Thursday, December 17, 2009

Picton Bay 2008 Pinot Noir

Wow, TWO posts within the space of ONE week? Yes, 'tis the Christmas season and I am feeling generous with the words so I thought I would alert you to what I think is a bargain buy on a Pinot Noir that can be found at Trader Joe's. Well, perhaps can be found, since I bought this a few months ago.

The Picton Bay 2008 Pinot Noir comes in a screw-top bottle, something I find very convenient since there's no foil to cut and no cork to pull. This is not a long-ager so why bother? The label does say drink now or hold until 2012 but it's more one to drink up over the next year or so. By the way, this one comes from New Zealand.

First thing to notice is the color - it is a relatively light magenta. No heavy stuff here! It looks like a Pinot Noir.

Next is the aroma. It smells like a Pinot Noir in the fruit department: cherries and raspberry. Sort of like raspberry Kool-aid, actually. It's lacking in any barnyard component, though.

On the palate, it's got a light touch. Not watery, but light. Not like so many Pinots that have lots of texture and weight. There's a lot of cherry and raspberry fruit, along with cola and a bit of spice, held together with good acidity and mild tannins. The aftertaste even lingers a bit! I like the fact that it is not heavy. I don't think a Pinot Noir should be heavy.

This isn't going to win any awards for complexity, but for $7.99 I think it's a great value, one with discernable Pinot Noir character.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gift Idea

Here I am, emerging from the woodwork for a rare appearance to provide those of you who are stumped for a wine-related Christmas gift with a suggestion.

Living With Wine: Passionate Collectors, Sophisticated Cellars, and Other Rooms for Entertaining, Enjoying and Imbibing is an elegant coffee table book authored by Samantha Nestor and Alice Feiring. Ms. Feiring's name may have rung a bell with many of you for her outspoken first work, The Battle For Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World From Parkerization.

As of this writing, I see the book is the 24,799th best-selling book on Maybe after hearing about it here, the book might move up a few notches.

Before I go on, let me say that I did receive this book as a semi-solicited sample. That is, when the publisher contacted me via this blog and asked if I would be interested in obtaining a review copy, I said sure, thank you very much! I would rather get wine-related items instead of wine anyway, unless it happens to be a sample from Leroy or DRC or Stony Hill or someone like that which of course if I ever did, would mean pigs are flying.

What arrived is an elegant, heavy volume featuring wine cellars of various passionate collectors, thirty in all, with pictures and text describing the cellars, construction and contents. They range from grand to relatively compact; those beyond the budget of perhaps 99% of us, to those that might provide the rest of us 99% with ideas of what can be done within a limited space in one's living quarters.

Like I said, this is a coffee table-type book. It's meant for the person who can appreciate the joys of having an extensive (or even not-so-extensive) cellar, something beyond wine refrigerators. There are plenty of gorgeous pictures complemented by well-written, easy-to-read text on the design and collection philosophies of the owners.

The retail price of Living With Wine is $75.00 but you can purchase it from Amazon for $47.25. Now, would I purchase this book for myself? Honestly, no. This is the kind of book you buy for an enophile when you want to get him or her something really nice besides a bottle of wine. So while I wouldn't buy this for myself, I would buy it as a gift. It's a gorgeous book that I feel is sure to please a wine enthusiast.

Please excuse the picture quality - I didn't want to use a flash and have a glare appear on the pages, but it also resulted in the pages not looking their best. The original photos in the book are first rate even if mine aren't..