The 2010 Sebastopol Hills Pinot Noir is a Trader Joe’s ($9.99) exclusive, is a label produced by Owl Ridge Wine Services, a custom wine making facility, who are also related to Owl Ridge Winery, a top notch Russian River Pinot Noir producer. The label indicates only that the grapes are sourced from the Sonoma Coast AVA, but Sebastopol Hills is in the southside of the Russian River AVA which is located inside the Sonoma Coast AVA. There is no information concerning the making of the wine, but Pinot from this area usually sees some French oak aging. The alcohol content is, fairly strong for Pinot, 14.5%.
The color is a pale raspberry red with a clear halo. The nose is mushroom, black cherry, herbs, a touch of vanilla and a little cedar, a solid, complex Pinot Noir nose. This is a slightly fruit forward Pinot, sweet strawberry and cherry upfront, followed by tea and licorice. The mid palate adds a little creamy milk chocolate and plum mixed with a medicinal flavor, a nice mix of smooth and rough. The acidity shows up on the finish and helps it linger for a while.
The Sebastopol Hills Pinot Noir is an extremely solid Pinot Noir, that just happens to sell for $9.99. This is a not a cheap facsimile of a Pinot Noir, it favors fruit over complexity, but it has enough texture, length and complexity to make this a satisfying glass of wine.