Pinot Noir Review

All 44 wines tasted


To see a slideshow of our 12 favorite Pinots tasted, go to Pinot Noir - November 2010.

Pinot Noir is an easy go-to wine for Thanksgiving, but with so many styles on the market can every one really be an ideal match? That, of course, is a very personal decision, and while I’ve tasted three dozen or so Pinot for this review -- and yes, they are almost all West Coast versions -- I can’t say that I think Pinot is the universal solution.

What I can happily say is that I found many wines that I really enjoyed. I’m going to be listing my favorites from this tasting and I want you to know that I enjoyed all of these wines. In fact, allow me to go so far as to say I enjoyed these wines the most out of the entire line-up, even though this is not simply the highest-rated wines. Simply put, they are the wines I enjoyed the most.

Why, you ask? Well, it’s simple: these are all wines made in a style that works for me. I’m sure others will disagree. At least I hope so, since this is not the be all and end all in wine recommendations, but each and every one of these wines delivers pleasure. And, if you ask me, that’s what wine appreciation is all about.

2007 Domaine Drouhin Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Laurene
Slightly nutty on the nose with a hint of roasted herbs, sweet thyme, lavender, dirt and even a seductively soft insinuation of cinnamon all embedded in crushed red fruits. On entry this is light and notably dry, yet the immediate aromatic intensity in the mouth is just the first hint of the fine richness of flavor exhibited on the mid-palate. All the structural elements are finely balanced and integrated, giving this an early impression of softness. The wine offers up wonderful, pure, lightly brambly red berry fruits with such a silky texture that it almost floats through the mouth. The finish sees this grow in size and intensity as the true depth and breadth of this wine are revealed. 93pts

2007 Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Akiko’s Cuvée 14.2%
Seared cherry fruit, beetroot, parsnip and lightly toasted wood greets the nose, to be joined by a touch of persimmon and some dried floral tones. This is smooth as silk and elegant on entry, though by no means meek. It delivers vivid, bright, expressive flavors of wild cherry framed with soft, well-judged notes of spice, herbs, and a gentle mineral backdrop. The balance is excellent: supple yet with a firm spine that offers nice cut on the backend and onto the long, succulently fruity finish. With time the mid-palate gains a nice aromatic quality, adding a touch of violet pastille to the array of floral notes, and the flavors gain the quality of sweet fruit without an impression of sweetness. There’s a touch of oak that emerges on the finish but it only adds to the complexity. This is singing today. 93pts

2007 Soter Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir Mineral Springs Ranch Estate

Meaty at first on the nose, with a touch of cherry followed by note of wild flowers, mineral water and a hint of honeycomb. On entry this reveals stunningly pure hard candy blackberry fruit with real power and assertive yet integrated acids. The tannins are nicely ripe and help fill out the mid-palate, though the wood does become a bit obvious with time. The fruit here is very ripe but offers superb purity and brilliant transparency. The finish is long and ends with another pop of wood spice and tannin. 93pts

2008 Twomey Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 13.4%
Subdued on the nose, with a soft blackberry note topped by a light, dried citrus zest tone and gentle, smoky oak notes.  Rather tense on entry and with fairly assertive acids, though the fruit fairly quickly conceals most of the acidity. The tannins are small and fairly finely textured but not so polished as to render this with textural contrast. The mouthfeel is honest and fresh, and the mid-palate shows nice cherry fruit with a hint of red plum, before turning slightly spicy with herbal top notes and a creamy, oak-inflected element that drives the subtle yet long finish. This is a somewhat understated wine, but for those who favor subtlety over power and enjoy   an elegant Pinot this is a solid choice. 93pts

2008 Lange Winery Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Lange Estate Vineyard
Wow, this is aromatically intense and complex with huge spice notes joined by briary pipe notes, deep floral sweetness, blueberry tobacco leaf, black tea, earth and spice -- it just keeps growing in the glass. Big on entry with huge fruit, but still remaining very fresh with lots of soft tannins contributing some weight yet this remains crisp and transparent. There’s a slight pomegranate seed edge to the mid-palate, which adds nice contrast to the gorgeous red fruits that are firm and focused from start to finish here. This tightens up nicely on the long finish and ends with layered notes of spice, earth and pure, sweet fruit. 93pts

