Last night, we gathered with some friends for an informal blind tasting of Pinot Noir. The rules were simple: Bring a bottle of Pinot from anywhere around the globe to share, and don’t tell anyone anything about it. After a moderator sworn to secrecy transferred the wines into numbered bottles, we started tasting. Preconceived notions based on label design, growing region and vintage were immediately thrown out the window. We sipped through the 15-bottle lineup noting one clear favorite, which is today’s Drink of the Week: Grochau Cellars 2007 “Cuvee des Amis” Pinot Noir. Among the Old- and New-World Pinots at the blind tasting (including some inexpensive lesser-known bottles and other pricier heavyweights), this Oregon gem caught us from the get-go with its lush red-berry fruit, vibrant acidity and subtle minerality. A blend of four different Willamette Valley vineyard sites, this flagship wine from winemaker John Grochau stands up to richer dishes and grilled meats, but it’s equally delicious for sipping on its own. $32, northwest-wine.com
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