The single most popular post here is for my review of Mark West Pinot Noir 2004. Google “Mark West Pinot Noir” and the second result, after the winery website, is to that note. Each month, the Google referrals in my logs are dominated with “Mark West” mentions. So it was with great anticipation that I tasted the 2005 vintage of this wine.
Before I continue, an important note. Look for “Appellation California” right below the Pinot Noir on the label. The winery produces another bottling called “Vin De Corse” made from wines produced on the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. That’s a long way from California and from what I liked in the previous vintage. I tried Vin De Corse at a tasting earlier this year and didn’t think it is in the same league as their California wines but other wine bloggers seemed to like it.
Mark West is a nÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©gociant label buying grapes and wines on the bulk market. In the winery’s colorful data sheet, they detail that 66% of the grapes come from the Central Coast, 22% from Sonoma Coast, 4% from Napa, 3% from Mendocino and 5% from “other” (presumably California’s un-sexy Central Valley). The blend is a bit of a shock for Pinot purists being only 85% Pinot Noir (the minimum amount to be called by that varietal in California), 13% Syrah and 2% Chardonnay. I applaud the winery for being so forthcoming with these details, as most other $10 and under Pinot Noir is also spiked with Syrah but few tell the tale. Last year I used a vague 20 point system for the review of the 2004 vintage, but my rating on the 100 point scale would have been an 87 or 88.
Mark West Winery, Pinot Noir, California 2005 ($10) – Ruby in color with a purple rim. Aromas of black cherry, raspberry and sage. In the mouth, smooth raspberry and wild cherry fruit and spice flavors finish with silky tannins. Not as impressive as last year’s vintage but still a nice value. Given the “Sideways effect” on Pinot supplies in California, I’m pleased they were able to pull this off at this price.
Natural cork closure