Monday, August 10, 2009

Pinot Noir and My Sensitive Palate

I have a thing about Pinot Noir.  Most of the time I don't like it because it tastes like dirt. Or "It's too earthy",  as I usually say. 

I haven't really eaten dirt. But it has that hint of mud/earth/wood/worms that to me is not something I want to smell or taste in a wine glass. It must be me. My husband rolls his eyes in total disagreement. And others look at me like I'm koo-koo. I can't help it. I have similar issues with goat cheese. It tastes like barn.

So maybe I have a sensitive palate?

I thought I should look up Pinot Noir on Wiki to see what they say about it.  And what do you know.  Here's what I found out. The Pinot Noir grape thrives in France's Burgundy region, particularly on the Cote d'Or which has produced some of the most celebrated wines for centuries. Traditional red burgundy is famous for it's fleshy, "farmyard" aromas. So my take on that comment is that if Pinot Noir is made in the French/Burgundy style it might have the farmyard aroma that I am not fond of.

See?  It's not me.  Phew. I'm not crazy.  New Pinot Noir styles favor a lighter, fruitier style. That's what I'm talking about. So now I know what kind of Pinot to look for. Yeah!

Anyhoo, I really want to like Pinot Noir, so when I try one I like I want to SHOUT FROM THE ROOFTOP, "I like it! I like it! I really, really like it!" Just kidding. 

I recently tasted one when I was at the Testarossa Winery that I LIKE. It's the Dahlia Pinot Noir and Dahlia Pinot Noir Reserve - and it's on the shelves at BevMo!

I also got a nice parting gift from my friend Rob Jensen at Testarossa. The '07 Palazzio Pinot Noir. It got a great rating and review from Wine & Spirits Magazine. I look forward to cracking open this bottle to taste all the fruity yumminess.

91 PTS Wine & Spirits
The '07 is distinctively red fruited; balances sweet cherry and tart raspberry with cedar oak and spice; feels cool in the middle; juicy fruit.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kris, Loved your post on Pinot Noir today! Inadvertently (I think), your discussion of Pinot Noir tasting like "mud/earth/wood/worms" is a very hot topic of old time "purists" versus those of us who make Pinot Noir and also hate the "mud/earth/wood/worms" flavor to commonly found in Pinots (and other red varietals as well). This dirty "farmyard" aroma comes from a spoilage yeast called Brettanomyces (AKA Brett). Check out: for a full dissertation on the subject.

    I think you be pleased to know that wines made by Testarossa (including Dahlia) are Brett-Free wines, meaning you won't get that dirty "Farmyard" smell or taste in any of our Pinots.

    Next time you are down at the winery, we can taste through several wines and shed more light on the subject.


    Rob Jensen, Proprietor
    Testarossa Winery, Los Gatos, California


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