2008 California State Fair "Best Pinot Noir" Gold, 95 Points???

My wife and I and some other friends got together the other day for semi-regular wine pairing dinners and one of guest brought this little gem, with its accolades completely unbeknownst to us. This was the first bottle opened and we decanted it for about a 1/2 hour. It was very pale in color, almost like a rosé, with just a hint of cinnamon and light cherry flavors rolling over the palate.

The finish was thin, but it was fruit forward and while we thought this a pretty tasty juice for the price, we could not elevate this wine to this level of sophistication and quality, which 95 points would bring. See the chart below and you'll get a better idea of what I am saying. I'd give it at the most 87 points.

Over 3,000 California wines and 600 wineries were in the running, and this gem from Mendocino took the coveted top prize for the red wine category. Castle Rock 2006 Mendocino County Pinot Noir, Reg $9.99 2008 California State Fair "Best Pinot Noir" and received the "Best of Show" Red Wine Gold Medal 95 2006 Mendocino County Pinot Noir Castle Rock Winery

While this is no small feat, umm 95 points is over the top in my opinion. I really can't agree with the results at all. I'm not really sure how it won top honors, but try it for yourself and let me know what ya think. I 'd be very interested in hearing your own opinions. Does this wine deserve 95 points based on the criteria below? No doubt this wine selling for $8.99, is a great value, but for me this is where the enchantment ends.

92-95: Any wine receiving these kind of points. It would be considered a rocking wines that over achieve in their category. But on occasion wines in this range are a bit one-dimensional, but that one dimension will blow you away. Gary Vaynerchuk Scoring

90 - 95: An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines. Robert Parker's Classification


Anonymous said…
I usually go for a $25-30 Napa Cabernet. I also like a $100+ della valpolicella wine. I've never been much of a pinot noir drinker, however tried this $12 bottle in NY last week. It was great. The one I tried was the Castle Rock Pinot Noir Cuvee. Very inexpensive and paired great with chocolate and tenderloin. It was refreshing, I liked the spice and berry notations.
Bill Eyer said…
I heartily agree with you about Napa Cab's I do love them so, sorry I am not sold on that pairing choice. But if the Castle Rock PN is your first venture into the PN isle, may I suggest Kenneth Volk for your next meal, paired with Seared Ahi and Wasabi Butter Sauce. Enjoy!

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