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Best wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Russian River for Pinots

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I am looking to go to wineries for great tastings of pinots. I am looking for quality, average price 30 to 40.

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  1. In the Santa Rosa & RR Valley area, I like Dutton-Goldfield, Siduri, Woodenhead, Sapphire Hill, Arista, & Rochioli.

    1. kosta browne, rivers-marie, dehlinger, martinelli, walter hansel, radio-coteau , whetstone
      some of my favorites

      1. 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.

        1. 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:


          2 Replies
          1. re: eatzalot

            I'm a huge fan of Copain (on their list and everything - getting a shipment this week!) but they lost their Pinot vineyard last year and currently have none available. Don't know how this year is going...

            1. 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!)

          2. 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)

            1. Are you looking to taste Pinots or are you looking to buy Pinots? Because those are two very different questions.

              Buy? Siduri, Hartford, Rochioli, Davis, Etude, Freeman.

              Taste? Kosta Browne, Rivers-Marie, Merry Edwards, Martinelli, Peay, August West, Kutch.

              1 Reply
              1. re: whiner

                Good list, I'd also add Lynmar, Peay, Woodenhead and Joseph Swan. All make excellent Pinot Noir. On the weekend Swan and Lynmar are open for tasting. The others would require an appointment.

              2. Well, "best" is subjecttive as all get-out, but let me cast my vote for "favorite": Ancien winery in Napa. They're too small to have their own tasting room, so you can try their stuff at the Vintner's Collective in downtown Napa on the corner of Main & Clinton. Most of their fruit comes from either Carneros, although they have a Russian River pinot as well as a Sonoma Valley pinot. All are excellent & all are in your price range.

                1. Just outside of Healdsburg is a little collection of small wineries. Sapphire Hill, Holdredge, and Davis Family all have nice pinot noir to try in the under $40 camp. (Davis Family may be just over $40).

                  Definately stop at Siduri (in industrial Santa Rosa)--a lot of different bottlings at a big range of prices.

                  And I agree with others that Dutton Estate and Dutton Goldfield are good. Have not been to Gary Farrell in some time, but he used to produce nice pinot.

                  And DeLoach recently hired Greg LaFollette as winemaker, who is known for Pinot Noir. I think his first wines are being released now, and to good reviews.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bryan Gros

                    >DeLoach recently hired Greg LaFollette as winemaker, who is known for Pinot Noir. I think his first wines are being released now, and to good reviews.<

                    I stopped there earlier this year and was very impressed with their higher-end pinots. Got stuck on them and didn't try the others :-) Very friendly place, too.

                    1. re: Bryan Gros

                      Was at Gary Farrell recently and the prices are definitely on the high end for the OPs range. I thought the wines were good, but not amazing. We all felt like they were asking us to pay extra for their fancy tasting room.