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The other night for dinner I opened up a bottle of the 2004 Scherrer Winery Russian River Pinot Noir ($36, click here to find it) and was struck all over again by what a terrific winemaker Fred Scherrer is. I have no idea why his wines continue to fly under the media-buzz radar, since to my palate they're as distinctive and expressive as any of the more hyped Pinots floating around these days, if not moreso.

The '04 is drinking wonderfully right now, with a deep well of dark cherry fruit at its core, svelte tannins, and a lightly citrusy/orangey edge to its acidity that I vaguely recall Scherrer saying was, for him, characteristic of RRV Pinot grown on Goldridge soil (I can't pin down when I heard him say that; a phone interview I think, but quite a while ago).

The wine's impeccably balanced, and it went really well with the very simple Italian chickpea soup I'd cooked up (rosemary, garlic, chickpeas, tomatoes, chicken stock, a drizzle of Capezzana olive oil, plus some stellar olive bread from Caputo, a local Brooklyn bakery—yum. Great Autumn evening sustenance). I'm sure it would also go well with a long list of less unlikely dinner choices (on a similar soup note,for instance, it would also make a great partner for Peter Pastan's fresh shell bean soup, from our October issue). I think for the price it would be nearly impossible to find a comparable RRV Pinot. Seriously.