Best wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Russian River for Pinots
I am looking to go to wineries for great tastings of pinots. I am looking for quality, average price 30 to 40.
In the Santa Rosa & RR Valley area, I like Dutton-Goldfield, Siduri, Woodenhead, Sapphire Hill, Arista, & Rochioli.
kosta browne, rivers-marie, dehlinger, martinelli, walter hansel, radio-coteau , whetstone
some of my favorites
Siduri, Kosta-Browne, Rochioli, Hansel, Golden Eye (Anderson Valley).
Most of the really exceptional ones require appointments. Rochioli does not, though, but I believe the rest I have listed do.
Are you looking for a particular style? A lot is happening with CA pinots now. If you are really interested, get John Haeger's important 2004 book "North American Pinot Noir," it surveys most of the wineries. In 2004 and for a few years before then, new production caused a surplus of PN in California, sold as bulk. The surplus vanished after a certain movie.
Some of the best PNs come from the coolest growing areas. Carrie 218 already mentioned one from Anderson Valley (near the Russian River Valley) -- Goldeneye, with a strong "new world" style. Many firms are now making PNs with grapes from that valley. (Not all are open for drop-in visits, and many are actually located outside the valley.) That valley makes other PN styles too -- some of them more Burgundian such as Elke, Baxter, Copain, and Lazy Creek.
There's a general thread on Anderson Valley and its amenities in the California board:
re: Carrie 218
Copain is still going strong with Pinots. They lost the 05 crop from frost, I gathered. Recently I tasted some good vineyard-designated 04s; 06s are due for bottling in August. I don't know where exactly sourced. Contracts with growers are a standard mode. (One Pinot grower in AV told me recently he sources three other wineries as well as his own, and they finish them in different styles.)
If you enjoy the Copains, you might well like some of the others from that valley (maybe you already do!)
One of my favorite wineries, especially if I want to picnic, is Dutton Estate (two brothers separately own this one and nearby Dutton-Goldfield). The pinots are "right up there" (and cost $40-$50) and the atmosphere is very unassuming and low key. The tasting room is in a small stucco house (a real house, not a purpose-built one) with a narrow grassy yard containing a few shaded picnic tables and the vineyards a few feet away. It's the essence of "no glitz".
Dutton Estate Winery
8757 Green Valley Road (at Hwy 116)