Fire Road Pinot Noir 2013

fire_road_pinot_noirThe Fire Road Pinot Noir 2013 is sourced from several vineyards located in the Marlborough region, which is in the northeast corner of New Zealand’s South Island. Marlborough is best known for Sauvignon Blanc, just check the NZ Sauv Blanc section of your local wine shop and you will see Marlborough on virtually every bottle. Marlborough also produces first rate Pinot Noir, often at value prices. A portion of the Fire Road Pinot was fermented and aged in stainless steel vats and the rest in French oak barrels. A quick check of the net showed the price to vary from $13 to $17 and the alcohol content is 13.5%.

The color is a see-thru garnet red. It has the classic Pinot Noir nose, cherry, herbs, mushroom, tar, crumples fall leaves and a whiff of smoke. The Fire Road is very balanced, dry and medium bodied. It tastes of tart cherry, bitter dark chocolate, herbs and vanilla. The mid-palate adds cranberry and some savory notes. The acidity is in the pocket, enough to give the Pinot length, but not enough to get in the way. The finish is subtle and lengthy. 

The Fire Road Pinot Noir 2013 is a very tasty, well-balanced, fruit forward Pinot Noir. It is a very solid example of what is good about New Zealand Pinot at a very appealing price. It has all the funky cool elements that wine geeks love in Pinot Noir and it also has enough ripe fruit flavor to make it assessable to your average wine drinker.

Why Pinot Noir for the Thanksgiving meal

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No one every said that turkey was bursting with flavor, as a matter of fact, it usually needs some gravy to help it along. A bold wine will overpower the turkey, so you need something medium to medium light bodied and since there is gravy in the mix, a wine with enough acidity to cut thru. Traditionally cranberries are a side-dish or added to the side-dish, so you need a wine that picks up those flavors. Pinot Noir is light to medium bodied, has a cherry/cranberry flavor profile and has the acidity to deal with gravy and Aunt Ginny’s cheesy green-bean casserole. There are other wines who can pull off the Thanksgiving meal assignment, but you have to know which producer makes a wine that fits. Pinot Noir is going to work, just pick one with the flavor you love at a price you like.


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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.