2008 Lange Family Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Freedom Hill
A touch toasty on the nose with wood spice and blackberry fruit coming together over a lightly mineral, rusty base. This takes on a sweet, spiced pie-filling tone with air, full of warm blueberries and cherries. Soft and broad on entry, a touch of astringent tannins up front supporting rich mixed berry fruit on the mid-palate, with a balsam top note. Huge fruit rules the finish with great freshness and a seamless nature that gives this the impression of lightness. The mineral notes return on the finish, which shows complex spice tones over its long length. 93pts

2007 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills 14.5%
Nicely spicy and complex on the nose, with some wood spice, hints of roasted peach, intense floral tones, some fine nuanced herbal edges and fresh, spicy red berry scents.  This is light, fresh and bright in the mouth with wonderful balance and while it’s a bit fruity for some palates it’s really pure and poised. The tannins creep in towards the back but remain well integrated, if tactile, and the oak adds some chocolate tones to the pure, vivid red cherry fruit, which gains an orange rind note on the moderately long, lightly smoky finish. This is just fantastic Pinot, not the most complex but with a brilliant combination of fruit, structure and purity. 92pts

2007 Belle Pente Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir Estate Reserve

Warm and lightly jammy lingonberry fruit greets the nose with a touch of dried beefy concentration and some lightly aromatic herbal background notes. Zesty on entry and very focused in the mouth with a tight, acid-driven core of blackberry fruit that is faceted and complex. This has wonderful structure, balanced yet firm, with a mid-palate that really fills out on the backend and a long finish that reveals snappy red fruits laced with subtle mineral tone. 92pts

2005 Renteria Napa Valley Carneros Pinot Noir Knittel Vineyard 14.6%
This smells lovely, with an excellent combination of fresh fruit notes as well as incipient tertiary tones. This has subtle suggestions of bookbinder’s glue, old paper, pomegranate seeds, a hint of persimmon, fresh floral tones, really deep and complex. Seductive on entry, with bright acids yet a soft, somewhat resolved bed of tannins combining to give this a rich yet vibrant feel. The oak is still noticeably here, adding a touch of café au lait to the front half, though the mid-palate sees really bright, vivid cinnamon-spiced wild cherry fruit with a touch of apple peel adding fruity complexity. On the backend this turns up the spice tones, but the wood is well-edged and does not overpower the fruit, which retains intense aromatic perfume through the moderately long finish. 92pts

2008 Fulcrum Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Tina Marie Vineyard 14.3%
Lovely on the nose, with some youthful oak backing up really perfumed fruit. This has wonderfully fresh floral tones, a light herbal top note with a hint of green tea and spicy red currant/cranberry fruit. This enters the mouth with a really light character and gains only a modest amount of weight through the mid-palate. The fruit is bright and pure, and with the oak adding a bit of weight at this point while muting the aromatic slightly. The backend sees more depth and weight, with a rush of watermelon followed by dark cherry fruits dusted lightly with vanilla. This is subtle and elegant, with superb balance and length. The finish really shows the potential of the wine, so this might be better with a few more months in bottle. 92pts

2007 Freeman Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 14.2%

This offers up particularly complex aromas from the glass, with hints of licorice, leather, violet, black berry and currants all rising from the glass. A moderately big wine on entry, this has bright acidity and very round if slightly austere tannins framing the black berry and cherry fruit of the mid-palate. The backend sees significant spice tones emerge and leads to a very aromatic, very long finish, which reveals a hint of vanilla that adds complexity to the long, deep, dark-fruited finish that ends with a wonderfully autumnal spiced cherry note. 91pts

2008 Breggo Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Donnelly Creek Vineyard 14.6%
Lightly spicy on the nose, with a gentle herbal edge to the mineral-flecked sweet fruit that recalls strawberry rhubarb compote with a lovely fennel top note.  Seamless on entry, this is wonderfully fresh in the mouth with well-integrated acidity and earthy flavors of red fruit up front, with a light layer of wood spice adding complexity on the mid-palate and red currant-toned back end. This has a very nice texture with the soft, fuzzy tannins more noticeable than the acid, yielding a rather suave mouthfeel. The finish is a bit earthy, nicely spicy and moderately long, with a long cola-toned finale. 91pts

2008 Breggo Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Savoy Vineyard 14.1%
This is rather spicy on the nose with faded Middle Eastern spice tones, balsam and smoke adding a savory element to the core of red cherry fruit. There’s an underlay of oak here, as well as some sweet prosciutto fat tones. Shows nice cut on entry, then fills out in the mouth with sweet, slightly creamy cherry fruit that has a spicy currant edge. This has some nice spicy notes and good tension in the mouth, with a fairly fruit-driven finish that incorporates wood spice tones on the finale. Rich and red-fruited with a nice touch of astringency on the finish. 91pts

