Even the American-style fruit baskets are pleasant in the right context: summer patio, light lunch or chilled red. The American style may not appeal to fans of big reds, however. For red wine lovers who enjoy some tannic backbone, a grippy finish and some weight and density, fruit baskets are off-putting.
Burgundy wasn’t built on fruit baskets, however, and while the French have been making brawny Pinot Noir for centuries in the Burgundy region, some of their American counterparts are following suit, making Pinot Noir with weight, density and tannins.
Domaine Guy Roulot Monthelie is an excellent introduction to the French style of brawny Pinot Noir. Clayton Bahr, a wine representative for Putnam Wines, the company that handles Kermit Lynch imports, recommends Roulot for many reasons.
“Roulot is one of the most soughtafter winemakers in Burgundy,” Bahr said. “The wines perform well at auction. The wine features flavors of brooding forest floor, spice and minerality. There are subtle hints of rhubarb and cola as well.”
The Roulot is only available at Bacchus Wine & Spirits, 17216 N. May, and 33rd Street Wine & Spirits, 151 E. 33rd in Edmond.
Duckhorn, a winery that made its name on Bordeaux varietals, also produces two excellent Pinot Noirs. The Goldeneye Pinot Noir is widely available in Oklahoma City, including Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, 7 S. Mickey Mantel Drive in Bricktown. The Goldeneye is California Pinot at its most serious. Flavors of cola, vanilla and red fruit create dense layers, leading to a smoky, dry finish.
Duckhorn introduced its new line in Oklahoma City in February at The Tasting Room, 4322 N. Western, and the new line includes two wines at a price point between the Duckhorn classics and Decoy, its value line. Migrations, the new middle-tier line, includes a noteworthy Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir that is a fine hybrid of fruit and brawn.
Migrations Pinot starts with bright, red fruit, cola and spice. The wine is light and fruity across the front and midpalate. The remarkable moment occurs on the finish when all the weight of smoke, tar and forest floor hit, making the finish lengthy, serious and more weighty than expected.
Mickey Mantle’s also has Ken Wright Guadalupe Vineyard Pinot Noir from Oregon. Ken Wright is the first name that comes to mind when brawny American Pinot Noir is the subject. Across his line, the wines are dense, serious and complex. The Guadalupe Vineyard is no exception.
Robert Parker, giving it 92 points, described it thus: “An alluring array of toast, earth, floral notes, black cherry and plum lead to a suave, concentrated, elegant wine with plenty of depth, concentration and savory fruit.”