Brown Bag Wine Night “Pinot Shminot”

A group of Dallas wine enthusiast, including myself, have started this tradition where we meet at a BYOB restaurant and each person brings a bottle of wine. The wine is wrapped in a discrete brown bag and we all taste the wines blind later disclosing what they are after everyone has sampled the wine.
This time we met at Kozy’s Kitchen
I loved this venue and it really lived up to its name. The place is really “Kozy” and the food was spectacular. I had Buffalo Tacos which can be seen here.
A great food to load up on before a wine tasting!

Kate Lynch wrote an awesome post about Kozys that I could not agree with more you can read that here.
I really hope that we do another tasting here at Kozy’s I really liked the place!

Now back to the Wines:
We always have criteria for what we are to bring and this time the tasting was with “Pinot”
I have struggled with Pinot Noir for a long time. Mainly because of the price points and quality for the price. Many I have talked to about my lack of excitement for this varietal look at me like I have a 3rd eye or some other odd appendage growing out of my head when I tell them that I just don’t get what other see in the grape.
I argue the point that the American wine drinking public did not really know about Pinot Noir till the movie Sideways came out where the co-star of the show Miles made the comment that he would not drink Merlot and preferred Pinot Noir over any other wine. Now where people got this movie incorrect was that Miles would not drink Merlot because of an emotional connection he had with his divorced wife. And Pinot being the complete opposite end of the spectrum was a great alternative. Most of the wine drinking public did not get the point being made in this movie and many felt that it was a push for Pinot Noir.
Sales for Pinot Noir did increase by over 20% in the first few months after the movie was released back in 2004.
I am on my soap box about this because this is a major factor in why I am just not “into Pinot” like many others are. I do drink Pinot Noir from time to time and have had (before this tasting) a few good Pinot Noirs but what you get for what you pay for is a hard sell to me.
So me going into this tasting was somewhat of a struggle.
Now I did my homework on Pinot Noir, I sampled lots of Pinot Noirs from all over the world got recommendations from many helpful people, but all in all I just could not find a Pinot Noir to bring that I could say “I love this wine!”  All the things that people said they loved about Pinot Noir I just did not find impressive. I did have a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley and a Pinot Noir from Chile that I really liked and did not mind drinking, but when the date for our BBWN was approaching I could not come up with a wine for me.
My decision at the last minute was to  completely blow everyone out of the water with a “Pinot” except this was a 2009 Chandon Pinot Meunier from Carneros region of California
 Now one thing I will point out about this grape, Many would never have even tried this wine because it was a grape varietal they were not familiar with. This is one of the 3 grapes used to make Champagne with. It is similar to Pinot Noir however the taste profile is completely different. And honestly, some said that they were able to pick it out of the line up, but in all honesty I think maybe only 1 or 2 could.
The reason why I brought a Pinot Meunier instead of Pinot Noir was because on Twitter when we were all setting up the criteria for this event I was the only one arguing about doing a blind tasting of Pinot. Terry @Friscokid49  and I went round and round about doing something other than Pinot Noir. At the end I gave in realizing that I was the only one who did not want this varietal so I said “Ok, thats fine lets just do Pinot” Terry Agreed and the Night was set. We all know that day the rebellious “Texian” in me came out… as I was following the rules set just not the intent of the rules 🙂 Come to find out another person who was ill that day had plans on bringing a bottle of Pinot Meunier so that made me feel a little better. I sure wish he had been there, as that would have been someone else in my corner that night 🙂

I brought my electric wine opener that I thought would come in handy. Since the last meet up there were some issues getting the bottles open since the restaurant only had 1 corkscrew. This wine opener was given to me by my Aunt and Uncle as an anniversary present a few months back and honestly I had not had any issues opening wine bottles until that night. I made a complete fool of myself trying to open the bottle of wine Melanie (The Dallas Wine Chick) brought (which I should have known was going to be aged) as you can see here this is what happened!

The corkscrew striped out of the cork and we tried everything to get the cork out…sadly this is what resulted…

It had to be filtered and decanted into a pitcher…forget the brown bag….

The wines that tatsed were:

The Four Graces 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir

Acrobat 2010 Oregon Pinot Noir

Windsor Sonoma 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Bearboat 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Decoy by Duckhorn 2010 Sonoma County Pinot Noir

Chandon 2009 Pinot Meunier -Mine 😀

Nuits St. Georges  2007 Burgundy

Retour 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Check out Kate Lynch’s blog for better pics and descriptions of the wines from her perspective. She really did a great job on the descriptions of the wines.

