Erath 2008 Prince Hill Pinot Noir and 5lbs of Ham

Last Thanksgiving, I really took a chance and exposed the inner workings of my family with what a typical holiday looks like. Instead of the usual drunken complaintfest we normally experience, it ended up being one of the best Thanksgivings ever thanks to Josh joining us, some Castle Crashers, and Erath's 2008 Leland Pinot Noir.

While Josh didn't join us last weekend, I tried to replicate as much of the experience as I could for Easter dinner. Nobody in my family is very religious, so Easter is more or less an opportunity for us to get together and stuff our faces with ham and ham accessories. To fully accessorize the ham while also partaking in the requisite alcohol consumption, I decided to make another one of Erath's Pinot Noirs a part of my holiday experience. This Easter I decided to open a bottle of Erath's 2008 Prince Hill Pinot Noir.

For the sake of disclosure, this was a promotional bottle sent to me by Erath. Like all wines we review, I'm still going to be just as critical as I would otherwise.

Picture this scene: It's about 3pm and Alyssa and I have just arrived at my parents' house. Grandma is spaced out on the couch staring into oblivion, my mom is busy in the kitchen, my sister is on a laptop, and my dad isn't anywhere to be fouOH THERE HE IS! Alyssa and I are greeted with a big group hug out of nowhere and one thing is obvious; he's been hitting the sauce for a few hours. If there's anything that makes his loud ramblings any easier to bear, it's having a few drinks yourself.

To counter this, I realized it was the perfect time to have a glass of Pinot Noir before dinner and then another once dinner was served. As I popped its cork, I immediately picked up the aroma of sweet cranberries. My dad must have been fascinated too as he asked whether this wine was "sweet or dry". I don't even know how to respond that anymore as I'm pretty sure he doesn't know the difference. Instead, I read the wine's tasting notes to him:

This traditional offering from Dick Erath’s home vineyard reflects the classic Dundee Hills Pinot Noir style – bright red fruit with a soft body. Vibrant cranberry aromas with an ethereal hint of violets provide a pleasing introduction to juicy, cinnamon-spiced, strawberry flavors – laced with a streak of rich mocha – that build to a satisfyingly prolonged finish

Dad: "Is this expensive?"
Me: "It retails for about $45"
At that point he took the liberty of grabbing the bottle and taking a swig from it.
Dad: "Let's drink it like it's cheap!"
Me: "No."

I got the bottle back and my mom took it upon herself to usher him out of the dining room. Finally I could start pouring. Erath's 2008 Prince Hill Pinot Noir pours a very bright, translucent ruby color that is much lighter than your typical Oregon Pinot Noir. As the tasting notes state, you're immediately greeted with powerful cranberry hues followed by what I identified as red fruits and cocoa. That said, the tartness of the cranberry really steals the show as other flavors are somewhat over powered.

The tartness was somewhat subdued when paired with ham and more savory side dishes. Although Erath suggests pairing this wine with savory duck and pork dishes, I disagree only because this wine paired like peanut butter and jelly when paired with cheese cake. The rich, creaminess of the cheesecake both subdued the tartness and combined with its lesser hues to really bring out its full flavor.

In short, I would definitely recommend trying this Pinot Noir if given the opportunity, but I would urge you to ignore its pairing suggestions and instead have it with some sort of rich dessert. Wine and dessert? I know, life is rough sometimes.

A huge thank you goes out to Erath for providing the wine as well as an apology for probably writing the least-classiest way to review an otherwise phenomenal Pinot Noir.

Up next on my series of wine for the holidays: Memorial Day weekend and whatever my dad agrees not to take pulls of.


Josh said...

The real question is whether Castle Crashers was involved?