The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is a Trader Joe’s $9.99 exclusive brand sourced from vineyards in 56% Monterey County, 33% Sonoma County, and 11% Santa Barbara County in California. Under usual circumstances, this is a wine that would show ‘California‘ on the front label as a place of origin since 67% of the grapes came from the Central Coast AVA and 33% came from the North Coast AVA. But since each of the AVAs mentioned are excellent Pinot Noir growing regions Cotillion preferred to brag a little.
The Cotillion Pinot Noir is one of my favorite Trader Joe’s wines, here is a link to the 2016 vintage, not only do I enjoy the Pinot Noir, but I am partial to the label. The label shows animals at a party and each animal is wearing a head mask of another animal, such as the fox is wearing a chicken mask and chicken is wearing a fox mask. It is all very strange.
The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is interesting, it is sourced from some of the better Pinot Noir locations in California. Santa Barbara County is only about an hour and a half drive north of Los Angeles. The surrounding area is too hot in the summer to grow grapes, much less finicky Pinot Noir, the vineyards are located on a section of land that juts out into the Pacific Ocean on two sides. That gives the vineyards cool Ocean winds on both sides and plenty of early morning fog.
Monterey County is located near a Bay south of San Francisco, there is a deep spot in the ocean just off the coast that concentrates very cold water, that keeps the Monterey vineyards the right temperatures for grape growing. Monterey also has a diverse landscape, coastal mountains, valleys, and benchlands. They successfully grow a wide variety of grapes and there are some excellent Pinot Noir areas.
Sonoma County is well known for Pinot Noir, with the Sonoma Coast AVA, the Russian River AVA and the Sonoma side of the Carneros AVA. While Cotillion does not specify where exactly in these quality Pinot Noir growing regions the grapes were sourced, I am crossing my fingers and hoping that they would not be bragging on the front label if they weren’t from someplace good.
Another detail in the Cotillions favor is that the current vintage is 2017, which gives this Pinot Noir at least 2 years of aging. The back label mentions vanilla and oak undertones, so some sort of oak aging took place. Value priced wines often keep you guessing if oak barrels were used or not, but since this Pinot needed a full two years plus to reach its balance, that does suggest oak barrel is used and not some other more economical method. The alcohol content is 13.8%.
Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru cherry jelly red. The nose is pretty decent, it is a little on the ripe fruit side, but still hs plenty of Pinot Noir funk. There is black cherry, herbs, crushed fall leaves, a savory note, vanilla, a little spice, and dusty chocolate powder. This pinot has an excellent silky mouthfeel, the ripe fruit on the nose is much more subdued in the body of the wine. It tastes of tart cherry, soft spice, slightly sharp herbs and plum with vanilla.
The mid-palate adds some Altoids spice, cranberry, chewy sweet tannins, and orange zest. The acidity is well-balanced, this is a bright, zesty Pinot Noir. The finish is soft but does stick around for some time.
- The Cotillion Pinot Noir 2017 is a throw-back Pinot. There has been a trend lately for more full-bodied Pinots that are blended with Petite Sirah or Syrah. They are very popular the leading brand recently sold for a third of a billion dollars. But the Cotillion is a value-priced version of the best old school California Pinot Noir.
- It isn’t equal to 40 or 50 dollar Pinot, but it does have some of the characteristics of those more fancy Pinot Noirs.
- AT $9.99 any Pinot Noir that can remind you (if not actual match) of the expensive stuff is ok with me. The Cotillion gives you a real Pinot Noir drinking experience at a very solid price.