2016 Folly of the Beast Pinot Noir

This week, being back at home, I tried one of the Winc wines that I received in my box last month. In my first wine post I wrote about Winc and how much I like my subscription, it's a great way to try new styles of wine.

Pinot Noir is one of my favorite grape varietals, so I was really looking forward to trying this wine. However, I generally prefer French and Italian Pinot Noir over ones from California and the Pacific Northwest. Generally, I find that Pinot Noir from France and Italy are a bit more balanced than those from California and Oregon/Washington, and that the former are more fruit-forward, while the latter tend to be smokier and spicier. This particular Pinot Noir is from the Central Coast of California. California Pinot Noirs are often from the Central Coast, because the morning fog and cooler evenings provide favorable conditions for the grape.

After opening the bottle and pouring a glass, I spent quite a bit of time smelling the wine before drinking it. I'm constantly trying to improve my ability to smell notes in wine before I taste it. Here, I smelled a strong pepper note, with an undercurrent of black cherry, tobacco, and oak. This smell seemed consistent to me with other California Pinot Noirs that I've tried.

When I eventually tasted the wine, it was pretty consistent with the smell, but I picked up additional notes of plum and clove. The plum, dark cherry, and clove flavors seem to come first, but are quickly over-powered by the pepper, and the wine finishes off with subtle notes of oak and tobacco. The tannins were very mild and light, and the wine was medium-dry. This wine was consistent with my previous thought on California Pinot Noir. The pepperiness was a bit over-powering for my taste, I would have preferred the plum and dark cherry to shine through more, and to have gotten other dark berry notes as well, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the wine, and if you like a spicier Pinot Noir, I would definitely recommend this one. It was a good wine, just not my favorite location for a Pinot Noir to come from.

I drank this wine while eating a relatively mild Gouda cheese on multi-grain crackers. I think the wine paired decently well with the cheese, but the pepperiness slightly overwhelmed the Gouda, because it was a more mild cheese. I think this wine would've gone even better with a sharp cheddar that could have held it's own more up to the wine. I also think this wine would go great with brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and a little bit of balsamic vinegar. This wine is a more robust Pinot Noir, so it can pair well with food that has a strong flavor.

This wine is currently available from Winc for $18.