There is nothing like a nice Pinot Noir. My two trips to California in the past 12 months really heightened my appreciation for Pinot. I tasted some great ones, and brought back some crazy good Pinot from Gary Farrell, Arista, and Robert Stemler.

What’s tough is finding a good cheap Pinot for a Tuesday evening on the front porch. I had two this weekend to mixed reviews. Saturday evening I opened a bottle of Toasted Head Pinot Noir I bought in a new wine shop on upper Main St. in Lafayette. Toasted Head is probably most famous for its ownership. The winery is owned by comedian Robin Williams’ brother. The wine was actually one of the best Pinots I’ve ever had for under $15. I paid $14.95. It had a nice nose, a good Pinot flavor and balance.

Unfortunately the Sunday night Pinot was not nearly as good. Red Bicyclette is a French company shipping thousands of cases of value wine to the USA. Perhaps you’ve seen the label in your local grocery store. There was nothing wrong with wine but predictably nothing right with it either. It had little flavor, almost a water-down quality. The label is showing up everywhere so I’ll probably give another of their varietals a try – but the Pinot is not worthy of even supermarket prices.