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Daily Glass: Pinot Noir… for $6?

May 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Few days ago, I was caught by surprise with the question: “We like Pinot Noir, would like to ask for your recommendation, and we need to find a bottle…” – as you can imagine, at this point I’m ready for action – of course, Pinot Noir, I can recommend many great wines – but then I heard the end of the question: “for 6 dollars”, and I immediately went into “oops” mode. Yes, I can recommend Pinot Noir, but not for $6! Closest I tried was something generic from Burgundy for $12, and it was unpalatable enough so I had a tough fight with myself to use it even for cooking. I know some good Chilean Pinot Noir, but even that would cost $15. Yes, I know good wines which would cost $6 – but those would be mostly Portuguese.

Well, when in trouble, ask for advice, right? This is exactly what I did – I stopped by my friend Zak at Cost Less Wines and Liquors in Stamford, and thought that I would puzzle him with the same question – I need a bottle of Pinot Noir for $6. Luckily, Zak didn’t hesitate much: here it is, $5.99, and it is quite drinkable, was his advice. I was still a bit suspicious, as it is a French wine, and as I already mentioned, I did have a bad experience with inexpensive Pinot Noir. But at such a price point, you wouldn’t argue too much, right? So I grabbed the bottle and decided to give it my best try.

I’m glad I did! This 2009 Maison Nicolas Pinot Noir Reserve was actually very nice, simple and round, with good dark fruit on the palate, medium body and pleasant finish (Drinkability: 7). No, it didn’t have silky smooth seductive charm of Charles Mara Pinot Noir, or the smokiness and finesse of Russell Hamilton Pinot Noir – but it was a Pinot Noir with all the characteristic cherries and violets which can be picked up on the palate. By the way, can you guess where this wine was made? Yes, of course it is France, but where in France? Nope, it is not Burgundy – this wine comes from the region without limits – if you said Languedoc, you are correct, this wine has designation of Vin De Pays D’Oc. Also I want to mention that this wine comes from Maison Nicolas which delivers wines from many different regions in France, a lot of them quite inexpensive.

The moral of this story is very simple – don’t be deterred by the low price of the wine, and ask for the advice – there is a good chance you will be happy in the end.

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