The Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir is a non-vintage (grapes grown in two or more different years blended together) wine sourced from vineyards in the Central Valley of Chile. Pepperwood Grove is one of the labels owned by Don Sebastiani and Sons who operate as negociants, they buy grapes from all over the world and have their winemakers produce a wine to their specifications. The winemaker in this instance is Richard Bruno who also produces Vinum Cellars wine. Because this is a wine made with grapes purchased every year, the specifications for this wine are subject to frequent change. The 2009 vintage was a vintage designated wine and at least some of the grapes were sourced from Italy, older vintages have grapes sourced from California’s Central Coast. So maybe, changing to a non-vintage wine allows them to have a more standardized wine. This Pinot Noir was subject to French oak aging for a short period of time and the alcohol content is 13%.
The color is cranberry juice red. The nose is herbs and mushrooms, a little menthol and the dusty odor of a basement in a very old house. It tastes of tart and sour cherry juice, herbal tea and black Twizzlers. The mid palate adds sweet strawberry and a little sauteed mushroom. This is more of a bright and happy Pinot Noir than a dark and brooding, intense Pinot Noir, but for a wine that I found for $7.99, it is an actual Pinot Noir. The acidity is nicely balanced, this is an inexpensive Pinot that will enhance a meal. The finish is light and while it does linger, it is so light you barely notice it.
When you get the words, non-vintage, negociant, Chile and Pinot Noir together in the description of a wine, you don’t have much reason for optimism. But, the Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir is a very useful bottle of wine, an inexpensive bottle to enjoy on a tuesday night or just the ticket for a glass or two while sitting on a blanket out on the lawn while listening to a concert at the local bandstand. All in all, the Pepperwood Grove Pinot Noir was an unexpected treat.