Lab rat checking in with the Apriori 2015 Pinot Noir. This may be the coolest rattage I’ve done because I really learned a lot with this wine.
I’m learning, but I’m still very much a wine novice. I like reds in general, I love big, chewy Cabs, but I am not a fan of Zins (this is important in my review). Mr. Fait is a Pinot Noir fan. More times that not, if I’m opening a “bottle of something” for the evening, it’s going to be a PN. So I brought with me a rough expectation of what this PN would be like. Quoth Chandler Bing, “Could I BE more wrong?”
I opened the bottle as I was heating the oven for frozen pizzas. If I hadn’t had playoff hockey to watch, I might have taken more time to fancy dinner up a bit. I started off drinking this alone, then with dinner, then alone again later to see what else developed witt time and air through the evening.
At the opening, I noted the color to be close to black cherry Kool-aid. It was a very pretty intense red - darkish in the glass and intense red when held to the light.
The nose is where I got my first lesson. My first sniffs were lush with dried cranberries and strawberry. It smelled very fruit-forward - way more fruit-forward than I’m used to getting in a PN. Based on scent alone, I thought that this was going to be on the sweet end of the spectrum. I couldn’t have been more wrong. With dinner, the flavor was more in line with nose, but I thought there was a significant difference between the nose and the flavor when drank on its own. In the end, I felt like I got two different wines in a single bottle.
At first sip, the tannins didn’t hit me over the head, but it was way more dry that I would have guessed. It also didn’t hit me with the fruit I expected. While I got a good amount of Craisins in the sip, I picked up something like a strongly brewed white tea in the middle. It also presented with some spiciness - a lot of mild peppercorns up front, and a bit of herbiness in the back. If I hadn’t known better, I would have guessed that it was a blend heavy on Zinfandel. I gave it a few more long sniffs just to verify that I wasn’t nuts. The nose on this really didn’t reflect the flavor when tasted on its own.
We sat down to our dinner about 25 minutes later. These pizzas were “taco flavored” and “chicken fajita” variety Aldi-finds. I won’t call them “spicy” per se, but they were reasonably flavorful and had a tiny bit of zing to them.
Now, it’s hard to make frozen pizza look good, but then I sipped the wine with it, and WOW! The fruit I expected earlier came forward in a rush. The pepper herbal notes stepped aside for a complex mixture of fresh and dried red berries. There was a hint of oakiness that really stood up to the pizza nicely, too. This was the perfect wine for this pizza - perfectly balanced. I’d love to have a bottle of this with red-sauced enchiladas. I can imagine being fat, dumb, and very happy after a meal like that.
I refilled my glass and let it sit while we nibbled on cheesecake for dessert. (Note - I cannot recommend more strongly to NOT drink this with cheesecake. Don’t do it. Just…don’t.) My glass sat for about an hour undisturbed. I predicted that time and air would bring out more of the cranberry and maybe round off the pepper, but I guessed wrong. It tasted even more Zin-like than it had before dinner. The fruit didn’t come forward, it seemed a bit more acidic than that the beginning, and the pepper and spices only seemed enhanced by time.
Mr. Fait liked it more than I did, but he has more of a tolerance for forward spice than I have. While this it tasted more PN-like with dinner, it drank like a completely different bottle of wine sans-food. If you are a Capitals fan (GO CAPS!), then I would explain this wine as the Alexander Semin of wines - a riddle, wrapped inside a mystery, inside an enigma. If it was a GoT character, it’d be Varys. At first glance, he’s all complimentary, but you’ll find out quickly that he has all sort of ulterior motives, and you never totally trust him. He’d still be great fun at a dinner party, though.
TLDR: This wine pairs extraordinarily well with slightly spicy foods. However sans accompaniment, I thought it was a rather complicated Pinot Noir for a novice. Without a food pairing, it had some Zinfandel-like qualities.
I really am a novice, but I have lots of opinions, and I enjoy writing. Maybe I found the world’s best volunteer position - to drink and to tell things? The way I see it, if Casemates is kind enough to send me a free bottle in exchange for my honest opinion, then I owe them my best effort at stringing words together. I’m complete flattered that anyone even reads my ramblings, let alone replied.
I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email Thursday that I had been selected to labrat the next Casemates wine offering. Surprise turned to excitement when the Fedex tracking indicated it was a Pinot on the way. I’m a sucker for Pinots, and my wife and I are admittedly Carneros fans. Unfortunately our dinner plans were already planned with some spicy Bulgogi burgers with gochujang sauce. To boost the Pinot pairing, my wife whipped up some wild mushroom ravioli to add as a good starter to go with the Pinot. Upon opening the Apriori Pinot, we noted the color was a nice translucent garnet red. On the nose, berries are very evident with strawberry, blueberry, and my wife thought maybe lemon balm. First tasting yielded flavors somewhat similar to the nose, and maybe also with a hint of currant and light pepper. Combination of flavors is very balanced. Mouthfeel is very pleasant with the delicacy of a decent Pinot. There is some acidity present, along with light tannic hints. The pairing with the Mushroom Ravioli was wonderful, but can’t say the same with the Bulgogi burgers, which was to be expected. Not horrible pairing, but not complimentary. I was thinking we’d set aside the last half of the bottle for a better entre pairing for tonight, but it didn’t make it that long. This is really an enjoyable easy drinking Pinot. I was thinking this is a nice Pinot if the Casemates price was $35 or so/bottle. This morning I see it is $20 or less. Get you some. Now.
