Top 10 North American Pinot Noir for under $20
Having a new found love of wine and a serious aversion to many of its overly pretentious trappings....I have decided to try to make a wine-guide to give fellow blue-collar connoisseurs the straight-talk with none of the "soupçon of truffle" junk. This guide is designed to give you the top 10 Burgundian wines made right here is the USA (and which are, in my opinion, as good or better then anything from the Côte d'Or.
I tried to provide the website for the wineries when possible. However, I buy pretty much all of my wine (other than what I get from my local wineries) from Wine.com. I am a pretty big fan of them, I have been using them for several years, they consistently have the best prices, straight forward ordering and delivery (check out the unlimited shipping for a year for $49) AND I like knowing where I can get a wine. Nothing is more annoying then getting a great recommendation for a wine that you can't find even after driving all over town!
#1 ERATH 2007 Pinot Noir Oregon
One of the finest out there. Erath is one of the oldest vineyards in the Pacific Northwest and one of the most respected. Located in the Dundee hills and one of the venerable "old Guard" who first pinoneered Pinot Noir in Oregon. ERATH Website
Their 2007 is a fine wine from a great Vintage. Light and slightly fruity, with subtle earth tones, this wine is great for beef, chicken, duck, salmon or even a burger. Available for $19.99 at Wine.com
#2 Raptor Ridge 2007 Pinot Noir Oregon
Raptor Ridge's 2007 Pinot Noir is yet another example of an AMAZING wine at a budget price. This wine is actually made from fruit from over a dozen vineyards in the heart of the Willamette Valley and I think is BETTER than the 2006 vintage which got a 91 point rating from Wine Spectator. Raptor Ridge Website
Nice flavors of dark berries (Blackberry, raspberry) with great undertones of cherry and cedar. This wine is fantastic with any red meat, I am a fan of it with lamb, steak, salmon and it goes great with Chili! $19.99 at Wine.com
#3 2006 Hahn Estates Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands
The 2006 Hahn Estates Pinot Noir is from the Santa Lucia Highlands of California and it is a FANTASTIC wine especially for the price! Hahn Estates WebsiteThis is one of my favorites if you want a more earthy, mellow, smooth wine. Hints of leather and earth mixed with pepper, nutmeg and berries.
This wine is a little more subtle and soft and is great with pretty much any meat you could imagine, chicken, turkey dinner and with Chocolate (cake, candy etc.) $19.99 at Wine.com
#4 2006 Cambria Julia's Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
With 4 of their past 5 vintages rating 88 points or higher and with 2006 being one of the best years (garnering a 93 from Wine Enthusiast and 90 from Wine News) this is just a great vintage from a VERY good winery! This is one of the best values on the list. $17.99 at Wine.com
A very smooth wine with slightly more robust tannins and hints of vanilla, berries and cinnamon. This is one of the bolder wines on the list so I would recommend a stronger flavored food. Pinot Noir is not nearly as overpowering as Cab or Merlot which are known for their stronger tannin/acidic flavors, but you still don't want to overpower your food. I would recommend salmon, lamb, Mexican, Thai or spicy Chinese etc. Cambria Wine Website
#5 Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir 2007 Sonoma California
Another great wine with from a winery with a fantastic pedigree. All you need to know about California Pinot Noir is Carneros and Russian River. These are the two primary areas in California where the weather is cool enough for the Pinot vines to thrive.
This wine is a mix of approx. 85% Carneros and 15% Russian River Valley. Smooth and subtle with undertones of cherry, red-berries, currants and mocha. Another great wine for almost any type of meat, poultry or fish. I especially like this wine with any type of a chocolate dessert. $19.29 at Wine.com
#6 Domaine Drouhin 2005 Oregon Pinot Noir
Yet another great wine from a venerable vineyard. Drouhin is a name synonymous with quality burgundy wine in France and since 1988, in Oregon as well. One of the most consistent, quality wines out there and the 2005 is another great example. This wine may be hard to find, but if you can get a bottle then this is well worth it. This one might be harder to find...try Snooth.com Website for Prices
#7 Rodney Strong Russian River 2007 California
Ok, Ok, so technically this is not 100% Pinot...and the purists would scream and whine...but I am here for what is GOOD even if it is not trendy or "snooty" enough for the experts. This is 97% Pinot Noir and 3% Syrah. Though not a really common process, this does give the wine a little more stability in aging and a little more power (bolder flavor.) $19.99 at Wine.com
Great sipping wine and will accompany most foods well being that it is mild and smooth. I actually just had a glass with my chicken salad sandwich. Rodney Strong Website
#8 Willamette Valley Vineyards 2007 Oregon
This is one of my favorite wines of all time. I live very near to the vineyard and was able to get a great deal on a couple of cases. Even so, it comes in at #8 due to the other spectacular wines above and because the price I got was around $12 a bottle... which made it more compelling. Still, for $20 this is a great wine! Hints of toasted cheese, raspberry, vanilla and cherries. $19.99 at Wine.com
Once again, this is a great wine for steak, roast, duck, chicken, pasta (both tomato and cream based sauces) and is fantastic with fish (especially salmon or tuna.) Willamette Valley Website
#9 A to Z Pinot Noir 2007 Oregon
A to Z is one of my favorite wineries and offers an astounding value with most of their wines. The 2007 Pinot Noir is another great vintage from A to Z. Great deep ruby color. Lots of Blackberry and raspberry flavors with an earthy undertone. $17.99 at Wine.com
This is a fantastic entry level wine and whether you are looking for a great go-to wine for meals or maybe to try a Pinot Noir for the first time, this is a great wine and a GREAT value! A to Z Vineyards Website
#10 McKinlay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2007 Oregon
Every now and then you run across a bottle of wine that looks like the labels were printed on someones home computer and designed by an elementary school student...and yet it beats the pants off those big-time fancy vineyards. McKinlay is one of those vineyards. This is a small lot vineyard with a very hands on winemaker and it really shows with this wine. $16.99 at Wine.com
If you want to support a great, small vineyard that sells a very quality product, this is it! Wine.com has this for $16.99!!! I took a recommendation and had a bottle with some home-made pizza and WOW! What great flavors! Cherries, blackberry, spices and slight cream undertones.
Runner Up - Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2008
I had to throw this one in as it is just such a cool wine. This is a wine made from the whole cluster of Pinot Noir grapes. This means that they are crushed and macerated (soaked) with the full cluster, berries, stems and all. This gives the wine a great punch and is really something that you should give a try! Strong flavors of raspberry, cherries, anise and smoke. This type of wine is not meant to age and should be drank while young (good for a couple of years yet.) Pair with strong flavored foods such as hard cheeses, Spicy Oriental, Cajun, or Mexican. $19.99 at Wine.com
I also wanted to add another , more exhaustive list that I found which is GREAT! Now, these are mainly more expensive wines, but there are some pretty highly rated ones for under $40.
My Other Wine Related Hubs and Lists!!
- Top 10 Chardonnay vintages for under $15
Ahhhh...Chardonnay...this is the wine that brings to mind sunny summer afternoons, sitting in the shade sipping a cold glass of wine. Light, refreshing, great accompaniment to most lighter foods. Chardonnay...
- The new American love affair with Pinot Noir...Thank you Sideways
My take on Pinot Noir and why it is America's wine!!