Best Pinot Noir Wines

Best Pinot Noir Wines

Pinot Noir originated in the Burgundy region of France where the best Pinot Noir wines are still produced. Pinot Noir is, without a doubt, the most renowned red wine in the world. Pinot Noir is Burgundy’s most famous noble grape. Known and loved as “Red Burgundy” in much of the world, Pinot Noir is among the most elegant wines to come out of France. Pinot Noir is a red wine that is typically light to medium-bodied and fruit-forward. Originating from Burgundy, it holds a pleasant spot in the red-wine spectrum—not too dry, but not sweet. This is why it’s a favorite throughout the wine-drinking world.  Today, Pinot Noir grapes are planted in regions around the world, including Oregon, California, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, France, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

Pinot Noir Grapes
Pinot Noir Grapes

Pinot Noir is very popular and highly regarded around the world. Some of this popularity and the somewhat higher price tag may be due to the difficulty associated with cultivating the grape and transforming this product into wine. The grape’s tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural problems involving rot that require persistent management. The leaves of pinot noir are generally smaller than those of Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. The pinot vine is typically less vigorous and viable than either of these varieties. The grape cluster is small shaped like a pine cone. In the vineyard Pinot noir is sensitive to wind and frost, soil types and pruning techniques. The yield remains low to maintain the highest quality wine. Yeast strains from the variety of growing regions can produce markedly different wine characteristics. Its thin skin makes it susceptible to bunch rot and similar fungal diseases. The vines themselves are susceptible to powdery mildew, especially in Burgundy infection by leaf roll and fanleaf viruses cause significant vine health problems. These complications have given the grape a reputation for being difficult to grow. The thin skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lead to producing mostly low tannin medium-bodied and lightly colored wines. These wines are thus not necessarily good candidates for long term aging. Due to this variety of complications associated with growing Pinot Noir is produced in much smaller quantities than most other red wines which result in the customer paying a little more for a rare Pinot Noir, but very much worth every sip. Please let me know about your favorite Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir Wine
Pinot Noir Wine

These are several producers in the $10 range that are worth checking out. Mark West, Robert Mondavi Private Selection, Cupcake, and Mirrasou are among the best budget Pinots.

For more expensive options of the Best Pinot Noir wines, look for bottles from Domaine Faiveley of Burgundy or Craggy Range of New Zealand. As for American producers, you’ll love the Pinot Noir from greats like California’s Gary Farrell, Emeritus, and La Follette. Oregon has some top-ranking wines as well, from wineries like King Estate and Stoller.

There are many other key producers to look for. Within the Napa Valley, look to Bouchaine, Domaine Carneros, Etude, or Saintsbury. For Sonoma County wines of J Vineyards and Sebastiani or the Russian River Valley gem of MacMurray. Other California greats can be found from Cambria, Calera, David Family, and ForeFront by Pine Ridge. Oregon has many equally impressive Pinots.

Food Pairings

Pinot Noir offers a red-wine palate profile in a white-wine style providing a lighter-bodied fare, Pinots give it a step up for both red wine and white wine drinkers. Pinot Noir is well-suited to pair with a wide variety of traditional dishes, ethnic dishes, and classic cuisines. This versatility is due in large part to its consistent acidity, subtle and silky tannins, and lighter-bodied style. Pinot Noir pairings include beef, pork and poultry, cheese and chocolate, fish, lamb, mushrooms, fresh herbs, and wild game. Pinot Noir plays well with spicy seasonings as well as creamy sauces.

Please try some of our fine Pinot Noir selections below or go to our main site for a complete listing of our fine beverages

Louis
Latour 1996 Domaine Latour Aloxe-Corton (Burgundy)

Concentrated black-cherry nose and very floral. Full, tannic, powerful Pinot Noir fruit; a classic ’96. Needs years, but lovely fruit lies under the structure. Hold this one while drinking the ’95 and ’97. (The “Domaine Latour” on the label means the grapes came from Latour’s home vineyard in Aloxe-Corton, where the Latour family resides.)

