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August 12. 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

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Vandori Pinot Noir bottle Picmonkey


2014 Pinot Noir



Delle Venezie, IGT (Italy)

Alcohol: 12%

Price: $7 (?)

“As long-time followers of our reviews may have observed, Taste appreciates palatable wines at prices that allow for everyday drinking. This week’s Pick is such a wine.

“Pushing his shopping cart through a slightly upscale grocery store and far from their wine department, your reviewer noticed a stack of wine cases and a $3.99 sign. The situation begged investigation. There were at least two varieties at this price. One was a white—likely a Pinot Grigio, though he didn’t look too closely. After all, there were bottles labeled ‘Pinot Noir’ for less than five bucks. Could this be an encounter with his own personal holy grail? Reasonably sure that it wouldn’t eclipse any of his favorite examples of this variety from Oregon, California or New Zealand (or Burgundy for that matter), he dropped one bottle into the cart and headed for the register.

“The Vandori was not a great example of what this grape can become. But it was recognizable as Pinot Noir and it was a very decent table wine. We were unsuccessful in contacting the Bellevue, Washington importer for specific details on this product, but can provide a little background. The internet shows prices in the U.S. around $6-8, so our purchase was definitely a bargain. While Italy is not known for defining wines with varietal labels, it obviously produces some Pinot Noir, as well as other varietals familiar to Americans, though not thought of as traditional Italian grapes. Our Pick emanates from Delle Venezie in the northeastern corner of Italy. Your reviewer recalls enjoying Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines a few years ago at a wine bar in Trieste in the region of Friuli which were produced nearby. They were good—solid wines, if not blockbusters.

“The 2014 Vandori Pinot Noir is light—light in terms of alcohol (12%), but also in flavor. It does exhibit some of the cherry fruit aspects of weightier Pinot Noirs, both in the nose and on the palate. There was a curious spiciness not normally found in this variety as a subtle white pepper component seemed to linger in the background. It was reminiscent of an aspect found in some Zinfandels and wines from the southern Rhône. Though a bit unusual, this quality was appealing and gave a simple wine some personality it might otherwise have  lacked. We’d like to report that this week’s Pick is the discovery of a lifetime. It is not, but it’s a respectable everyday wine and is produced in a food-friendly style. We think it’s worth a try--even if you have to pay all of $7 or $8 for it.”

Food Affinity: “We suggest pouring with a cold-plate dinner of thinly-sliced prosciutto or other ham, sliced tomatoes and red onions, cheeses, olives and maybe some potato salad.”


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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