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Pinot Noir Suggestions

Looking for light PN but layered with flavor under $15. I love Firesteed but hard to find. Anyone had Esser Cellars?

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  1. Sadly a lot of the "go to" wines of the past have slowly, inexorably crept above the $15 mark . . . Saintsbury "Garnet," Benton Lane, Carneros Creek, etc. and now all $5 higher or more.

    Depending upon where you live, you may be able to find some négociant Pinot Noir in and around the $15 mark (I'm thinking Joseph Drouhin Lafôret as an example), but your price point is a bit low for many French Bourgogne Pinot Noirs.

    This is one area where California does offer a wider selection than France. Look for these (listed alphabeticaly): Castle Rock "Monterey," Chalone "Monterey," David Bruce "Central Coast," Fleur de Carneros, Kali Hart "Monterey," Ramsay "California," and don't overlook Gallo of Sonoma. All of these are available for $15.99 or less. (I cheated by a buck!)

    Haven't tried Esser. Sorry.

    2 Replies
    1. re: zin1953

      Where have you bought a David Bruce "CC" for 15.99 or less...........doubt it very seriously............all the others for sure............

      1. re: jonathon

        BevMo has it on their website for $15.99.

        (Why would I make this up?)

    2. Wow, this is a tough call! Personally, I don't think it's possible to find anything worth drinking under $15. I have yet to taste a Castle Rock that I liked, but the Chalone is a good rec.

      One of the best values I've ever had was Rex Hill, from Oregon's praised Williamette Valley.

      1 Reply
      1. re: vinosnob

        FWIW, I've had some quite nice Castle Rock Pinots, and some that were -- well, let;s say "less than quite nice."

        Rex Hill does fit into the price range and another good option.

      2. I agree. I just can't reccoment anything under $15. However, in the upper teens, Saintcbury Garnet and La Crema Sonoma Coast are both fine choices.

        1. Au Bon Climat makes a nice pinot in the $17 range that is nice if you lay it down for a couple of years. To unstructured to drink it young. It's not that light, though.
          The Faiveley bourgnone is nice and it's around $16 locally. It might be light enough for you.

          1. A friend put me on to Sticks (Australia) pinot from the Yarra Valley. Prices seem to vary considerably - sometimes into the high teens - but I can get it from a local store in NJ for $11.99.

            The Sticks web site seems to be screwed up, so try this one.....


            1. I like Angeline Pinot Noir...I can usually get it for $10 per bottle.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sarahbeth

                Where do you buy Angeline for $10.00.............??

                1. re: Sobe

                  I also love Mark West pinot noir...recently found a bottle for $8.99.

                  1. re: Sobe

                    After I bought Mark West, I was amused to note that this wine is French - Corsican to be more exact!

                  2. Here is New England, Angeline is $9.99 in the liquor store. So is Castle Rock as well as other mentioned above.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sarahbeth

                      Hi Sarabeth - I had some Angeline Pinot Noir in the Santa Ynez Valley, CA a couple of years ago and was blown away by it. Did I buy a case? No. Now I can't find any. Are you aware of a web site where I could by a case or two?

                      Thanks - Rocketeer

                      1. Agustino Special Reserve Pinot Noir (Chile!) for $9.99. Shockingly good for the price.

                        1. Estancia
                          All inexpensive.

                          1. I'm not a wine expert, but I do drink wine on occasion, and I like Pinot Noir, so I've tried a fair number. My (not entirely scientific) observation is that there are excellent Pinots Noir made in California as well as in France, but that equivalently-good PN from California costs at least half again as much as that from France (in California, of all places), and that French PN is usually acceptable regardless of price (I've had bottles in the $7-10 range that were fine) whereas California PN is often not very good if it's much under $20. I regret that my memory for brands / vineyards / Chateaux is terrible, partly because I don't speak any French.

                            Of course it is critical to buy your wine from a place that stores it properly.

                            1. if you want to go with a california Pinot that won't break your bank account, I would suggest Husch, from Mendocino, and excellent wine that's very food friendly and you can find for under $15 in most places. Another option would be to go to a Santa Barbara Pinot like Sanford, also good and not ridiculously expensive. The russian river pinots like Dehlinger (forget the Garnet unless you want a very light style) have gotten way overpriced in my opinion, due to the hype.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: chuckl

                                Sanford Pinot Noir for 15 bucks??????

                                Please let me know where you got thaat for that price please.................

                                1. re: jonathon

                                  Let me know too!! $29-$30 where I live (NJ) though if I'm willing to drive 50+ miles round trip I can get it for $22.

                                  1. re: jonathon

                                    Jonathon, I think you're shopping at the wrong liquor stores!!!!

                                    I had a really lovely Pinot Noir for $15 it's Laetitia. And Jonathon, if you're wondering where I got it for that price.....it was Gasbarro's Wines on Atwells Ave, Providence RI.