2006 Vergari Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir Van der Kamp Vineyard 14.5%
Unusually pale in color but wildly aromatic with earthy, floral and chalky soil tones.  This opens with sweet fruit and vibrant acidity that adds tremendous lift on the mid-palate. A touch of VA but the fruit is light and pure with transparent cranberry tones and some gentle beetroot and herb backing notes. There’s a touch of astringency on the backend and then tremendous acids on the finish. Decidedly not for everyone, but this is the kind of wine that really pops with the right food. With time this adds some skunky herb tones and a little root beer on the mid-palate. Divisive wine. 91pts

2008 Scott Paul Audrey Pinot Noir Dundee Hills

Earthy with incipient notes of forest floor, lightly spiced red berries, lingonberry jam, and women’s perfumes with hints of vetiver and licorice. Round on entry with rich, ripe fruit flavors presented on a silky frame. The mid-palate shows excellent detail to the transparent red fruits with a lightly earthy edge to rhubarb tones on the backend. On the finish this turns quite aromatic with a floral/herbal character with a fine, delicate finale that shows great focus and length. 91pts

2008 Talbott Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 15.1%
This smells warm and inviting, with beefy tones and cola notes helping to frame the dark cherry and black berry fruits on the nose. There’s a nice touch of wood spice here with some polleny, floral top notes. Big and silky smooth on entry, with vibrant black cherry and black raspberry fruits that have a lightly roasted edge to them. The mid-palate is round and has some milky oak tones and some nice menthol, almost medicinal spice tones. The finish is rich and a bit sticky with slightly jammy blackberry fruits and a touch of wood tannin and spice on the finale. 90pts

2007 Saintsbury Carneros Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch 14.5%
This is light and spicy on the nose, with a touch of alcoholic heat but nice sappy red fruits as well. There’s a touch of leather lurking here and some nice meaty notes.  A little unusual in the mouth since this has good body yet until the modest tannins kick in there’s very little mid-palate weight. With time this fills out nicely, straddling the line between a rich, muscular style and something more elegant. The fruit is rich yet not too obvious, with layered black cherry notes and hints of cola and spice. The finish comes off as slightly sweet with lots of cola and baking spice. All-around well-done Pinot in a particular style. 90pts

2008 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Reserve Sonoma County 14.9%
This is rather boldly perfumed with rather fine aromas of burnished cherry fruit, beetroot, a little inkiness, and assertive sapwood and herb notes. There’s a touch of coriander and some nice vanilla bean tones as well, with a hint of orange blossom.  A bit round and sweet on entry before the acidity sweeps in, allowing the black raspberry and currant fruit to take center stage. The fruit is bold but fresh with admirable complexity and a rich, yet soft feel. The finish shows a bit of sweetness as well, but is fairly long with dark fruit and aromatic spice notes. 90pts

2007 Alma Rosa Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard 14.5%
Rather restrained on the nose with subtle aromatic wood and dried floral top notes, this is fairly reticent but has slow-to-emerge dark fruit, soft notes of chocolate savings and some minty tones. Very easy on entry but the tannins assert themselves pretty quickly. They’re a bit drying and poke through the fruit a bit. The mid-palate shows some rich black cherry notes with spice tones accentuated by the spice of the tannins. The finish has a vanilla streak, and is quite long with a little cedary element and excellent persistent to the dark fruit. Not my style but well done. 90pts

2008 Costa de Oro Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir  Reserva Oro Rojo Estate Gold Coast Vineyard 14.5%
A bit unusual on the nose, with lots of chocolate-chip cookie and graham cracker notes ,it’s a sweet-smelling wine though there’s plenty of green and wild raspberry/cherry fruit underneath. Very crisp on entry, nice and clear feeling with a gentle softness on the palate yet no shortage of acidity. The tannins have a very gently stemmy quality, which is appealing, and the stemmy undertones here add nice contrast to the raspberry fruit. There’s a touch of that oak influence sweetness of the nose but this is surprisingly pure in the mouth and onto the moderately long finish, which shows some hive herbal element along with a hint of spicy cinnamon. 90pts

