The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 seems to be an orphan wine. All the social media for Bluebird Wines and they had everything, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, all stopped posting in 2015. There is a single webpage, for the 2013 vintage of this wine.
They seemed to have produced other wines from past vintages, but this is the only wine still for sale. I also found it selling at a local grocery store, Mariano’s, which is a Kroger store in the Chicago region. This is not your typical grocery store wine.
For one thing, this is a small production, boutique Pinot Noir, the label says only 52 barrels were produced (about 15,000 bottles). Most of the bottles found in supermarkets (not all) tend to be produced in the hundreds of thousands. Mass production keeps the price down.
The second thing is the tasting notes name Garys’ Vineyard as a/the source. The only source is for the 2013 vintage and this is the 2016 vintage, I am guessing everything stayed the same.
Garys’ Vineyard is located in the Santa Lucia Highlands not far from the Monterey Bay, it is one of the premier Pinot Noir vineyards in California. Pinots sourced from this vineyard routinely sell in the fifty dollar range. The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 was found for under $15.
The Bluebird label only shows Monterey County as a source, maybe they sourced grapes from other parts of Monterey. Their information only lists one vineyard. If it is sourced solely from Garys’ Vineyard this is a wildly underpriced Pinot Noir, even if it is only partially sourced from there it is still very well priced.
There are many high-end Pinot Noir brands that show Garys’ Vineyard and Santa Lucia Highlands on their front label. The Bluebird Pinot Noir seems to be modestly labeled. This is a 2016 vintage which is a good deal of aging for an under $15 Pinot Noir.
This wine was aged in French oak barrels for 16 months, with 40% in French oak barrels and the rest in neutral oak barrels. Neutral barrels have been reused to the point that they no longer have any oak flavoring left to impart. The winemaker could use stainless steel tanks, but oak barrels let a tiny amount of air into the barrel. That minuscule amount causes enough of a change for the winemaker to go through the extra trouble and expense of barrels.
The Bluebird seems to be a boutique, small production, well-sourced wine that just happens to be selling at a grocery store. There are interesting bargain wines everywhere if you take the time to search for them. The alcohol content is 13.8%.
Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 Tasting Notes
The color is a see-thru garnet red. The nose is really good, inexpensive Pinot Noir is usually dominated by fruit on the nose along with the expected herbs and spices. But, here we have an array of exotic scents, herbs, dried fall leaf, unusual spices, cherry, pork cooking on the outdoor grill, a whiff of smoke, this wine has a nose that takes you on a journey.
This is a medium-bodied wine with bright acidity and delicate flavors. It starts with tart cherry, a slightly rough edge from the tannins. oak spice, tea, and a hint of chocolate.
The mid-palate brings orange zest, sweet blueberry, licorice, herbs, and cranberry. The acidity gives this Pinot a good deal of length. What I enjoy about a good Pinot Noir is that you have to seek out the full display of tastes and textures. Some wines hit you over the head with flavor and that is fine, but I like a wine that does not give up its secrets so easily.
- The Bluebird Monterey Pinot Noir 2016 is a very fine Pinot Noir. It has features that are not normally found for under fifteen dollars.
- I think I am going to take my time next time I am in a grocery store searching for a wine and not just grab whatever is on sale. The Bluebird Pinot shows that there are treasures to be found if you take the time to look.