OK, I know I said last week that Pinot Noirs are not my favorite. The thing is, they *are* Econo Boy's favorite. Also, I had grand plans to try out the rack of lamb recipe from Ted Allen's wonderful cookbook The Food You Want to Eat, and Dorothy and John from the WSJ Tastings column always suggest Pinot with lamb.
So that's how we ended up opening a bottle of Mark West 2007 Pinot Noir on Valentine's night.
As I sipped it before dinner, it was almost aggressively fruity, but it didn't have the overpowering oak, vanilla, or sugar that ruins a fruity wine for me. It was a fun, interesting wine to drink on its own. But when combined with the rack of lamb (which, by the way, was amazing -- possibly my greatest-ever culinary success), it rose to new heights. The strong fruit of the Pinot complimented the lamb beautifully, and the lamb brought out the earthiness of the Pinot that got lost amidst the fruit when it was sipped alone.
When I Googled "Mark West Pinot Noir" to find the label, by the way, I discovered that the company's slogan is "Pinot for the People," and their aim is to make good Pinot Noirs that sell for affordable prices. (In fact, it appears that they only bottle 2 varietals, Pinot and Chardonnay.) At $10 a bottle, I will definitely be buying this wine again. Perhaps it's not too late to turn me into a Pinot Noir fan after all.