Saturday, February 13, 2010

2008 Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir California

Stick your nose in our business - or not.

Rating:  Beautiful nose followed by a flat, uninspiring body.  Drinkable, but not noteworthy. $15

The rest of the story:  (Note: Please see the reply from the winery at the bottom of this review.) Cartlidge & Browne has been on the value-priced wine scene for decades.  And on occasion they manage to turn out some very respectable wines.  But on the whole, their offerings lack an excitement and individuality to make them worth seeking out.

A brief comment on how incredible this budget Pinot was the genesis of this review, so we were curious - even excited - that we had another wine to add to the list of affordable Pinots.  But this year's Pinot is consistent with its producer's lineage.

Lovely looking in the glass and deceptively generous with your nose in it, all early indicators point to a fun surprise.  (Cartlidge & Browne's slogan is appropriate: Stick your nose in our business.)  But that's pretty much the end of the line.  It lacks enough fruit, body, and definition to make it enjoyable. It's got some jagged edges, too.

We paid $14.99 for it, but you can find it for as low as $11 if you shop around.  But we wouldn't.  It gets 3 stars just for being drinkable at this price point - such is the sorry state of Pinot these days.  For budget Pinot, stick with these guys.

In response to this review, Bob Babbe, Partner in Cartlidge & Browne Winery sent this note:

I appreciated your offer to provide our response to your review of our 2008 Pinot Noir.


It was ironic that we received your lukewarm review on the same day as Robert Parker tweeted his on line readers to " seek out our 2008 Pinot Noir".

Your comment, that Cartlidge & Browne " manages to turn out some respectable wines" is again in distinct contrast to comments from Robert Parker such as: " The question that begs to be answered is why so many producers ignore what Cartlidge and Browne does better than just about anybody else in the state---produce fruit forward, pure, varietally correct, delicious wines"

Our wine maker of 28 years does put a premium on aromatics in wine . His palate prefers wines that don't match the current vogue for sweet, high alcoholic, toasty oak laden wines. Our wines have won a loyal following from wine drinkers who favor a more classically European style of wine.

I would encourage your readers to buy a bottle of our Pinot Noir or any of our wines and see which wine writer's perspective matches their own tasting experience.