Loving Pinot Noir, thanks to Pinot Smackdown

Pinot Noir has not been a preferred red wine for me, but after the samples I tasted for Pinot Smackdown, Pinot Noir may become one of my favorite reds. All of the wines tasted were produced by family-owned and/or boutique wineries in small batches, which in my opinion, means more personalized attention to the grapes and wines and usually better results. All were amazing examples of Pinot Noir, characterized by a rich garnet color, cherry, dark and red fruits, and spiciness. Below are the wines I tasted. All were complimentary samples provided by the wineries.

2008 Foris Vineyards and Winery Maple Ranch, Rogue Valley, OR
Winery price $30.00, 501 cases, alcohol 13.6%

2008 Heart O’The Mountain Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Winery price $48.00, 225 cases, alcohol 14.6%

2009 Odonata Wines Pinot Noir, Domani Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Winery price $33.00, 70 cases from one acre/three barrels, alcohol 13%

2008 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Branciforte Vineyard (Pommard Clone), Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Winery price $29.00, 124 cases, alcohol 14%
Winery note: This is an “old school” French/Burgundian-style Pinot Noir

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