Best Buy Pinot Noir
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Williams Selyem Winery began as a simple dream of two friends, Ed Selyem and Burt Williams, who pursued weekend winemaking as a hobby in 1979 in a garage in Forestville, California, and made their first commercial vintage in 1981. In less than two decades, Burt and Ed created a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Together they set a new standard for Pinot Noir winemaking in the United States, aligning Sonoma County's Russian River Valley in the firmament of the best winegrowing regions of the world. Today John and Kathe Dyson, who purchased the winery from Burt and Ed in 1998, carry on the passion for Pinot Noir winemaking without compromise. As for the wines... they just keep getting better and better.
The light, bright and juicy character of pinot noir has made it one of the most enduringly popular red wines around. Wines made from pinot noir grapes are famously fresh and drinkable, yet sophisticated, pairing well with many foods or enjoyed alone.
Burgundian pinot noir is seen as the benchmark. It tends to have good acidity, with fine fruit flavours of cherries and berries, and subtler notes ranging from earthiness and spice to herbaceous or woody tastes, which can be extremely complex.
pinot noir from Burgundy commands high prices, and is not necessarily always good value for money. Its unending popularity and the difficulty involved in growing successful pinot noir grapes means that prices per bottle usually start at around 20 and can easily run into the hundreds for a celebrated label. Good vintages (where the conditions have been great for a specific year of bottling) are also renowned for their ability to fetch high prices. However, the good news is that a great bottle of pinot noir can easily be had for pocket money prices: Romanian pinot noir is famously good value, as is Chilean, and even French bottles can offer competitive value outside of Burgundy.
Made in a European style (read: subtle), this pinot noir is a world away from the usual intense coloured rose, and even further still from delicate pale Provences. Instead, this wine is fresh and clean with that characteristic pinot noir cherry and raspberry. At the same time, a strong minerality and a slight savouriness give it a grown-up elegance that you may not expect. This will be no surprise to anyone who has bought any of the exciting, unusual and far flung wines from specialists Wanderlust Wines before. Spectacular with salads and any light meats.
Maggio is a family-owned winery in the Lodi region of California. This wine is one of the best affordable Pinot Noirs you can find, with big fruit flavors and ample richness.Bright acidity follows plum and black cherry notes, leading to a long, lingering finish.
Gary Farrell is one of my favorite Sonoma wineries. They craft a full range of Pinot Noirs, including single-vineyard expressions from around the Russian River Valley. This particular bottle is a blend of the best grapes from the best vineyards to craft the best possible wine. Vibrant cherry fruit, black tea, rose petals, and cedar exude from the glass.
Their Roberts Road Pinot Noir is my all-time favorite, but is only available to wine club members. A close second choice is their Five Clones Pinot Noir, which draws fruit from their best estate vineyards. Lively aromas of freshly mashed Bing cherry and baking spice mingle with the scent of freshly fallen pine needles and forest floor after a fresh rain.
Even though the 2020 vintage proved to be difficult, with wines risking smoke taint from wildfires on the U.S. West Coast, 2018 and 2019 were both stellar vintages for Oregon. 2018 was a warm and dry season, producing opulent, riper pinots with firm tannin structure. 2019, in contrast, broke a spell of warm and dry vintages. It was cool and wet, with rain close to harvest refreshing the vines, resulting in linear wines with more floral and blue fruit character and distinctly vivid acidity.
The Willamette Valley, where most of the best pinot noir o