Category Archives: Staff Picks

Discover the Gems of Small Production Pinot Noir

At Wine.com we love working with wines like Schug 2008 Sonoma Cost Pinot Noir. While this wine has garnered great praise – 90 points from PinotReport - and can be seen on many top winelists around the country – the winery itself is a still family run operation focused on keeping production small and winemaking excellent. And, wow, at under $20 we consider this one of the wine steals of the year!

So what makes small production Pinot like Schug so great? Just like the great wines of Burgundy, the best small production Pinot Noir from around the world focuses on hand-crafting, small case quantities, and loving attention to detail. In general, Pinot Noir as a varietal does not lend itself to the large production winemaking techniques typically used in crafting other red wine varietals. And so, it has only the most committed of winemakers, like the Schug family, who have the patience and passion to produce great Pinot Noir. For the wine aficionado getting to know and love these small production wines is a lifelong affair. While small production creates a challenge to source and acquire the good stuff, the journey is filled with many tasty rewards. Get started now with this “hand-picked” selection of some of our favorite boutique small production Pinot Noirs from California, Oregon and beyond.

Gosset Brut Excellence NV

Wine: Gosset Brut Excellence NV
Reviewer:
Jason C
Paired with:
Chinese dumplings
Rating:
4 stars

Review: For Valentine’s day dinner we decided to open a bottle of this wine. I had not sipped it in a few years and had forgotten exactly what makes the wines of this producer so different from the others. Unlike many other houses, the wines from Gosset do not go through malo-lactic fermentation, meaning that they keep more of their zingy acidity.  The wine is a fairly medium to large bodied effort, with the palate  more on the citrus and fresh fruit level. This does not express too much of the brioche or leesy quality you would get from something like Nichoals Feuillatte, which is certainly toastier and less primary. I love the heft of this wine combined with the very fresh and powerful fruit. Because of this combination of acidity and concentration, the wine will pair so well with so many kinds of food. I am so happy to renew my friendship with this wine after a few years. I would suggest if you do not have a lot of experience with different champagne styles, buy both these aforementioned wines so you can determine which style you like. This is a fantastic bottle for the price and is an excellent introduciton to Gosset.

End line: Read more of my reviews on my Wine.com community page

Staff Pick: WineShopper – Schug 2008 Sonoma Chardonnay

Wine: Schug 2008 Sonoma Chardonnay
Reviewer:
Eileen
Rating:
4 stars

Review: I must confess, I don’t normally drink Chardonnay, mainly because I prefer the lighter-bodied style of a crisp, cool and refreshing Reisling. But ever since I had a lovely glass of a Budini Chardonnay, I now have a varietal with which to expand my white wine palate.

This wine is incredibly easy to drink. I’ve learned my lesson and didn’t overchill the bottle. It was in the fridge for 20 minutes just so it was slightly cooler than room temperature when I first poured it in my glass. The reviewer at Wine Enthusiast wasn’t kidding. The nose literally smelled like aromatic creme brulee. It transported me to those wonderful times when you’re enjoying a great creme brulee or creme caramel with friends after dinner in a nice restaurant.

The wine itself was a pleasure because although it is medium-bodied (not the lighter-bodied style I’m used to), neither was it a heavy wine that I’ve had before and generally do not prefer. It is somewhere in the happy middle and toward the style I enjoy. The first fruit I would think of when describing this is a cool, juicy ripe peach. Truly delicious! I am looking forward to the time when I pop this open to share with friends. Cheers!

Schug 2008 Sonoma Chardonnay

Read more of my reviews on my Wine.com community page.

Staff Pick: Acrobat Pinot Noir 2009

Wine: Acrobat 2009 Pinot Noir
Reviewer: Gwendolyn
Rating: 4 stars

Review: The Acrobat Pinot Noir is produced and bottled by King Estate winery, one of the more prominent wineries in Oregon. The color is a bright ruby, and clear (as in, you can see right through it). On the nose, I got lots of bright cherry, and I mean bright! Very fresh fruit, a touch of tobacco and sweet spices. The palate is almost zesty in its acidity. Again, this is a bright fruit wine – lots of fresh cherry and raspberry and a really lively acidity as its backbone. This is a light-bodied wine, one that is perfect with food (particularly food with acid) and a great red to drink in warm weather. Totally refreshing.

Read more of my reviews on my Wine.com community page.

Staff Pick: WineShopper – Chateau St Jean 2007 Reserve Chardonnay

Wine: Chateau St Jean 2007 Reserve Chardonnay

Reviewer: Kristin Balabanian

Rating: 5 stars

 

Wow! My first impression of the Chateau St Jean 2007 Reserve Chardonnay is its exceptional aroma: very distinct tropical notes but with an underlying creamy vanilla. While it isn’t a butter bomb a la Rombauer, it definitely hits some of those lush notes in a nicely balanced way. On the palate the nice viscous weight is impressive and what you would expect from a reserve Chardonnay from a quality producer like Chateau St Jean. The finish is strong and leaves you with nice bright fruit flavors and a touch of vanilla. While this wine is from the 2007 vintage, it tastes very fresh and lively!

 

Check out WineShopper tomorrow Feb. 15th at 9 am to purchase this 90 point Chardonnay for only $22.49 (50% off)!