If you’re heading down to Calvert Woodley to stock up on this Top 5 Value Chardonnay, you should also consider loading up on Mark West Pinot Noir California, one of the best value pinot noirs around that is sure to make the Top 5 that we plan to publish later this week. As part of its Most Popular American Wine Sale, Mark West Pinot Noir 2010 is on sale for $7.88 a bottle, just about the lowest price in the country.
“There are plenty of domestic Pinot Noirs and French red Burgundies priced five to ten times higher that are not as good as this effort from Mark West,” wrote influential wine critic Robert Parker, in his review of the 2008 vintage, which he loved at $13 a bottle.
But the sale price isn’t the only reason you should consider stocking up, if you like Mark West. This week, Constellation Brands, the world’s second largest wine producer, completed its acquisition of “the Mark West wine brand.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that the winemaking will suffer under the management of a company that churns out 40 million cases of wine per year (compared with Mark West’s 600,000 cases). Yet it does suggest the quantity of wine produced under the label will continue to grow. We’ll just have to wait and see if quality slips as a result.
"Mark West is one of the fastest-growing major pinot noirs in the market and has exceeded the growth of the category," said Constellation CEO Rob Sands, in a press release. "The brand is an exciting addition and fills a gap in our portfolio of pinot noir brands."
Constellation didn’t by Mark West because it wants to continue to produce 600,000 cases per year of tasty $10 to $12 pinot and chardonnay. It’s bought the brand to continue 10 years of double digit growth for Mark West.
That said, there are several acquired Constellation brands that apparently haven’t seen their quality erode under the corporate umbrella, including Clos du Bois, Kim Crawford and Franciscan Estate. It will probably be the 2013 or 2014 vintage of Mark West Pinot Noir that will be the true barometer. If you buy two cases of the 2010, you may be able to make it last until then
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