Are you SURE that’s Pinot you are drinking?
How often is your Pinot Noir NOT Pinot Noir? How often is it blended with Syrah or some other body and color enhancer? Consider this tidbit from Jordan MacKay’s "Noir Taboo" article in the latest issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine:
"…2005 Pinot Noir sales are up 73 percent from the previous year. Yet the growth of Pinot bearing acreage is for the most part flat."
Clearly there is lot of "Pinot Noir" being made that just isn’t 100% Pinot Noir.
There’s nothing illegal with this as long as the "added varietal" isn’t more than 25% of the wine. What’s interesting is that Mackay could find no one to own up to blending other varieties into their Pinot. Meaning, it’s not something they are proud of.
The other factor is that Pinot seems to get darker and darker every year. Again, the winemakers say that it’s a case of "other guys" (big wineries, they claim) using things like Grenache and Syrah in their Pinot" or it’s just a case of California producers being able to get their Pinots darkly ripe.
I find it unlikely that it is just the big producers who are blending in other varietals into their Pinot to stretch it or make it darker and bulkier. Very unlikely. But do you care?
I guess this depends on what you want out of your wines? if you want something reliably LARGE, DARK and UNCTUOUS you really don’t care what’s in the bottle or what they call it on the label. And this is every bit a legitimate way to approach your appreciation of wine as the person who is looking no so much for girth than for an authentic experience with a wine of character and uniqueness.
On a side note, Wine & Spirits Magazine is really a killer product. This issue (April 2005) alone has the article mentioned above (a story not a lot of other wine publications would touch), a great rundown of the most popular wines in restaurants, a column by Rod Smith–clearly one of the best wine writers in the world), as well as an article by David Schildknect on "extreme Riesling vineyards" of Europe and the effect global warming is having on them.
Josh Greene is the Publisher of Wine & Spirits and has really done a great job with it. Kudos!!