The 2012 Belle Ambiance Pinot Noir is sourced from grapes grown in more than one California grape growing AVA. Belle Ambiance is a new label, suggested list price $9.99, from Delicato Family Vineyards, who have been in business for over 80 years. DFV also produce Gnarly Head, Brazin, HandCraft and Bota Box, along with several others. For a wine to be labeled as a single AVA, either a large area like the Central Coast AVA or more specific such as the Carneros AVA, 85% of the grapes must be from the AVA listed on the bottle. So, when you see California shown as the origin of the grapes, that simply means that more than one AVA was used in the making of the wine and no AVA comprised 85% of the total. The 2012 grape vintage in California was the best vintage in several years. This Pinot Noir was aged in French oak, which is an extravagance for a sub-ten dollar wine. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color looks just like the expensive Pinot Noir, clear, shiny, see-thru. glowing cherry red. The nose is cherry, cinnamon, vanilla, herbs, crushed fall leaves and mushroom. This is a light to medium bodied Pinot Noir, with ripe flavors countered herbs and astringent sensations. It starts with tart cherry and creamy strawberry, then herbal tea and a slightly earthy flavor. The mid-palate shows cranberry, orange zest and brush of tannins. The acidity is well-balanced and gives the Pinot some good length, not Burgundy Pinot Noir length, but excellent for a $9.99 Pinot length. The finish is full and lingers for an impressive amount of time.
The 2012 Belle Ambiance Pinot Noir is a real Pinot Noir, not the equivalent of the best, more expensive Pinot’s, but there is a definite family resemblance. There was a time when it was a good idea to stay away from inexpensive Pinot Noir, but today, especially in California, Pinot Noir is some of the best single varietal value wines. The Belle Ambiance Pinot is a well-made, tasty wine that would pair well with tacos from the food truck or sip very nicely on a blanket on lawn during an outdoor summer concert. It will also do well as a “starter”Pinot Noir for aspiring wine drinkers, since most of the Pinot Noir building blocks are on display in this $9.99 Pinot Noir.
this bottle was obtained as a sample