Victor and Mary: What’s an example of a Pinot Noir under $20 that drinks like a $100 bottle?
Michael Buckelew: Actually a difficult proposition these days…If I could change "under $20" to "between $20 and $30" though, the choices would begin to appear. Pinot Noir produces unique, expressive, and compelling wines in only a handful of growing areas of the world outside of its home in Burgundy, France, and one of the countries that has been growing it on a large scale since at least the Middle Ages is Germany, and the wines can be fantastic. A standout bottle - and one that offers maximum bang for the buck - is produced by brothers Werner and Volker Knipser in the Pfalz, a beautiful and bucolic area in the southwest corner of the country. It's a drop-dead delicious combination of ripe red fruits and dark brooding earthiness, all wrapped up in a silky smooth texture. It actually reminds me very much of a Pinot Noir that could be from a privileged "Premier Cru" vineyard in the Cote de Beaune district of Burgundy, which could potentially be in that $100 a bottle category.
Weingut Knipser, Blauer Spatburgunder, Trocken, Pfalz, Germany, 2009
(Blauer Spatburgunder is the German synonym for Pinot Noir - "Trocken" is an indication on the label that wine is a dry - so no residual sweetness - the retail price is right around $24.00)
Photo Courtesy of The Broadmoor