Designation
Domaine Latour Aloxe-Corton

Variety

Pinot Noir

Appellation

Burgundy, Burgundy, France

 

Ancien
2016 Toyon Farm Pinot Noir (Carneros)
This wine has a beautiful bouquet of smoky cherry, forest floor and tea aromas that follow through to the medium-bodied palate. A jolt of orange peel helps to highlight the lifted, integrated acidity that wraps around the robust body. 94 Points

Designation

Toyon Farm

Variety

Pinot Noir

Appellation

Carneros, Napa-Sonoma, California, US

Sojourn 2016 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)
Brawny yet bright in tangy orange peel, cranberry and strawberry, this well-made wine from a well-known and coveted site is impressive in its breadth and complexity. With thirst-quenching acidity it fills the palate with fruit, spice and oak in equal measure. 94 Points

Designation

Gap’s Crown Vineyard

Variety

Pinot Noir

Appellation

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California, US

Joseph Phelps 2016 Quarter Moon Vineyard Estate Grown Pinot Noir (Sonoma
Coast)

Structured and lively in fresh acidity, this is an impressive wine from an impressive vintage, made from grapes grown in the foggy wilds of Freestone. Broad, baked fruit flavors of pomegranate, strawberry and orange peel give it additional brightness and length, complex within a soft-balanced frame of underlying delicacy. 94 Points

Designation

Quarter Moon Vineyard Estate Grown

Variety

Pinot Noir

Appellation

Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California, US

 

 

Dutton Estate 2016 La Familia Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)

Earthy in exotic plum, apple skin, rose and lavender, this wine has pretty aromatics and a lasting complexity of forest and cardamom. Medium-bodied and balanced in approach, it’s lean and focused, with a lingering note of dried herb. 91 Points

Designation

La Familia Dutton Ranch

Variety

Pinot Noir

Appellation

Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California, US

 

 

 

RARE BOURBONS

Rare Bourbon Whiskey

There is nothing quite like a fine glass bourbon whiskey set out as a straight shot, on the rocks or with a savory-sweet or sour mix. The fine or rare bourbon should not be consumed as an indiscriminate shot, but a smooth sipping experience savoring the elegant warmth and pleasure. A fine bourbon initially enhances the senses of the nose with a delectable scent and follows to the palate leaving a delicate and refined warm feeling.
This says that bourbon is a journey that is worth exploring to an in-depth level. Bourbon has come a long way and has been passed through many judgments, testing, for many decades before reaching its ultimate level of product maturity. The maturity of bourbon is a cherished characteristic that has been relished through the years and bourbon is in no hurry to rush this process. Therefore, sit back and enjoy a fine glass of bourbon. Let me know your favorite bourbon.

However, do we have a clear definition of what is bourbon and what is whiskey? Is bourbon the same as whiskey? The true definition is that all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.

The Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits has passed a decree in 1964 defining bourbon:

Fine and Rare Bourbon

Fine Glass of Bourbon
Glass with Bourbon

BOURBON

  • Host a grain bill that’s at least 51% corn.
  • Must be produced at no more than 160 proof (80% ABV).
  • Needs to be stored in new charred oak barrels for at least four years at no more than 125 proof (62.5 % ABV).
  • Must be bottled at a minimum of 80 proof (40% ABV).
  • Required to be made in the United States.

These are Federal guidelines the bourbon distillers must follow to use the designation of Bourbon. Strong advocates of Bourbon believe this spirit is required to be distilled and bottled in Bourbon County, KY and utilize exclusively Kentucky limestone water. However, other rules have come into play in recent years requiring that bourbon cannot be artificially flavored or enhanced with coloring. For this reason, Jack Daniels is labeled as a Tennessee whiskey and not a proper bourbon.

