Mark West Pinot Noir Vintage 2009

August 16 2012 - 6:18 PM

At under $10 a bottle, Mark West Pinot Noir is an affordable way to access a varietal from the appellation of “California”. While I love to argue about Willamette vs. Anderson Valley, in this case the state of CA is not well represented. That said, I struggle to think of a Pinot that even under $15 can offer better bang for buck. A to Z perhaps at $15+?

This makes the Mark West a decent buy but considering the typical pinot pairings, these days I might consider what is sacrilege and pair the chicken with a 750ml bottle of beer from Uinta or Boulevard. Granted it’s bubbly and glutenous but the beverage actually brings something original to the party instead of forcing a comparison to that awesome fresh-earth pinot that the Mark West surely is not.

If you can abide a touch of sweet on the palate and a touch bit more alcohol on the nose, then Mark West might be your pick. If you’re looking for something unexpected, you’ll have to look to other varietals of which I’d recommend cabernet franc, bonarda, carignan and carmenere. Or suck it up and buy a bottle of merlot. It’s a great grape… there. I said it.

–Josh Brusin