Pinot Noir Overdose

Help, I’ve drunk too much pinot noir, and I can’t drink any more. Seriously.

Since our getaway to Willamette Valley, Oregon last November, where we drank pinot noir several times a day – tasting at local wineries and sipping at lunch, dinner and in between, I have had pinot noir exactly – and only – five times, with mixed results:

  • On Thanksgiving, we had a Beaux Freres that we bought on our trip, and the wine was terrific, held up well to the traditional turkey dinner, good fruit and earth flavors.
  • During an oh-too-brief warm up a few weeks back, I decided to try a pinot for dinner, choosing an Erath, one of our classic standbys … Alas, the bottle was corked or somehow bad. That put me off pinot again for a few weeks, until …
  • This time, I opened an Orogeny, a Russian River pinot – California, not Oregon. In the past I had liked it, but this time, I took a couple sips and left half a glass undrunk.
  • For Chinese New Years, we tried an Anderson Family pinot noir. This was a gift from our wine guide Chris, who is the son-in-law of the vineyard owners. This was also one of the best bottles of wine I’ve had in quite some time. Delicious, spicy, flavorful, not really like any other pinot noir I’ve ever had. I suppose it had to do with the steeply sloped vineyard and the sun and the breeze – whatever the unique characteristics of the terroir, it was delicious.
  • At Alder in New York City, we had an Alsatian pinot noir, which was all gravel and paving stone, not unpleasant, but also not typically pinot, or necessarily like other red wines, either. Unless it was a bit more like a cabernet franc with its stony taste …

Conclusion? Perhaps I only like cult pinot noirs from Oregon now? Or maybe I just never really enjoyed the “typical” pinot, but have been culturally bullied into thinking I should. To be fair, I’ve never been a huge pinot noir fan, despite how Miles in Sideways rhapsodizes over the wine:

Of course, I once made the mistake of describing an expensive French Burgundy as “thin” and a “bit watery,” whereupon my mother-in-law kindly (triumphantly) corrected me: I think you mean elegant and refined.


Right now I’m inclined to stay hearty and flashy – until the weather warms. Maybe I just need more distance to appreciate pinot again.

Otherwise, those sad bottles we bought in Oregon will sit gathering dust, unappreciated and unloved.

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