2008 Breggo Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Ferrington Vineyard 14.7%
A bit high-toned on the nose with early floral and citrus notes being joined later by spiced cherry fruit and a touch of herby cola. This is surprisingly stealthy on entry with a touch of alcohol noticeable but otherwise moderately intense flavors of earthy cherry fruit are delivered without much weight. The mid-palate gains a touch of woody sweetness and vanilla while the fruit flavors gain some intensity as well as a meaty element on the backend, which leads to a long, richly fruited, dark cherry finish. This is a wonderful wine for those looking for rich, dark fruit flavors in a lighter-bodied, elegant style. 90pts

2009 Valley of the Moon Carneros Pinot Noir 13.5%
This is very fresh on the nose with a distinctly citrus fruitiness over bright, sweet, fresh red cherry and red currant fruit. There’s a gentle herbal tone as well, but this is really about very light astringent red fruits and that orangey backdrop. Soft and medium-bodied in the mouth, with flavors that mirror the aromas, edged in blood-orange and rich with Frutti di Bosco flavors. There’s a light herbal element as well that adds complexity to this fresh, zesty wine. Love the texture and the freshness of the fruit here. Not a typical Pinot Noir, but maybe this should be! 89pts

2008 Think Tank Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard 13.9%
Earthy and funky on the nose with a chalky edge to the barnyard, rubber and leather aromas. There’s some nice fruit buried in there and gently floral top notes but this is sauvage. Very soft and broad on entry with wonderfully bright acidity supporting pure wild raspberry and lightly red curranty fruit on the palate. There’s a suggestion of sweetness in the mid-palate and almost imperceptible tannins offering support with a nice moderately long and lightly spicy finish that ends with a bit of minty meatiness.  89pts

2007 Gainey Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 13.9%
Lovely early aromas of herbs, spice and soil greet the nose joined by dusty red fruits with a touch of eucalyptus and a big gardenia top note.  This smells fresh and complex, really perfumed. A bit soft on entry, though this has good acids it’s a bit matte at first. The mid-palate reveals surprisingly concentrated rather dark fruit, very cherried and somewhat heavy, though the wine remains medium-weight at best. The backend reveals some spice note and a lightly jammy quality, though this really remains quite fresh-fruited, just in a darker register than expected. This is subtle and super easy to drink. 89pts

2006 Kramer Vineyards Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir Heritage 14.4%
Very smoky on the nose with stemmy aromas and a sour rhubarb element to the dusty, herb-inflected raspberry fruit. On entry this is surprisingly pure with sweet raspberry fruit and rather high acids. The wine gains volume in the mouth, adding woodsy tones and gentle herbal nuances though the astringent tannins take a more prominent role with air. This tastes better than it smells and has an attractive, if rustic, profile. It’s not a big wine but with plenty of structure this can stand up to some rich dishes. 89pts

2007 Stoller Dundee Hills Pinot Noir JV Estate
This has a rather effusive nose that offers up stemmy, smoky tones that frame the slightly earthy, sweet dried strawberry fruit tones. On entry this is quite delicate and refreshing with fine balance in an easygoing style. The mid-palate is soft and broad, with a slight green accent note adding complexity to the red, strawberry fruits. The leafy element becomes a bit more apparent and spicier on the modest cleansing finish that ends with a note of earthy sweetness. 89pts

2007 Domaine Drouhin Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Earthy on the nose with a slight hardness to the autumnal, forest floor notes that cover the jammy and yet not sweet core of fruit. This is very savory and very quinine- and floral-scented. Big acids on entry but they are joined by some slightly astringent red fruits that fill the mouth, lending this a fine texture. This remains a bit lean on the mid-palate, but with good aromatic intensity to the complex, spicy red fruit. The wine finishes a bit short and raw. This needs some time to fully integrate. 88pts

2007 Vergari Marin County Pinot Noir 14.2%
This starts out with some funky aromas, very herbal and autumnal with a menthol edge to the tarry, leathery fruit. Not fruit-driven but nicely complex. In the mouth this is almost weightless with plenty of acid up front and subtle fruit flavors wrapped in light carob, herb and lightly gamy tones. The finish is zesty and vibrant with good length that accentuates the lightly gamy raspberry fruit. Not your typical California Pinot. 88pts

2009 King Estate Oregon Pinot Noir 13%
Soft on the nose with wild cherries, Indian spices, mineral water, and some soft, sweet herbal nuances. Light-bodied and bright on entry with some light tannins and succulent acids offering support to the airy red fruits of the mid-palate. This is light, gentle and elegant with nice purity and freshness. The backend sees a nice push of light herb tones that fan out on the moderately long finish over the gentle red berry fruit. This is a lovely bottle of Pinot, simple and fresh. 88pts

