The 2013 Woodwork Pinot Noir is sourced from vineyards in coastal regions of the Central Coast AVA of California. Woodwork is one of The Wine Bars brands of wine that include Snap Dragon, Ensemble, Uppercut and many others. The key to the Woodwork line of wines is their use of oak staves, instead of oak barrels or no oak. An oak barrel can easily cost $1,000 each and that can rapidly add to the production costs of any wine. New oak barrels are used sparingly in value priced wine, it is far more common to see used oak barrels (oak barrels can be used about 5 times before they are considered neutral oak). Plus, used barrels are normally what is available, the wood and the char on the barrel were chosen for the original wine. Woodwork wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, but carefully chosen (French oak) staves (staves are the wood slates that make up an oak barrel), chosen for type of oak, even which forest it came from, how the wood is cut and the degree of char used (they fire the barrels to produce charred wood on the inside and the amount of char adds specific flavors to the wine). With some experimentation, X many staves, with Y char added to a tank of Z gallons of wine produce the exact oak characteristics the winemaker intended. Oak staves give the desired result at a lower cost and once the right ratio is determined the specified flavors can be added to any wine. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is clear, see-thru plum red. The nose is cherry, herbs, mushroom, a faint whiff of smoke and crumpled fall leaves. This is a medium-bodied, fruit forward Pinot Noir, with some solid structure and a nice mix of flavors. It tastes of plums and black cherry, concentrated red licorice, cold coffee and cranberry. The mid-palate shows cashew and blackberry cough drops. The acidity is solid, the tannins have an edge, but that is a good thing. The finish, though subdued, goes on and on.
The Woodwork Pinot Noir a pretty fun wine to drink. There is a lot going on in your glass, while not a “classic” Pinot Noir, it is an attention getter. The one thing missing from most value priced Pinot Noir is significant oak influence, Pinot can be delicate and does not need a great deal of oak. But here the oak is an integral part of the flavor profile and it brings an element to inexpensive Pinot Noir that you didn’t know you were missing.