One thing I noticed about Pinot Noir was that it needs lots of time to breath. After opening and letting them get a little air the wines were still not as drinkable as we all expected. Also too the wine glasses that Kozys provided did nothing for the wines as you can see here thanks to Melanie who was proactive enough to bring REAL wine glasses that made a complete difference in the taste of the wines. It made me wonder if the reason why I might not be “into Pinot” is because I do not have the right glass….After tasting and re-tasting all these wines I came down to my top 3.

1. Decoy by Duckhorn 2010 Sonoma County Pinot Noir – I really liked the fruit and syrup like texture that was coming out of this wine when I discovered what it was I was very impressed as I have found it as low as 15.99 in a few stores. And for that price point I would not hesitate picking up a bottle of this wine.

2. Chandon 2009 Pinot Meunier – This wine really impressed me. Terry and myself both agreed it was allot like drinking a Dr Pepper with a little bit of vanilla in the finish. Later after the wine breathed more we could tell that there was an interesting sarsaparilla (root beer) flavor coming out as well. We all agreed it was a “Soda wine.” Being the #Bteam wino that I am I was very impressed by this wine even though it was not a Pinot Noir. And I pointed out to a few people that most would have never tried this wine if I would not have brought it.

3. Retour 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – Now this wine really shocked me. If someone would not have told me that this was a Pinot Noir I would have thought it to be a different grape. There was a very unique lavender hint on the nose which I at first thought “Ok who just put lotion on their hands and touched my glass!” The wine was not light bodied like I have had from all the other Pinot Noirs and the acid was very much balance quite possibly from the age. I was shocked to find out that it was from Willamette because all the Pinots I have tasted from that region are always acidity first and fruit second. I really loved this wine. It made me wonder if all the other Pinot Noirs I have tasted have been the “bad Pinots” that many talk about. I know for myself that this wine really made me rethink Pinot Noir. The price point was the highest of the lineup ($80s) but I would have paid that price for this wine if I had known the quality behind it.
In the past I have been burned with over priced Pinot Noirs so Im always cautious. Leave it to Melanie to teach me a lesson!
I came out of the tasting learning:

1.Willamette Valley is pronounced “Will-amit” Thanks to Justin’s friend Chad who taught us this very important fact. He said just think of saying “Damn-it” and add “Will” before it! A cleaver tip! Thanks Chad!

2.The right glass with Pinot Noir is VERY VERY important.

3.If you want good Pinot you are going to have to spend some money from an established producer (one who was making and growing quality Pinot Noir before the movie Sideways came out) The money spent will be worthy of the price.

This tasting did make me rethink Pinot Noir as a good wine, I just have to know what Im doing to find it. We all need a Dallas Wine Chick to help us stretch and grow a little! Thank you Melanie!

But with all sincerity,  I just want to know when a movie about Mencia will be coming out so that the wine drinking public will all want to drink wines from the Bierzo region of Spain! 🙂


7 thoughts on “Brown Bag Wine Night “Pinot Shminot”

  1. I really like the blind tasting the best because it makes you stretch & search for the actual aromas & flavors of the wine without the preconceived prejudices that is human nature when we know what is on the bottle. The only issue I have with the “brown bag” program, the wines are not decanted, therefore they RARELY get the opportunity to open up appropriately.

    We all saw this 1st hand with Melanie’s Retour. It was decanted by accident, but I dare say that we may not have been so wowed by the Retour if it didn’t have the benifits of decanting. I would also say we might have appreciated most of the other wines more with that advantage.
    Overall it is a great time with great folks of like mind, with some really impressive wines! Terry.

    • By the Way Terry, I think your Pinot the Nuits St. Georges 2007 Burgundy would have showed itself better with some decanting. It was a great wine just wished we could have “studied” all these wines a little more.

      • Yes, it was a very good wine that was built to age (unusual for American PN). It would have benifited greatly, but I could say that about several of the wines. I think I will bring a decanter (or 2) for the next dinner.
        Good post!

      • You know you can pick up inexpensive decanters at Big lots for under 7.00 I believe, they are nothing special but they do the job. I have one Ive used for years, I even made a little stopper from my winemaking supplier with a vaccuvin attachment on top. It costed me all of 10.00 but was worth it.

  2. Pingback: “God made Cabernet Sauvignon, whereas the Devil made Pinot Noir.” « ammo & vino

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