Wine Reviews: 69 Pinot Noirs Graded by our Retailer Wine Panel

(90) Castle Rock Mendocino Pinot Noir 2012 (California). Good value. Not the jammy style of pinot noir. More Burgundian in style, with a touch of earth and complex red fruits. Absolutely stunning with a mushroom-based dish. ($12.99)

(90) The Four Graces (Willamette Valley, OR). Big dark fruit with a steely mineral edge. You’ll think you’re drinking a Pommard. Try it with Boeuf Bourguignon. ($24.95)

(90) Elouan Pinot Noir 2013 (Oregon). Medium-bodied, with excellent depth and classic Oregon red fruit aromas and flavors. A nice value for Oregon pinot noir. ($20)

(90) James Bryant Hill Pinot Noir 2013 (Central Coast, CA). An outstanding value from California. Varietally correct, with excellent complexity in its balance of red and black fruit aromas and flavors. ($12)

(90) D’Autrefois Pinot Noir 2014 (Vin de Pays d’Oc). Savory aromas and flavors of raspberry, cranberry and tea. Light-bodied with a vibrantly crisp finish that provides great balance. An enticing pinot noir that is both gentle and delicious. ($12)

(90) Cloisonne, 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast, CA). This affordable, medium-bodied pinot noir displays subtle toast aromas from 15 months in French oak barrels. With enough time in the glass, this wine runs the gamut of distinctive varietal flavors, with plum evolving into ultra-ripe cranberry, black cherry and eventually turning to delicate strawberry and spice in the finish. The fruit remains cloaked in a veil of toasty oak that compliments rather than overpowers. ($20)

(90) Duck Pond Pinot Noir 2014 (Willamette Valley, OR). From one of the best known wineries in Oregon, this is a great example of what the state brings to the category. Red and black fruits, with spice; all correct and tasty. A very good price for this quality of wine. ($20)

(90) Terrrapura Pinot Noir 2014 (Central Valley, Chile). An absolutely incredible value. It’s nearly impossible to get this level of quality and true pinot noir character at this price point. Stack it high and watch it fly out the store. Supple, clean, with spicy red fruit, you’ll want to walk your customers straight to the display, and help them put a case in their cart. ($10.99)

(90) Decoy Pinot Noir 2013 (Sonoma County). Garnet in color, redfruit aroma. Cherry and raspberry flavor with some spice. Clean moderately long finish. ($22.99)

(90) Willamette Valley Vyds. 2014 Whole Cluster. Aromas and flavors of bright/fresh cherry intermingling with pomegranate and cranberry cobbler. There are some earth notes, but for the most part this pinot noir stays fresh and definitely not simple as the palate develops some soft spice and a hint of oolong tea showing on the beautiful lingering finish. ($20)

(90) Regis Bouvier, Marsannay, “Clos du Roy” 2012. A great value from Burgundy near the northern tip of Cote de Nuits. Ruby to brick. Bright nose of cherry and cherry lifesavers with a touch of wild mushrooms. Mouthwatering on the palate, wild strawberries, juicy acidity, delivered in a racy format with mineral notes throughout. ($35)

(90) Ropiteau Pinot Noir 2014 (Vin de Pays d’Oc). A wonderfully nuanced pinot noir whose upfront cherry, raspberry and floral notes are balanced with earthier flavors of truffle and spice box; the smooth finish has plenty of character with its savory fruit and light tannins. ($12)

(90) Angeline Pinot Noir 2014 (Sonoma and Mendocino). A light, focused pinot noir with delicate flavors of raspberry, cherry and light minerals; the finish is pure and crisp, making this an excellent food-pairing wine. ($20)

(90) Montoya Pinot Noir 2013 (Monterey). A light, delicate pinot noir with charming notes of raspberry, cherry and oak; the firm finish gracefully balances the upfront flavors. ($18)

(90) Corvallis Cellars Pinot Noir 2013 (Willamette Valley). Generous cherry, raspberry and spice notes intermix with a round, supple mouthfeel; a slightly tart finish provides nice balance to the upfront fruit and deposits light notes of cedar. ($21)

(90) Sevens Peak Pinot Noir 2014 (California). A pinot noir that stands out for its strikingly smooth profile; it exhibits lovely cranberry, cherry and tea flavors all the way through to the velvety, dry finish. ($12)

(90) Muirwood Pinot Noir 2013 (Arroyo Seco). A pinot noir that gains complexity with air. Possesses flavors of cherry and mountain berries, along with hints of smoke, cola and earth. A crisp, focused finish skillfully provides balance. ($21)

(89) Belterre Estate Pinot Noir 2013 (Languedoc). Fresh and easy, with a touch of spice, earth and low tannin. Great wine for the grill. ($11.99)

(89) St. Innocent “Momtazi Vineyard, McMinnville 2012. From A bio-dynamically farmed single vineyard in the McMinnville AVA of Willamette Valley. Ruby/garnet color. Aromas of forest floor, India ink, red cherry and cranberry. Red raspberry and cherry on the palate, mineral notes, a dry finish with a hint of tannin. ($39)

(89) Cooper Station Pinot Noir 2014 (California). Juicy red fruits, vanilla and a touch of oak emerge from this velvety smooth Pinot Noir; it finishes soft with light spice notes providing added nuance. ($12)

(89) Villa Wolf 2014 (Pfalz, Germany). Made in a clean, vibrant style, this wine shows lots of red raspberry, tart cherries and some dustiness on the nose. The palate reflects the fruit on the nose that is supported by plenty of mouthwatering acidity. ($17.49)

(89) Stasis ‘Murmur Vineyard’ 2013 (Santa Maria Valley, CA). A ripe, darker expression of pinot noir where strawberry coulis, cola and anise play leading roles. The ripeness is juxtaposed by velvet-laden tannins and a firm undercurrent of acidity. ($45.99)

(88) Montoya Pinot Noir 2012 (Monterrey County). This is a really solid mid-range pinot noir. Scents of ripe strawberries and cherries lead to a mouthful of soft, juicy red fruit. This is a light-bodied wine with a smooth finish, but with just enough spice to fool you into thinking you are drinking a wine at least $10 more expensive. ($14.99)

(88) Rodney Strong Pinot Noir 2013 (Russian River Valley). Light red in color. Red fruit aroma. Strawberry and pomegranate flavors with some spice. Moderate finish. ($18.99)

(88) Hallauer AOC Von Spiegelberg (Switzerland). Winner of a Gold Medal in Zurich, it shows great structure, with lovely cherry and raspberry notes, both on the nose and palate. Smooth tannins and a long finish make this a great wine on its own or for a grilled salmon. ($19.50)

(88) Austerity 2013 (Santa Lucia Highlands). The nose has clear cherry and strawberry fruit with hints of rose pedal and nutmeg. The palate continues to show flavors of cherry, strawberry and slight nutmeg but develops with a pleasant earth and mushrooms while being balanced with an acidity that finishes silky smooth. An outstanding value. ($15)



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