Beringer is a long time producer of solid to very good quality California wine, for a little background check out the video posted with this review. While their higher end offerings are well respected if not well known the Founders’ Estate line is popular on both restaurant wine lists and retail store shelves. Well made and consistent they are a reliable choice for those who look for quality without spending a lot of money for a bottle of wine. In this review I want to focus on something not easy to find, a good Pinot Noir that fits someone on a budget and the 2012 Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir fits that category.
Purplish in the glass, letting some light show through reveals an even ruby color that gives a hint of the weight of this wine. There are a lot of characteristics expected in a California Pinot, a nose of black cherry, raspberry and spice leading into a similar flavor profile. Fairly light in body there is very little depth and layering in the black cherry and raspberry fruit that mimics the aroma. The finish has a hint of sweetness along with a spicy zing that provides evidence of some oak aging and an earthiness I also found in the Founders’ Estate Cab on an earlier occasion.
We enjoyed this Pinot on its own merits, very drinkable with enough substance to be interesting, but not enough to linger over. However, it would also fit into a meal plan, stick with the traditional pairings for Pinot Noir, lamb or pork would work well, don’t be afraid to season and use herbs in the preparation, they will complement the spice and earth elements in the wine. Both green vegetables and root crops in a pasta dish would also be worth exploring. There are a lot of things to try, but the light weight and lack of tannin in this wine suggest avoiding heavy foods with a lot of fat.
You should have no problem finding the 2012 Founders’ Estate Pinot Noir on the shelves of retailers in Southwest Florida. It should be said the price seems to vary from place to place; I have seen this wine in the $10 to $12 range about as often as the $8 to $10 range, so look around. If you can find it under $10 check it out. In the end I enjoyed this wine during a quiet evening at home, but the sense of quality and varietal correctness in the making also gives you the ability to serve at events you plan to host, hmm, Super Bowl is coming up.