Saturday, April 08, 2006

When is Pinot Noir really Cabernet Sauvignon?


OK, so this weekend what you've got here is a home winemaker with no home winemaking tasks urgently in need of doing. So instead, permit me a wine-related rant.

I'm sure you get the printed and online promotional wine club catalogs. Not catalogs from clubs sponsored by the wineries themselves, but from the aggregator and distributor clubs. I got one this weekend, titled "Spring Wines Catalog" from "A Taste of California". I won't link them because, after all, this is a rant... not a promotion. Besides, I've tried a few of their offerings from time to time and not been particularly impressed. But on with my rant...

This outfit is highlighting a 2002 Waterstone Carneros Pinot Noir at $17.99 a bottle. (You can get it for a buck or two cheaper elsewhere, but that's not my rant.) Here's my issue: The description starts off by saying, "When wine critic Robert Parker let the cat out of the bag that grapes for the Waterstone Collection come from a California cult winery, they sold out of everything within 24 hours. This selection was literally released directly into our hands."

Now I happen to know and enjoy Waterstone's line. And yes there WERE rumors from Robert Parker that the 2001 CABERNET included declassified grapes from a well-known Napa cult winery (Harlan Estate most often mentioned). The 2001 Waterstone Napa Cabernet was, and is, a very tasty wine.

But I ask you, is Pinot Noir really Cabernet Sauvignon? And was 2002 really 2001 ?

No.

And no.

And nowhere, especially not from Robert Parker, nor from Waterstone, have I heard any assertion that the grapes used in the Waterstone 2002 Carneros Pinot Noir bottling were from "a California cult winery."

So I guess the final question is: How comfortable would you be with a vendor that highlights a wine with a description of grapes that have never seen the inside of that bottle?

For me it's simple:

Not comfortable at all.

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Update (and/or warning): Taste of California has changed its name and is now called wineinsiders.com, Wine Insiders and/or WineInsiders

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