Wine Talk

Snooth User: MatthewPhilips

Pinot Noir Recommendations

Posted by MatthewPhilips, Mar 5, 2010.

My wife is a huge pinot noir fan.  For her birthday in June I decided I want to get her a variety case of delicious pinots from around the world.  Any suggestions for some great $20 bottles??

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Reply by amour, Mar 5, 2010.

NEW ZEALAND   Yealands Pinot Noir  2008   $15.  drink this year.

An  elegant  offering.

From vineyards planted in only 1999.

This  is  interesting as it is the initial release from

the producer.  I  will  be  folowing  the progress of Yealands.

I  will  best  describe  it  as  a delicious  textbook  new world Pinot Noir.

True to form.  From  Awatere Valley, Seaview Vineyards,  in South Island,  Marlborough,  NZ.


Reply by MatthewPhilips, Mar 5, 2010.


Thanks for the suggestion!  We've had a lot of great wine from Marlborough and I look forward to trying this one as well.

Reply by amour, Mar 5, 2010.

I  nearly  did  not  mention it !

I  am  very  intuitive  and  based  on  sheer  intuition  I  moved

forward  quickly  with  it , as I usually  do,  not  only  on  SNOOTH...!

And  there  we  are...I  may  have  pleased  someone.....

The  little  things  that  make  our  day !

Did  you  notice   that  I  was  kind  enough  to  almost  warn

that  this is a first....actually  some  reviewers  go  further  to  spell  it

out  in  no  uncertain  terms  by  adding ..." perhaps  with  a  few  more  under  their  belt "....kind  of  thing ...!

To  me,  this  is  what  my  wine-hobby  is  all  about....exploring,

THINKING OUTSIDE OF THE BOX  and  so  on..! (or outside the bottle...absurd?) !!!


Reply by zufrieden, Mar 5, 2010.

Try any regular Burdgundy (Bourgogne A.C. Pinot Noir) from producers like Nicholas Potel.  The last vintage available in my neck of the woods was 2006 - a very good vintage.  This wine should be just over 20 dollars.  As a second possiblity, you could try Drouhin - both lighter and cheaper. 

For slightly more, but still often close to the 20 dollar mark, try either Givry or Mercurey from the Cotes Chalonnais.  Moillard and Juillot are worthy suggestions for Mercurey.

I'm not super fond of most new world Pinot (there are noteable exceptions), but you could also try Chilean Cono Sur 20 barrels at about 20-25 dollars or Conor Sur Vision at about 14.  Of course, the New Zealand suggestions are good too - as are Pinot Noirs from Tasmania and Victoria State in Australia (try Yerring Station).

Californians at Snooth can suggest a decent Pinot from the Bear Flag State...




Reply by MatthewPhilips, Mar 5, 2010.


I'm not very familiar with any French wine so I appreciate the suggestions!  We tend towards the Finger Lakes region of New York so anything outside of there would be largely new to us.

Thanks again!

Reply by dmcker, Mar 5, 2010.

Check out the article on Oregon pinots here:

Oregon's Pinots

In addition to the wines tasted and reported on in the article, note the names proferred up in the comments below it. Additionally, look to the Sonoma Coast appelation in California. The better wines there blow any NZ pinot I've ever tasted or sniffed clear out of the water... ;-)

Of course, finding any for less than $20 is a different matter. At that price point try:

  • Once Wines California/Oregon Pinot Noir -- made from 60% Willamette grapes and 40% Taylor Lane grapes from the Sonoma coast.
  • Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Pinot Noir
Reply by UWSNapaLover, Mar 5, 2010.

I very much like the Clos-Julien Reserve 20 dollars

Reply by Flamefighter, Mar 5, 2010.

Since you are doing "regions”, I think you should include one or two from Santa Barbara County California or what is often referred to as the "Central Coast".  There are any number of wineries producing Pinot in the area but I recommend Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Cambria Winery (around $20) and perhaps one from Melville's or Foley; however, they may be on the up side of $20. 

Reply by Carly Wray, Mar 5, 2010.

First of all: what a terrific gift! I'm a huge Oregon Pinot fan, so I second that recommendation, but I'll also agree that you should look into California's Central Coast ... it will be slightly higher for a good bottle, but there are some great gems there. Love Melville, and would also suggest checking out Foxen.

Reply by amour, Mar 5, 2010.

Coincidence again!   (I  wanted  to  offer  you  BURGUNDY early in the game, of course, but I wanted to leave thunder for others)


So,  obviously, I want to take you all to Burgundy.....

among my favourites...anything saying.....Morey - Saint - Denis.

Will  get  into  that  when  time permits!

Meanwhile....a basic, sweet, round Bourgogne..for you..



Reply by zufrieden, Mar 5, 2010.

