Pinot Noir has the reputation of being a difficult grape to grow. This grape does much better in cooler climates. The main reason is their skin is so thin, which makes them extremely sensitive to the sun. It thrives in regions like Willamette Valley in Oregon, Burgundy in France, Baden in Germany and has now become a widely planted grape in California. Pinots from California’s Central Coast with cooler regions like Santa Lucia and Monterey are lighter-bodied and display more red fruit, floral notes and have brighter acidity, often with a dash of minerality. Let’s admit it, it’s not easy to find a good Pinot Noir for under $20. Below I share three great midweek sippers that are fantastic and won’t break your wallet. Pinot Noirs are are also food friendly wines. The pairing options are endless. Some of my favorite dishes to pair these wines with are mushroom risotto, pizza, duck and of course grilled salmon.
2017 Vinum Cellars Monterey Pinot Noir
This Pinot Noir from Vinum Cellars is juicy and grippy and smells like cherries and cinnamon along with the fresh soil from your garden. It’s buoyant on the palate with a tart fruit core. This is a great bottle to share with friends or have a few glasses with just you and Netflix. This is a heck of a value for a wine that would shine no matter its price.
2017 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir
The La Crema Pinot Noir is bright, juicy and lingering. Aromas of black plum, cherry, rhubarb and hints of earth and loam. Flavors of red plum, raspberry and blood orange are underpinned by distinctive riverstone minerality and savory umami character. Plush and richly textured with juicy yet balanced acidity and integrated toasty barrel spice. Note, the 2017 is no longer available on their site but can be purchased at your local grocery store or beverage store.
2017 Cherry Pie Tri-Country Pinot Noir
The Cherry Pie Tri-County Pinot Noir jumps from the glass with aromas of sweet toasty oak with macerated cherries, cranberries and a hint of strawberry. Cherry Pie Wines are a distinct expression of Pinot Noir with a strong sense of place. Combining three counties, each its own distinct terroir, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir showcases the best of each counties’ unique flavor profile which results in a juicy wine rich with flavors of Bing cherries and raspberries that culminates in a long silky smooth finish.