A true low-alcohol Bourgogne for half the price of a tooth-staining California pinot, this shows true balance and minerality. Strawberries, some raspberries, and damp black earth shoveled over hot coals show on the nose. On the palate the fruit is more muted, hinting at a dumb phase calling for a couple of years in the cellar. Raspberries and strawberries, in that order, still show, but they have equal billing with smoky earth and leafy spices, sage and marjoram. The taste of fresh-licked river stone comes out with bright acids and cranberry on the finish. There is a lot of complexity here, particularly for the price, and it should reward patience in the cellar. Drink with pork loin. Recommended. DH
The nose is a treat in itself, aromas of fresh-ground medium-roast coffee and black cherries, tinted around the edges with fresh sage. The same coffee-cherry theme shows on the attack, the initial taste, adding hints of cola, milk chocolate and licorice on the mid-palate. Tannins are mild and silky, with acids to match. A difficult food match, with rich flavors but medium body, this will pair best with a meat to match. Try it with grilled swordfish or smoked trout. Recommended. DH
The winemaker who has twice been named Robert Parker’s Wine Personality of the Year has projects working in 20 wineries worldwide, including Argentina, the U.S., France, and a new one in Armenia.
A third-generation winemaker, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta comes from a family that's legendary in Italian winemaking. A third-generation winemaker, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta comes from a family that's legendary in Italian winemaking.
Another lovely offering from the folks at White Rose in Oregon. They offer a wide range of wines from different vineyards. This one opens with a classic pinot nose of smoked cherries and plums. Tannins are soft and fruit is silken as it lingers on the palate after you first give it a little time to come around. Finishes a tad awkwardly, but the wine is still not quite wholly knitted together yet. A couple years' patience will be rewarded. Drink with grilled lamb loin chops. Highly recommended. GT
If you think pinot noir from South America is inevitably too rich, too extracted and too ripe, you really need to get yourself a bottle of this subtle, balanced gem from Bodega Chacra, founded by Piero Incisa, scion of the family who brought you a little Tuscan wine called… Sassicaia. Made from old vines found by Incisa in the cooler reaches of Patagonia (the youngest vineyard was planted in 1978, the others in 1955 and 1932), it is clear, with a bright garnet color, and a set of aromas that probably wouldn’t be out of place in the Côte de Beaune. Drawing a comparison is unfair, however, as there is a very specific personality to Barda, the entry-level cuvée from this special venture. With dried cherry and tea-leaf aromas, wild and earthy undertones on the nose, a bright and fresh feeling on the tongue, an overall impression of ripeness rounded out by maybe a bit of oak, this is a really fine pinot noir at a very reasonable price. A warning: it will likely make you want to buy the estate’s single-vineyard bottlings, whose prices hover closer to 100 dollars a bottle. Highly recommended. RC
Retail distribution is spotty, and their wines are best obtained through the website or by joining their wine club. Highly Recommended. GT