Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mirassou Pinot Noir 2006 & 2007 – California

We’ve been searching for a cheap, fruity Pinot Noir as a replacement for the “original” Beringer Founders Estate we loved so much when it was made from California grapes. The 2006 Mirassou, from a sixth-generation California wine family, came pretty darn close. The nose was smoky, with some plum and cherry notes, maybe pomegranate. The tastes included those smoke, plum, and cherry flavors, along with some other great fruit, including some nice grape flavors. (Yes, we know, “grape,” weirdly, isn’t supposed to be a positive flavor in contemporary wines, but we rather like the tastes of fresh, ripe grapes.) The plum tastes were sweet (not in a sugary sense), and there was also some mild dark cherry and a hint of spiciness. This was very smooth and nice, and was on our short list for a new standby for our “cheap-and-fruity” California Pinot. We rated it House/Yes. $10 on sale, usually around $12.

The first bottle of the 2007 we tried echoed the above themes. We were pleased. But then, after two more bottles of the 07, we’re not so sure. The wine is now earthier and has lost much of the fruitiness we enjoyed so much. Is this a case of inconsistency? Between vintage years? Or even between bottles? Hard to judge. The latest wines aren’t bad (in the sense of being corked or such), just not the same. We’ll try a few more bottles, as we have liked this wine, and report our findings. (The 2007 is what’s on the shelves now.) As of now, we’re changing this rating to Yes/Maybe, until further tasting.

Another weird note: Looking back at some of our much older notes, we’d previously had this on our No list. Our notes don’t have details that far back, or mention why we rated it a No. But it probably shows what a difference vintage year or grape source can make. Or maybe our tastes changed, or we had a bad bottle previously.

More wine drinking (what a shame) is in order to see if we can determine a pattern, and if we’ll continue to keep trying this over the long term. Consistency is something we look for in “everyday” wines, so it’s not really looking good for this Mirassou, although we’ll keep an open mind.