These are the rules by which all bourbon distillers must adhere. Any deviation from the previously mentioned imperatives results in a spirit that shall not be labeled as bourbon. We’ve also seen more specific rules come into play over the years as well. Namely, that bourbon cannot be artificially flavored or enhanced with coloring. This was a key reason why Jack Daniels is labeled as a Tennessee whiskey and not a proper bourbon. Also, some bourbon devotees suggest if the spirit doesn’t come from Bourbon County, KY and utilize Kentucky limestone water in the distilling process then it isn’t bourbon. The federal government doesn’t recognize such strict sanctions so we’ll leave those ideas to float in the realm of subjectivity. One of the most important things to understand is where your bourbon originates as in who is the actual distiller/bottler of the product. There are also a variety of different variants to consider in your bourbon choice.

A Selection of Bourbons
A Selection of Bourbons

Straight Bourbon Whiskey:
Bourbon that’s stored in new charred oak barrels for at least two years. These can also include blends of other straight bourbons as well as each batch comes from the same distilleries within the state.

Sour Mash:
An industry technique that pulls mash from previous distillations into the new mash. This prevents unwanted yeast strains from infecting the new batch.

Proof:
A number used to reference the amount of alcohol present in the whiskey. Found by doubling the ABV percentage.

Bottled In Bond:
A federal regulation that mandates bourbon must be the product of a single distillation by a single distiller at a single distillery. The whiskey must then be stored at a federally-bonded warehouse for at least four years in new charred oak barrels and bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV). The label must also identify the distillation location.

Small Batch:
A term used to specify the bourbon was made by an exclusive number of barrels and/or recipes in a blended bottling.

Non-Distiller Producers:
These are the companies that purchase the whiskey from actual distillers and blend accordingly for individual branding.

Single Barrel:

As the name might suggest, single barrel bourbons are aged using single barrels that work to impart a greater range of variations in nose,
palate, and finish. In 2007 Congress declared the month of September as our nation’s National Bourbon Heritage Month. This is suggesting there is a revitalization of this spirit in the hearts and minds of bourbon connoisseurs throughout the world. Many to the very obscure selections are now becoming very well-known to the bourbon aficionados. Many of these fine and rare bourbon selections are shown here to entice your palate.

Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 Year

Pappy Van Winkle 20 year is the spirit that every true bourbon drinker should enjoy. This bourbon is quite expensive due to significantly increased demand in recent years but it is considered well worth it for a very fine and rare bourbon. Please provide a review here if you have the opportunity sample this fine spirit.

Four Roses

Four Roses is an exceptionally fine and rare bourbon. The obvious flavors include aromas of allspice, vanilla and fruit, a palate of bright raspberry, cherry, and light oak, and finishing notes that are rich with brown sugar and something of cinnamon.

Elijah Craig 18 Year

This 18-year vintage is very special in that it is a single barrel straight bourbon whiskey coming from one barrel, making it the source of some of the oldest bourbon barrels in the state of Kentucky. The aromas hint of aged oak, chocolate and mint including notes of honey, vanilla and pepper. Enjoy it neat or on the rock.

 

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength

Angel’s Envy is an outstanding whiskey, Angel’s Envy Cask Strength was at one time ranked the “Best Spirit in the World” by Spirit Journal. It currently remains one of top premier rare whiskeys available. Finished in port barrels with fewer than 8000 to 9000 bottles released each year this 124.6 proof cask strength bourbon is unique among fine bourbon whiskeys. Angel’s Envy conveys unusual offerings with hints of clove, peppercorns, fruitcake, and roses. Each sip also reveals a flavors unlike any other selections with notes caramel coffee and dried figs.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2018

Old Forester releases a special batch of birthday bourbon each year for everyone’s pleasure. The 2018 batch year was selected and
drawn from numerous 12-year-old barrels that when combined, yielded a very fine and rare bourbon experience. This rich bourbon has subtle
flavors with hints of citrus fruit, chocolate, caramel, and cinnamon with a spicy sweetness and citrus peel.

