Labels and wine writers you respect: be glad for both of ‘em

Alderbook 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

I’m an ardent fan of wine labels that actually tell you something. Alderbook offers a dollop of the traditional hoo-hah — you know, what a wonderful producer it is. I do agree with that. They sit at the north end of an appellation that’s second-only to Burgundy, or even on a par with that fabled part of France.

I’m totally in agreement with the rest of the label. “Candy apple red color with aromas of red fruits, it tastes of bright cherry and wild strawberry.” Mmmmm!

Yeah, but wait! If the label is right, this certainly won’t try to masquerade as a French Burgundy. Sure, the cherry is a hallmark of Pinot Noir. But “candy apple red”? And a general notion of red fruit?

One huge reason for the existence of wine writers is that we can help you decide how appropriate a wine might be with a particular entree or predominant meal character. I think this is a perfectly, almost deleriously delicious wine. Sampled in a tasting room, it could lead you to leave with a case or two. It’s dry, fruity, fun as an appetizer and with lightly-seasoned chicken and pork.

But I don’t fancy it with salmon, rich beef, or any of the dishes for which one would seek a well-made Pinot Noir. I only got to taste it with a few bites of jack cheese — so I can only warn you that it may not be what you’d expect.

Take a bottle home, that’s my advice. Everything the Terlato family releases on the Alderbrook label you can trust to be very good. If the first few sips don’t stand up to a beef roast lavishly herbed or sauced, then just drink it by itself or with a chicken breast, swiss cheese and dark rye sandwich. – Bob Cramer, The Fearless Taster, .