                                    1. re: JaneRI

                                      I live in NYC.............Brother-in-law runs a fine-wine shop in Manhattan.............
                                      some of the prices some people mention on here are just plain bogus...........
                                      Sanford costs 19 wholesale............and your mentioned wine is 15 wholesale..........everybody discusses these prices as if those are what you can
                                      find them everywhere for...........and who can throw out a lower price........
                                      and lots of vague statements trying to sound authoritative..........only opinions
                                      that are credible are people like zin, cars,and others..........IMO

                                      1. re: jonathon


                                        Laws vary widely from state to state. The WHOLESALE prices vary widely from state-to-state. Therefore, the RETAIL prices vary widely from state-to-state.

                                        Take your pick: it's EITHER some grand conspiracy where people are getting together to quote what you seem to think are low-ball prices, OR people are merely quoting the prices they pay . . .

                                        Having worked in the wine trade for 35+ years -- as an importer, wholesaler, retailer, sommelier, as well as for wineries in both production and the front office -- I've *often* seen one state's retail equal another state's wholesale price.

                                        1. re: zin1953

                                          You want to see low wine prices...check out Florida or California. The prices paid in those states is completely different than the rest of the world. The cost of shipping and freight, state and local taxes, as well as state laws forcing standard mark-ups or laws that allow wines to be sold below invoice price all help determine the price of the wine.

                                          I work for a high end Napa Valley winery and I can tell you our wine retails anywhere between 125.00-225.00 depending on the state.

                                          1. re: chickstein

                                            And I am sure, chickstein, that doesn't include the secondary market.

                                            1. re: zin1953

                                              You are so right. I didn't even get into quantity purchases.

                                        2. re: jonathon

                                          Hey Jonathon.....I gave the name of the RETAIL wine shop where I paid $15 for Laetitia pinot noir....I'm no wine expert....maybe it's a different vintage from the one you know or something like that? I don't know what to tell you except call Gasbarro's in Providence at 401.421.4170 and ask them what they charge.

                                          Or if you give me some time I could dig up the receipt.....it was for a work function (Gasbarro's rec - I had never heard of it), so I had to expense it out - the receipt is sitting in a file cabinet in Acct right now.

                                          1. re: jonathon

                                            Last spring, Crossroads Wines on 14th St. in Manhattan was selling 2002 Sanford Pinot for either $14.99 or $15.99. I couldn't believe it. I asked them how this was possible, and the clerk just smiled and said "we buy in bulk". Best price to quality ratio for pinot I've ever seen.

                                        3. re: jonathon

                                          Why are you so hornery? Are you the price police? Add value, not attitude.

                                      2. I've paired the Firesteed PN with my wife's NO-influenced cuisene on many occasions, though not lately. In CO, it was easily available, but I have not seen it in AZ. Back then, it was in the US$15/btl. range, so I would assume that it was more expensive nowadays.

                                        That said, I do not think that I have had a <US$15 PN, in the last

                                        1. O'Reilly's PN is around $15 and is consistently very good - excellent. I think there is fairly wide distribution of it as well.

                                          1. Thanks for the leads. I am checking them all out. Has anyone got an opinion on Acacia or Talus PN. I see them here at $10.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: 2top

                                              That is a GOOD price for the Acacia. At Costco (AZ), it normally runs ~US$25. It's our house PN, and I find it drinks well in its youth, plus gains some complexity with a few years of cellaring. It's a fruit-forward (typical CA) PN, that likes food with some heft to it. It is not a real fruit-bomb, though it is also not a Burg-style PN. If you can get it for $10, I'd say to buy a case of it. If you have a cellaring option, it'll hold up to several years, getting more subtle and more nuanced, as time goes by.


                                              1. re: 2top

                                                A by Acacia or the Carneros? And what vintage? I can find A by Acacia for about $14 but the Carneros is routinely $20+.

                                                1. re: ambrose

                                                  I'm not familiar with the "A." The price was for the Carneros. It is routinely in the US$20-25 range. I just picked up a half-case and it was $22.99.

                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    If you go to the Acacia web site, you'll see that this winery makes several pinots. The two most often seen in stores are the "A by Acacia" and the one you recently purchased. I'm pretty sure the $10 Acacia mentioned above is the "A".

                                                    BTW, you got a pretty decent price for the Carneros. I've seen it as high as $28.

                                                    You should look for the "A" and let us know how it compares to the Carneros!

                                                    1. re: ambrose

                                                      I'll keep my eye out for it. In many ways, AZ is a pretty limited wine market. Costco brings a decent portfolio of merchandise. I also happen to live near one, that gets all of the "allocated" wines. Only problem is that it may be "here today, gone tomorrow." The only "other" Acacia PN, that I have seen in PHX is the Beckstoffer SV, and that too, was at Costco. While I like the Beckstoffer, @ US$49.95/btl. I have yet to decide if it's got the "bang for the buck." For that price, there are quite a few other PNs, that I find better.

