2014 d’Arenberg “The Hermit Crab” – Viognier/Marsanne, McLaren Vale – $13
This wine is a great way to enjoy a white wine that is not a Chardonnay. There are those who are part of the ABC Club (Anything But Chardonnay), will take note of this wine. A very good price point and readily available, this wine is sure to please most of the white wine paring palettes and stand-alone deck drinkers. Very much a Rhone-style, this one is quite dry, but very flavorful. Citric, peachy, and full of other worldly fruit flavors such as lychee and star fruit, this wine displays flavors I usually equate to Northern Rhone bottles. At this price, one might consider getting a case!
Wine Advocate – 90 points.
T-Scale – 91 points! At $13 (Costco), you really should be buying this wine.
2009 Chehalem Ridgecrest Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir – $43
Admittedly, I bought this one directly from the Chehalem tasting room in Newberg, Oregon. This was one of three bottles left in the room. I waited until now to open it and it did not disappoint. Spicy, earthy, big. This wine is very much like a genuine Burgundian red. I would place this in a blind tasting with big Burgundies from the Côte de Nuits and expect it to fool most. The 2009 vintage seems a bit more full than other vintages, but not overly so. My only complaint is left two of these bottles behind in the tasting room!
Ridgecrest is one of a few vineyards on Ribbon Ridge owned by Chehalem. All three of the single vineyard pinot noir wines get blended into the regular offering at Chehalem, but the single vineyard bottlings are the real gems. All three are quite good, but I find this is the best one.
If you find more of these, regardless of vintage, let me know. I want more of them.
Cellar Tracker – 90.6,
T-Scale 93 points. Quite nice at this price. Many more of the big Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs are bringing a lot more money, but this is a very good value, and better than most of the higher dollar offerings.