Angeline pinot noir vs. … Angeline?

29 09 2016

Hello wine fanatics… today we review Angeline 2014 California pinot noir, available at Total Wine for about $13, and the “Reserve” of this same wine, which goes for around $18.

Angeline sells both California and Oregon pinot.  In past years I’ve been disappointed with them, with no major complaint other than, I just didn’t love the flavor.  With the 2014 California pinot (and its Reserve partner), that has changed.  I could drink these all winter.  Note:  the 2015 pinot noirs are already out, so if you are like me and find the 2014 to be especially enjoyable, your time to enjoy it may be limited.

But is the Reserve, as you would expect, the better wine?  I won’t keep you in suspense — the cheaper one is better.  Angeline California pinot noir is bright, with a few layers (what do you want for 13 bucks?) of flavor that include cranberry, cherry and spice, and a hint of rhubarb.  It’s light, but not “see-through”.  It’s fairly acidic for a California wine so you may wrinkle your nose if you’re used to thick and sweet shiraz, but it’s not as tart as some Oregon or French pinot noirs.

The Reserve version is beefier, less acidic, less thin, and has more powerful earthy and spicy flavors. But the flavors feel hyped-up, less honest, and less natural. There’s more “there” there, and I do enjoy drinking it, but I’m not in love with it.  The Reserve almost comes across as confused.
So there you have it:  the winner is, Angeline 2014 California pinot noir — the “plain” one!  To make it easy to distinguish, the winner has the white label.  The Reserve label is black.Angeline_PinotNoir_15_RT.jpg