Category Archives: Pinot Noir

Rex Pickett presents: Ne Plus Ultra 2011 Pinot Noir

When I heard that Rex Pickett, author of “Sideways”, was releasing his first wine this week, I knew that it had to be pinot noir.  Not just any wine, but great pinot.  Quigley Fine Wines, who helped fund the project, is also where to buy your bottles of “Ne Plus Ultra 2011 Pinot Noir Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley.”


Ne Plus Ultra 2011 Pinot Noir



“Ne Plus Ultra” which means, “The highest point, as of excellence or achievement, the ultimate” in Latin, is very appropriate.


“The idea began when Rex was writing the sequel to Sideways called Vertical, based on the same two main characters’ wine-fueled journey through Oregon’s Willamette Valley.  Rex was overwhelmed by the amazing Pinots coming out of the Valley and wanted to become involved in the production of a small, high end Pinot.”


Why is it so special?


From the team of Drew Voit and Darcy Pendergrass, two stellar winemakers in their own right, this is truly a wine to be celebrated.  Drew was winemaker at Shea cellars for 10 years and now at Harper Voit Wines, his own private label.  Pickett fell in love with Willamette Valley pinot and the work of Drew Voit specifically while researching “Vertical”, the sequel to “Sideways.”  Pendergrass is head winemaker at Amity Vineyards, which is where this wine was bottled as well.


The fruit is sourced from the sustainably farmed Twelve Oaks Estate vineyard, located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA.


Tasting notes from Quigley Fine Wines


“The color is a bright ruby red with flashes of violet.  With such light color I was hardly ready for the big aromas of red cherries, cranberry and brambly spice.  The fruit is juicy and intriguing on the nose with background notes of baking spice and rose petals.  The flavors are still quite young with tart cherry and red berries with a beautiful focused tangy acidity.  The tannins are soft and crisp with the acids playing well with the tart cherry fruit.


This wine defines the elegant, feminine side of Pinot Noir with Burgundian body style yet lacking the damp earth notes usually found in young Burgundy.  While still very young, less than 2 years old, the wine is already giving pleasure with its subtle yet complex flavors and aromas.


Pair this with cedar plank grilled Northwest salmon with a raspberry vinaigrette reduction sauce over a bed of watercress.”


How to buy


With total production at fewer than 200 cases, I hear that it is going fast!  To get your bottles contact Mike Blatt, lead wine consultant for Quigley Fine Wines at (619) 795-7043 (


Contact info


Mike Blatt

Lead Wine Consultant

Quigley Fine Wines


About Peter Trapasso

Peter Trapasso, also known as “Vino Pete” is the founder of Subscribe and visit us weekly for our latest wine review. Now writing for

Kings Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2011

Kings ridge oregon pinot noir 2011 willamette valley

Name of wine: Kings Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2011

(100% Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon) Alcohol 13%

Price paid:  $15 Buy Now

Where purchased:  Vino!, San Francisco, California

Tasting Notes and my Comments:  I like this one.  A nice amount of complexity for such a low price point.  Thank you Vino! for making this available for purchase in your shop.

Color:  Medium garnet color.  Medium clear.

Nose:  Berry fruit high notes.

Palate:  Sharp tannins with noticeable acidity.  Fruit forward with strawberry notes confirmed and an earthy bottom.  Medium body.  Medium-long finish.

Food:  Pair with a creamy cheese like brie or camembert.  This would be great with a grilled New York strip steak dinner, baked potato, and sautéed kale.

Winemaker notes:

Kings Ridge is produced by Union Wine Co.  along with two other bottlings and two more labels, Alchemist and Underwood.

The Willamette Valley AVA is located in Oregon.  Some of the best, most accessible pinot noir is being grown and produced here today.

The West Coast of the US is loaded with great pinot noir wines also known as “new world burgundies”.  What new world burgundies have you tried?

About Peter Trapasso

Peter Trapasso, also known as “Vino Pete” is the founder of Subscribe and visit us weekly for our latest wine review. Now writing for

Copain 2011 Rose Wine “Tous Ensemble” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Name of wine: Copain 2011 Rose Wine “Tous Ensemble” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

(100% Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley AVA, California) Alcohol 13.2%

Produced and botled by Copain Wines, Healdsburg, California

Price paid:  $23 Buy Now

Where purchased:  Copain Winery, Healdsburg, California

Tasting Notes and my Comments:  This bottle was a wonderful gift from friends that took us wine tasting in Sonoma recently!  Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.  This was tasted on Day 1 of a classic San Francisco 3-day 80 degree heatwave during Indian Summer.  Classic!  I’ll take it.  A refreshing rose. Tasted September 30th, 2012.

Color:  Cantaloupe orange color.  Light and clear.

Nose:  An earthy minerality with black olive essence.

Palate:  Firm tannins, tight, and slightly oily mouthfeel.  Light acidity.  Citrus notes.  A medium finish.  Strawberry hard candy – tart without the sweetness.

Food:  You could absolutely enjoy this one with friends on its own.

Winemaker notes:

From the Copain Wines website.:

About the winemaker

Wells Guthrie discovered early on that his taste in wine gravitated toward Europe in general and France’s Rhône Valley in particular. So much so, he picked up and moved with his new bride to the region to learn from the best. For two years, Wells apprenticed for esteemed winemaker and living legend Michel Chapoutier in France’s Rhone Valley. During that time, Wells was deeply inspired by the traditions and practices of French winemaking, not to mention the European attitude that wine is an essential part of life. At Copain, he creates wines that are firmly rooted in California, yet with the sensibilities of the European wines that so moved him. He is as committed to crafting these elegant, nuanced wines as he is to building a legacy that will be passed down to his daughters in the great tradition of European winemakers whose estates have been in the same family for generations.

The Anderson Valley AVA is located in Mendocino County, California.  The vineyards ae located about 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean and known for their Pinots and sparkling wines..

Anderson Valley pinots are not to be missed!  Which Anderson Valley wines have you tried so far?

About Peter Trapasso

Peter Trapasso, also known as “Vino Pete” is the founder of Subscribe and visit us weekly for our latest wine review. Now writing for