                                                      I'll check some of my normal wine shops and look for the A. Would you compare the differences between these two to, say the Saintsbury Garnet to their regular PN? Just curious.


                                              2. Pinot Noir under $15 is tough - i would check out "Vox Populi". It's produced by Moillard, a Burgundy Negociant, but the fruit is sourced from Romania. It has expressive black cherry fruit with coffee and baking chocolate overtones and a little bit of spice on the palate. Pretty generous and full-bodied without being high in alcohol like a lot of domestic pinots at that price point. Unfortunately, the Chardonnay doesn't quite deliver the same quality being a bit overoaked, but if you can find it, that pinot is a great buy!

                                                1. I'd throw in Echelon as drinkable for @$10, iirc, haven't tried them for some time however. Have seen Acacia around the $15 price which is pretty decent juice. Not sure if it's still available, but the Hayman Hill '05 Santa Lucia Highlands was the deal of the year at $10-11.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: PolarBear

                                                    2005 Echelon is definitely drinkable, and running $9-12.

                                                    1. re: wally

                                                      Fluer de Carneros, is $13.99 at BevMo and is a favorite and a good choice! For those of you that are paying over $20 this is not bad. I was in there a few weeks ago and saw that it was $14 remembered it was always around $25. I don't know why the difference now but, here is the link for BevMO.


                                                  2. My suggestion would be Matua Valley Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Retails for under $15.00 in most markets.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: chickstein

                                                      I just looked through this post, and I don't think I saw one mention of Oregon pinots. I think the Argyle basic cuvee is around $16 now, and that's pretty good. I have also liked A to Z and Big Fire, which are around $15. None of these will compare to a $30 pinot from any region, but they will exceed a watery $15 bourgogne.

                                                      1. re: equinoise

                                                        I will admit to being something of a Pinot Noir snob (my wife likes them and I collect small production PNs from CA) Buying a good PN for under $15 is difficult, however, if you bump the price up to to $20 there are quite a few that are quite good. As others have said, Oregon PNs are a good value, and there are some very good CA PNs available at that price too. Producers that make good PNs in that price range include Acacia (Pinot Noir Napa Valley-Carneros) Argyle (Pinot Noir Willamette Valley) Benton-Lane (PN Oregon) Sebastiana (Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast) Erath (Pinot Noir Oregon) Rex Hill (Willamette Valley or Kings Ridge) and Willamette Valley (Pinot Noir Oregon). Of course, all of these producers also make "higher end" Pinot Noirs, but these should fit your needs. You might also look as some of the PNs coming from New Zealand (Marlborough)

                                                        1. re: dinwiddie

                                                          gotta concur with dinwiddie; "good" PN under $15 is a dicey proposition. I also agree that by getting up to the $20 range, you have a lot more quailty options. Look for Chehalem (OR), King Estate (OR); if you can find it, Navarro (Mendocino, No. Coast CA) Earlier posts mentioned Firesteed and while it may just have been me, or a particular bottle, I thought it was terrible stuff.

                                                          1. re: ibstatguy

                                                            Try the Mark West. Nothing close in the price range

                                                            1. re: Sobe

                                                              Unfortunately Mark West is no longer in the under $15 range (unless someone is trying to clear it out) it fits into the under $20 though usually.,

                                                              1. re: dinwiddie

                                                                Just picked up two bottles at Old Doc's (Fresno) for 8.99 ea, yesterday. The label said Napa Carneros, irrc, packed it off for a wedding today so don't have it on hand to recheck. Perhaps they ship a reserve or other higher end elsewhere?

                                                                1. re: dinwiddie

                                                                  What?? It's $9.99 at most places. I've seen it at $11.99 but nothing more than that.

                                                                  1. re: Sobe

                                                                    I forgot that some folks live on the west coast. Here in Montgomery County MD, where the county is the only wholesaler and jacks up the prices of wine, it is costly.

                                                              2. re: ibstatguy

                                                                I agree the Navarro (like Husch, also from the Anderson Valley) is a great deal for a lighter-style Pinot Noir, but it's a little harder to find if you're out of state I think. Poppy is relatively cheap ($13.99 at my local wine shop in SF) and not bad, though it's a little too berryish for my taste. A step up from Castle Rock though.

                                                                The much-heralded pinot noirs of Santa Lucia (Chalone in this price category) are lovely. But they are not even close to anything like their French counterparts. They are their own animal, really, much thicker tasting.

                                                              3. re: dinwiddie

                                                                dinwiddie, have you tried 2004 Daedalus Willamette Valley?

                                                          2. I tried many brands of Pinot Noir and found that Echlon Pinot Noir is the best and most people I know prefer it once they had it. No bitter taste like some of the other brands. The cost is between $12.00 - $14.00 (I have had more expensive brands that are not as good).
                                                            Let me know how you like it if your try it.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Donna52479

                                                              I enjoy mirrasou, i runs 7.99 on sale alot. I ,love the smoothness.