee professional I tend to get emotional on threads like these because I know that while you're happy to discuss and argue the finer points of a particular varietal or region for wine, coffee does not get the same respect. But that's another thread for another day.

                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                      Uh . . . that's not true at all re: coffee. It's merely true on Chowhound. But there are dedicated coffee discussion groups where coffee is taken VERY seriously (CoffeeGeek and Home-Barista are but two).

                                                                                      Indeed, as I write this I have already consumed my morning espresso (a naturally processed Ethiopian Yirgacheff from Wote Konga), and am slowly working my way through my morning latte as I work through my emails (a five bean blend done to a Full City+ level) -- as well as having made two additional lattes, and a cup of tea, for my wife and two daughters. This is all done on an Elektra "Sixties" T1, a Mahlkönig K30 Vario, and a Baratza VARIO . . .

                                                                                      Cheers,
                                                                                      Jason

                                                                                      1. re: zin1953

                                                                                        Not really. Both HB and CG are more machine-oriented for 'geeky/espresso enthusiasts'. You might well find plenty of threads on how to make a painstakingly meticulous Chemex, but you don't find a lot of posts about savoring the bean itself beyond mentioning some of the 'in' brands. And I suppose the bigger disappointment is, as you said, 'it's merely true on Chowhound' - where you can find numerous threads on tasting notes of wines and microbrews and liquors, but go to a coffee thread and... "I just buy the cheapest/darkest I can find/if it was good enough for my parents, it's good enough for me" kind of stuff. Breaks my heart.

                                                                                        A K30 for home... that IS impressive!

                                                                                        1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                          Well, in my office, I have a pour-over machine -- a La Valentina -- with a Nuova Simonelli MCF grinder. (Can't plumb in the office machine.) That said, there have been a number of threads about taste and flavor over the years on CG and HB (IMHO), but I agree that --to varying degrees -- it is a more "equipment-and-process" oriented board, rather than a "tasting note" group.

                                                                                      2. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                        Glad to find other coffeegeeks on this board (I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to see them on the wine board).

                                                                                        I believe I read once that coffee has over 850 volatile aromatic compounds associated with it while wine is closer to (warming: shot in the dark) 400?

                                                                                        1. re: Klunco

                                                                                          The number seems to change quite often, but 600-900 are often quoted.

                                                                                          1. re: Klunco

                                                                                            I think that there might be a common gene - some people just love the flavors, and the experience, I find it to be very similar with wine, cigars, Scotch, coffee, beers, etc.. Some people care about what they consume, where others do not. To some, it is about "the good life," where others think only of existence. Like when I lived in New Orleans - people lived to eat. When I moved away, I was confronted by people, who ate to live. Really big difference.

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                          2. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                            Now, I want you to write on the blackboard, 100 times, "Hunt's palate might differ from mine."

                                                                                            To me, PN's (and I mean a very broad spectrum here), are good wines, and usually very food friendly. However, and depending on the dish, I might go to the Santa Rita Hills, or to the Côte d'Or. It just depends.

                                                                                            Now, in some circles, coffee does get great respect. For me, Wailapa Estate has few peers, but what do I know, as I am but a wino?

                                                                                            Enjoy,

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                              Of course your palate will be different. But I don't see you as someone who'd rationalize purchasing Kopi Luwak vs. an estate Kenya AA based on it being 'exotic' or 'you get what you pay for'. :-)

                                                                                              Besides I live in PA so I have to take what the state gives me, so any list works, lol.

                                                                                          3. I really do enjoy pinot noir. That said I find too many of the good ones to be overpriced and too many of the bad ones to be WAY overpriced. Although I do purchase some burgundies and domestic pinots, I'm very careful in my choices. I generally find that my wine dollar provides more solid values elsewhere.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                                                                                              The good to great PN's short of the DRC's, seem to not be over-priced. Yes, they could be cheaper, but they are not.

                                                                                              The plonk is always over-priced, at least to me.

                                                                                              That is one varietal, that seldom does really well in a cheap wine.

                                                                                              All of that said, and though the price-to-quality works for me, it certainly might not for others. I have found cheap Cabs, and cheap Malbecs, but very few cheap PN's, and very few cheap Chards. Some grapes can still do acceptable cheap wines, where others seem to be unable to do that.

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                Don't forget cheap Zinfandel's (I miss Gemellos) - I find the Bota Box old vines zin to be quite acceptable at $19 for 3 liters. On the Pinot Noir front I used to like the Little Penguin PN although I recently tasted some and it was sickly sweet (in fact it tasted just like their sickly sweet shiraz - so it might have been mislabeled). Now, I'm not claiming these are great wines just reasonably tasty cheapo varietals.

                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                  Regarding cheap PNs, I'm wondering if anyone has tried Bulgarian PNs. I have no access to any being in PA (the cost of a special order is absurd for a value-priced wine), but I spent a couple months in Sofia and was taken to some wine bars where I was really impressed at the QPR of their domestics. Not that every wine in every category was excellent, but there were many wines I tasted that would probably go for $10-$15 here that I thought were on par than comparable US wines in the $25-$40 range, including a couple of PNs. Unfortunately I was on business and didn't take notes or photo labels so can't give specifics.

                                                                                                  1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                    Not Bulgaria, but we bought a couple bottles of a Moldovian PN that were really pretty awesome.

                                                                                                    Very rough and raw when first opened, but opened beautifully to a wine that shocked everyone who tried it because it was so lovely.

                                                                                              2. I'd be reluctant to say I don't like wine made from any particular grape. Because the same variety, grown somewhere else, and made by someone else, perhaps in a different way, may give you a very different wine.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: emu48

                                                                                                  Well, I have come close with Pinot Gris (a couple of spellings, from different locations around the globe), as I have only found a very few, that I would buy - sort of like Chilean wines - 1:1000, from my tastings, that I would buy.

                                                                                                  Still, I do try many PG's, and keep tasting Chilean wines, keeping my hopes high - who knows?

                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                  1. re: emu48

                                                                                                    >>I'd be reluctant to say I don't like wine made from any particular grape<<

                                                                                                    I understand what you are driving at, but some of those hybrids are awful no matter where they are from or whomever is doing the winemaking.