Pinot Noir 2017

(Willamette Valley, OR) $45

One of the most exciting (and rare) things a wine can do is trigger every single known taste receptor on your palate: crisp, sweet, salty, bitter, and umami (savory). That’s exactly what happens when you drink Big Table Farm’s pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Vivid flavors of ripe cherries and pomegranates whirl around, spliced by surges of crispness and a mouthwatering saltiness. Then come flavors of rich earthiness and noble botanical herbs. But best of all, the texture is so hedonistically sappy, the wine appears to melt in your mouth. Big Table Farm, a husband-and-wife team, also make a few single vineyard pinots, including the celestial “Pelos Sandberg Vineyard” from the Eola-Amity Hills ($62). But penny for penny, this delicious wine―their “regular” Willamette Valley pinot—can’t be beat. (13.5% abv)


96 points KM

Available at Vivino

The WineSpeed Blog

A. A crisp white wine from vineyards surrounding Lake Constance near the Swiss-Austrian border

B. A full-bodied red wine made from grapes native to Lebanon

C. A sweet wine from Constantia winery in South Africa

D. A fortified wine from the medieval Constance monastery in eastern France; the wine is thought to have medicinal benefits


Vin de Constance is a dessert wine from South Africa. The celebrated wine was produced in the nineteenth century at Constantia Winery in Cape Town. Founded in 1685, Constantia winery was one of the first wineries in the country. The luscious dessert wine, made from muscat blanc à petite grain grapes, was one of the most sought-after dessert wines in Europe―favored by emperors and kings (Napoléon Bonaparte and King Frederick the Great of Germany) and famous authors and poets. Today, the extraordinary wines are still produced at Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia wineries.

Answer: False.

Franciacorta is a region in Lombardy in northern Italy, famous for its sparkling wines. The sophisticated, dry sparkling wines, made by the traditional Champagne method from chardonnay and pinot noir (and sometimes pinot blanc), are austerely elegant with a fine, creamy mousse of bubbles. Franciacortas come as nonvintage wines as well as vintage-dated (known as Franciacorta millesimato) and, like Champagne, they spend a relatively long time on lees―18 months for non-vintage to 60 months for Franciacorta riserva.


A solera is a complex network of barrels used for aging Sherry by progressively blending younger wines into older wines. Since the barrels are not completely filled, the wine is allowed to be gently subjected to oxidization during the process. Wine held in a solera is said to undergo the solera process.


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From Bordeaux with Love

The now-popular name for the grape variety côt (CO), malbec (MAL-beck) is native to southwestern France. The offspring of two obscure French grapes—madeleine noire des Charentes and prunelard—malbec is the leading grape variety in Argentina, where it has been planted since the mid-nineteenth century after crossing the Atlantic from Bordeaux. Most Argentine wines labeled as malbecs are 100% that variety. Malbec tends to be lower in acidity and slightly less tannic than cabernet sauvignon. The best are inky rich wines with soft textures.


Date in August that harvest 2019 began in the Napa Valley. While this—the second week in August—may seem early for the harvest to begin, it’s now quite common for Napa Valley’s sparkling wine producers. The very first grapes were pinot noir clusters picked in the Oak Knoll District in southern Napa Valley for use by Mumm Napa Valley.


Number of days it took Charlie, the resident sloth at the Los Angeles Zoo, to choose flavoring ingredients for a German-style lager called Slothen Bräu, according to The Drinks Business. Having animals select special ingredients for craft beers is apparently not a new idea. Charlie (slowly) chose pears and roses. You can taste Charlie’s beer next month at the zoo’s brewpub.


Day in August, in 1912, when Julia Child was born. This week she would have marked her 107th birthday. Known for her wit, charm, and sing-song voice, Child ignited an American passion for food through her T.V. series (The French Chef), and through her encyclopedic books including the seminal Mastering the Art of French Cooking first published in 1961.

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