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Block Nine: a great Pinot Noir under $20

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Winemaker, Larry Levin spent seventeen years at Dry Creek Vineyard. He has since covered the globe by making wine in New Zealand, Chile, and Australia across all price points and styles. For the previous nine years Larry was head of wine making at Icon Estates where he oversaw the Franciscan, Mt Veeder, Robert Mondavi, Estancia, Ravenswood, and Quintessa brands. Now he’s working on Block Nine Pinot Noir.

Block Nine is a nearly perfect Pinot Noir from the small production winery, Caiden’s Vineyard.
Caiden’s Vineyard’s Block Nine focuses solely on Pinot Noir.—and quality Pinot Noir at an affordable price. If you aren’t particular where your Pinot grapes grow, this non-AVA California Pinot Noir based in St. Helena, Napa Valley encompasses all of the bright red fruit and toasted oakiness one comes to expect from a California Pinot.

For us, it was a pleasant surprise in the affordable Pinot category. The aromas show a generous bright fruity mix of strawberry, violets, dark cherry, and plum, these are followed by hints of leather, tea, clove and a bit of toasted French oak.

This delicious, light-bodied red wine is beautifully long and rich in ripe cherry and berry flavors.
Flavorful and silky in the mouth with good body, this wine is seductive showing bright wild cherries, pomegranate, cola and a hint of sandalwood laced with notes of cinnamon. Displaying the characteristic aromas of bright cherry and earth notes which are the mark of a good California Pinot Noir, the wine cements its quality with soft and complex flavors of dark creamy and velvety-textured fruit and spice. This classy wine is the perfect balance between full and voluptuous with just enough of a hint of toasted French oak to complete its elegant finish.

The finish is fruity and refreshing, calling for lighter fare such as chicken, pasta primavera, or swordfish.

Although Block Nine may be a new venture for Levin, the care and quality of his Block Nine label shines through with full intensity. This Pinot Noir specialist has produced a wonderfully complex wine for its price range. It’s a very Burgundian red wine, with nuances of game and that earthy barnyard character so true to the French original.

You will love this intense black cherry and spice flavored wine that expands in the glass. We did.

Available a Circus Wines/Spirits Unlimited, 835 State Highway 35, Middletown, NJ 07748.

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