We've never gone wrong with a Willamette Valley pinot noir, and, despite its suggestively sinful name, Carlton Cellars Seven Devils 2010 Pinot Noir is no exception.
The third pinot noir bottled by this Oregon winery is designed to deliver the varietal's charms at an easy-on-the-budget price. (It goes for about $20 at big-box stores.) The name comes from a series of gorges on the Oregon coast near Coos Bay, named the Seven Devils by early explorers who found them tricky to travel.
No tricks from this wine, though. Its nose is lush raspberry with a touch of bramble. On the tongue it tastes like a whole basket full of berries — raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry — laced with a whiff of cinnamon. The moderately long finish brings just a whisper of mocha, and 10 months of aging in French oak brings all the flavors into smooth balance.
We would pair this yummy pinot with a big salad topped with grilled steak slices and blue cheese crumbles, or with a four-cheese pizza.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.