Wine Access "The Voice Behind the Pinot"
November 2010

The Pinot was drop dead delicious. Why not, given the vineyard source and the hands that made it. The spot is the heart of cool climate Carneros, the winemaker, one of the most talented Frenchman in the valley (sorry, that's all we can say -- but see if you can figure it out!). Plus, this is 2009, which most in this neck of the valley believe to be even better than 2007 -- as good as any vintage in thirty years.

How to explain the splashy California richness, and the Burgundian length of this 2009 Chad Pinot? Unlike Napa's Cabernet, which had to wait through the October rain, Carneros's delicate Pinot was treated to a warm, mild summer with grapes harvested at perfect maturity under blue September skies.

When Chad got the call, he thought the guy on the other end had the wrong number. Ever since he launched his underground label, the iPhone's been ringing, now more frequently than ever. But this time, the immediately recognizable voice, hoping to peddle this gorgeous $35 Pinot Noir, was a shocker -- even if the Pinot wasn't.

Brilliant ruby, with an explosive wild cherry nose and crushed red fruit/cherry fruit. So fresh, so luscious, you'd think the winery's price (particularly given the maker's pedigree) was right on -- even in this market. But Chad has learned better over recent months. So he just threw away commercial and qualitative logic and made the deal for a price that was almost embarrassing.

This may not sound so new to you, if you've been buying the incredible bargains Chad Alexander has been turning out under a brand that was hatched at a Napa Valley winemaker's barbecue. But if you were still on the fence -- here's a development that even shocked Chad.