I am a huge fan of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and there are an increasing number of winemakers producing balanced, beautiful Pinots from the region. Some of the best wines will definitely cost you well over $50 but there are also a number of relatively inexpensive wines that are incredibly delicious. Failla Wines has been a long-time favorite Pinot producer of ours and Failla’s 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot is a great value at around $35.
Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir begins with aromas of bright, red berries, spice, and flowers. On the palate, the medium-bodied wine is fresh and incredibly easy to drink. There are tastes of ripe, red fruit and hints of earth supported with bright acidity. A delicious Pinot Noir that will inevitably disappear too quickly! (13.9% alcohol)
Looking for a $10 Pinot Noir that you won’t want to immediately pour down the drain? The Pinot Project 2012 Pinot Noir might be the answer. No, it’s not a beautiful, inspired Pinot that will have you thinking about it weeks later but it is definitely worth drinking on a Tuesday night.
100% Pinot Noir from California. Fermented in stainless steel and finished in oak. 13.5% alcohol.
Opening with aromas of cherries and allspice. The palate is medium-bodied with simple and straightforward tastes of cherries and hints of earth. Pairs well with salmon, roasted pork, or all on its own.
I am not sure how Red Car Wine Company was not on my radar before last week but I am definitely happy they are now. Red Car produces some great cool-climate, Sonoma Coast wines and they take a minimalist approach to the wine making process. Their 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is fermented with native yeasts, aged predominantly in neutral oak, and yields 13.2% alcohol.
Red Car’s Pinot Noir starts with aromas of bright cherries, herbs, and spices along with a hint of mustiness. The palate is medium-bodied with smooth, silky flavors of sweet cherries and anise. The fresh acidity in the wine made it hard to set my glass down! Looking forward to talking about their Syrah in the next couple of days as well! ($45)
My Wine Rating – A-
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with pan-seared salmon, roasted duck, or portabella mushrooms.
When in Napa, I always make sure to swing into Cornerstone’s tasting room to try their latest releases. It is the kind of space that makes you want to relax and take your time as you taste through Cornerstone and Stepping Stone wines. The majority of Cornerstone’s wines come from Napa Valley but they also feature Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
While I enjoy the Cornerstone line, I have to say the quality-price ratio of Stepping Stone is hard to beat. I am a fan of cool climate Pinot Noir so it is no coincidence that my favorite wine from the Stepping Stone line is the 2010 Pinot Noir. This Willamette Valley wine has aromas of bright, red berries with hints of earth. The palate is elegant with flavors of cranberry, raspberry, leather and a touch of spice. Juicy, delicious and priced very well at $30!
If you are searching for a wine that pairs nicely with your Thanksgiving meal, won’t empty your wallet, and is easy to find, look no further than Pennywise 2011 Pinot Noir. It can easily be picked up at stores like World Market and is one of the best American Pinots I have tasted for under $15.
Pennywise Pinot Noir comes from California grapes and pours a ruby color in the glass. The nose has bright aromas of cherries and strawberries while the palate is light and full of red fruit. Sweet tastes of plums, cherries, and vanilla are followed with lingering notes of strawberries. Smooth, easy to sip, and perfect with turkey! ($11, 13.5%)
The Seeker is a line of wines that are selected from wine regions across the world. I had the chance to taste through their lineup over the weekend and will start the week off with my notes on the 2011 Pinot Noir. The grapes, which are 100% Pinot Noir, come from the Auvergne region of France and produce a simple, easy drinking wine.
The Seeker 2011 Pinot Noir has bright aromas of cherries and spice and a palate of red cherries, tobacco, and a bit of earth. While this wine isn’t multidimensional, it is balanced, smooth, and pretty easy to sip. And with it relative easy to find for under $12, it is definitely a good buy!
My Wine Rating – B-
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with cheese pizza, burgers, or pasta with red sauce.
Last Wednesday evening, I was among some of the lucky bloggers who got to participate in a live Twitter tasting with Thirsty Girl and HandCraft Wines. HandCraft Wines are the creation of Cheryl Indelicato, who has been in the California wine industry for practically her entire life. We tasted their 2010 Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah. The Petite Sirah was the standout of the night for me. Below are my tasting notes!
Handcraft 2010 Pinot Noir
Aromas of cherries and spice mingle together in the nose. The palate is loaded with jammy, red fruit, spice, and hints of vanilla followed with a silky finish. A smooth drinking Pinot that won’t hurt your wallet! (B, $13)
Handcraft 2010 Petite Sirah
An inky, mouth staining purple with intoxicating aromas of smoke, blackberries, blueberries, and pepper. The are bold, luscious tastes of plum, blueberries, black pepper, and dark chocolate. A really nice wine for the price! (B+, $13)
On Wednesday night, I participated in a live tasting on Twitter with Thirsty Girl. We received a bottle of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Erath Winery for the tasting. Erath Winery is located in the Dundee Hills of Oregon and they have been making wine for over 40 years. They are known for their incredible Pinot Noir and I was super excited to have the chance to taste a couple of their wines. Here are my tasting notes from this fun event:
Erath Winery 2011 Oregon Pinot Gris
Pale gold in the glass with fresh aromas of citrus and pear. The palate is very refreshing. There are vibrant flavors of lemon, lime, pineapple, and green apple. A perfect summer sipper! Pair with seafood or Asian dishes. (B+, 13%, $14)
Erath Winery 2010 Oregon Pinot Noir
Pours a brilliant ruby color with aromas of red berries and a hint of earthiness. Flavors of tart berries and spice mingle in this light bodied Pinot Noir. The approachability of this wine ensures you won’t have leftovers for the next day! Pair with salmon or pizza topped with goat cheese and mushrooms. (B, 13%, $19)
I am wrapping up a tasting of Napa Cellars’ latest releases with my favorite of the line up; their 2010 Pinot Noir. A great wine from a vineyard close to the San Pablo Bay, which is known for its fog and cool breezes.
The nose has earthy aromas with notes of cherries and hints of oak and spice. At first sip, flavors of pepper, tobacco, and strawberries come alive. Tastes of cherries and fig develop as the finish lingers. A very impressive Pinot Noir from Napa Cellars! (A-, $18)
I just wrapped up reading a book highlighting the Marlborough wine growing region of New Zealand so I was excited to see a bottle of Marlborough Pinot Noir arrive. The region is relatively young but the wine coming from the region is increasingly noteworthy. Marlborough is particularly known for their Sauvignon Blanc but Pinot Noir from the region is starting to garner some attention. I was excited to dive into a bottle to get a glimpse into where New Zealand Pinot Noir is heading.
About the Wine- From the Winery
Goldwater 2010 Pinot Noir is 100% Pinot Noir from the Wairau Valley in Marlborough. This sustainably produced wine has 14% alcohol and retails for $25.99. For more information and to find where to purchase this wine, visit www.pasternekwine.com.
Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine
Goldwater’s sustainably grown Pinot Noir pours a bright ruby in the glass. The nose has aromas of cherries, raspberries, earthy spices, and dark chocolate. This wine is full of flavor…there are notes of cherries and anise enveloped in cocoa. The finish is lengthy with a heavy hit of lingering anise. Spicy, sustainable, and worth checking out!
My Wine Rating- B+
Food Pairing Suggestions- Pair this Pinot with braised wild boar, grilled duck, or veggie burgers with grilled mushrooms and onions.