The 2008 Clos du Bois North Coast Pinot Noir is a very nice wine for the price. Sure, you can pay twice as much for a bit more complexity, and more or less tannin, oak, legs, earthiness, acidity or whatever it is that you favor. But for a medium Pinot Noir this is a solid performer. Keep in mind that I do not consider myself a wine connoisseur. I like wine that complements the meal and does not insist on taking center stage. I find that any wine that justifies a price over $30 is like a sharp-elbowed sister cutting through a crowd. It gets there quickly and makes its point but come on, where is the grace? Even if I lack a refined nose for wine, I do know what I do and don’t like, and this is a wine that I like. We started drinking a glass with dinner, pumpkin risotto with chicken, and just kept drinking until the bottle was empty. Wines costing two and three times as much don’t get the bottle drained like this one. I can recommend it if you are just looking for a solid wine that has no faults but no overwhelming virtues.
January 2011 Update: I’ve gone through about a half-dozen bottles now and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy this wine. It lacks a lot of oak and tannins, but it is delicious. I’ve noticed that the price is starting to climb, so get your soon. Also, I bought some slightly cheaper 2006 and I have to say that the 2008 is better. Given another year or so in the bottle, it might mature a bit, but the tannins and alcohol in the 2006 suggest that the berry-fruit taste in the 2008 may get lost over time.
Flavor and nose: solid berry taste, steeped in mild tannins
Aftertaste: Mild berry finish, with oak and vanilla-chocolate.
Purchased at Hy-Vee for about $14 on sale. Update: Price is now about $18 at Hy-Vee.