Wine of the Week: Emma Pearl Pinot Noir
Wine: Emma Pearl Pinot Noir
Grape: Pinot noir
Availability: Trader Joe’s
In the glass: Emma Pearl Pinot Noir is a vibrant semi-translucent dark crimson color with a firm deeply colored core going out into a fine light-garnet rim definition with medium-high viscosity.
On the nose: There are good amounts of crushed black plums, strawberry crush, cran-cherry juice, milk chocolate, ground star anise, then bright red flowers, light mint and fruit-driven minerals round out the layered toasty nose.
On the palate: The wine has an immediate nice grip without masquerading as syrah, which happens a lot in California. There are again fresh bright crushed red berries, cherries, plums, raspberry coulis, cranberry fondant and copious amounts of phenols and fruity minerals with underlying hints of aniseed powder. The mid-palate seems rich and forward with good amounts of balance between fruit and acidity, as well as good tannin structure that reflects where the wine is coming from. The finish is very fine with hints of candied cranberries and red Twizzlers. It is a quite Burgundy-like pinot noir.
Odds and ends: California pinot noir for less than $4 per bottle? That was a myth until I guess the makers of Emma Pearl pinot noir found a way. Either that or they sold the wine for below cost. Normally the production cost for a bottle of wine is about $5 and then you mostly get Welch’s Grape Juice mixed with alcohol. In this bottle of Emma Pearl we have something far more sophisticated at a fabulous value. Emma Pearl just blew me away in a tasting of wines from Trader Joe’s, which I always think of as an overachiever in its wine departments, given the sheer number of great bottles that can be found for less than $10 and from all over the world. It is mainly produced from grapes sourced in the vast Central Coast of California, which nevertheless is home to several venerable vineyards that obviously deliver when conditions and blending are done right. This is a clear early summer favorite. Load up by the case and it can be your go-to summer red with its lighter style and tasty profile. Try it with anything that you cook on the barbecue. Drink it now through 2018.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears on Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or at email@example.com.