Aug 072012

Image courtesy of Beau’s Barrel Room

With DC firmly in the grip of the dog days of summer, Pinot Noir is often a good bet for red wine drinkers. It’s lighter in body and style than other reds, which can be perfect when the mercury rises.

Gabriele and I have had some excellent Pinots this summer that were new for us, so I’m sharing some winners in this post. The first is La Follette, a wine maker introduced to us by the Majestic Cafe in Alexandria. That wine was the 2010 La Follette Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

It was delicious, and very balanced between fruit, acidity and spice. It nicely complemented our meal and we went looking for it in stores. Since the Sonoma Coast had been so good, we spent a bit more, $45, for the 2009 Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot.

I got big rose petals on the nose and the smell of a garden after a rainstorm. There was big boysenberry fruit and plum, but it was well balanced and the wine was light bodied. It was absolutely delicious and is definitely a Pinot you can drink with meats. Here’s the winemaker Greg La Follette talking about the Sangiacomo.

We also recently had a Pinot Noir from Lemelson vineyards for the first time, the 2010 Thea’s Selection Pinot Noir. This wine is from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, with a tradional Pinot nose of greens and herbs. Very light colored and bodied but with very nice structure, with assertive strawberry fruit and balanced acidity. A very good Oregon Pinot that tastes way above its $30 price point.

The final standout Pinot is the 2007 Loring Rancho la Vita Pinot Noir. We had this with central California Pinot with dinner out recently and its big as Pinots go. It’s got a lot of alcohol and raspberry on the nose. It was light bodied, smooth on the palate and finished with a tart flourish and a little bit of leather. This wine is delicious on its own but is also a versatile food wine, and stood up well to all the flavors in my spicy entree. Retails for around $45 but definitely worth it.

So don’t let 90+ temperatures force you to drink white wine (unless of course you want to). Give one of these delicious Pinot Noirs a try, and enjoy the rest of your summer.

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