Quantcast

Wine of the Week: White Cliff Pinot Noir 2019-$20

A flavorful Red Wine perfect for Fall and the Holidays

Dwight Casimere | 10/7/2020, 11:16 a.m.
White Cliff Pinot Noir 2019 a perfect Red Wine for Fall dishes

Wine of the Week: White Cliff Pinot Noir 2019-$20

Marlborough New Zealand

Fall is here. Time for colorful squashes, pumpkin and the ubiquitous pumpkin pie and myriad recipes made from this versatile squash. It’s also time to break out your Grandmother and Mother’s recipes for filling casseroles, hearty stews and sumptuous soups. We’ve got Turkey to look forward to and all of the requisite savory side dishes. Lamb, including succulent lamb chops, luxurious Leg of Lamb and any number of lamb tagines and curries come to mind. For the more adventurous, there plenty of game meat to be had; duck, pheasant, venison and rabbit, and don’t forget Wild Mushrooms.

Pinot Noir is the choice of wine that automatically comes to mind. It has just that medium-bodied heft, with soft tannins and lots of ripe red berry fruit flavor with just a hint of spiced that makes it perfect with all of the flavors of fall. Unfortunately, Pinot Noir is considered wine with attitude- finicky and unpredictable. The 2004 RomCom “Sideways” promulgated a lot of that negative PR. Contrary to common belief; Pinot Noir is one of the most satisfying and versatile wines to be had. In the hands of a skilled craftsman, it can be a testament to the winemaker’s art. French Burgundy wines are made from the Pinot Noir grape. They are among the most expensive and most coveted wines in the world. The names are legendary: Romanee-Conti, Domaine Leroy, Henri Jayer, Domaine Leflaive and Domaine Armand Rousseau, among others.

A delightfully fruity and casual Pinot Noir comes fro Marlborough New Zealand. White Cliff Pinot Noir 2019 is a comfortably priced $20, bargain basement for a good Pinot Noir. Check all the boxes on the flavor card, and White Cliff delivers on all fronts.

Named after the 100-foot high white cliffs that bordered the original property, White Cliff has been producing high-quality wines of exceptional value that are designed for everyday enjoyment.

Of their new releases, they are most proud of their 2019 White Cliff Pinot Noir ($20). The 2019 vintage is one of the best we’ve seen in decades,” reports winemaker Kel Dixon. “My viticulture team has access to grapes from our four sub-regions, which ensures superior quality.”

The best way to serve the wine is lightly chilled and then allowed to breath in the decanter or in the glass for a bit, to allow the ripe fruit flavors to unfold. What emerges are some delicious flavors of candied cherries and wild raspberries.

I drank the wine with a Prime Aged Steak doused in a homemade deconstructed version of the Churrasco sauce served in the Argentinian steak houses. Mine consisted of a combination of crushed mint, parsley and garlic and a splash of olive oil, with a few hot chili flakes thrown in for good measure. You can eliminate the red pepper flakes if you’re sensitive to heat. This wine loves spicy dishes, like Asian stir-fries or Kung Pao Chicken. On the European side, almost anything made with fresh sage or rosemary and French, Spanish or Portuguese sausages take on new when paired with this wine.

With White Cliff 2019 Pinot Noir, the first sensation that hits you is the smell of fresh cut flowers, almost like fresh long-stemmed roses. The test is refreshing and bracing with a slight tingle from the bright acidity. Add to that some side notes of baking spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg and a dash of star anise. The flavor is seductive, long lasting and delicious. I recommend a case or two to enjoy now and right through the Holidays.