The Wine by Joe pinot gris is quality cheap wine and a candidate for the 2018 $10 Hall of Fame
Sometimes, even the most cynical among us can be given a reason to believe. That’s what the Wine by Joe pinot gris did for the Wine Curmudgeon.
I’ve spent the past year tasting junk, plonk, and even worse, much of it costing as much as $20 – boring, dull, one-sided, syrupy wines that not even a winemaker could love. So that the Wine by Joe pinot gris ($10, purchased, 13.5%) was none of those things made dinner that much more enjoyable.
The Joe in Wine by Joe is the legendary Joe Dobbes, who has been making wine in Oregon for almost as long as there has been wine in Oregon. I waxed poetic about his pinot noir in February; this wine is just as impressive – perhaps even more so, given that it’s a previous vintage. The 2016 should be even fresher and more delicious.
Look for that wonderfully Oregon lime aroma, plus barely ripe pear mingling with citrus zest flavors. It’s not too fruity, but balanced and interesting. The finish is clean with a bit of minerality, and not as short as I expected given it’s an older wine. Most telling? The last three wines I’ve had with dinner, all samples and that cost as much as $17, were so annoying that I didn’t finish them. This one was gone before dinner was over.
The Wine by Joe Pinot Noir shows it’s possible to make great pinot that is also affordable
Joe Dobbes is an Oregon winemaking legend, which makes this wine all that more amazing. When do winemaking legends make wine that most of us can afford?
In fact, the Wine by Joe Pinot Noir ($16, sample, 13.5%) is about as cheap as real pinot noir gets, and it’s a better quality pinot than many that cost twice as much. But Dobbes’ decades of experience with pinot noir has given him both the experience and the mindset to make this kind of wine. Dobbes worked in the French region of Burgundy, the heartbeat of pinot, and helped put Oregon pinot on the map when he was the winemaker at Willamette Valley Vineyards.
The Wine by Joe pinot noir is not just varietally correct, but tastes like Oregon pinot noir. This matters in an age when the goal seems to be to turn pinot into a red blend, tarting it up with sweet fruit and even residual sugar. Instead, the wine has the spicy, brambly quality that an Oregon pinot noir should have, along with bright cherry fruit; those essential, barely noticeable pinot tannins; and a balance that made me wish I had a bottle to taste, and not just a few sips at a trade event.
Highly recommended, and more than worth the extra cost. Serve this with roast chicken or lamb, and be glad Dobbes understands quality is not something reserved for expensive wine.