Going out downtown for the night used to involved some type of “All you can drink” atmosphere but these days I tend to gravitate toward the wine bar scene a bit more. Maybe its old age creeping in but I am pretty sure you shouldn’t order a glass of Pinot Noir at a college bar. Chances are even if they have it, that glass probably isn’t clean.

In the mood for a great wine and cheese plate, followed by an equally amazing chocolate trifle, and some audible conversation, my cohorts and I met at a favorite wine bar and ordered a bottle of Queen of Hearts Pinot Noir. Cultivated in Santa Barbara, California, this Pinot is just as sassy and fun as its label (which features the queen holding a glass of Pinot).

As with a game of cards, trying a new wine is a risky endeavor; however Queen of Hearts was a great choice. Meeting everyone’s expectations and making a believer out of some of the non-Pinot drinking fans of the group, Queen of Hearts is flavorful and smooth while staying true to the characteristics of its varietal.

Complimenting both our cheese plate and our dessert, the strawberry and plum flavors went perfectly with the gruyere cheese and fresh fruit while the hint of spice at the end of each sip perfectly offset the sweetness of the trifle. Although we only ate small servings, I am sure this Pinot Noir would compliment any meal. Classy and appealing, like its namesake, this wine can be purchased for about $30 while dining out or online and in select retail stores for around $15.