2008 V Sattui Napa Valley Pinot Noir Henry Ranch los Carneros 14.6%
A little sweet on the nose, with deep cherry pie-filling notes framed by rosemary, vanilla, and very gentle wood spice. This is bright and firm on entry with very fine-grained tannins that add tension to the palate. This is a bit monotone -- all about the dark cherry fruit with slight shadings of wood spice and those tannins helping to back up the fruit. The finish is a bit clipped by the tannins here, which are fairly drying. A solid Pinot but one that comes off as slightly clumsy, if rich and full. 88pts

2009 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Sonoma County. 14.5%
Nicely and sappy on the nose with a lovely herbal stemmy quality to the black cherry fruit. There’s a nice underlay of gentle wood spice here with an earthy core on the nose. This is very fluid up front with lovely, pure cherry fruit edged in light spice tones. The tannins are barely perceptible and the acid very well integrated, giving this a light, transparent feel. The fruit is rich and bright with some gentle suggestions of herb and spice adding some complexity, particularly on the moderately long finish. A solid Pinot. 88pts

2008 Talbott Kali Hart Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 14.8%
This is spicy and almost minty on the nose, with lots of red fruit, some cola notes and an overall holiday feel to it. With air the fruit gains a peachy nuance and shows additional dried herb notes. This is nicely ripe in the mouth, smooth and even a touch dense, yet it preserves its herbal-tinged fresh red berry character. It’s nicely spiced on the mid-palate and has the faintest edge of tannin adding a bit of texture as well. The finish is a touch minty at first, then turns a bit spicier with candied red cherry fruit and a softly sweet impression on the finale. 88pts

2008 Breggo Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 13.9%
Softly fruity on the nose with some woodsmoke element on the nose and some raw wood tones as well. Pretty rich up front with well-integrated acids and a gentle streak of vanilla accenting the dark, slightly confiture flavors of cherry and raspberry with a slight white chocolate edge. There are nice if gentle tannins here, offering good support to the fruit, particularly on the moderately long if simple finish. A fairly fruity style of pinot. 88pts

2008 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Pinot Noir Carneros 15.5%
Very dark and cola-scented with noticeable alcohol, gentle herb notes, some distinct nutmeg tones and baked black cherry fruit. On entry this is rich and voluptuous with tons of sweet black cherry fruit and a touch of baking spices. The acids are well integrated and the tannins give a very lightly dusty feel to the mid-palate. The wine has some attractive herbal nuances on the mid-palate, with a hint of citrus peel popping out toward the backend. The finish is a bit short but this is holding its alcohol very well. A rich, dense style of Pinot that many will enjoy but it lacks the elegance of Pinot Noir. 88pts

2006 Toad Hollow Russian River Pinot Noir Rod’s Pride Reserve 14.4%

A little funk in the glass with an initial hit of sulfur that blows off to reveal light floral, pollen, and dusty red fruit aromas. There’s a hint of wood as well in a really minor supporting role. This is a bit tight up front with a light bitter note early on from the tannins that is gentle, submerged in rather matte, rich dark fruit. On the mid-palate there’s a slight milk chocolate edge to the fruit and while it’s rich it’s also rather indistinct. This is moderately well-structured and well-balanced but lacks some definition. A nice muscular style of Pinot Noir. 88pts

2008 Lyeth Sonoma County Pinot Noir 14.5%

This offers up aromas of candied red cherry fruit with smoky top notes and gently floral and herbal framing notes. Nicely built with moderately rich fruit and well-integrated acids in a fruity style of Pinot. The wood adds some sweetness here and a touch of vanilla up front, with fairly intense sweet cherry fruit on the moderately long finish. Finishes with some tannins still to be resolved. 88pts

2008 Ponzi Tavola Willamette Pinot Noir Tavola 13.5%
Earthy and bright on the nose with liquor black cherry fruit, and a touch spicy with menthol top notes. This is surprisingly fruity, ripe and rich up front with lovely purity to the cherry and black raspberry fruit. The tannins are fresh and crisp, while the acidity is well-integrated yet keeping this bright and zesty. The finish is a bit short though, with a nice touch of herby spice, but the beauty of this wine really lies in its unabashed purity of fruit. 88pts

