As an aside, before we get to the review proper, there is a VDP designation to this wine. This simply refers to a specific region in France, which the government there likes to keep track of. I’ve had to explain this to others, so wanted to note that it is not to be confused with the VSOP designation of Cognac or Brandy, which mean entirely different things.
Here we have an interesting case, a wine that due to inconsistency, has been largely hovering on the border of being tossed from the list. It is perhaps a testimony to the wine that it never quite gets to the point of me booting it, but in a list marked by consistency, the presence of this one is unusual at best.
We start with, as I mentioned a couple of entries ago, with the idea of mining various wineries, vineyards and producers for other wines if they have an entry I particularly like on the list and Bouchard’s Chardonnay, one of the earliest entries here, has been a constant source of delight since inclusion. Thus, it was not much of a stretch to pick up some other wines in the stable bearing the label, especially given that they were all at the same price point, which was around $10 a bottle at the time and that’s regular price, not SPA (SPA usually takes a couple bucks off at that point).
The first bottle I had was magnificent, a shining example of what that grape is capable of, but the next one that followed was astringent enough to be borderline vinegar. I may exaggerate, but it was quite jarring. After some time, it smoothed out to a fairly thin and easy drinking Pinot Noir, but there was no real depth there, highly unusual in any kind of burgundy, let alone a Pinot Noir. Subsequent bottles went back and forth between those two extremes, but in no case did this have a particularly high degree of body. Taste was also fairly consistent with the astringent bottles taking far longer to smooth out with air time than the better ones. As they use the screwcap system for these, it’s not clear why that would be the case, other than perhaps different barrels or possibly some contaminant in the line somewhere.
So…while I wouldn’t say this is a great example of a Pinot Noir nor would I ever recommend it for someone wanting to try out a solid wine representative of that grape as a starting point, at the price point, it does have a good purpose of being a solid wine (that might need a lot of air time) overall at a very attractive price point. This is one you can buy a case of if you were throwing a party, say and had a budget (especially if you find it on SPA), but also didn’t want to be embarrassed. I will sometimes pick up a bottle if I see it at hand in the wine or liquor store and don’t have the time or inclination to be in the store for a great amount of time. It’s not my first choice for a Pinot Noir, but it somehow has managed to hang onto its spot on the list…which deserves some degree of credit, after all.
So, with this wine, if you get one of those magical bottles, especially at a discounted price point, you can have truly a magnificent deal, but that’s best case scenario, of course. It’s very possible you will wind up with the “adventure in every bottle phenomenon” as well. This is a wine where you can have either a phenomenal experience or somewhat of an underwhelming one and for that reason, I’d be inclined to have it be SPA Only, but that attractive price point makes it worthwhile enough to gamble. Ultimately, this is a Mixed.