Or, can an inexpensive Pinot be a decent weeknight wine?

Well, There Was a Sale

Admittedly, I purchased the 2016 Fog & Light Pinot Noir, Monterey, from Cost Plus World Market during their big sale. I paid only $10.99 for it, and if the sale is still going on after payday, I’ll be getting more.

Being able to drink a Pinot Noir during a random weeknight is always a dream of mine. However, as an aficionado of Kosta Browne, Williams Selyem, Inman Family, Sea Smoke, the rare and beautiful Bourgogne Rouge, and the like, it’s not always a wise or budget-friendly option. As a result, I drink a lot of Pelligrino when I want something special in the evening. It’s obviously not related to Pinot in any way, but all of my friends know that it’s my drug of choice.

But I digress.

If you’ve ever had a “budget” Pinot Noir, you know that they, let’s just say, are a bit less than typical. I’ve had budget Pinots that have run the gamut in type and quality. I’ve had frugally-priced Pinots that tasted like dirt (not “earth,” but actual dirt), some that tasted like they had a good dollop of cheap Syrah added, and some that were surprisingly nice wines, but sucky Pinots.

A Different Budget Pinot

When I picked up the bottle, I was surprised at the bottle heft and red wax cap, reminiscent of the Belle Glos line of Pinot Noirs. The main difference is that the Fog & Light has a neat demarcation of the bottom of the wax as compared to the Bell Glos, which looks fully dipped.

The wax on the Fog & Light has a zipper which is easy to remove and reveals a cheapie agglomerate cork that’s a little on the stubby side. Once again, not unexpected considering the price. The bottle is surprisingly hefty and has a good feel for pouring.

Fog & Light Pinot Noir

Fog & Light Pinot Noir

On the nose, it smells distinctly like a Pinot. Which may be obvious, but really not so much. Some time ago, my “friends” introduced me to a wine that had no distinctive nose or palate and I completely bombed on the fact that it was a Pinot. In my opinion, if I can’t feel the Pinot impact immediately, then it’s not a good Pinot. There was no impact. I won’t say the name of the winery since it may have been an unfortunate vintage or a flawed bottle. That said, I haven’t purchased a bottle that winery.

The 2016 Fog & Light has a nose that smells like a Pinot Noir. There was dried red fruit, dried cranberry, bramble, smoke, black cherry, and spice. I can’t imagine that anyone with even a modicum of expertise would mistake it for anything else. The palate reflects the nose completely. That said, it is not a wine filled with complexity – the price alone will tell you that it’s single note. However, it’s a little more than just a single note Pinot. The acidity is gentle, the tannins, barely there, and the finish is medium/medium short.

I hope that you can find the wine and enjoy it. It doesn’t scream complexity, but for $10.99 and at 13.5% ABV, it makes for a very nice weekday or party wine, with just enough oomph to it make it noticeable.

Definitely recommended! Just enjoy it and don’t think too much!