Greg Norman, Pinot Noir, Angels & those dam Yankees

UnknownTonight, since we don’t have TV, we went to a local Chinese restaurant  for dinner and to watch the Angels lose to the Yankees. My husband had a Firestone on draft. I wanted a glass of wine but the wines by the glass list was pathetic. Not much to choose from by the bottle either.

Yes, it was a really sad wine list and a really sad game for Angels fans. That was the game that ended the season for them. No World Series this year for my son to go to with his dad!

What was even more sad for me was that no one in the restaurant had a key to the display case which showed a few other oddball but interesting wines that weren’t on the list like full bottles of Justin Obtuse for $45 (which this blogger quotes the 2003 as being $75 retail while the winery sells the most recent vintage at $26. I thought I’d found it at the Ventura Wine Company for about $20). If I’m looking for a place to go have a drink and dessert with some friends, $45 for a bottle of port sounds like a great deal when so many places around town sells inferior shots of port for $10.

So, off the very sad list,  I chose a  Greg Norman 2007 Santa Barbara pinot noir to pair with my mu shoo pork. I guess he’s a famous golf guy. My husband the sports fan says that everybody has a wine now, even Tommy Lasorda has a wine. I’m not sure if I’d really want to have a Tommy Lasorda wine but if he wants to itch me a free sample, I’d be happy to catch it. I’ll even pitch him back a review and a photo of him with my son at 18 months and my husband  during their last spring training at Vero Beach.

Hey now there’s a concept waiting to happen–a celebrity wine bar which only serves wines produced by the rich and famous!

Anyway, I thought it a good, easy drinking wine,  not too heavy and not too light, in fact not too remarkable at all except to say that the color was surprisingly dark and that it was a good match for the mu shoo pork and a decent enough value at $27 when the winery retails it at $15. One reviewer said he got purple flowers. I don’t know about purple flowers. I’ve had the bottle open for a few hours now  and getting some interesting funk, some earth.The bottle says plum and black cherry; sure I’ll go along with that. But more powerful to me might be root beer, especially as, hours later, I am nearing the end of the bottle. (Well, actually there’s a generous glass there for tomorrow night!)

I also learned from this reviewer that this bottle made the cover of the September 30 Wine Spectator which is what motivated him to buy it and try it. In that article, Wine Spectator gushes:

Just when you think California Pinot Noir can’t get much better, it does. The variety has made tremendous strides since the beginning of this decade, with hundreds of exciting wines in a range of styles. The most recent releases represent a string of very good to excellent vintages, including 2004, 2005 and, to a lesser extent, 2006. Now comes 2007, offering the greatest assortment of outstanding wines in the 25 years senior editor James Laube has been tasting and writing about Golden State Pinot.

Would I seek it out over other California or New Zealand pinots? Probably not, unless I was hosting some golf geeks, I guess; my good friend Jane might get a kick out of it. Did I enjoy it with my mu shoo pork? Yes, absolutely. It’s pleasant and it’s growing on me. Is it a good value at $15? There are many NZ pinots that I like better for that price point. And I’ve has some amazing California pinots at various tastings at the Wine Bloggers Conference and other events, but I wonder how many of those retail for under $20. One of my favorite pinots is also from Santa Barbara County–from Vino V–but it retails for quite a bit more than this one.

Here’s the review by the Atlanta Wine Guy, the guy who got the purple flowers.

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