Somebody asked me the other day, “what’s the difference in… oh say, this wine here that’s $12.99, and that one that’s $29.99? Is that wine better because it’s more expensive? Does it taste better?”
I responded to this young lady, “Some wines are more expensive than others because of the quality of the grapes, where they come from, or because the process to make the wine is more expensive. These wines aren’t necessarily ‘better’ than the cheaper ones, but they usually have a more concentrated flavor and lingering finish.”
I then talked briefly about differing opinions and how wine preferences are subjective, etc. My point to this story is that although I could probably write a small novel in response to her question, I can summarize by saying that I do believe that more expensive wines are ‘better’.
I recently reviewed a good value Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley area of Sonoma County. I mentioned that it’s hard to find inexpensive Pinot from this area for a few different reasons. Since I’ve really been on a Pinot kick lately, I decided to open a “nicer” bottle to see if the price difference was worth it.
Enter the 2014 David Bruce Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley. If memory serves me correctly, this little gem first hit the Buford Costco warehouse (near Atlanta) at the beginning of this year, and has recently appeared in Cumming, Gwinnett, Perimeter, & Alpharetta, GA stores.
I did a little digging around on the internet to learn more about David Bruce Winery. The winery was established in 1964 and is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Nine out of 16 acres on the estate are planted with Pinot Noir, the rest devoted to Petite Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay. The winemakers employ custom-designed methods of handling their Pinot Noir, which is a delicate grape that demands extra attention and care.
Pneumatic punch-down tools and rotary fermenters are used to replicate the gradual crushing effects of foot crushing, a technique that has been used in the past at this winery. Neat.
The 2014 David Bruce Russian River Valley Pinot Noir received 90 points from both Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. For once, they agree! Wine Enthusiast says the wine “shows true varietal character,” while Wine Spectator called it “plump and juicy… with loamy earth and gravelly notes…” I agree with both reviewers.
The wine is bright and intensely colored, with an aromatic nose of dried cranberries and rhubarb. Tart and zesty on the palate, concentrated fruit flavors of raspberry and cherry become more prominent as the wine opens.
Subtle and dusty tannins are a prelude to the lingering and satisfying finish. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and this year he brought Pinot to Costco for $10 less than most other retailers.
I give this wine 91 points.
Purchased in Buford, GA
CostcoWineBlog.com rating: 91 Points
Costco Item #: 511636