Being a Mac person or a PC person has become a distinction not unlike that of a political party. I’m a PC, as I have always been and as my parents were before me. From that first Commodore 64 I was hooked. All my friends are Macs, including Derek, who never lets me forget that I am wrong for loving such a flawed operating system. And now, with my brand new 2-week-old computer already on the fritz, I’m starting to think he may be right.

Wine can also be the subject of such passionate bipartisanship. As I’ve said before, when I moved out here I was strongly in the European camp while everyone I worked with was for Californian wines. I didn’t get it, and though I’ve come to appreciate and love California wines more and more, sometimes there is just no contest. California Pinots versus European Pinots is like a battle of the bands between The Pixies and Chopin. Yes they are both awesome, but just as you are sometimes in the mood to rock out, you are sometimes in the mood for the sublime. While France and specifically Burgundy is normally the go to place for European Pinot, there are some other areas to find great ones, such as Trentino.

Trentino is a region in the northern part of Italy not far from Austria. In fact, it tends to seem more Austrian than Italian—big snow-capped mountains and glassy lakes, blonde haired blue-eyed folk that speak German, etc. They also tend to make similar wines to those found in Austria or Germany, a lot of whites like Pinot Blanc and Pinot Grigio. But, they also make reds, and this Pinot Nero is a fantastic example of how good they can be. The 2006 Lechthaler (see? German.) Pinot Nero is pretty near perfect—subtle notes of dark berries and rose petals on the nose, beautifully silky mouthfeel with lovely round fruit and just a hint of cola. The finish is soft and easy, leaving you hoping that there is more left in the bottle. This is a wine that can convert even the staunchest California Pinot lover. And, at less than $20, you can buy a bottle and still have enough left over for your Windows Vista tech support.