2005 Elkhorn Peak Napa Valley Pinot Noir Fagan Creek Vineyard 14.1%
Smoky and dark on the nose with on overlay of oily coffee beans adding depth to the bright wild cherry fruit.  Smooth on entry then dropping out a bit with small tannins and good acid feeling a bit exposed. The fruit is very nice, rather low-key cherry fruit with herbal top notes and some well-integrated vanilla and graham cracker oak notes. The finish is modest with a little vanilla cream character and only modest fruit losing out to dry tannins on the finish. The oak here is quite prominent, but the wine does have a nice earthy edge to it. 87pts

2008 MacMurray Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 14.5%
Lots of cola on the nose with cedary oak, crushed raspberries, ash, vanilla and lilac aromas. Medium-bodied and elegant on entry with a rich but soft texture. There’s a bit of noticeable tannin here, which makes the entry a bit halting, but it regains its focus on the mid-palate, offering up dark, chocolate and root beer-framed berry fruit. The tannins show up again on the finish, which has spice toasty oak but is cut short by the powdery tannins. 87pts

2007 Harvest Moon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 12.3%
Not much going on in the nose here, with gentle aromas of chalky earth, dried herb stems, and tomato leaf that blossom into an intensely floral bouquet. Rather high acid in the mouth with taut flavors of barely ripe strawberries. This is simple, yet clean and brisk with a certain appeal. The backend shows more depth to the fruit and it develops some sweetness with a moderately intense floral tone. This is very lightly flavored but finishes with good persistence. A simple wine but not a bad wine. 86pts

2008 Fulcrum Wines On Point Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 13.9%
This is intense, lightly leathery, funky and earthy with cola, quinine, vanilla and lightly beefy notes to the red berry fruit aromas. A bit soft up front then zesty with super fine tannins and mouth-watering acidity supporting wild cherry fruits that have a distinctly earthy, leathery edge to them. This is well-balanced and quite complex if a bit fruitier than I might like, with a short finish. 87pts

2008 Main Street Winery Napa Valley Pinot Noir 13.5%

Rather light on the nose with a forward floral tone and light red berry fruits framed with a hint of vanilla and a light smoky herbal top note.  Light up front with soft tannins and bright red fruits on the palate that recall cranberry with hints of rhubarb and beet root that gain a touch of spice on the modest moderately long finish. This is simple but fresh and well-balanced if slightly rustic. 86pts

2007 Blackstone Sonoma County Pinot Noir Sonoma Reserve 14.3%
Noticeably woody on the nose with a touch of barnyard and some barbecue spice notes accenting the light cherry fruit. Lighter-bodied on entry with a sweet/sour quality to the wine. The mid-palate is simple, cherry fruit-driven, again with the sweet/sour tension and touches of leather and lightly smoky oak leading to a vanilla tinged backend and lightly fruity finish. Light and easy, though the acid is somewhat off-putting and the finish is slightly cloying. The flavors here are actually fine, structurally it seems a bit off-balance and will probably show better with food. 85pts

NV Barefoot California Pinot Noir 12.5%
A bit dirty on the nose with an autumnal quality, very damp tea leaves and slightly oxidized chocolate tone. This is better in the mouth: light and fresh, and actually fairly nice, if subtle, Pinot. Very simple but with a touch of tannin, good acidity, a nice edge of complexity from the lightly oxidized fruit adding a hint of complexity, with a very light bitter edge to the simple red currant fruit. The tannins turn a bit firmer on the modest finish but this is perfectly serviceable wine. 83pts

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 5,000

    Have had the Drouhin, Freeman and Soter's you give 93s to. I like them, too. Will keep an eye out for the Lange duo and the Twomey you also rate that high.

    A long list of wines here. How many tastings to get through it?

    Nov 18, 2010 at 2:11 PM

  • I can say that this is one of the most completed review of Pinot Noar. Check my blog for more reviews of fine wine and spirits. I hope they will be pleasant and helpful for you Best regards.

    Nov 21, 2010 at 5:22 PM

  • Snooth User: Pickypinot
    1871359 23

    Is this really an objective Pinot noir review..seriously? Isnt it a US pinot Noir review? Perhaps suitable for a thanksgiving feature, but surely not a Pinot feature.
    I do not mind US grown Pinot at all, but not including -foremostly- Burgundy, and other well established Pinot production areas seems to me very strange.

    Apr 29, 2015 at 3:03 AM

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