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2010 Chalone Vineyards Estate Grown Pinor Noir, $22, 1st of 4


In 2005, Chalone Wine Group (at the time 8 wineries) was purchased by beverage giant Diageo.  In addition to Guiness Beer and all types of spirits, they own Sterling, Beaulieu Vineyard, Piat d'Or, Blossom Hill, Canoe Ridge Vineyard, Acacia, Moon Mountain, Dynamite, Provenance Vineyards, Hewitt Vineyard, Rosenblum and Navarro Correas.

From reading the winemakers notes this 2010 Pinor Noir sounds like a "late-harvest" version.  In fact, some reviewers feel it drinks like grape juice.

The 2010 harvest must have created a headache for Chalone.  Both their $37 Estate Grown & $16 Monterey Pinor Noir received the same score from Wine Spectator: a respectable 87/100.

Hence in 2014, the Estate version appears at a $15 discount.  There was a run on the $16 bottle and an apparent glut of the 37K bottles of $37 Estate version.  It probably did not help that Oregon Pinor Noirs were booming in 2010.

All said, our bottle indeed tasted on the fruity side reminding me of fat blackberries with swollen drupelets.  The first sips were noticeable astringent but not to the extent described by others.  All in all, however, very well balanced.

As a sipper delicious but a tad flat.  With spicy salami, rice sesame crackers, and St Andre cheese the wine popped.  We savored small sips as we ate.  I liked it enough to buy three more bottles.

Sipped: 4/6 (excellent)

Paired: 4/6 (excellent)

2011 Gerard Bertrand Minervois Syrah / Carignan, $16

2013 Barboursville Chardonnay, $13, 1st of 2