Although this wine retails at slightly over my Weekday Wine limit, I tend to bulk buy my wines in Marks and Spencers when they offer 25% off six bottles, so this Californian Pinot Noir was only €12. Made by the respectable Hahn Winery of Monterey, this came highly recommended, so I was really looking forward to trying this wine.
Monterey claims to be the first scientifically identified location for viticulture, when a 1935 study recommended it as being comparable to the premium areas of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Sonoma and Napa. It wasn’t until the 1960’s, however, that the area began producing top quality wines and despite being voted as Wine Enthusiast’s top wine destination in 2013, you can find wines from Monterey that won’t burn a hole in your wallet- more than can be said of near-neighbours, Napa Valley and Sonoma County. As well as this, the 2009 vintage was one of the best of the decade, so was very hopeful that Hahn Winery had plenty of good fruit for this M&S bottling.
So, as you can tell, I was looking forward to this wine, keeping my fingers crossed for a rare Pinot Noir bargain. Rusty orange in the glass, the nose was full of ripe bramble fruit, as well as vanilla, nutmeg and hints of lavender and violets. It was obvious from the nose, as well as the 14.5% alcohol, that this was not going to be a restrained, refined Burgundian style Pinot. Instead it was heaving with fully ripened fruit and heavy oak. If the winery can control this fully ripened fruit, it can produce a fantastic expression of Pinot Noir. Unfortunately this wine was out of balance in the glass.
Medium-to-full bodied, the heavy bramble fruit, vanilla and spice followed through on the mouth, but unfortunately so did the heavy alcohol. After lovely primary notes, the alcohol simply takes over and that is all that remains for the length. Shame, because it was very close to being a real bargain find.
This wine is not one of Marks and Spencer’s best value wines at full price, but certainly not plonk by any stretch.