The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2013 is a $9.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive sourced from vineyards in 60% Monterey County, 24% Sonoma County and 16% Santa Barbara County. Santa Barbara County is about an hour north of Los Angles, Monterey County is north of Paso Robles and both are part of the Central Coast AVA. Sonoma County is mostly north and a little west of San Francisco. Normally when the grapes come from more than one AVA and no single AVA makes up 75% of the wine, the wine has to be labeled as California wine, but here, 3 counties are listed. All three growing areas have cooling ocean climates that help in producing good Pinot Noir grapes. The alcohol content is a little heavy for a Pinot Noir at 13.8%.
The color is a very see-thru, pale cherry red with a clear halo. The nose is black cherry, herbs and mushroom, slightly earthy. This a light to medium bodied Pinot Noir, more light and delicate than the 13.8% alcohol content would suggest. It tastes of tart cherry, a sharp splash of herbs, plum and a little black pepper. The mid-palate adds vanilla with strawberry and a late slap of spice. The tannins stay out-of-the-way and the acidity is mild. The finish is subtle, but does linger.
The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2013 does not have the acidity to be an outstanding food wine, but it really drinks well. It is sleek, smooth and tasty, if it had a little more structure, solid acidity to give it balance and length, it would really be a bargain. But as it is, it is a fine $9.99 everyday Pinot. It also has a wonderful Alice in Wonderland-ish label, an illustration of animals ballroom dancing while wearing full mask replicas of their partners. The sheep is wearing a cat head and the cat is wearing a sheep head and so on. It’s strange, but I like it.