The William Wright Monterey County Pinot Noir 2016 is a $8.99 ALDI exclusive sourced from vineyards in the Salinas Valley of Monterey, California. William Wright is one of Scheid Vineyards (founded in the early 1970s) 40+ wine labels, Scheid owns 11 estate vineyards with 4,000 acres of vines. The back label says William Wright “produced and bottled” this Pinot Noir, which means they actually produced this wine or legally they made at least 75% of this Pinot. That is rare for an under ten-dollar wine especially in this age of LLC’s, because the winery is under one LLC, the label under another, and the management company with another, It makes it difficult to tell who made what. Scheid produces wine under their own name, but sells most of their grapes to private label wines. There is nothing here that says the Pinot Noir grapes came from Scheid estate vineyards, they could be purchased under contract from another vineyard, but then again, they could very well be Scheid estate fruit. This Pinot was fermented in open top fermentation bins which enhances the color and the flavor of the wine. The tasting notes also say this wine was aged “on” French oak for 12 months, I always wonder what “on” means as opposed to “in” French oak, as in oak barrels. Does “on” mean something else, such as French oak cask staves were added to the steel aging tanks? I guess it does not really matter for a $8.99 Pinot, the fact that they used French oak for a full year to add flavor and to smooth out the tannins is very commendable in this price range. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is legit Pinot Noir garnet red, very clean, clear and see-thru. The nose is cherries, herbs very light spice, a little mushroom, and a slight medicinal scent. This is a light to medium bodied Pinot, with bright acidity and delicate flavors. It starts with ripe cherry, herbs, pepper, and vanilla. The mid-palate shows raspberry, a little bit of cream, spice, and tart cranberry. Proper acidity is important in any wine, but especially so for Pinot Noir and the acidity is remarkable good even more so for a $8.99 wine. The finish is subtle and lengthy.
The William Wright Monterey County Pinot Noir 2016 is a very solid, easy to understand Pinot Noir. Everything that is good about this wine is right out in the open and easy to find, some expensive Pinots are so subtle that if you are not paying close attention you can miss the finer points. The William Wright looks like Pinot Noir, smells like Pinot Noir and tastes like Pinot Noir, it is just not priced like Pinot Noir. With that said, value priced Pinot Noir may well be my favorite cheap Red wine, they have really shown great improvement in the last few years.