California Pinot Noir prices have been steadily climbing over the last ten years. High demand is part of the equation, but it's also more challenging to grow the delicate grape in some regions due to the increasingly warmer growing season. Whatever the reasons for the price increases, you have to look a little longer and shop a little smarter to find some good ones at resonable prices.
I recently tasted about twenty California Pinots in the $12-$25 price range. Many of them were run of the mill or even flat out dissapointing, but there were a few standouts. Here's a list of five that I think you'll enjoy without spending too much money.
1. 2009 Paragon Edna Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir $14
Fresh raspberry, light cherry and a touch of earthiness. Definitely for those who like their Pinot on the lighter side. Simple and sippable.
2. 2012 Belle Glos "Meiomi" Pinot Noir $15
An interesting blend of Pinot Noir from three counties - 35% Monterrey, 34% Santa Barbara, and 31% Sonoma. The three regions come together to make a nice bottle with strawberry and baked berry fruit.
3. 2011 Davis Bynum "Jane's Vineyard" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $22
Bright strawberry dances in the mouth with a subtle hint of mushroom. Silky and elegant with excellent structure leading to a memorable finish.
4. 2011 Francis Ford Copola "Votre Sante" Pinot Noir $12
The lightest of the five reviewed here with nice raspberry and fresh floral elements. Not a really intense collection of flavors, but perfect for those who like it mellow.
5. Garnet Vineyards Pinot Noir $25
Strawberry jumps on the front palate followed be currant and baked cherry. Easily the boldest of the five, with a moderate spice component providing balance.
All of these wines are esy to find in our Valley. If your local store or restaurant doesn't carry them, they can get them for you easily if you ask. Enjoy!