Wine Reviews Tasting Notes and Education for the Non-Snob, by Vino Joe, a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW)

Pinot Noir Review: Fleur 2006

Fleur Pinot Noir 2006 – Carneros

Fleur Pinot Noir red wine labelEver since “Sideways” came out, everyone and their brother became a Pinot Noir snob, and the wine suppliers reacted by flooding the market with all kinds of swill labeled with that classic French varietal. Four years after the movie, wine shops can’t keep enough Pinot Noir stocked on the shelves — from all areas of the world and at all price points. Some of it is good, much of it mediocre, and too many are awful. The problem is that you can’t force production of the wine anywhere you want, anytime you want — Pinot Noir is a fragile grape, easily affected by temperature changes and representative of the quality of its soil. The reason it wasn’t a big deal in the mass market before is because of its fragility — it’s difficult to make good-quality Pinot Noir, period, never mind trying it year in and year out.

If you’ve ever had REAL Pinot Noir — the stuff that costs a minimum of $40 per bottle and has all kinds of French words that 95% of the population can’t comprehend — then you know that most of the affordable wines labeled “Pinot Noir” from outside Burgundy are, well, pretenders. But that’s not to say you can’t find a decent drinker.

For a while, I turned my nose up at these pretenders, then realized how dumb it was of me to do so. It was a matter of managing expectations; previously, when the label said “Pinot Noir”, I was expecting sheer bliss in a bottle. Now, I look at the price tag — if it’s under 25 bucks, I’m just hoping the wine is drinkable, and judge it as a “red wine”, rather than against the glories of Burgundy.

As it turns out, there are valid quaffers and good table wines labeled as Pinot Noir in my cheapskate price range, and I’m constantly on the lookout for well-made bargains. I found one recently from the Fleur winery in Carneros, California — for about $13.

Tasting Notes: Fleur Pinot Noir 2006 Carneros

Bright, open nose of fresh sweet strawberry, red cherry, maraschino, red raspberry and a distinct floral character – hence the name “Fleur”. In the mouth you get upfront, forward fruit: ripe strawberry, red cherries, red raspberry, and cranberry. Acidity is mild to medium, tannins are mild. This wine drinks similarly to a soft Beaujolais Cru (Fleurie?), and is enjoyable on its own though better with food. Have it with roast chicken, pork chops, turkey, vegetarian cuisine. A good value.

a-8 t-8 b-7 fc-9 v-8 ~ 90 Points

Fleur de California winery website

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  1. [...] has a nice bright cherry character with ample acidity and enough tannin for food. My suggestions: Fleur, Estancia, Robert Mondavi, Drylands, Acacia “A”, Cono [...]

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