Review of the Wine Media: The Pinot Report

This is the 7th in a series of reviews of the Wine Media


I’m unaware of any magazine or newsletter that deals specifically with Cabernet or Chardonnay or Merlot. It’s not that these varietals are not popular, it’s that they don’t create the kind of passion among wine lovers like Pinot Noir can. The search for great Pinot Noir, be it aimed at Burgundy, California, Oregon or elsewhere has consumed the time and patience of many. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that The Pinot Report would eventually come into existence. It’s here to help in the search for that elusive experience that is great Pinot!

The Pinot Report is only a few years old. It is published out of Sonoma, California by Greg Walter, former President of the Wine Spectator Magazine, writer and publishing consultant. Published monthly, the Pinot Report is devoted to Pinots from America’s West Coast. Walter describes his newsletter this way:

The Pinot Report is more than just another wine-review newsletter. My fascination with great Pinot Noir is as much about the people involved in making the wine, the wine regions and the foods that match well at the table—in short, the lifestyle surrounding the wines."

The Pinot Report covers a lot of ground. In each issue you’ll find news, interviews, recipes and tasting notes all concerned with Pinot Noir. Walter is good at digging up information and his contacts in the industry allow him to get his hands on the best Pinots out there. This latter quality really is important when it comes to Pinot because oftentimes the best examples of the varietal are hard to come by.

Each issue usually includes reviews of about 50 wines. Walter tastes blind and uses the 100 Point scale to rate as well as giving detailed description of each wine reviewed. I like his reviews for their descriptive qualities. He is straightforward with these reviews, isn’t stingy with good ratings, but clearly isn’t giving out 90 point and higher scores willy nilly. Here is an example of one review:

Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Block 25 2002
Deep ruby purple color; closed, spicy oak aromas, some earth and forest floor on nose; big, rich, intense, lots of reduced black cherry fruit, intense spice and forest floor, moderate tannin, sweet oak, good structure and balance, long finish. WOW! This Pinot is intense, but also balanced and layered with complexity. Needs a bunch of time. 145 cases made. $48. Score: 93

Listed at the end of the review section is a list of wineries whose wines were reviewed with their telephone and web address. This is an extraordinarily useful bit of information this rarely delivered by the mainstream wine magazines.

One of the jobs of a publication like this is that it should let those so devoted to the varietal that they would subscribe to it to live vicariously through the publisher. Walter does this for us. In a recent issue he gave a full hearing to the "Pinot on the River" festival that took place in Russian River Valley. It was a spectacularly good report that took readers though the events of the festival day by day, winery by winery.

The publication can be delivered in print or via email in a pdf format. Getting it via email means paying less. I prefer this method simply because it’s so easy to store each issue and refer back to them.

The Pinot Report is not cheap. E-mail subscriptions will run you $75 annually. Print subscriptions are $125 annually.

The Pinot Report

Posted In: Wine Media


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