Laurel Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir

Laurel Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir

Laurel Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir

If you know me you know I worship Pinot Noir. And if you know me well, you know I love Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. And since those wines sent me into a full-on frenzy of tasting Pinots from around the world over the following years, I discovered many other regions where they were producing amazing results (Burgundy aside). The region this one is from may be an obvious one to many a Pinot-lover, but for me all of this discovery happened more recently. Lately I’ve really been honing in on a second-favorite region for Pinot Noir, California’s Russian River Valley (though Carneros is not far behind). While I’m plotting my first Rochioli purchase, I drink a lot of this stuff and I need something a little more friendly to my budget.  Enter this lovely Laurel Cellars Pinot Noir. My colleague at work lives nearby and so we frequent the same shops. You know, for when I need something not from my company’s line… She recommended this one knowing my love for the grape, and this bottle I’m reviewing is actually my second. I drank the first one before I got around to writing about it. Again, I am down to the end of this bottle and just making absolutely sure I get to it this time. But that in itself is compliment enough.

On the nose there is smoky cedar, wild red berries and some leather and even a gamey meat note.. pancetta maybe? On the palate, there is cherry pie, wild raspberry, white pepper and more wood. The fruit is ripe yet expressive and complex, the acids and tannins very well-integrated, and the body and finish a happy medium. It is developed even more today, the third day since I opened it. A lovely wine and the reason why these never last in my house. Abv is 13.5 pct, and at $20, a great value to get such a delicious example of what’s being done in this region.

Shatter 2011 Grenache

Shatter 2011 Grenache

Shatter 2011 Grenache

One of my favorite new discoveries of late is this wine. While at a new restaurant in town a few weeks ago, the waitress insisted I at least try this wine and brought me a sample. She thought it was fantastic, and she was right. I loved this rich juicy red – it went equally well with my gourmet mac and cheese as it did with my strip steak with green chimichurri sauce. A few days later, I saw it in my local wine store at $30 and bought it immediately. I was sold by the 2 glasses I had at the restaurant, for sure. While back there last week for dinner I was eager to have my father try it but it was all out already, and that waiter too was raving about it.

It comes from the Vin de Pays Cotes Catalanes in France. Geographically its in the Pyranees-Orientals department of France – in the wine world, Roussillon. As this wine does not adhere to the Cotes du Roussillon appellation rules, it falls within this VDP. But to fall would imply it is bad, which it is certainly not!

On the nose it has ripe black fruit as well as some bright strawberry notes, as well as obvious oak. On the palate it packs a punch of fruit and acidity with moderate tannin and full body. It lingers a while, the fruit still going. There’s also a good kick of alcohol there which you can taste but its also quite well-integrated for being almost 16%. Just a great wine. I am buying another the next time I am there and maybe more than one for that matter. I love it on its own or with food.