The other day I opened a bottle of 2008 Pinot Noir by Elk Cove Vineyards from the Willamette Valley. I had bought this on sale at Safeway a while back for about $25, but it retails for $30. This wine took a while to open. Even after a day (with a closure) it still tastes a little closed. Or maybe it is simpler than I think it should be. At first, I gave it about 20 min to open by pouring a little into my glass, giving it a few swirls, and watching some Futurama. I gave it a sniff and it exhibited sour cherry and volatile acidity (mostly ethyl aldehyde, but a little acetic acid as well). Luckily with more patience and impatient swirling the VA wafted away.
Eventually, I got subtle cherry, earth, ginger, fresh dried black tea leaves, and black pepper from it. This is not my style of Pinot Noir, but more than that it is sour and the finish is short with a bit of soft grit from the tannins. Nothing to be ecstatic about here. Certainly not bad wine, but there are much better choices at this price point.
This wine reminds me of the lesser Pinots from my vintage abroad in Central Otago, New Zealand. I worked the 2009 Vintage at Akarua. Don't get me wrong, there are some amazing Pinots coming from there. However, this wine reminded me of the ones I didn't like there. Anytime I get reminded of that wonderful country, I get a bitter-sweet feeling. Bitter because I miss that country and the friends I made in Cromwell. Sweet because that place is awesome! If you haven't been to Central, I highly recommend it.