I've been getting into a LOT of pinot lately; ever since I've been studying the Burgundy region for wine class. There's all kinds of good pinots out there—including some fine, light ones from the Vin De Pays region of France—but the one I've come to really, really like lately is The Four Graces Pinot Noir, pictured over there on the left.
Supple, tasty and more full-bodied than most pinots, this Willamette Valley gem is expensive, coming in at $28.00 a bottle retail, but well worth it.
I tasted the 2004, which has really nice, balanced red fruit flavors. And I mean really well balanced. There's raspberry, strawberry and cherry in here, but with none of that overpowering, artificially-flavored kind of element. And no sour notes, either, which I have lately been tasting in anything with red cherry in it (I think my palette is changing, but who knows? In any event, I shy away from much that people describe as cherry flavors these days, just because I want to avoid that sour cherry tang). There's also a slight vanilla oak flavor. Smooth, balanced and again, supple. Almost velvet-like, and in a good way.
And this wine is a whopper too: 14.5% abv. Not that you can really feel it... well, not until it's too late, anyway. :) The bottle gets emptied deceptively quickly, whether you are drinking it yourself (as I did the 1st time I had it), or with other folks (as I did the 2nd time I had it ;). And there's no feeling of "oh, I shouldn't have had that much of it;" on the contrary, you wish you had more of it (and more of it, and more of it, and more of it...).
The Four Graces website has quite a lot of information for those interested, including full notes on fermentation and maturation of each of their offerings, which I find not only educational—I'm always interested in how a wine I like turned out the way it did—but really detailed.
That's my pick this week. Not cheap, but quality, crafted wines like this hardly ever are. So, if you enjoy a quality wine and have the money, I'd say you won't be sorry, nor feel your money wasted on this one. Enjoy!