Food » Winesipper

California Pinot Noir

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With the success of the movie Sideways, California Pinot has become the hot topic in the wine world, Boise included. Everybody wants to try it and those who have are instantly hooked. But that's not surprising-Pinot Noir is one of the most versatile, food-friendly wines around, pairing well with everything from roast chicken to wild salmon. And while Miles's tastes may be rather esoteric, you don't have to steal a wad of cash from your mother's stash to score a decent bottle. We found a number of worthy wines in the ten and under category. Here are the panel's top picks:

2003 Mark West Pinot Noir, $9.99

Lightly herbal aromas are backed by bright cherry, cinnamon and pleasant touches of dill and cedar. A bit of cedar comes through in the flavors as well behind the ripe berry fruit and crisp acidity. Takes time to open up in the glass, but evolves into a lovely wine with a long, velvety finish. Makes for a great sip on it's own, but really shines when paired with food.

2003 Parducci Pinot Noir, $7.99

Stylistically, the softest of the three favorites, with lightly floral aromas complemented by raspberry and currant, mixed with hints of mint and spice. This is a well-structured wine that offers dark cherry fruit, nicely integrated tannins, and a smooth kiss of cinnamon on the finish. At $7.99, the absolute bargain of the tasting and a wine that Jack would definitely like.

2003 Parker Station Pinot Noir, $9.99

The second label from the Fess Parker Winery (Frass Canyon in the movie, where Miles takes a hit off the dump bucket), and billed as the best Pinot you can afford to drink every day. Rich, meaty aromas with black cherry, allspice and rhubarb on the nose, and exceptional balance in the mouth. An elegant wine that shows a nice core of bing cherry fruit, good acidity and light tannins on the finish. The most complex of the bunch and an exceptional value.

This Week's Panel: Fawn Caveney, Tastevin , Dave Faulk, Porterhouse Meats, David Kirkpatrick, Boise Co-op, Cindy Limber, Bardenay, Karen McMillin, Idaho Wine Merchant, Kevin Settles, Bardenay

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