Wine Wednesday – 2011 Edna Valley Pinot Noir

Hello!

Guess what day it is?!

wine wednesday

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Whoop, whoop!

This week, we tried the 2011 Edna Valley Pinot Noir.

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my reflection in the bottle adds a little je ne sais quoi to this picture, non?

I scored pretty big at the grocery story and you KNOW how I love a good wine sale. 🙂

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$10 off, baby!

The Edna Valley Vineyard is in central California, in the beautiful region between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Yes, there’s a LOT of region between those two cities and besides rolling hills, dairies, chicken farms, and cotton fields, grape vines make up much of that country. ❤

The Pinot Noir grape is a fickle grape and requires tender loving care when growing. They are susceptible to rot, have thin skins, and like to take their time with the ripening process. Basically, they’re moody teenagers.

But, when harvested well, they can be turned into some of the most amazing wine you’ll ever drink – spicy, earthy, fruity, and seductive. You’ll know immediately when you’re drinking an amazing Pinot, regardless of your wine knowledge limits.

The climate in central California can be unforgiving at times (we’re talking 100+ degrees in the day, 20-someodd degrees at night – looking at you, San Joaquin Valley) but near the coast, the climate is a little more cooperative. The best locations in California for Pinots have been up north of San Francisco in the Russian River Valley and in Sonoma, but some really excellent ones have come out of Santa Barbara  – Fess Parker, Au Bon Climat, Sanford, etc – which is just south of San Luis Obispo and the Edna Valley Vineyard and shares the same climate profile – lovely afternoon seabreezes and beautiful temperatures.

So, we thought we would give it a try!

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This wine was definitely lovely in the glass – look how pretty! – and with my first sniff, I smelled a little bit of earth, some fruit, and a surprising cola. Seriously. Cola. Like, sniff your Coke and then sniff this wine. See what I mean?!

In the mouth, this Pinot is smooth, silky, and delicately balanced with a little spice and some black cherry fruit.

We paired it with the sweet tater, bacon, & spinach salad and sauteed shrimp and it was pretty tasty.

Honestly, if you can find this on sale, it’s definitely worth the buy.  I’m not likely to buy it again unless it IS on sale.

Having had some over-the-moon amazing Pinots, I’m fairly particular about my choices (go figure, right?) and this one, while it was definitely a well-balanced and good wine, it didn’t knock my socks off. $28 is a little high, in my book. #justsayin

But, remember – I’m picky! It might be the wine that knocks YOUR socks off so you should definitely give it a try. It’s smooth, yummy, extremely drinkable and will pair with just about anything you want it to. Even popcorn.

Talk to me: Do you get excited about trying new wines? Do you have a grocery store wine budget? Do you think I’m crazy? 😉

– jennifer

Wine Wednesday – 2012 Decoy Pinot Noir

Hello, hello!

Guess what day it is?!

Wine Wednesday!!

wine wednesday

If you don’t know what Wine Wednesday is, well, shame on you.

Just kidding. (not really. you really should be ashamed.)

Wine Wednesday is when I totally put myself out there for you by buying and drinking a new bottle of wine (of my choosing unless you plan on sending me one, making a request or suggesting something. Worthwhile, of course. If you suggest Boone’s Farm, we can no longer be friends.), and letting you know how it was.

It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.

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Since last weekend was Easter, many grocery stores (gosh, I love living somewhere where grocery stores can sell wine!) had specials on Pinot Noir. In case you didn’t know, Pinot Noir goes fabulous with both ham and turkey so not only is it a perfect accompaniment for that Easter ham, but it will also pair quite nicely with a Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey (or ham) (or pizza) (or popcorn) (or whatever it is you eat on those days). Consider yourself learned. 😉

Because of those specials, I picked up a wine I wouldn’t normally reach for.  But, it was on sale for $20 down from $28.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have NO qualms whatsoever about dropping $50 or more on a bottle of wine but I usually reserve those choices for special occasions. My grocery store wine budget usually tops at $20. I do that because 1. there are some really good inexpensive wines out there and 2. I don’t have all the money in the world. If you do and you have extra, please share. 🙂

So, this week I grabbed a 2012 Decoy Pinot Noir.

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Decoy is Duckhorn Vineyard‘s “inexpensive” brand. Much like Gwen Stefani has Harajuku Lovers (affordable) and L.A.M.B. (affordable if you win the lottery or have a rich grandmother), Duckhorn has Decoy.

Many years ago, when we lived in California, we took a trip up to Napa and visited Duckhorn.

Oh. Em. Gee.

At the wine tasting, they sat us at a little table (!) and provided us with mini-bottles of wine with the Duckhorn label on them! No standing around a crowded tasting bar trying to squeeze your arm in for what the guy is pouring next in this joint! We fancy!

And, of course, the wines were seriously amazing. Seriously.

We bought 2 bottles – 1 merlot and 1 cabernet sauvignon – and then the bank called and wanted to make sure no one had stolen our card.

So, anywhoooo….Decoy. Their “everyday wine for the well-informed.”

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On first sniff, I was supremely intrigued. Like, it smelled really, really good. I had my nose crammed down in that glass!

I definitely picked up on fruit (strawberry and cherry) and spice. Maybe a little leather. And earthiness.

Whatever it was, it smelled AMAZING!

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As you can tell, the wine is a beautiful garnet color.

Don’t you just want to hop in and take a swim? 😉

My first sip definitely made me happy.

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I got great fruit, excellent structure, some spice on the mid-palate (back of the mouth but not yet in the throat), and some earthiness on the way down.

Seriously, I love me an earthy pinot – like when you can almost taste the dirt – but this had enough earth to be pleasing without being a dirt sandwich. Which I’d totally eat if it came in the form of a red wine. Just sayin.

But this wasn’t like that. It was vibrant and fruity without tasting like jam (blech! I personally hate that in a wine. It’s got to be balanced by pepper and earth in order for me to like a fruity wine.) and had perfect acidity.

It has 13.5% alcohol but wasn’t weighed down or heavy on the tannin front. No headaches!

I’ll be honest. I wish I had bought a few more while it was marked down. This would be really nice to have in our cellar.

I might even stretch the budget a little and go grab another bottle.

We paired this with some grilled salmon and a salsa-style pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, jalapeno, and avocado.

Dreamy!

You could definitely pair this wine with a variety of foods – burgers, pizza, barbecued chicken, salmon, grilled shrimp, etc.

Or, you could just drink it. Because it’s delicious.

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Talk to me: Have you ever been to Napa? What wineries did you visit? Do you even drink wine? Did you read until the end? 🙂

– jennifer