Good afternoon friends,
It has been more than three years since our last survey and considering the environment we all face today, I felt it an important time to turn to our readers for advice. The recent survey offered for your consideration was answered by literally hundreds of our readers, for that we are thankful and humbled. The questions were simple and intentionally held to just 5 concise and straightforward points, aimed at discovering what people want from their daily wine merchant. This week’s offers aim to directly pin-point wines that fit the bill for the overwhelming requests that YOU, our readers, came to US, your wine merchant, searching for…
As I read each and every response that flowed into our in-box, it became instantly clear that one wine grape in particular, for our customers at least, is a clear and evident winner: The Great Pinot Noir! Now before you folks who DID NOT VOTE FOR PINOT NOIR delete this letter in a pronounced “huff”, do realize that a full 15 grapes types made an appearance in our survey; this was a write-in type of survey; no pre-determined bullets were selected by the judges. Be certain that Cabernet and many others WILL be targeted later in the week as I make my way through these offers.
But for today, seeing as The People spoke, my first responsibility as your host this week is to answer the call for not only a great Pinot Noir, as a great majority demanded, but a Pinot in a very specific price point. That price point has, quite frankly, proven to be the most daunting task of my last several tastings. From the moment of realization, coming at the 2/3s point of reading through your surveys, when I discovered that The People are demanding a price point of LESS THAN $20, my demands on your behalf began to go out to my long and trusted list of wine folk.
Call it the “Sideways” effect, call it the realities of market, call it the truth in costs, call it what you will; under $20 Pinot Noir that YOURS TRULY will put his name behind is a rare breed! I have in the last week tasted so many vapid, flaccid and down right un-ingestible sub-$20 Pinots that I would not have allowed my 3 year old daughter to be present at the tastings for fear of her picking up far too many 4-letter words as part of her permanent vocabulary. How so-called wine-makers can live with themselves after bottling some of what I’ve tasted is revolting. The results of these experiences of mine remind me of the days when Merlot was the bastard of the wine world; only becoming that way at the hands of the greedy and loathsome.
Now for the good news. First, I’ll tell you that I promise to continue this vinous search for the Holy Grail of value Pinots for as long as my shop prevails; I WILL find one from each of the best known viticultural regions on the Planet. So far, however, it is Australia that is consistently satisfying my palate in this price point – and she has come through once again! Hailing this time from the Yarra Valley appellation in the deep corner of Victoria, I have for you today the fine folks of Little Rebel.
Quoting Mark Twain on the label, these folks remind us that life is too short to just sit here, and their precocious Pinot is absolutely ready to make the move from bottle to dinner companion. With pure red fruits and a sense of earthy pleasure backing up the fun, this held my interest more than many of my recently tasted West Coast experiences costing double. Respecting the fact that Pinot is a naturally thin-skinned creature, this pure specimen from Little Rebel shows correct color, too; no behind the scene tampering with color-enhancing Syrah is going on here folks.
Discovering this wine, working my way to it at the request of you survey respondents, is worth the journey…
And at this price, you’ll be happy you filled out that survey!
2005 Little Rebel Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir Dry Red Table Wine
Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia
Review by Cepage Noir
E*Newsletter Winter 2009
“A Very Good wine of excellent character that often belies its price point.”
Drink: 2009 – 2011
Estimated cost: up to $20
“Medium garnet color, clear rim, ready to drink color. Possesses mature and savory nuances of strawberry jam and a sense of rhubarb along with an intriguing nuance of soil / terroir notes. The slight touch of minerals would lead one to guess an old world wine if tasted blind. The palate possesses ripe but mature flavors of strawberry, fresh and lively acidity and that mineral touch from the nose. Certainly not what one expects from a New World wine in this price point. Delicious, drinking well right now and even savoury, this will match well with light meat dishes and mellow cheeses. Delicious.”
— Cepage Noir
at $20 this would be wonderful…
but we’re coming to our respondents at a very special offer of only: $17.50 the bottle…
not much to go ’round, please get your orders in soon!