Can Budget Pinot Noir be a Daily Drinker?


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!

Vegas Wineaux
Vegas Wineaux
Life now, especially after leaving the day job, is even crazier! I hope that you continue to follow and enjoy the wine and Vegas news!


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