January 29, 2010

2007 Cloudline Pinot Noir

I spent last semester in France. I spent roughly as much time drinking wine as I did in class (and I think the French would be proud of me for that fact). During all that time with a glass in my hand, it was never from a bottle costing more than 10 Euro, and it was usually from a bottle less than 5. But two Euro gets you a pretty decent bottle of wine in France. Perhaps not so much here in the U.S.

Without completely breaking the bank, I developed a taste for red wine, ideal for drinking on the banks of the Seine since it doesn't need to be chilled (I also developed a taste for open containers in public places). Since getting back, I've stuck with the reds, but have also developed a taste for all things New World. Though cheap, well-made wine is available anywhere at almost any time in France, you have to stick to terroir fran├žais. I am not even sure if the French know that other countries make wine.

I got really excited when one of my friends showed up to my birthday party last weekend with a 2007 Cloudline pinot noir for me from Oregon. Free is the best kind of cheap wine (it's in the $15 range when not a gift). It's a wine from the Willamette Valley, the northwest part of Oregon which produces about 2/3 of Oregon's wines and is home to 200 wineries. The cooler climate is perfect for producing pinot noir grapes.

Last night I finally got the opportunity to pop the cork. After letting it sit, I took a sip and found it to my taste. There are strong fruity notes of cherry and raspberry, and the nose is very minerally (is that a word?). I love the mineral, earthy smell that you get from a wine grown in a cooler, wetter climate. The body is medium-heavy, and I had the sense that I would have enjoyed it even more with some sort of heavy food: steak, salmon, something creamy. Kraft macaroni and cheese, perhaps. But even by itself it wasn't a disappointment.

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