I seem to have no luck with picking my reds these days…the 2009 Veramonte Pinot Noir Reserva was no exception.
We picked up this Chilean pinot noir a while ago at Costco. You know you lost track of your wine cellar when you come home and realize that you had already acquired that same wine at one of the previous trips. I guess I liked the label. Now, I also had been warned about this wine by our friends whom we tagged along with to Costco at the time. She told me that she had tried it and did not like it. Too unbalanced, I think is what she said…Still, I liked the logo so much. And I like pinot noir. So, the heck…I must have thought.
According to the winery’s website, they have been growing pinot noir since the 1990s and have recruited the California winemaker Paul Hobbs to help them figure out the grape. Apparently, all the winemakers involved either still live or have lived in California before. I guess I should have looked into that before…you find the technical information for the wine here (compare it with my notes, if you care…they are very different).
Well. So we opened the wine a couple of nights ago. It had a lighter red color. On the nose it was quite rustic, alcoholic. I detected some chocolate notes but they were dominated by a pungent earthy-bitter mix. The worst thing on the nose, though, and it took me a couple of minutes to wrap my head around that, was that it reeked of burnt rubber. Yes, burnt rubber. That is a smell that my brain immediately connects with everything that can go wrong with a pinotage, a wine I love when made well, but want to spit out when not.
On the palate, the Veramonte Pinot Noir tasted slightly smoky and a bit green, the rubber continued in the opening. The wine was best in its middle section: there were hints of raspberry and cherry, some nice acidity and it had a decent mouthfeel to it. The end however was slightly bitter and did not leave good feelings. Nina noted early on that the wine also showed significant amounts of sweetness in the middle section which I did not get initially but over time.
All in all a disappointing wine. I should have listened to my friend. To me, pinot noir is best when it is subtle and deep. This one was totally different: in your face, no balance whatsoever and therefore unfocused and unpleasing. It just left me befuddled and disappointed.
Now the only problem is what to do with the other bottle…Christmas gift, maybe? Anyone?
Hm, interesting… I tried the Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc awhile back and wasn’t impressed. Don’t think I’ll ever buy that brand again now if this is unpleasant too!
Thanks for sharing, Rachel. And good to know.
I have found that I only trust Pinot grown in a few regions–it is just too darn finicky. As for the gifting thing, that is tricky–if your friends see you as the wine guru that you are and you give them a bottle of schlock….
Yeah, I was more thinking about one of those secret elf things. I would not put my credentials at risk with this one…:) I think I agree with you on pinot noir from certain regions only. Burgundy definitely unsurpassed. I am eager to try some Oregon pinots (Nina says she remembers them fondly). The Germans I have had also were not bad at all.
You will definitely want to go with an Oregon pinot noir – Willamette Valley in particular. Yes, pinot is indeed a persnickety grape, but done well it’s wonderful. Thank you for posting your experience with this particular wine.
Thanks, Connie. I sure love a good pinot. Will be on the look out for Willamette valley! Thanks for the tip.
I second Connie’s suggestion for Willamette Valley and you should also give Italian Pinot Noirs from Alto Adige a try if you come across any – some are definitely pretty good.
Thank you for those tips, Stefano! Very much appreciated.
Shortribs braised in Pinot Noir… Here’s my recipe. It’s for veal cheeks, but it’s based on my shortribs recipe – http://wp.me/p1ByJK-15
Too bad I am not a ribs fan…might have to do it with the veal cheeks instead. However, I would be afraid that this rubber wine will ruin the dish…