This week we review three wines, including the A to Z Pinot Noir 2011 from Oregon. This wine was selected number 55 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2013. To clarify, this is not their Best Buy list, it is their best wines of the year regardless of price. (See the video below revealing how the Top 100 Wines are picked.)
A to Z Pinot Noir 2011 – $14.99 Costco, K&L Wines
I think the wine itself is satisfactory, especially at $14.99. It is a lighter style of Pinot Noir which is characteristic of many Oregon Pinot Noir wines. It has good spice and red fruit character, but I think it lacks complexity. I recently tried the La Follette Central Coast Pinot Noir, Bear Boat, and the Alfaro, all from my local Safeway. I like each of these better than the A to Z Pinot Noir, which is about the same price. For my palate and preferred style of Pinot Noir, I would not purchase this wine again. I checked with Vintage Wine Taster Bruce, who is our go-to Pinot Noir man among the Vintage Tasters. He agrees with me that this wine is highly overrated by the Wine Spectator at 90 Points. I rate it at 87 Points. What do you think?
Bodega Norton Reserva 2010 – $12.59 Costco, SafewayThis is another one of those wines that year after year delivers massive flavors for the price. I looked for the 2011, which is also on the Wine Spectator Top 100 list at number 36. However, I do not believe that wine has made it to the shelves here in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Norton Reserva 2010 wine has a wonderful nose of fruit flavors that bound out of the glass. The wine has a great mouth, so tasty along with an excellent finish. This is truly a very good red meat wine, especially a juicy rib-eye on the grill. This is a fantastic deal for a wine at this price and I will rate it at 89 points. The Wine Enthusiast rates this wine at an eye-popping 92 Points. I can’t wait to try the 2011 version when it is available.
Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2012 – about $8 at Safeway, Costco and elsewhere
The Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing, more on the New Zealand style of Sauvignon Blanc. It has a load of citrus flavors. If you are having a party and want to keep costs down, this wine is a good choice. When we serve white wine to guests, we like to prepare them mentally by announcing what we are pouring. There are too many Chardonnay drinkers out there who do not expect the acidity of a wine like a Sauvignon Blanc. I feel like it prepares their palate for something different, and knowing what they are drinking offers a better chance for enjoyment. I drank this wine side-by-side with the Hanna Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley for $10 at Costco. The Geyser Peak, at least for this vintage, is a better buy than the Hanna. The Hanna is also at Costco for $9.99. 87 Points for the Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc.
How Wine Spectator selects Top 100 Wines
(For email readers) If you cannot see the video, go to http://www.goodcheapvino.com/a-to-z-pinot-noir-2011 and scroll to the bottom of the page.