2008 Caretaker Pinot Noir

 2008 Caretaker Pinot NoirPrice: $9.99 @ Trader Joe’s

What They Said:

Per the bottle “Ruby in color the 2008 Caretaker delicate and floral with rose petal, raspberry and strawberry aromas. The palate is exuberant with sweet red berries that continue into a soft, earthy plum finish.”

What I Think:

Nary a word about this one to be found on the internet but that’s okay I knew that before I brought it home. You see, this one is a product of the Central Coast Wine Warehouse which appears to be a shared production facility. This is the same place that delivered the The California Wine Party Franc Merlot and the Pancake Cellars Big Day White. I’m still pretty certain the Central Coast Wine Warehouse is an operation/business that uses this facility to create the wine. But that is becoming less clear by the bottle… Here nor there, based on my history with the Franc Merlot I bought two bottles of this one on site. Seeing the listing of the  2008 Caretaker Pinot Noir
Pinot clones they used on the back label only reinforced my decision.

Shortly after bringing it in the house it is on the table. Opening it my first thought is really! A 2008 Pinot already? 7 months from the vine to my table. My initial inclinations proved right as this one came across disjointed and with little balance. I sensed the delicate, floral nature on the nose. But the palate couldn’t bring anything together. Not a bad wine, likely very young and needing some time. For now, no fruit and lots of acidity. No way I could recommend this over the Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot. I’ll let you know if the 2nd bottle changes my mind but thinking unlikely at this point…

Rating: Skip It

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38 thoughts on “2008 Caretaker Pinot Noir

  1. “Trader Joe’s is awash in quality Pinot right now!”

    Do tell!

    I’m planning on finishing the Caretaker tonight & will report back secondary impressions


  2. Polished off the ’08 Caretaker & really think this is an underrated gem. After being open two days (vacu vin sealed, room temp) the nose shows just a hint of warm spice along with the raspberry & bright cherry notes. Beautiful silky mouthfeel. Palate is ripe cherry, red fruit & a touch of mature plum, finishing with a balanced acidity and a breath of the French oak. Very subtle & bugundian in nature. Here in Ohio it’s $14.99 but I’ll be grabbing as much as I can-can’t wait to see how this pans out

  3. @Ralph The Bynum is likely long gone, not sure about the MacMurray. I also know they had a run of Lane Tanner Pinot’s ($20) that were suppose to be worth the money.

    @dfarmer The Bynum, MacMurray and Lane Tanner mentioned above as well as the Sebastopol Hills which was also a limited supply. I also enjoyed the ’07 Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot but have yet to try the ’08. Pinot seems to be the category where they are bringing in the most small lot screaming deals…Hopefully there are more headed our way soon (and some make it to Ohio too)! Glad you enjoyed the Caretaker. I’ll have to see if I can’t rummage up another bottle.

  4. I had the 2008 Caretaker Pinot yesterday with duck and a leek salad with walnuts and cheese. And the only reason I am writing here is because I thought it was excellent and was trying to figure out where the bottle came from (it literally showed up in my cellar, somebody must have brought it at a party). Perhaps this wine needed a bit more time in the bottle, but it was well-balanced, fruit and nose were very pleasant, and there is no hint of the acidity that was noted by Jason. I was rather impressed to learn here that it was a $10 bottle of wine. I am going to Trader Joe’s to try to find some more. Tasted 2/20/2010.

  5. Good luck finding Caretaker Pinot. I was informed at two Trader Joe’s that they were not going to be carrying it anymore. Big disappointment.

    • Marcia

      I was told it was a one-time buy and was not intended to be a regular item. That may be because of supply (or price).

  6. @Marcia, Ralph: We get a LOT of “Hustle Buys” or “Opportunity Buys”, items with limited quantities that usually fly out the door very quickly. It also depends on what region you live in as many wines are only available in certain areas. I’ll be back at work tomorrow and look at the Status on the Caretaker and let you know. When the Wine Team tried it last year, it was WAY too young. Perhaps now it might be a little better.

  7. Found a partial case on the shelf, no advertisement card. Random. Was told it “just arrived” on May 13th– I bought on May 14th. Perhaps it is available again?

  8. I’m drinking the 2008 Caretaker as I type this. This is a darn good Pinot Noir! It smells like a Pinot Noir and tastes like one, too. Really nice balance of fruit, acidity and tannins with just a little bit of alcohol heat but I think that’s because it needs to be slightly cooler (plus it is very warm tonight in So Cal). Even the texture is great – I’ve had too many heavy, syrupy tasting Pinot Noirs from California but this one is not like that at all. It is drinking well right now. I bought it in August 2009 and kept it stored in a wine refrigerator. It can stand a little more age to mellow out the tannins but is certainly very drinkable now. I’m sorry I didn’t get more of this. It is really good!

  9. Has anyone tried the 2009 Caretaker Pinot? I keep seeing it daily at my TJs and with a tight budget before a trip to Germany, and not sure if we’ll have a Crew Member tasting of it before I leave, I’m not sure to scoop a few bottles! Thoughts?

  10. Matt, I saw the 2009 at TJ’s the other day and was wondering the same thing, if anyone tried it. I was going to buy a bottle but noticed the alcohol content was 14.5% (I think that’s what it was.. it was at least that much if not higher). I put it back on the shelf because that just seemed kind of high for a Pinot Noir.

  11. I brought home a bottle tonight. Had a taste left from last night’s 2007 Etude. Well it’s definitely not an Etude but I enjoyed it. Nice nose with a bit of alcohol. Definitely a Pinot , but no finish other than tannins. But it’s $9.99 and I enjoyed it. Probably will not buy a case but will pick up a couple more bottles.

  12. Bonjour les degustateurs!
    I really enjoyed this “Caretaker Pinot Noir” which brought me back to Pommard (Bourgogne) and specially to the Rebourgeon (family wine makers…) “petit” Pommard found some years ago….bonne degustation!

  13. I just had a bottle of the 2009 Caretaker, and thought it was a bit light, but will definitely try again. Want to compare it with the Caviste (supposedly made by Acacia) I have purchased at Cost Plus World Market, now that the Sabastopol Hills is gone forever at TJ’s. I don’t like the Castle Rock Mendocino 2009 at all; tastes too much like grape juice to me.

  14. In Feb 2011, it is the 2009 Caretaker Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley that is available at TJ. I’m trying to figure out whether it or the 2007 Islay Peak Pinot Noir from San Luis Obispo County (stated to be from Edna Valley Vineyard on the label), will become my new standard (at least for as long as either is available). I opened two bottles at the same time to do a comparison. I liked the taste of the Islay Peak better upon opening, although there was something a bit odd about its smell. Closed both with Vacu Vin. The second day I thought the Caretake tasted better. Weird. Both are very drinkable, and good buys at $9.99.

  15. Read a review in TJ’s flyer of a Santa Barbara Landing Pinot recently. These reviews are obviously to sell product so I am wary of them (like everything else as well). But for the price I decided to try one bottle.

    Surprise, it is drinkable. In store two days ago they were tasting it. Bottle quality can vary so I tried it to verify my prior reaction. Same reaction. Bought more. For 3.99!

    Let me know what you think.

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