2006 Gallo Pinot Noir Sonoma County

Like sex and pizza.

Rating: Nothing outrageous, but right down the middle, honest to goodness California Pinot for a song.  $12

The rest of the story:  As we've written about before here and here, there's a lot to be said for likable Pinot for under $20.  And as we've also written about before, sometimes we scratch our heads that such a friendly wine can be turned out by such a large production house as Gallo.

This is not a mind-bending experience, but it is a damn tasty treat.  And while we think that finding good Pinot for under twenty bucks is good sport, this one is almost too easy a find. 

So, maybe it doesn't capture you with its nose.  And so what if you don't swoon the way you did the night you first made out?  It really delivers.  Spicy notes on top of smooth fruit and a respectable backbone.  Structure, tannins (in check), a bit of sweetness on the long finish.  Damn fine wine for the price.

Gallo is a repeat offender in the stereotype-shattering category.  Like sex and pizza, there doesn't seem to be a bad experience with their wines.  This Pinot Noir came off a grocery store shelf with a price tag of $11.99.  Another five bucks more and we'd cut it down half a star, but you gotta give it up for these guys at this price.

Availability?  Nearly everywhere that doesn't eschew the huge production house's labels.  Get some. 

Looking forward to trying the upcoming release of the 2007.