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Mark West, Pinot Noir 2004

Mark West, Pinot Noir 2004

by Tim Elliott on October 22, 2005

Mark West, Pinot Noir, Central Coast 2004 ($8) – Ruby in color with black cherry and spice aromas; raspberry and black cherry fruit flavors finishing with nice balancing acidity and light tannins. Enjoyable for current drinking and another great value in California Pinot Noir for under $10. Score: 8.5/10

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  • Marlene Patten

    This wine is trash. I wanted to vomit after just one taste. Wouldn’t recommend to anyone for any reason. I might sue someone for the pain I suffered trying to injest this hauntingly awful beverage.

  • What a wonderful surprise! This wine was recommended by our server in Old Town San Diego… being from Oregon, and used to the excellent Pinots we have – Panther Creek comes to mind – I was most impressed by the balance of flavors and delightful finish of this 2004 Central Coast California pinot noir… even more surprising was to discover that it was an under $10 a bottle value. Kudos to the Mark West label.

  • Kim Bruno

    I can’t imagine how a bottle of wine could have such disparate responses. I found the wine to be a wonderful accompaniment to a meal. The color was a rich red and the taste hinted of fruit but was not sweet on the palate. We enjoyed it over a marinated skirt steak. I’d recommend it.

  • TomR

    I just started enjoying wine and this wine was recommend to me by the proprietor of a local shop. Excellent flavor and aroma, lingers in the mouth. Not too tart but the fruit is amazingly delightful! Definately a great first red wine. Very reasonably priced.

  • Chris L

    The first post must be that of a troll.

    For $10, this wine is a superb value. When rated by Wine Spectator, I would bet it rates 90 or 91. It has great up front presence and the finish is first rate. Dry but not overwhelming on the tannins and the fruit definitely hints of Raspberry. I had a bottle and then went out and bought a case. Great wine to share with fiends at a casual gathering.

  • David Williams

    Poor Marlene. She must have been in a foul mood. Mark West Pinot Noir has been a “sleeper” for years. A wonderfully fruity wine for an incredible price.

  • Tim

    I agree with you, David. It’s hard to believe we are talking about the same wine here, but every other response is consistant with my tasting notes. I think this is one of the great wine values in the under $10 range.

  • Roy

    My wife and I just had a glass of the Mark West Pinot Noir 2004. My favorite local liquour store had it on special for 7.99 and I thought I would take a flyer on it. WOW! Very smooth and delightful plus an incredible price. I am thinking of going back to buy a few more before the price changes.

  • Jamil Williams

    Poor Marlene indeed. I am tasting this wine right now, and let me tell you, for a price range from $8 – $12, you cannot beat this Pinot Noir(period!) And according to the bottle, the grapes are sourced from Corsica, even better. The 2003 vintages across Europe were effected greatly by the intense, Hot Hot summer temps. Most wines did not fair so well, but some shined, and this is no exception. Finding a well balanced Pinot under $17.00 these days is a feat. Cheers everyone.

  • Chris

    I ordered this at dinner the other night and was pleasantly surprised. It has a very nice, subtle, rounded flavor and was a delightful surprise. The only problem was that my meal was very spicy and it totally wrecked the wine. Nice otherwise though.

  • DF

    I don’t know what’s in Marlene, but I do know that there is a difference between the Central Coast version of this wine and the Vin de Corse version. I write about it in my blog:


    I don’t like the Vin de Corse version as well as the Central Coast, but maybe if I did a blind test I couldn’t tell the difference. I think I could. The California Mark West is worthy of all the praise here; the Vin de Corse is just not as good, to my lights.

  • Tim

    Yes, I had some “Vin de Corse” at a tasting recently and found it to be watery and not nearly as good as the Central Coast appellation wine… a 7/10 and not recommeded.

    Thanks for pointing this out, DF.

  • Kay

    My wine snob relatives were totally blown away when I served this at Christmas. It is simply an incredibly delicious wine at an amazing price. I have yet to serve it to anyone who did not later go out and buy it themselves.

  • Scott

    Beautiful taste, once decanted. The other consumer must have gotten a bad bottle. This is an incredible value for a well balanced pinot… very easy to drink.

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  • Just had Mark West Pinot Noir last night,at a local restaurant in Freeport, New York,and thought it to be excellent.

  • Tim

    Glad you liked the Mark West Pinot, Mary Lou. I’ve posted my 2005 review recently and it still holds up but the ’04 is my favorite of the two.

  • Robert Burman

    Don’t be too hard on Marlene. I had an in expensive bottle of Pinot Noir last month that was recommended by a creditable source which I thought was terrible (the first day). I was going to return it and tried it a second time and it actually mellowed out (the first day it originally tasted similar to varnish – real bad varnish) It took a long time to air out. So, Marlene may have been a victim of a stubborn bottle!

  • Tim

    Good point, Robert. I had a Gamay recently that was very similar. I’ll be talking about it on a podcast soon. There is plenty of bottle variation but all the ’04 West Pinots have been good to me.

  • Shelly

    I like the Mark West for the money. It’s a great way to please a lot people’s taste buds at the same time.

  • Jeremy

    This wine was a real disappointment. I was embarrassed to have served it at a party we hosted. It has few (if any) of the noteworthy Pinot characteristics. I would never buy this wine again!

  • Tim

    Sorry to hear you didn’t like the wine, Jeremy. That’s what makes wine so interesting for me; it’s such a personal experience.

    I’ve got 3 Pinots to post this week that I think you might like, but they are not in the same value category, price-wise (the least expensive is 3-times the price of this wine). Sometimes you get what you pay for…

  • Jon

    Tastes nothing like pinot. You really can’t make a decent pinot for $10. What is the yield here? Four tons per acre?
    Garbage, tastes like grape juice with alcohol added.

  • Tim

    A bit harsh, Jon. The 2004 here certainly did taste like Pinot; the ’05 less so, but still a good value.

    But, to each his or her own; there’s plenty of values in the current market.

  • Tim

    Some friend and I tasted the 2 Mark West together, and we all preferred the Vin de Corse

  • Roger

    I understand that people’s taste vary and not everyone likes exactly what I do. Still, I was amazed this wine got so many positive reviews. The 2004 tastes very hot and unbalanced with a metalic after-taste. Just awful stuff. I would rather have a diet soda.

  • Tim

    Roger: Then have a diet soda (hopefully Coke) instead. I really liked this wine but that doesn’t mean you should too.

    Thanks for responding.

  • Roger

    No problem Tim. I do understand opinions vary. Robert Parker loves vanilla flavor, and if you’re not a vanilla fan, you may not be crazy about some wines Parker loves.

    Another possibility is quality control. Generally, when I buy a case, I’m amazed at the consistency from bottle to bottle, but I have purchased cases that showed a disturbing amount of variability from bottle to bottle.

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