October 05, 2005

Tortoise Creek 2004 Central Coast Big Smile Pinot Noir

(Tortoise Creek, Graton, CA; about $10)

Finding a decent pinot noir for less than $20 is about as much fun as looking for a runaway ski under four feet of powder. Less fun, actually, because when pinot noir is bad, it can make you wrinkle your nose and wonder what animal took a swim in the glass. That’s why Big Smile is so appropriately named: It’s a $10 pinot noir that tastes so good it makes you want another glass. It’s another wine from Mel and Janie Master, owners of Mel’s in Cherry Creek, who’ve already proved themselves masters at finding value-priced wines with the affordable French wines they’ve bottled for years under the Tortoise Creek label. Light in texture and lusty in spicy fruit, it’ll match anything from roast duck to a salad topped with a disk of lightly breaded and fried goat cheese. Talk about a big smile!

This article originally appeared in the Denver Post.

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