And I think we all expanded our palates a bit. It was unintentionally challenging to find a decent pinot noir under the price limit of $22, but everyone passed the assignment with flying colours. Plus we got to use my new custom-made cloth wine bags for the tasting.
1) The People's Pinot Noir 2010, New Zealand $20.00
2) La Crema Pinot Noir 2010, Sonoma $21.90
3) Rock Wren Pinot Noir 2008, Prospect Winery, Okanagan $19.00
4) La Petite Paille Pinot Noir 2008, Little Straw, Okanagan $21.90
5) Fat Bastard Pinot Noir 2009, France $16.00
The winner had five first-place votes, the runner-up four top rankings, so it was pretty close. The top four all scored well, with only the Fat Bastard not impressing (which surprised me since their Chardonnay is quite good). Compared to the others, La Crema was much more full-bodied and some even found it sweet. This was our entry and we lucked out that Superstore put it on sale the week of the tasting. The People's was more of a traditional pinot noir but a cut above and very engaging.
All of the New Zealand pinot noirs we researched were excellent by the way. The one we almost went with instead of La Crema was Yealands: like the winner Yealands really impresses up front and is great on its own. But for drinking with dinner I would go with La Crema. The Okanagan pinots were very good too.
In terms of learning something new and drinking good (cheap-ish) wine, the evening was a success.