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July 15, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

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coppola diamond pnoir 14 750 Picmonley


2014 Pinot Noir


Francis Coppola

Monterey County

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $21

“Pinot Noir isn’t an easy proposition for the grape grower, nor is it for the winemaker. Consequently, good examples of this variety tend to be pricey. At the very low end, you can find something that might be recognizable as Pinot Noir—though just barely. It’s rare to pull the cork on anything less than $10 of $12 dollars and be anything but disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with inexpensive basic table wine, but somehow other varieties seem to be better suited to that role. Cheap examples of Pinot Noir tend to remind lovers of this variety how much better something that costs a few bucks more would be.

“At a suggested retail of $21, today’s ‘Pick’ is a reasonably-priced bottle that would satisfy many Pinot Noir fans. It might also show enough of the elusive charms of this delightful grape variety to broaden the horizons of some consumers weaned on ‘fruit bombs’ in the Zin and Cabernet categories.

“Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are native to Burgundy, one of France’s coolest growing regions, and cooler regions are much preferred environments when these varieties are grown in California, especially so for Pinot Noir. The fruit for the 2014 Silver Label Pinot Noir from Francis Coppola is sourced from a site near the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County, one of the state’s best growing regions for this variety.

“We found aromas of cherries, Santa Rosa plums and maybe even damp tea leaves in this week’s selection. Aroma and taste are two aspects of a wine’s personality, but they’re not totally separate. Those plum and cherry qualities continued into the first sip and beyond. The charm of Pinot Noir is that it is subtle. There are complex flavors and aromas and further tastes of this wine revealed more of the fruit, augmented by faint spice—perhaps like cloves and toasted hazelnuts. In expensive red Burgundies and California Pinot Noir, you’ll find more of these layers of evanescent aromas and tastes. But this is not an expensive example of this variety. The 2014 Francis Coppola Silver Label is fine example of affordable Pinot Noir.”

Food Affinity: “A couple of classics come to mind—coq au vin and boeuf bourguigonne, but you needn’t get ultra-French to find dishes that would be very enjoyable with this wine. Some chicken thighs (not the soul-less skinless and boneless kind) sautéed with mushrooms and shallots would work. A pork roast rubbed with fresh herbs and studded w/garlic cloves would be another winner.”


Editor’s Note: Wines reviewed in Taste California Travel are encountered by our staff in several ways. They can be discovered at trade tastings or visits to wineries. They may also be purchased by staff members for their own tables or be those sent by wineries for possible review. This is an editorial feature, not advertising, and appearance cannot be secured by payment. More information can be had by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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