Let’s check out the 2011 vintage of California’s Mark West pinot noir, shall we? It’s $8.99 at Total Wine, a slight price increase.
This wine is a rock star, because of its past. I raved over the 2008 vintage here and proclaimed it a “Best Buy”. Mark West’s achievement: dramatically lowering the price at which a wine could taste like actual pinot noir. Others on the Internet have disagreed, saying that Mark West was always non-pinot-tasting sweet stuff. They are wrong.
But now, they’re right. This pinot has turned into generic California sort-of-pinot (meaning: sweet for a pinot noir, with lots of vanilla, cinnamon and cherry).
But let’s be honest, almost ALL affordable California pinot noirs have that generic taste. Is this one worth $9?
Yes. If you like pinot noir but you really don’t want to spend more than nine bucks, Mark West is a clear option, although it is no longer a Wineguider Best Buy. Another option is Cloud Break, which is lighter, more cherry-cherry, and just $7.99. Because Mark West remains very drinkable and very affordable, it is: