The hunt for an affordable, everyday Pinot Noir just might be over. It’s not a coincidence that it hails from Oregon, the temperate vacation home for this finicky grape. But A to Z Wineworks isn’t your normal, everyday winery… they don’t have a physical location where you can bask in the wine country lifestyle. They focus on the wine and delivering it to juice lovers for less than $20 — their slogan is “Aristocratic wines at democratic prices” and you can taste it in this Pinot Noir. Founded in 2002, A to Z buys grapes from various growers around Oregon, keeping their costs low but also focusing on quality. I tasted this one blind, up against some heavy hitters in the same Pinot category but not in the same price range. For me, it beat out other contenders from Flowers, La Crema and Etude. At sometimes half the price. Blind tastings tell no lie…
A to Z 2010 Pinot Noir has characteristic bright cherry, tart but not mouth-puckeringly so. Ripe raspberry and red licorice also make an appearance in this light-bodied Oregon Pinot. But it’s not all fruit — soft leathery tannins balance out the waves of fruit. It’s not a wine that you will pore over every detail of the sip but you’ll enjoy the fact that you only paid $15. It’s an everyday drink that would pair with a lot of different dishes.
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Price: $15 – $20
Alcohol level: 13%
Occasion: Tasted blind at an industry event
Availability: Higher end retail shops, big box wine retailers or high-end grocery stores
Food pairing: Wild Mushroom Quinoa Risotto, Sausage-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, or Truffle Tremor cheese from Cypress Grove Creamery