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Wine Review: Pinot noir can be hit or miss

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I have frequently written that I am an avid old movie buff and often mention films in my writings about wine. I believe the title of “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” best describes wines made from the pinot noir grape. There are some exceptionally fine affordable wines made from that variety, but there is the occasional low-priced stinker that leaves a bad impression of the variety and the producer.

Pinot noir grapes are capable of producing some astounding wines. For a red wine, they are usually smooth, full of flavor and have a soft, fruity and long finish.

All that, however, comes at a cost. The grapes are difficult to grow, difficult to work with and are noted for turning on the winemaker at any time during their fermenting.

Despite all of these potential negatives, a pinot noir wine is a thing of beauty. The aroma is gentle and does not overwhelm, nor does it disappear shortly after the wine is poured. I believe that the best way to describe a pinot noir wine is to use the words “regal” and “opulent.”

Acrobat 2019 Pinot Noir ($20)
Please do not let the affordable price of this wine cast any negatives on its quality; it is an excellent example of the variety. Its lower cost is most probably reflected in the cost of the grapes and nothing else. For affordable pinot noir wines, the grapes usually come from smaller, lesser-known vineyards whose cost is lower but not lacking in quality. Good grapes make good wines no matter where they come from or what they cost. This wine accents all of the flavors and aromas that make for a good wine: cherries and rose petals in the aroma, followed by cherries, oak and vanilla in the flavor. It is a bright and open wine with a soft fruit flavor and an interesting aftertaste. While this wine is not a rival to the great and super expensive Burgundies of France, it most certainly is a fine example of a well-made, yet affordable pinot noir.

Little Yering 2021 Pinot Noir ($22)
After many years of fighting a crippling drought, Australian wines are again appearing in the United States. The aroma of this wine is strong as is the flavor. Again, it is the variety’s signature cherry/berry flavor and aroma that are most obvious with black cherry, pomegranate and red raspberries being pronounced. Those flavors carry through to the finish. What impressed me about this wine is the hint of perfume in the aroma that follows the wine and mingles with the finish.

Veramonte 2020 Pinot Noir ($14)
This Chilean wine surprised me. It was made from organically grown grapes and it is also vegan, indicating that no animal products, usually the clarifiers, were used in its production. The aroma is pure pinot noir with black cherry being the most obvious. What caught my attention was the faint background aroma of incense, an aroma that is usually only in the finest pinot noir wines. The flavor and aroma did not quickly disappear but remained in the glass, and in the room, for a very long time. Here again is absolute proof that price does not in any way reflect quality. I also must admit that, as an avid pinot noir lover, I could not resist buying a few bottles for home.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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