The 2010 Once Upon A Vine Pinot Noir is sourced from multiple vineyards in several California grape growing AVA’s. The Once Upon A Vine brand is one of the family of wines (Snapdragon, Butterfly Kisses, Uppercut, Stark Raving and few others) produced by The Wine Bar, a division of Diageo Wines. This is a Brand wine that is designed and produced to appeal to a certain segment of the wine drinking public and with a tag line of “A Charming Pinot is every girl’s dream,” I think they are shooting for female wine drinkers who know the style of wine they like to drink, but not a great deal about wine. A Brand wine takes some of the guess work out of choosing a wine, it tips you off to what you can expect from the bottle. This Pinot Noir was made in a style to enhance the fresh fruit characteristics of the grapes. 1/2 of the wine was aged for a time in oak barrels and then blended with the unoaked Pinot Noir to give this wine a mix of the young fruit forward flavors and some of Pinot Noir’s complicated side. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is crystal clear, Thanksgiving cranberry salad red, with a clear halo. The nose is promising, there are some herbs, smoke off the grill, oaky vanilla, cherry and spearmint gum. This is a medium bodied Pinot with more of the Pinot complexity than I was expecting, yes, the fresh bright fruit is prominent, but there a good measure of that Pinot funk, a bit of that grip in the back of your palate Pinot is known for. It starts off with black cherry, herbal tea, a little sautéed mushroom and juicy plum. The mid palate brings unsweetened cola, orange zest, vanilla creme and rich blackberry. The tannins stay out of the way, the acidity is balanced and the finish, propelled by the mid palate flavors and the acidity, tingles on your lips for a fairly lengthy time.
I used to think Brand wines were homogenized wines that were watered down to appeal to the dullest of its intended wine drinking demographic, but lately a bunch of these wines are delivering a great drink at a fair price. The Once Upon A Vine Pinot Noir is a solid, respectable, really good everyday Pinot. The Marketing Department might be targeting this wine to women, but the winemakers just went ahead and made a good inexpensive Pinot that would appeal to just about anyone.