I have had a love/hate relationship with Pinot Noir from go.  And I have not hidden that fact, though I have often felt shameful for not always being as flipped out about Pinot as many folks seem to be; be they wine connoisseurs or everyday drinkers, everyone seems to loves a Pinot.  I am occasionally taken by a Pinot (Anthill, Mt. Eden, Robert Chevillon, and Derain jump to mind), but more often that is not the case.  So here a few relatively affordable Pinots that I have tried recently, albeit with mixed results.

Alain Gras 2008 Saint Romain ~$25

Medium to darkish garnet in color, there is a lovely nose of red fruits with a decided liquorish note to the Alain Gras Saint Romain.  Great freshness and moderate acidity and tannins.  Very drinkable and lovely.  I might have mistaken this for a Langhe Nebbiolo if it was served blind.  Not a bad thing.  RECOMMENDED – GOOD VALUE

Ravines 2008 Pinot Noir, Finger Lakes ~$20-$25

Not a lot of Pinot Noir coming out of New York State, but this 2008 from Ravine’s caught my attention at a Finger Lakes regional producer tasting.  Light violet garnet in color with spicy red fruits, cinnamon, and clove.  I wonder if there is a hint of oak spice affecting things here?  Light, with moderate acidity.  Very approachable and easy, it’s a comfort to know there is good Pinot being made in my home state.  I would compare this with a very good Cote de Beaune or a decent village wine.  RECOMMENDED

Peter Schandl 2008 Pinot Noir, Austria (price n/a ~$35?)

Austrian Pinot Noir?  I had to try it.  Wish I could say I loved the Peter Schandl Pinot Noir, but I didn’t.  If I were guessing, I would would say it was a California Pinot.  It smelled of slightly cooked Pinot fruit (typical of warmer California climes), and the finish was flat and went sour.  This might appeal to some lovers of Cali Pinot, but not me.  Seems like a copycat attempt.  NOT RECOMMENDED