Greetings once more dear reader, and welcome back to my second of four (yes, count em four!) special reviews regarding Inniskillin's 2010 Summer Series of fine vinos!

My first review, in case you missed it, discussed its very fine, tasty and frankly bloody wonderful Pinot Gris, so I thought I'd follow up with its cousin (well, cousin in the grape kinda sense y'all), the Pinot Noir!

As always for these four reviews, a little history, this time about our good friend Monsieur Noir. As with the Pinot Gris of my previous review of yore, its name is based on le French, with "Pinot" meaning "pine cone" (because the grapes are bunched in a similar looking shape), and "Noir" for "black," because of the dark purple grapes which yields this type of booze. Although a difficult grape to cultivate and turn into wine, its history can be traced back to the Middle Ages at least, and maybe even to the First Century AD (great Caesar's ghost!).

(Aside: I've often thought to myself, "What would he think, having been a great lawmaker, statesman, politician, knowing that his greatest name recognition two thousand years later would come from a salad?")

Anyway! This particular Pinot from my friends @ Inniskillin was sourced from three vineyards in its Niagara estate, and were aged separately (so says the ever knowledgeable back of the bottle) in French Oak barrels - tres bien! This, like all of the Winemaker's Series wines, is a VQA wine.

Now, for the pairing bit, which I will briefly describe here, and will go into detail later! That night my wife had ground beef on the menu, which she turned into some wonderful hamburgers on a toasted bistro bun. Mmm. The beef was mixed with rosemary and paprika, as well as mushrooms, to give it body. It was served with cheddar cheese on top and the usual condiments (mustard, relish, ketchup), and on the side, a cucumber, sweet onion tomato salad, with black pepper and balsamic vinegar dressing.


Looks good no?

Now as always, the main event! First, you'll need a corkscrew...*POP* mission accomplished. Upon pouring (unless you use a straw...), this Pinot pours a cherry plum red colour, and offers minimal glass coating (if that even matters) upon sophisticated slooshing around ye olde glass.

Smelling and detecting which notes of scent are present is always a chore, but I'll to it as always! Well, the first thing that strikes is the peppery/spiciness this wine has, as well as even a hint of chocolate. It is medium nosed (nosed?), with other scents of cherry; it is quite fragrant indeed, and doesn't hold back.

And of course, tasters time! The wine is dry on the palate, has noticeable tannins, is smoothish, but with definite depth; the wine coats the tongue. It too, like its scent, is medium bodied, and tastes of dark cherry and plum, and of course, peppery spice (lots of it...well to me anyways, I'm not huge on spicy reds...unless we're talking Charo, BAM!). The aftertaste continued much of these flavours, and there was some bitterness on the end.

Disclaimer time: as I noted in my previous Summer Series post, I am a lousy food "pairer," and after having had this wine with the food chosen (at least certain parts of it), I'd likely have changed my wine choice. But, that being said, on with our really big shooooow.

This Pinot is more robust than other perhaps milder, more fruity reds, chiefly because of its pepper punch, and I found that the paprika in the burger, and the cracked black pepper (!) on the salad didn't go very well; in short, spice overload! Had the burger been less spiced up, the depth of the beef likely would have went pretty well with those in the wine. An evening wine, at least that is my two Lincoln's, I'd have this one with a medium-well steak, or game, to tame the pepper.

Some wines are better off enjoyed with food: I'd say this one is one of them, and there's nothing wrong with that frankly. This wine has lovely aromas and inviting colour, and a lot of depth and body of taste, but have it with a hearty meal, and you'll likely be buying this one again sometime again down the road.

**3/4 out of 4

Available at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$19.95 (US$19.21).

From LCBO.com:

INNISKILLIN WINEMAKER'S SERIES THREE VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR 2007, 750mL bottle

  • LCBO/Vintages #175174
  • Wine, Red Wine
  • 13.0% Alcohol/Vol.
  • Sugar Content: D
  • Made in: Ontario, Canada
  • By: Vincor International Inc.

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