Bill Dowd photoAt the Mark West Winery in California, "Pinot for the People" is the slogan and "We have no land. We have no vineyards. We have no winery." is the manifesto. This is one of those companies that buys grapes from various growers, has winemaker Alex Cose blend them to produce a couple of nice pinot noirs, and sells them cheap. Does it work? As co-owner Sandy Pogue of the French-style gourmet bistro The Epicurean in Brunswick, NY, told me the other day, "It's my best-selling red. Sometimes it's almost too easy to sell."
• Mark West Pinot Noir 2005:
This mostly California Central Coast wine is the company's hot seller of the moment, a blend that includes 13% syrah and 2% chardonnay. The result is a deep ruby color, and a madcap array of fragrances in the bouquet, most prominent that of pomegranates, bacon, cola, some spice, and lots of lush fruit.
Aging in oak adds the nuances of toast and wood. I like the light, silky mouthfeel and the fairly long finish that makes this both a meal wine and a relax-by-the-fireplace wine.
Retails in the $11 range.
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