Price: $9.99 @ Trader Joe’s
What They Said:
Per the winery “Our Castle Rock Pinot Noir was produced from grapes grown in Northern California’s beautiful Mendocino County, where vineyards were first planted in the early 1860’s. Here, the headwaters of the Russian River carve a fertile and rugged landscape. The warm summers, cool springs, crisp falls and wet winters make ideal growing conditions for Pinot Noir grapes, in a climate similar to that of the Burgundy region of France, where the grapes were first established. This elegant and medium-bodied wine has delicate aromas of violet and rose petals, complex flavors and long silky textures, with layers of strawberry and raspberry leading into a long refined finish.”
And from the Wine Spectator, “Aromas of ripe cherry, tree bark and wild raspberry are elegant, stylish and balanced, with nice focus and a lingering finish. Drink now. 110,000 cases made.” (86 points, $12)
What I Think:
After having my friends treat me to a few bottles of the Castle Rock from Willamette and Monterrey I figured I could invest in this Mendocino on my own. Given Mendocino is the home of my beloved Navarro expectations immediately escalated and I was sure I had a winner on my hand before I even made it home…
So a few evenings later with salmon on the menu this wine found its way to the table. The bouquet showed some light fruit and floral notes on top of woody overtones. On the tongue it started with cherries and then shifted towards cola type flavors. The mid-palate had a twang (perhaps orange rind) before heading on to a smooth finish. This wine is good but not stunning. That leaves the question, at $10 is that enough for a Pinot? I am personally on the fence so will answer “sometimes”. It sure would be interesting to try all three of these side by side. Furthermore, given that I have tried three it would seem foolish not to grab the California Cuvee offering as well. Has anybody else had that one? If so, what do you think?