Monday, November 12, 2007

Good Pinot Noir Under $20 Found South of the Equator

After Pinot Days this summer, I was afraid I'd never find another good pinot noir under $20. Then I found the Navarro Pinot Noir that's in my Thanksgiving picks for this year, and now I'm happy to report another find: the 2006 Veramonte Pinot Noir Reserva. I received this as a sample from the winery, but you can get your own bottle for around $15 from most merchants.

The grapes for the 2006 Veramonte Pinot Noir Reserva come from south of the equator, in the Casablanca Valley of Chile. The wine is made from 100% pinot noir grapes that see eleven months in 100% French oak. The result is a wine that is bright cherry from the moment it's poured through the aromas and flavors. As you drank the wine and it opened up the cherry flavors got richer and blacker. Cool notes of green tea and mint entered into the wine as you swallowed it, and there was a nice, juicy finish with herbal and spice elements. Even though the richness was noticeable in this wine, there was still a silkiness of texture that I associate with pinot noir. Excellent QPR.

We had this wine with a stir fry made of sliced pork tenderloin, wild mushrooms, and Asian spices. This was a lovely match for the wine, and the silkiness of the mushrooms paired very nicely with its texture. The bright cherry flavors were a nice counterpoint to the ginger and garlic, and the green tea notes in the wine lent a cool, Asian influence.

Veramonte hired Paul Hobbs to serve as the consulting winemaker for their pinot and chardonnay. Hobbs has his own label here in the US, and you can read about his harvest experience from this fall over at Wine Spectator. Hobbs introduced some of his favorite wine-making techniques into Veramonte's bottlings, like wild-yeast fermentation. The 2006 is a new release, so keep your eyes out for it in the store, because it's not going to sit on the shelves for long given its quality and its price. And if you see it while you're out shopping for your Thanksgiving wine, grab it. It will be perfect with most Turkey Day feasts.


Anonymous said...

The QRP in South America is almost as good as Paul Hobbs' wine making skills! I am definitely going to try this as I'm a HUGE fan of Paul Hobbs'.

Nice find!

RougeAndBlanc said...

This Pinot Reserva must be really good to worth your pointing out, because I tried the Veramonte Cab and it has industrial wine written all over it.

Dr. Debs said...

Joel, I can but agree. And Rouge and Blanc, I've not had the cab but this pinot certainly did not seem like an industrial wine or like industrial wine-making. Is it a $100 burgundy? No. Is it an awfully good example of an under $20 pinot? Yes. One reason for this is that most under $20 pinots taste like cherry juice. This one has some complexity!