Experiencing the Best Cabernet Sauvignon Wines

Experiencing the Best Cabernet Sauvignon Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most notable red wine grapes with it’s historical and regional roots established in the Bordeaux, France. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grow well in warmer climes with plenty of sunshine and a variety of soil conditions. Cabernet Sauvignon is a red grape varietal known for its thick, durable skin, and the vine’s resistance to the elements. After the birth of the grape, the Cabernet Sauvignon varietal began to be adopted in parts of France by winemakers searching for more durable plants that were relatively easy to grow, and the grape found its champion in the region of Bordeaux thus producing the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines. It actually wasn’t proven that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc until 1996 by wine researchers at the University of California at Davis.

Fine Cabernet Savignon

The Bordeaux winemakers loved the grape’s healthy level of tannins, which meant the wine could evolve or be aged in the bottle for many years. They also determined that it responded incredibly well to aging in oak barrels, as the oak brought out and added new flavors. The result was a wine that was full-bodied with a medium level of acidity. This brought out some great flavors that made it the perfect wine for drinking with food. As they started playing with the varietal, they began blending it with other grapes, such as Merlot. The winemakers thus produced and created the world-famous wine blend of Bordeaux.

Cabernet Savignon Grapes

When Bordeaux wine blend evolved into one of the world’s most famous and highly coveted wines, the Bordeaux brand spread across the globe, and with the press for Bordeaux went the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. As the name of the grape spread, and more people around the world began to grow it, and Cabernet Sauvignon became the most widely planted grape globally until Merlot overtook it in the nineties.

In the 1970’s Cabernet Sauvignon saw its reputation enhanced further when it was planted in California. In 1976, a Cabernet Sauvignon from Stags’ Leap in the Napa Valley beat out the top Bordeaux Chateaus in the 1976 Judgment of Paris in a blind taste test. After this defining moment, California Cabernet Sauvignon became immensely popular throughout the world.

As a wine, Cabernet Sauvignon is known for its dark color, full body and alcohol content that is over 13.5%, with the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines, especially those from places such as California, Australia and Chile, being more like 14.5% and sometimes even going over 15%. The wine is dry (not sweet) and has a healthy level of tannin, which is why your mouth dries out when you sip it. Many people who drink Cabernet Sauvignon say they always pick up a taste of green pepper in the wine, along with tobacco, cassis, and dark fruits such as cherries, along with a hint of vanilla that comes from the wine aging in the oak.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine that needs to be drunk with food, given its acidity, tannins, and alcohol. We don’t think there is a hard and fast rule for drinking wine with food, you drink wine you like with food you like to eat, but Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely a wine that does better with food than without food, as by itself, it can be overwhelming.

This is a grape is fully expressed based on where it is planted, grown, and produced to a wine product. It shows ripe fruit character in warm New World climates as California, Washington, Chile, and Australia to place and tends to show riper fruit character from warmer New World wine regions like California, Washington, Chile, and Australia. California’s Napa Valley has produced some very best Cabernet Sauvignon wines, often with higher alcohol levels and remarkable aging potential. In Old World regions, like Italy and France, Cabernet Sauvignon is most often blended to create outstanding Bordeaux’s with the best blends consisting primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc.

Cabernet Savignon Profile

Cabs are essentially dry in style and range from medium-bodied to full-bodied. They are characterized by higher tannins, which provide complexity and structure and thus support the rich dark fruit characteristics. The most common aromatic and flavor components found in Cabernet Sauvignon are black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, plum, warm spice, vanilla, black pepper, and tobacco flavors.

Food Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon, with its a significant level of tannins, is an optimal pairing for foods high in fat and protein. Red meat is an ideal pair for Cabernet Sauvignon. Everything from steak and burgers to prime rib and grilled game, hearty sausage dishes, lamb, and strong-flavored cheese are
an excellent choice with a Cabernet Sauvignon. From my perspective, essentially all Cabernet Sauvignon wines are an excellent choice for fine wine with an outstanding meal. Defining the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be difficult and really a matter of personal taste.