Of course, if price were no option it would be easy to make Pinot Noir suggestions.  The problem with many fine Willamette Valley examples is that they tend to be over-priced for the quality (again, with some noteworthy exceptions).  There is great stuff happening in Oregon and in some lesser regions of California, but if you want to stay within your budget, I would not stay stateside.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 6, 2010.

Without going to winesearcher to find prices for each, I'd still like to post a list here of lighter, more transparent and food-friendly pinot noirs from California that I, and others (in this case Eric Asimov of the New York Times) tend to want to drink these days. I much prefer them to the jammy, syrupy, pruny fruit bombs that have become so popular the past decade or more:

  • ANTHILL FARMS Sonoma/Mendocino; lovely, fresh and floral.
  • ARCADIAN South Central Coast; lively, pure and age-worthy.
  • AU BON CLIMAT Santa Barbara; well-balanced and complex.
  • CALERA WINE COMPANY Mount Harlan; intense single-vineyard wines.
  • COPAIN Mendocino; delicate and nuanced.
  • FAILLA Sonoma Coast; elegant and focused.
  • INMAN FAMILY WINES Russian River Valley; bright and pretty.
  • JOSEPH SWAN VINEYARDS Russian River Valley; restrained and delicate.
  • LANE TANNER Santa Barbara; light-bodied and fragrant.
  • LITTORAI Mendocino/Sonoma Coast; structured and energetic.
  • LONGORIA Santa Barbara; earthy and intense.
  • THE OJAI VINEYARD Santa Barbara; light and savory.
  • PEAY VINEYARDS Sonoma Coast; spicy and polished.
  • PORTER CREEK VINEYARDS Russian River Valley; fresh and elegant.
  • RHYS VINEYARDS Santa Cruz Mountains; graceful and complex.
  • RIVERS-MARIE Sonoma Coast; intense, lively and balanced.
  • TALLEY VINEYARDS Arroyo Grande; earthy yet fresh.

This is Asimov's list but I've personally had several from Rivers-Marie, Ojai Vineyard, Peay, Littorai, Copain, Calera and Au Bon Climat, and can vouch for them. Others like Hirsch and Marcassin don't seem to have made his list for whatever reason, though they make mine.

Maybe it's time to start a thread on the best pinot noir from CA (and OR), along the lines of my 'What's Wrong with California Cabs' thread?

Reply by zufrieden, Mar 6, 2010.

I can't think of a better Snooth candidate (maybe a few ties) to start that thread on California Pinot Noir than you, D.  What would really be useful to many of us would be a list by price range with the best quality to price wines in each price segment.  The problem I have is that I am somewhat at the mercy of large importing firms who don't necessarily remain consistent in their buying ways.  That makes it difficult to really study certain producers - for us ordinary mortals, that is...

We all would like to know something about the affordable, everyday good quality Pinot Noir from CA.  Thanks for all the information thus far; much appreciated by everyone, I'm sure.

Reply by Hesed Vineyards, Mar 6, 2010.

It would be hard to go wrong with a Willamette Valley Pinot noir (Oregon).  -Bret

Reply by napagirl68, Mar 7, 2010.

Willamette (oregon) pinots are great.  I like Bethel Heights and Tyee. 

Cali central inland coastal is great as fave there is Joyce Family Vineyards.... any of their pinots are phenomenal.  Talbott is pretty good too.

I also like (in Napa) Arger Martucci pinot noir.

Those are my tops.. sorry not more, but I don't drink pinot very often, and tend to keep other varietals more so.


Reply by Styxdvr, Mar 8, 2010.

I like the Pali Pinot for just under $20.00

and the Cambria Pinot which is on sale at Vons right now for about $18.00

Reply by dmcker, Mar 8, 2010.

Anyone looking to do a just a bit of comparison all in one place? This would've been a great opportunity this past weekend:

World of Pinot Noir Friday, March 05, 2010 through Saturday, March 6, 2010

More Information

Reply by dmcker, Mar 8, 2010.

To activate that last link:*


*Mark et al., this is really an arse-backwards way of having to do so...

Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, Mar 8, 2010.

Disclaimer: I generally loathe pinot noir, but I AM a sommelier, so I have to taste it often.  That said, in the <$20 (retail) market, I sell a lot of:

A to Z, Oregon

Luigi Bosca Riserva, Argentina

Big Fire, Oregon

Kenwood, Russian River

Elk Cove, Willamette Valley (if it's on sale)

Cloudline, Willamette Valley

Patz and Hall, Sonoma Coast (slightly over budget, but you can get it around $28 if you're lucky; it's worth the extra)


These are all easyish to find.  Good luck and happy birthday to the wife! 


Reply by Styxdvr, Mar 8, 2010.

I was really disappointed in the A to Z pinot. I found it to be undrinkable.

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