This week I’ve picked out The Intrepid Bear ‘Brown Bear’ Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 as my wine of the week. It’s a wine from ‘over the pond’ that represents superb value for money, and is a jolly nice drop too.
All the grapes come from the Lodi region – old vines, superb family-owned vineyards, deep shale soils and a cooler climate compared directly to the more famous Napa and Sonoma regions and this is so important when working with this fussy varietal. If it’s too hot, the grapes ‘flake out’ and the resulting wines lack balance and structure, not to mention the flavours becoming stewed and jammy.
The 2012 vintage was just perfect – a cool, long ripening season, allowing the grapes to reach peak maturity and develop great fruit character, intensity and a lovely balance of fruit and freshness.
The wine was blended by my wine buying colleague Andrew Baker at the winery, with winemaker Tom Rappe (a real “Pinot Noir head” and who relished the chance to get his hands dirty with this). Together they selected the best tanks and barrels, and during blending decided to include a small splash of old vine Shiraz for added presence, punch and a little extra fruit intensity.
Getting great value Pinot Noir from anywhere is very difficult and this is a belter. A really great wine in a crowd-pleasing, fruit-forward style that you could chill down a little and partner with all sorts of barbequed foods.
Put simply, it’s awesome!