Please review some of these selections of Cabernet Sauvignon from several premier wineries or explore our vast selections of fine wines. Go Here for a complete selection.

Folie a Deux 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley

Folie a Deux was produced into an exceptional Cabernet Savignon under new management in 2004 in the Alexander Valley. Alexander Valley is one of the premier regions in all of California for Cabernet Sauvignon. 2016 was a phenomenal vintage across California.

Cabernet Sauvignon is typically a late-ripening variety, warmer-than-average temperatures in spring and early summer prompted an early harvest. This Cabernet Sauvignon was subjected a reasonable incubation period giving rise to medium body and rich color producing a strong fruity flavor to die for! This wine was aged for 22 months in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak barrels and was scored 92 by the Tasting Panel Magazine.

Lapostolle 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cuvee Alexandre, Apalta Vyd., Colchagua
Valley

The Apalta Vineyard is the most noted of the Lapostolle estate in Chile’s Colchagua Valley and the source for the fruit of Chile’s great wines is produced. The Cuvee Alexandre Cabernet is produced here in this from this remarkable vineyard. The Cabernet grapes for this wine come from an old block of Cabernet planted in 1920 with high density that provides low yields of less than 2 tons per acre and grapes with strong and complex flavors with full-bodied flavors of blackcurrant and lavender with some mint soft tannins and hazelnut. James Suckling scored this 94 points.

Tenuta Polvaro 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, IGP Veneto

Tenuta Polvaro in the Venzia DOC is an estate and winery located near the city of Venice. The facility has been modernized to be a state-of-the-art winemaking facility. The Cabernet grapes for this wine are hand-picked, pressed, then they undergo a crushing process for ten days in order to extract the colors, aromas, and tannins. This Cabernet is aged in two different styles: for eight to ten months, half of the wine rests in steel tanks while the other half resides in French oak barrels. After this period of separation, they are blended together then bottled. This Cabernet is a well-balanced elegance and has a deep ruby color and flavors of herbs and spices as well as blueberry and blackberry with hints of sweet licorice and
vanilla.

Far Niente 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Far Niente Winery was actually established in 1885 by John Benson, a forty-niner of the California gold rush. The winery functioned and prospered through 1919 and the onset of prohibition before being closed and abandoned. In 1979 the winery was purchased and restored and is currently producing only two varietal wines Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

This Far Niente 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 88.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3.5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc aged 16 months in 60% new French oak 60% barrels. This Cabernet demonstrates sumptuous aromas of cherry, blackberry, sweet anise and toasted oak as well as some hints of vanilla and chocolate with smooth tannins bringing a lush finish.

Austin Hope 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles

Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon stems from an endless hard work and dedication to exceptional vineyard farming technologies developed in the diverse sub-regions of Paso Robles, where exceptional wines are being made. Austin Hope is the current matriarch of this historic family operation.

The 2017 Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon expresses aromas of black cherries, blueberries, with subtle notes of coffee, cocoa, and dried spices. The dark red color and supple tannins give rise to red fruit and blackberry with hints to black pepper, clove, and vanilla bean. The previous two vintages scored 97 and 96 respectively. We’re sure this one will not disappoint.

 

Chateau Duhart Milon Rothschild 2009 Pauillac

The wines and vineyards properties of Chateau Duhart-Milon’s were purchased in 1962 by the Rothschild family. The wineries and vineyard properties wines have been completely remodeled and improved exponentially. Chateau Duhart-Milon has thus been restored to its Medoc Classified Growth ranking. This Chateau Duhart Milon Rothschild 2009 Pauillac has considered one of it’s best wines of all times. It is 63% Cabernet

Sauvignon and 37% Merlot with a score of 97 points. It is Viscous and full-bodied with a sweet flavor of crème de cassis, licorice, cedar, and subtle fruits. This fine wine is ready to drink now. Please try this experience.