Wine for your Weekend – A Tale of Two Pinot Noirs

Last week, a wine loving friend sent us a text letting us know that Sam’s Club was running a clearance sale on wine with many bottles marked down 50%. As it was dress rehearsal week for the play I was directing, I could not immediately rush off to the liquor store, but I did manage to pop in Friday morning to scour what was left of the good deals.

As it happened, a lot had been picked over. In fact, the cashier said that earlier that morning two customers had come in and bought 12 cases each of clearance wines. Nothing to be done about that. But from what was left, I did manage to put together two cases worth of good finds.

In that mix, were two bottles of Estancia Pinot Noir, the last two left in the store. When I texted my friend back from the parking lot to thank him for the tip and share the deals I found, I immediately received the text back: “Was there any Estancia left?”

Just the two bottles that I was taking home with me. Another Pinot Noir had also caught my eye, MacMurray Pinot Noir. They were both great deals, and highly rated on my wine searcher app, plus a good wine sale is the best time to expand out of favorite varietals (we have plenty of Cabernet and Zinfandel on the shelf!) There were four bottles of the MacMurray left, so into my box they went. A half case of Pinot Noir…for when we’re feeling bold and different. 😂

Image result for macmurray pinot noir

We opened the MacMurray first, and Josh’s first impression was: “Wow! This wine is DARK!” And it really was a striking first impression going from bottle to decanter. If some red wines are “ruby” or “garnet,” this was the deep burgundy, almost purple color, which is odd because Pinot Noirs are generally much lighter than other red wines.

I’d seen in a review that letting it breathe for 30 minutes was the best way to open up the fruit flavors, and admittedly, I didn’t have a glass until the next night so mine breathed a lot longer than that! It was, in fact, VERY fruit forward…more so than I would have expected from a Pinot Noir (until I tried the Estancia). Low on acidity and tannins, this wine was smooth and very easy to drink. An easy wine to convert someone over to Pinot Noir with!

Image result for estancia pinot noir

And as for the coveted Estancia, that bottle did not disappoint either. I also tried that one after a long time in the decanter, so it was also considerably more mellow than it probably would have been straight out of the bottle. Much lighter than the MacMurray, the color was more what I’d expected in a Pinot Noir. Like the MacMurray, however, I was again pleasantly surprised at how fruit forward the wine was.

Don’t get me wrong, the wines weren’t sweet, but they weren’t dry either. Instead, the finish and overall mouth feel were generally quite pleasant overall. Both were highly drinkable and were enjoyed both with food and alone.

Like many of the clearance wines we find, at less than $7 a bottle it’s hard to go wrong. These two Pinots in particular, however, were really satisfying buys.


Published by Kate

A former Wisconsinite, Kate now resides in southeast Minnesota with her husband where she teaches high school English and theater. She recently completed her master's degree in learning design and technology, and continues to study and advocate for arts integration in the classroom. A recipient of the RISE America grant for high school theater, Kate is working to innovate and expand theater opportunities for the students at PIHS. An avid distance runner, concert pianist, and want-to-be wine aficionado, Kate's blog "ink." is a passion project, embodying all the best parts of life: friends, food, wine, thoughtful conversation, style, and sass!

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