Today after work was hair cut day and after Diego got me all ready for Valentine's Day I decided to stop for a glass of wine at Wine Steals in Hillcrest. Normally I don't go there because it tends to be way too crowded and the depth of perfume and cologne in the room often makes it difficult to determine the nose of your wine. This time though the place was almost empty as it was just at the start of "Happy Hour", so I settled in at the bar and ordered a glass of Queen of Hearts Pinot Noir. Sadly I didn't catch the vintage of this Santa Barbara Pinot, I need to make sure to start asking when I order wine by the glass.
The was rather pretty in the glass, a clear garnet, but I have to say that right from the bottle it didn't impress me. The nose was almost non-existent except for a little spice and the indication of "heat". The first sip was alright, some cherry and spice, soft tannins and decent acid but nothing exciting. After putting the glass down and reading an article in Wine and Spirits I picked up the glass, stuck in my nose and was greeted by a much more pleasant aroma of cherries, red fruits, and the same spice with a hint of oak. The taste was of a light-bodied Pinot, nice cherries, a little spice and oak, soft tannins and nice acidity. Over the span of about 30 minutes the wine unfolded quite nicely. It was never complex, never what the heavy hitters would call a "serious" Pinot, but it was a very drinkable, fruit-forward, short-finish Pinot. A nice Pinot for those nights you just want a Pinot and not think about it. With a price point of around $10 a bottle it's a decent drink, just remember to decant first to let it find its voice.
Wines reviewed in 2009: 109