I could be doing my taxes, but I have something far more important to do.
First, let me say that I am not a Pinotphile. In fact I’ve actively eschewed this (for some) sweet nectar of the Gods. In fact I’ve taken my responsibility so seriously that I’ve forsaken the half-empty bottle of Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy on my kitchen counter. That said:
I received a bottle of Apriori Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2015. Thursday, 5:45 PM; the cork slid easily from the bottle, and matched it in design. I was suddenly enveloped in a fragrance of candied strawberry as I poured aliquots into two zinfandel glasses and marveled at the light garnet color which seemed to have a tint of amber (odd for a 2015). I stuck my nose in the glass and got more strawberry, and alcohol, unexpected at 13%, but I had just opened the bottle. SWMBO said; “old-world, earthy nose”. The flavor is all fresh strawberry for me, with no unpleasant flavors or odors, no funk, no bitterness, but somewhat unidimensional. A smooth, nice flavor. Gotta go to the gym.
8:00 PM, the Apriori has sat on the counter for a couple of hours, corked. Now, with food: Baby Bok Choy with green onions and eggs, some avocado and root vegetable patties (I know, you wish you were invited). The Apriori Pinot now tastes bolder, and fruitier, I’m thinking more grenache-like. There seems to be enough acidity to pair with just about any food…wish I had a bottle for Easter dinner.
I think Apriori Pinot Noir would hold its own against any Pinot I’ve had, with the exception of that experience with Merry Edwards. However the bottle is not really distinctive and the label does not claim RRV or Willamette Valley, so even though this is a very good wine (as far as I can tell), our friends at Casemates might have secured a great deal for us. I’m thinking at $15 this would be a steal. Happy drinking.
@karenhynes I just opened one of my last two 2014s. My conclusion: again I think it’s ridiculous you can get a case of this under $200. It’s made in a more Burgundian style. Very light, feathery, soft, delicate, buttery. I need to get out there, pay them a visit and see who’s making juice this good. #RealTalk
Even woot had people who were around to sound the alarm to the IT people when alerted to a problem on a weekend. It would take awhile but something would be done. Apparently Casemates is an Echo Chamber Chamber chamberrr…
Aromas of sweet wildflowers, raspberry and bay leaf fill the glass. Delicate flavors of dried cranberry lightly coat the mouth with a hint of pink peppercorn and pomegranate. Flavors of wild strawberry, early season plum and white tea linger in the mouth through a precise, silky finish. Delicate, mineral and fresh on the palate.
Vineyard and Winemaker’s notes
Grapes were de-stemmed and sorted. The juice was chilled and allowed to softly ferment over three weeks. Stored on its lees in neutral french oak barrels for 9 months until bottling.
Winery: Apriori Cellar
Owners: Patrice Breton and Georges Sabongui
Location: Saint Helena, CA
Apriori Cellar was founded on the principle that quality, authenticity and joy should be part of every wine experience. Our winemaking philosophy is deeply rooted in balance and terroir, which is why we strive to showcase the pure qualities of our grapes and distinctive personalities of their climates. Our exacting commitment to beauty and truth results in very high quality wines that are sure to bring pleasure to everyone.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY
Looks like cases are sold out again. Unlikely that they will add more a second time after already adding more this morning. Did not get in on their earlier Pinot offer but we really enjoyed their Rose. Hopefully they will be back with another Pinot offer soon!
Just got home! Met my brother from Concord to give him his wine that I split with him and my son. We met in Parma’s Polish Warsaw District to hit a restaurant, deli, and two bakeries!
Saw this message! Was anyone able to snag a case?? I’d break all rules of a SIWBM and take the other four bottles! If the cases are gone, it was probably a small quantity offer. With that said, I feel like WD49 has some killer deals on the back burner. I felt the SH & J deal had to be coming up soon. Does anyone else miss Peter’s wine offers! I went crazy when he was selling off his inventory so I’ve got a ton and happy I made that splurge!!
Guess I’ll spend the rest of the day boxing wines for @chipgreen, @mrn1, and @pjmartin! Taxes are done so I can breathe again!!
@deadlyapp Oh yeah, funny, never seen that, although I bet it’s happened before. All, by WS he meant winespies.com. They have one of the apriori single vineyard PN’s up for $30, half the normal $60. I guess Apriori wants to convert some wine to cash! Smart to give different wines to different deal sites: no one can be mad at not having an exclusive deal, consumer has options, generates buzz, winery moves product, everyone happy.
By the way, for those of your that got shut out of the case buys before, they added more to the mix, cases are available again, at least for now.
Sorry to rub salt in your wounds, but:
I had the good fortune to rat this wine, and to me, one indicator of a good wine is if it is still good the next day after sitting out on the counter.
This one passes muster fabulously.