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I am typically a big bold red kind of drinker. I love my California Cabernets, Barolo's, Bordeaux, Priorat's, and Super Tuscans. You will almost never see me trying to buy a red Burgundy (unless someone has given me $100 and I can actually buy something decent) or Beaujolais (if you see me getting one of these, I have probably been kidnapped and I am trying to signal for help). However, every once in a while, there comes along a few softer, lighter, more elegant Pinot Noirs that really turn my head.
When I do look for a Pinot Noir, I am actually looking for a Pinot Noir. Just because I like Cabernet does not mean I want my Pinot Noir to drink like a Cabernet (cough cough Meiomi cough cough). I want a wine to taste like the grape it is made from. Pinot Noir should have some elegance, be lighter bodied with bright fruit and a touch of earth tones to it. It should not be overly alcoholic, and it should be a nice light color.
Although red Burgundy is known as the most prestigious place for Pinot Noir in the world, it also comes with a very prestigious price point. As I hinted at earlier, it seems that to get a decent red Burgundy these days, you need to spend nearly $100 a bottle. I find that the best places to find a slightly better value is either in Oregon or California. Oregon is extremely well known for the excellent Pinot Noir they grow, and I do love many of these, but today I am talking about a California Pinot Noir.
When I first tasted the RAEN Royal St. Robert Pinot Noir, I was blown away. The elegance and flavors were amazing. Everything about this wine was excellent, from the perfumed bouquet to the bright fruit and earthy notes all the way to the long lingering finish. This wine has quite the pedigree as well. It was founded by the grandchildren of the legend Robert Mondavi. Carlos and Dante Mondavi started RAEN in 2013. This was actually the wine I had for Thanksgiving dinner two years ago. It was truly a perfect pairing for everything. It has the body to stand up to both ham and turkey and the tart raspberry and cranberry notes went perfectly with the cranberry sauce and stuffing.
Especially now that we are heading into the summer months, it would be a perfect time to give this Pinot Noir a try. It isn't cheap, but well worth the money and a way better bargain than Burgundy.