2013 A to Z Pinot Noir

Rarely, it seems, do I take an opportunity to point the compass north from California and its bounties in order to sample some of the goodness that hails from the northwest corner of the country. This weekend, however, I’ve done just that and set my sights on the 2013 A to Z Pinot Noir. The A to Z originates in Oregon and did not impress right from the start.

2013 A to Z Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA.

2013 A to Z Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA.

To be fair, I picked up two of these bottles in my latest wine adventure so perhaps it’s just this first one that came off as lackluster. I had high hopes going in, as the northwest has a great reputation for wine because of its climate, terroir, etc. Is it crazy that I found the A to Z bland?

Yes, it eventually gained some momentum with me, both over time and repeated sampling–we all know how that goes. I am used to Pinot Noir that has a characteristic pale red color, and the A to Z answered the bell in this respect. Aromas of cherry, strawberries, and often vanilla. But I’m also accustomed to spice nuances, a whiff of raspberries, that swirls in your glassware and gives a deeper layer to your tasting experience. And the A to Z really didn’t do this–it was sort of flat by contrast.

I had the A to Z with two different meals–a dish of salted-and-buttered penne pasta, and pecan-encrusted chicken breasts (with accompanying vegetable sides). The 2013 vintage held up more effectively with the chicken, but it was almost too light to match up with the pasta. Didn’t really anticipate that outcome.

Reading about this wine after the fact, I realize how much my tasting experience has differed from that of others. One meaningful comment from a tenured wine aficionado read, “The 2012 A to Z Pinot Noir invites with vibrant aromas of juicy berries, cherries, lavender and violets, evolving to clove, game, smoke and cherry tobacco. A succulent, focused attack has flavors of blue and red fruits, flowers and earth, then deepens with hints of mocha, gingerbread, green tea and cacao.

Sounds fantastic! That profile would be right up my alley, and would be a drink I’d be pleased to share early and often with guests, family, friends, you name it. But the 2013 A to Z that I sampled was just…even…measured…and felt like it took no risks. Rest assured I’m going to be paying close attention to bottle two when it’s eventually cracked, but the wine has a lot of recovery to do in my book. Good luck and tell me what you think. It’s readily available at your local wine store I’m sure.

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