Mike Pigeon, the Wine Butler, put grilled lamb cutlets on the menu for a Saturday night cookout and we huddled briefly on the wine. A rich-tasting Pinot Noir was the first and only choice for the tender lamb, which would be complemented with macaroni salad, caprese salad (plump red tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh garden-grown basil), summer squash, and crispy-baked Italian bread.
Sticking with the budget to build a quality case of wine for $100, the WB suggested Mark West at $7.99 a bottle. I preferred the Hob Nob Vineyards Pinot Noir at $8.99. So we drank both. In the end, though, the rich flavors were difficult to differentiate, so I decided to put a buck in the bank and selected Mark West Pinot Noir as Wine Novice Bargain No. 3.
Wark West Wineries produces several Pinot Noir bottlings for less than $25. Our selection is the Mark West Pinot Noir California Appellation. The color is a rich ruby red in the glass and a few swirls bring out a cherry nose. It’s medium-bodied and expressive on the palate, with cherry pie and raspberry flavors and a short but pleasant finish. The texture is silky smooth. Mark West is an unpretentious wine; it’s not going to hit you with complex flavors of other high-end Napa Valley and French wines of the same varietal. However, Mark West is dependable on quality and value. If you’ve never tried Pinot Noir, Mark West is definitely worth making the entry-level leap into the great beyond.
So now I’ve purchased three quality wines and the total is $22.47. I’ve got $77.53 left in the wallet with nine bottles to go.