The 2011 Cloud Break Pinot Noir is sourced from vineyards in more than one California grape growing AVA. Cloud Break is a brand owned by O’Neill Vintners and Distillers, a contract maker of wines and Spirits. They own their own vineyard and have long term contracts on 15,000 acres of vines thru-out California. O’Neill also produces Tin Roof, Pepi and Camelot wines. This is a Pinot Noir that sells for $7.99 in California and a bit higher as you go east. The Cloud Break was fermented in stainless steel tanks and had French and American oak aging, which could mean oak barrels or oak chips or oak staves added to the stainless steel tanks. The alcohol content is a very Burgundian 12.5%.
The color is a clean, clear see-thru cherry red with a slightly clear halo. The nose is red berries, tea, a little cedar and cinnamon spice. This is Pinot Noir lite, many of the components of a top flight Pinot are there, it is just that they soft and muted, which isn’t a complaint for a 8 buck Pinot. It tastes of sweet cherry and french vanilla, raspberry and soft herbal tea and strawberry with a hint of Altoid’s spice. The mid palate adds a touch of tart cranberry and a little mushroom. The tannins are soft, the acidity is balanced and the finish starts off strong and manages to hold on for a respectable length of time.
The 2011 Cloud Break Pinot Noir is 85% fruit to 15% Pinot Noir funk, it is a light to medium bodied wine with fresh fruit flavor and a dash of Pinot Noir goodness. It drinks well, it would really do well as a warm weather patio wine, a Red wine that is not too heavy with a touch of refreshing crispness to the flavors. I prefer a Pinot with a little more of an edge, but I think many people will enjoy the Cloud Break for the flavor and the value.