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PINOT NOIR VALUE STARS AKA: Your Own Personal Sideways

For over a century the title of “World’s Most Coveted” – and expensive – wine was held by the Revered Reds of Bordeaux. But recently a new Sheriff has rolled into town by the name of Mr. Pinot Noir. Hailing from Burgundy top Pinots command $10,000+ per BOTTLE, and even in California and Oregon, being on the list for the privilege of purchasing the best and most expensive Pinots is today’s Holy Grail for wine trophy hunters.
All this Pinot-Buzz seems like an invitation to put Pinots from top regions to the taste test and decide if they live up to the hype!
The Good-Times-Wine-Crew did just that but instead of giving our two-cents we decided to provide brief descriptions of the typical styles of each region, and so you don’t have to break the bank, suggest PNs at $15-$25 for your own Judgment of Pinot Party.
Let’s start in the Russian River Valley where Siduri Winery winemaker Adam Lee makes classic Pinots that deliver bright cherry-berry-cola flavors and refined tannins typical of RRV.
California’s new Pinot hot-spot is Anderson Valley in Mendocino. These wines are usually a cross between California and Oregon, having the up-front fruit of the former and restrained texture of the latter. Navarro Vineyards has been the domain of non-reformed hippies Ted Bennett and Deborah Cahn since the 70s and their Pinot is a valley classic that adds a compelling spicy component.
Maysara’s “Jamsheed” bottling typifies Pinot from the Willamette Valley of Oregon, which are known for black-fruit profiles, forest-floor aromas, medium body and lighter color extraction. Maysara is also a leader in sustainable viticulture having been committed to organic practices from day one!
Another newcomer to the Pinot party is New Zealand, which lies at the southernmost latitudes for wine production. This location brings a cool climate which is a major factor in their ability to produce Pinots of distinction. These are bold wines that feature up-front fruit, crisp acidity and bright mineral notes. Jules Taylor produces a nice version from Marlborough.
Classic Burgundies feature fresh cherry and plum fruit, earthy/mushroom aromas, minerality, and savory flavors. While top quality levels such as Grand and Premier Cru Burgundies can reach the $ stratosphere, there are wines at the regional level, labeled simply Bourgogne or with Village Names, that are of good quality, such as the offerings of Domaine Faiveley.

FUN FACT: Pinot means “pine-cone-shaped” – SEE IMAGE BELOW
Hopefully you have learned some things about wine history and economics, as well as about Pinot Noir regions and styles. But more importantly, I hope you accept the Pinot Party call to action! So download the movie Sideways, channel your inner Miles – or not as he was a pretty despicable human being – and become your own Pinot-geniuses.pinot noir  cluster

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