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mirassou pinotThe quest for a perfect Pinot is long and arduous. So is the quest for a passable Pinot under $10.

Pinot Noir is notoriously difficult in the vineyard and in the winery. It doesn’t lend itself to the industrial winemaking practices that produce good, inexpensive juice. So I never approach a cheap Pinot Noir with high expectations and so I can’t say I’m disappointed.

A restrained nose of simple but pretty red and black berries with a touch of candied cherry and a whiff of alcohol. Nothing special but pleasant enough.

It shows bright cherry in the mouth with a sharply focused seam in the mid-palate reminiscent of cough syrup that becomes cloying the more you drink. Medium body and smooth, but the mouthfeel is neither round nor lean and supple and lacks the soft, velvet texture we associate with pinot. The finish is of modest length with soft tannins and a slight impression of oak.

Overall, this is a simple wine with enough flavor to satisfy someone looking for a mid-week quaffer if the syrupy mid-palate doesn’t put you off.

Mirassou is an E.J. Gallo brand; the Mirassou family no longer makes this wine.

Score: 83

Price: $8

Alc: 13.5%

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