The 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir Lot 179 2018 is sourced from vineyards in more than one California Coastal grape growing AVA. And that is about all I know about where the grapes were grown and who made the wine since 90+ Cellars are Negociants. A Negociant is a French term and it refers to a wine business that buys excess wine from a winery and distributes it under its own label.
90+ Cellars was founded in 2009 during the last economic meltdown which created an environment where there were plenty of wineries looking to sell them to generate much-needed cash. There were so many wineries offering surplus wine that 90+ Cellars came up with the idea of only buying wines that had recently scored 90 plus points in one of the leading wine magazines.
It was a brilliant idea since negociants buy the surplus wine at a discounted price they can sell the wine retail at a lower price than the original winery. So you were able to purchase wine with a top wine score for a bargain price when compared to the original wine. Often the 90+ Cellars wine would be on the store shelve just a few feet away from the exact same wine that sold for several dollars more.
This system, which has a very long history in France, only works if the customer never knows who the original winery is. The producing winery will never sell its wine if the public knows they can but the exact same wine for less. And since a negociant, in this case, 90+ Cellars, does not make their own wine, the wine drinkers have to trust that the negociants are offering the best wine for the lowest price.
I don’t think 90+ Cellars still only buys and then resells wines that received 90 or more points, that was always limiting. They were stuck dealing only with wines that received high recent scores and not with excellent wineries that either didn’t get their wines into the magazines or only got 89 points. Because after all, that is the difference between a wine that gets 89 points and wine that got 90 points, can you taste that extra point?
You will follow 90+ Cellars not by the wines they make, but by the wines they choose. A Negociant succeeds by offering you a good wine at a fair price, but you have to take a leap of faith. Since you don’t know the all-important details concerning the wine, a wine drinker must be satisfied that 90+ has you covered. If you search for 90+ Cellars wines on CheapWineFinder you will see that we have been reviewing their wines for years and we were usually impressed.
So, this is the seventh paragraph and I have not mentioned one technical detail about Pinot Noir Lot 179 2018, well because I don’t know any of the details. The one thing I do know is this Pinot Noir that I found on sale for $8.99 was probably in another bin under a different label selling for several dollars more. And that is the allure of negociant wines. The alcohol content is 13.5%. Plus I have been hearing a buzz about this bottling from reputable sources saying that this is one of the best value wines from the vintage.
Pinot Noir Tasting Notes
The color is clear, see-thru garnet red. The nose is a combination of cherry and those funky Pinot Noir aromas, herbs, dried autumn leaves, spice, bacon fat, a hint of smoke, and spearmint chewing gum. This is a dry, medium-bodied Pinot Noir, fruit-forward, but still possessing balance. It starts with cherry, Dr. Pepper, licorice, spice, and tea. The mid-palate brings soft herbs, ripe plum, black pepper, and faint dark chocolate. The tannins are sweet, they are there, but there is no Tannin “grip”. The acidity did its job, this Pinot has a good deal of flavor and the acidity gave the wine the length for the flavors to unfold. There is a nice silky mouth-feel and the finish is full and lingers on for a good length of time.
- I have always said a bottle of wine with a good background story tastes better and of course, a negociant wine has no story. So it seems a great tasting wine and an excellent price does not need a good back story.
- This is a solid Pinot Noir it will appeal to regular California Pinot drinkers and also appeal to the folks who enjoy the new big and bold Pinot Noir. It has the flavor that attracts the big, bold pinot drinkers and also has that classic Pinot Noir funk that I love.