Sunday, January 13, 2013

Right out of Sideways - Great Pinot Noirs

I discovered Pinot Noirs after seeing the movie Sideways and it's now my favorite type of red wine (nothing personal, Merlots...). I don't think the movie had anything to do with it, however - I think PN's and I were destined to be together. I tried new Pinots out for this post, only one of which is included.

My husband sits rolling his eyes as I try to explain my dedication to the blog information-gathering process... I realize that perhaps this is a losing battle. However, I know he would join me in my research with the first of the Pinots I am going to mention here.   And that would be...

Le Grand Noir (Norman's, Total Wine)
And why is that? Well, this is one of the wines that we served at our wedding reception.

From France, it's an award winning wine that's available at Norman's for $7.99 and Total Wine for $8.49 but in a pinch you can pick it up at Publix for $9.99. Perhaps it's all of the happy memories I have tied to it, but I can't say enough good things about this fantastic Pinot Noir - love, love, love it.  

Don't fear the cap! It is no longer the sign of a poor quality wine. You'll also be ensured that your wine won't be "corked," but you can read more about that here

Side Note: The red blend GSM (which stands for Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre), also by Le Grand Noir, is another award-winning wine. For some reason I have only found this one at Publix ($9.99), but I highly recommend it. Don't tell my husband, but I might like it even better than the PN.

Other great Pinot Noirs:
Ok, so I only have two, but solid Pinot Noirs in this price range are few and far between.

Block Nine ($11.99)
This California winemaker only makes Pinot Noir, so it makes sense that they're pretty good at it. It received 88 points from Wine Enthusiast and is also on their best buy list. Like the Le Grand Noir, this wine is also a better deal at Norman's (it's $2 more at Total Wine).  

Layer Cake ($14)
On the upper price range for this blog, I know, but Layer Cake is good enough that it deserves a mention. This wine is also out of California and is a great choice.

I know I mentioned WineStyles in my previous post, and while they are pricier than where I usually shop for wine, I wholeheartedly agree with their eight "styles" of wine (hence, WineStyles).

The styles are:
Crisp, Silky, Rich, and Bubbly for white wines and Fruity, Mellow, Bold, and Nectar for red. Varietals don't always fit neatly into each category - though there are definitely trends - but this really helped me figure out what I like (and why). If you sometimes feel like it's hit or miss regarding which wines you like, it may be worth it to you to experiment with some of the styles to see which you like best.

Happy sipping and until next time, cheers!


  1. Have you ever tried Cambria Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard, 2009? It is on the pricier side for this blog but it is yummy in my opinion. I'm excited to go and try the Block Nine.

    1. No, but I'll definitely add it to my list! I am always looking for new wines to try and I see it was rated 92 points so that's a very good start. Let me know what you think of the Block Nine.

  2. I don't like sweet pink zinfandels but I LOVE the dry roses of Southern Europe. Tres Ojos rose Wine Calatayud 2004 (Spain) only $7 is one of my favorites! Dry wines will usually have a least 12 percent or higher alcohol. (A lower number indicates residual sugar that was not fermented). With roses younger is better.

    1. You know, rosés are one type of wine I know absolutely *nothing* about, but for $7 I will be sure to try it out!

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  4. I have always feared the cap, but I'm going to try Le Grand Noir because of your recommendation...and because I love PN's...and because there is a giant sheep on the label. :)

    1. That last reason is my personal favorite. :)

  5. I ADORE the cap! I hope all people adopt the love for caps and I'm excited to use this information in my serving job. People constantly have questions for me about wine flavoring and parings. With the wine tastings I've done, I find what people detect in the wine is somewhat unique. Are we all just making it up or do our palates read the flavors differently?

  6. It's funny you mention that, because while I do think that there are distinct flavors in every wine, some take it to ridiculous levels.

    Check out this wine blog post about bad tasting notes:

    I don't know about you, but I wouldn't know a Japanese gooseberry or a pomelo fruit segment if it knocked on my door and introduced itself.