Pinot Noir remains one of the red wine world's most ambitious and delicious darlings. Offering the ultimate in food-friendly personality, bringing plenty of style diversity and consistently exhibiting a versatile, well received tasting profile to the table, Pinot Noir is one of the world's greatest red wine grapes both in New World vineyards and Old World estates. However, finding the perfect Pinot based on preference and price can be tricky, so we've compiled some of our recent favorites to get you started.
King Estate happens to be one of Oregon's premier Pinot producers. Known, grown and bottled in Oregon's Willamette Valley, this particular Pinot Noir enjoys an enthusiastic fan club. The nose gives an explosion of dominating red fruit laced with a heady mix of herbal and floral tones, all woven through a spice-laden matrix. The palate profile produces a dynamic synergy between strawberry, raspberry and dark cherry fruit with the warm infusion of vanilla. Balance, solid acidity and engaging tannins end their course in a long, elegant finish.
There's plenty going on in the aromatic department with this distinctive, ruby red, Chilean Pinot Noir from Montes. Expect the rich, fruit-forward dynamics of bing cherry, red raspberry and a host of warm pumpkin pie spice. The palate continues the conversation with another wave of forward fruit, well-tuned acidity and pliable, velvety tannins. Overall, this is a lovely Pinot Noir from Chile's cool-climate Casablanca Valley.
The ruby red 2010 Echelon Pinot Noir from California's Russian River Valley enjoys delicate balance, well-placed acidity, and delicious dark fruit character. The aromatics lean toward dark cherry and raspberry with loads of sweet vanilla and black pepper spice. The palate profile leans towards ripe cherry with black raspberry undertones and a seamless, silky tannin structure. This Pinot is priced well, delivering some serious quality at a fair price.
This is an outstanding Pinot Noir. An engaging mix of herb and earth, floral and smoke lead the aromatic appeal with the rich flavors of dark cherry fruit, raspberry and plum playing the palate appeal. Enjoying complex layers of warm spice, an ongoing minerality, fine-boned structure bound by an elegant intensity, this Pinot makes a significant impression. Medium-bodied, balanced acidity, silky tannins, and a persistent, opulent finish all contribute to the collector intrigue of the 2007 David Family Pinot Noir.
The ruby red 2010 Craggy Range Pinot Noir offers gorgeous aromatics - bright cherry and subtle herbal character make their unmistakable mark. The palate profile yields high-end red fruit, with plenty of cherry, strawberry and raspberry notes woven together in a delicious medley of distinctly forward fruit. Velvety tannins bring both structure and definition to the fruit character and the wine's overall balance lends itself to a seamless tasting experience. This pretty Pinot is perfect for pairing with everything from seasonal wild mushroom dishes to braised beef and herb-crusted salmon.
Bonterra's 2010 Pinot Noir offers a medium-bodied, easy-going red wine that is downright delicious and enjoys extraordinary food-pairing versatility - a perfect everyday wine. Made with organic grapes grown in Mendocino, the aromas on this pleasing Pinot consist largely of bright red fruit, think raspberry and strawberry, with a touch of sweet vanilla spice and cherry pie in the mix. On the palate you can expect similar fresh fruit to hustle forward with pure strawberry dominating the dance and an impressive overall balance steering the wine's melody. Perfect pairing partners include: pasta dishes with red sauce, burgers, pizza, mushroom-driven themes, a wide variety of appetizers, grilled chicken, steak or pork chops and an expansive list of choice cheese.
The 2010 Stoller Pinot Noir is crafted from all estate grown fruit. With plums, currants and red raspberries in the aromatic mix, this Pinot showcases a tempting mix of fruit and earthy, herbal nuances. More fruit mingles with strands of dark chocolate on the palate in a mesmerizing tangle of refined tannins and bright acidity all wrapping up into a very capable finish.
To find a well-made, ultra elegant Pinot in the under $20 category can be a full throttle game of hide and seek, but the Pali Wine Company, out of Santa Barbara, has done just that. Their 2010 Huntington Pinot Noir brings some serious berry to the table with abundant raspberry, red cherry fruit, dark chocolate and a breath of floral on the nose. Ripe cherry, raspberry and blueberry along with fine tannins and well-managed acidity melt effortlessly into a refined, engaging finish. This is a wine with some serious synergy, making it one of this season's "must try" Pinot Noirs.
The 2009 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir from Sonoma's Russian River Valley brings delicious, well-concentrated berry fruit and warm spice to the forefront. The aromas are dominated by bright raspberry and cherry with a touch of pumpkin pie spice - cinnamon, clove and plenty of oak-driven vanilla. The palate is engaging with ripe, high-profile fruit, zippy acidity and enviable balance. This Pinot Noir is well integrated from first sip to lingering finish and perfect for pairing with braised chicken dishes, pork tenderloin, mushroom-themed sauces and grilled salmon.
The 2010 Twomey Russian River Valley Pinot Noir brings considerable Burgundian character to the glass. With abundant dark cherry and blackberry fruit wrapped in a compelling combination of mint and delicate floral tones, the nose exudes warmth, elegance and creativity. The palate profile features rich, ripe fruit with a stroke of warm spice and a whisper of dark chocolate. Expect balance, silky, well-integrated tannins and a persistent, spice-laden finish.