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Good Value Pinot Noir

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Last week, I attended an Australian wine tasting here in Toronto. One wine that really impressed me was the 2005 Wolf Blass Yarra, Victoria Pinot Noir at $13.99Cdn., $17.15 taxes and deposit in. It had an intense nose of ripe strawberries, spice and flowers with a long finish and elegant tannin structure.

I used to really enjoy Cono Sur PN from Chile, but the last few vintages have been disappointing. Also, Trapiche PN from Argentina is no longer available in my market.

So, with basic Beaune level PN's now often over $30, what are some of your inexpensive PN recs?

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  1. I do not know what's available in Toronto, but I often find a number of values from the appellations Côtes de Beaune and Bourgogne. On the domestic American market, labels like La Crema, Cambria and David Bruce (Central Coast) are quite good, and all under $20.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zin1953

      I am not much of a pinot fan, but I would agree that the Cambria pinot noir is an excellent bottle in the sub-$20 price range. For just over $20 (at Trader Joe's in the Boston area), I thought the King Estate pinot was also quite good.

    2. Don't know if you can find it there, but my boyfriend and I really enjoy Meridian's Pinot Noir. For $10-$12 (American), it's a good deal, and I've had far worse wine for twice the price.

      We pair it with almost anything, and have found it to be a versatile staple red wine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cussbucket

        Agree, Meridian is a well rounded Pinot for the price. I believe wine enthusiast gave it a 86 or 88.

      2. While my view is largely determined by what's available at the SAQ, New Zealand is my main source for affordable Pinot Noir these days. A good example is Sherwood, which retails for around C$19 in Ontario and Quebec.

        In the same price range, look for the Pinot Noir from Tasmania's Ninth Island.

        For a few dollars more, Argyle's low-end bottling (Willamette Valley, I believe) is pretty quaffable.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carswell

          with you on the Ninth Island Pinot - available here in the UK from Waitrose around £9
          Don't care for the Cono Sur one but have found others from Chile to be good. Secano (2005) at Marks and Spencer was a good and very reasonably priced one.

        2. MONTES "Limited Release" Pinot Noir '06 from Chile has been a real "eye-opener"
          for our wine group............$12.99 and yummy ...........needs about 10 mins of air
          to release itself and then it's very very good..........

          1. two decent everyday drinking pinots are Cycles Gladiator and Rex Goliath. both you can find for $10.99 or less. Anapamu and Erath are also inexpensive, and tasty.

            1. Look for the pinot noir from Sticks, also in the Yarra valley. I'm guessing it will be priced similarly to the Wolf Blass that you enjoyed. I get it here in New Jersey for about US$18.

              1. Look for the Castle Rock pinots from California - generally good quality at a reasonable price.

                1. benton lane pinot noir 2004, $20

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: zack

                    Agreed. 90 points from WS if you're into that sort of thing. AND it's a screw top!

                  2. Argyle Pinot Noir Willamette Valley and Acacia Pinot Noir Napa Valley Carneros are both good values in the about $20 range. Personally, I find that inexpensive Pinot Noir that is made in any quantity (the under $15, 5000 case produced kind ) has a tendency to be insipid at best for the most part. There have been some good buys among them in certain years, but the Argyle and Acacia are usually well made.

                    1. Bouchlaine (?) My spelling is way off & I believe it was California. I purchased a few bottles of this recommended Pinot from my wine rep. At wholesale I paid about 14.00/bottle. Let me know if you are familiar or if you find it.

                      1. That's most likely Bouchaine. They make avery nice Carneros Pinot that retails in the $18-$22 range.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Midlife

                          I would call Bouchaine average at best. They were much better in the early 90s than they have been recently.

                        2. We've had good luck with Castle Rock and Mirrasou on the inexpensive end. Bums me out when I buy a $30 bottle and my wife says she likes the Castle Rock ($12) or Mirrasou (on sale for $8.95 the other day) better.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: FDawson

                            Castle Rock can vary greatly from year to year and even from bottle to bottle as they buy bulk wine and bottle it from all over. Some of it has been great, some of it has been horrible.

                          2. Cloudline Pinot (from Oregon) is a lovely value at around $18 if you can find it. I've seen it at a few wine shops in NYC and of course it is readily available in the Northwest. We just had the Salmon Run Pinot (from NYC) by Konstatin Frank @ $14. Like many NY reds, it is lean but has the quintessential pinot characteristics and was a very enjoyable bottle.

                            1. I vote for Sebastiani Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast. It's about $14 here in Northern California and I occasionally see it on sale for $11. The 2005 vintage produced 28,000 cases, so you might be able to find it in Canada. http://www.sebastiani.com/wines/wines...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: HungryMojo

                                agree i liked Sebastiani a lot. nice sour cherry thing going on. I think it runs $18 in NYC area.

                              2. Melville Pinot Noir Estate 2005 - ~ $20 per bottle...outstanding stuff

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jwobkk

                                  Please let me know where you find that for $20..........

                                  1. re: jonathon

                                    Internet search on www.wine-searcher.com. Wine House in LA has it for $20.99 right now on their web site.

                                2. I don't know if taxes might affect these differently in Canada, but:

                                  Good négociant "Bourgognes Rouges" (Louis Jadot for example) routinely sell for $10-$20 in US supermarkets and warehouse stores. They are a common starting point for experiencing Burgundies. (In good years they can even be deep, serious wines, but you may need to age those for a year or two.) Individual producers also put out sometimes good-value Bourgognes Rouges.

                                  Other inexpensive Burgundian PNs come from the Côte Challonaise locations (Givry, Mercurey, Rully, etc) or broad regional names ("Côte de Beaune," "Côte de Nuits" labels). I have gotten wines as described here for years for under $20, although 05's are up a little. (In California, until several years ago wine lovers probably got more of their PN from places like Burgundy, because US success with the PN grape took relatively long, but it flourishes now, as well as Oregon and Washington -- some good labels mentioned here already.)