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Oyster Bay Pinot Noir


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Oyster Bay Pinot Noir: a Review

Wine is as good as life to a man, if it be drunk moderately: what life is then to a man that is without wine? for it was made to make men glad.
    —Ecclesiasticus, ch. 38, v. 1

(Our sample bottle was purchased by us at standard retail.)


About Oyster Bay Pinot Noir

New Zealand is an important source of wines, and right behind their reputation for Sauvignon Blancs is their reputation for Pinot Noirs. This one is from the well-established Marlborough region, a cool-climate area well suited indeed to growing Pinot Noir.

This wine is very, very widely available, at prices ranging from about $10 up to $26; but the average is a mere $15.


Oyster Bay Pinot Noir: Tasting Impressions

The first thing to remember about Pinot Noir is that "a bargain PN" is an oxymoron. Good PN carries a price tag. That is not to say that there are not quite rewarding PNs within our arbitrary upper price limit of $20; it's just that in that range, it would be extraordinary indeed to strike something comparable to a mid-range Burgundy.

That said, it seems to us that there is a today broad class of modestly priced Pinot Noirs that are in many ways quite alike, not only in general quality level and satisfaction, but even in the details. We much suspect that anyone not a certified sommelier or above (such as an MW) would be able to readily tell apart these nice little PNs one from another, and we wonder if even the famed experts could do it on a repeatable basis.

This Oyster Bay Pinot Noir falls into that class. It has the immediate, clearly identifiable nose of PN—"brambly" one reviewer has called it, and that seems as good a description as any, a sort of flannel quality—with obvious but not jammy fruit. The taste follows through accordingly, with the characteristic cherry quality of PN. The commonest way for a modestly priced PN to go wrong is to be grossly fruit-forward and jammy; this one has nice fruit, well presented. The wine is very pleasant to drink, but it would be a stretch to say that it carries much complexity or subtlety.

It is, in short, a nice but essentially fungible under-$20 Pinot Noir: as good as many and better than some, as the old saying goes. As a representative of its class, it delivers at least as much as its compeers and is quite modestly priced (many Total Wine outlets carry it). A good enough choice.


Oyster Bay Pinot Noir: Other Opinions

On CellarTracker.

On Wine Searcher's Tasting Notes page.

Of some major wine-review sites:


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