Experiments in Wine: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir wines

So the two varieties of red I’m trying are Pinot Noir and red blends. I covered red blends a couple of days ago, so here are the Pinot Noirs I’ve tried out. As always, your recommendations are welcome!

Ecco Domani: Got this one at the Target grocery store. It was decent, but uneventful. Not the best, not the worst, just somewhere in the drinkable-but-not-exceptional middle ground. $9.

A by Acacia: I got this at the Costco, so it was a bit better price than at other stores (Costco seems to excel at getting mid-level items at lower-then-usual prices). Like the Ecco Domani, it was good without being great. Not something I’d buy again, but I’d drink it if it were offered. $10.

Mark West: I’m baffled by the online reviews for this wine, because people seem to love it. Heck, at the Texas de Brazil (where they have tons of fancy wines), this is one of the two Pinot Noirs they sell by the glass. Which must mean that’s good, right? But it isn’t. For me, anyway, it was TERRIBLE. The flavor was bland, and the tannins so strong, it was like trying to drink paint thinner. Not that I’ve ever consumed paint thinner, but it sounds like it’d taste like Mark West. This was the first and only bottle that’s gone down the drain, because there was no possible way I could drink it. $10.

Cupcake: I wasn’t a huge fan of the Red Velvet red blend from Cupcake, but the Pinot Noir wasn’t bad. It was up there with the Ecco Domani as a good choice, but not fantastic. My biggest disappointment is that with a name like Cupcake, I’d expect a more fun label. $9.

Yellow Tail: These wines are all over the grocery stores, so you’d think they wouldn’t be very good. But for the price, this was a decent wine. Definitely way better than Mark West, but everything’s better than Mark West (including paint thinner). This was the first wine I got at the Target, and now I’m thinking I should get another. The brand also has two red blends (Sweet Red Roo and Big Bold Red) that I should try. Especially because the price is so right. (The one thing that puzzles me is that it’s a Pinot Noir, but it’s in the red blend bottle shape. Funky!) $6.

MacMurray Ranch (Central Coast): I get this from the Costco, and my fourth bottle is in the house right now. It’s the first Pinot Noir I bought on my own, and it’s still the high point to beat. Great flavor, not too dry, not harsh at all. I see that it’s $17 at the Total Wine, but the Costco price brings it down closer to the rest of the stuff I’ve been trying. And for those extra couple of bucks, it’s definitely worth upgrading. $12.