Today we review a 2009 pinot noir from the Santa Lucia area within California’s central coast, which will cost you around $16. My bottle came free directly from Mark West.
Wow. Let’s get to the point — I cannot think of another $16 pinot noir that is this entertaining, this notably good. (The same is true of the “plain” Mark West, which has an orange label. Nothing at its lower price point tastes as much like real pinot noir.) And yes, Mark West Santa Lucia is better than the “plain” Mark West: it’s more silky, tastes more mature and complex, and some of the rough edges of the “plain” Mark West have been sanded down without losing that very real, true, pinot noir character. You’ll taste rose petals, cola, raspberry and cherry, very bright spices, and a little bit of oak and minerality. This medium-bodied wine is perfect for drinking on its own, or with just about any food other than the heaviest of meats.
Drawbacks? It’s pretty darn hot, so it delivers an “alcohol!!” punch in the mouth. It’s definitely not your father’s light, see-through pinot noir. This very real pinot noir is another clear “Best Value” winner, hence the guy laughing at the slot machine. Mark West Santa Lucia Highlands is: