From California to the Finger Lakes, 10 American Pinot Noirs Under $40

Oregon vineyard with fog
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Pinot Noir and pricey often go hand in hand. This is for good reason: The notoriously finicky grape needs extra attention in the vineyard to yield quality results.

However, a number of domestic producers have found the sweet spot, delivering bottlings that exhibit the hallmark velvety tannins and intense fruit of the variety all within an accessible price. From California, Oregon and New York, here are ten Pinots priced $13 to $38.

The Essential Guide to Pinot Noir
 

Tatomer 2019 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County); $35, 95 points. This countywide blend delivers tantalizing aromas of lightly poached cherry, hibiscus and wild sagebrush. The superfresh palate snaps with sizzling acidity and zesty red-fruit flavors that rush in and then hold tight into the finish, where an accent of tarragon adds nuance. Editors’ Choice. –Matt Kettmann 

Chamisal 2019 Pinot Noir (San Luis Obispo County); $22, 94 points. This fairly priced countywide blend offers elegant aromas of lavender, rose petal, tart cranberry skin, pomegranate and mint. Flavors of raspberry and more pomegranate grace the palate, with light touches of flowers, licorice and gamy meat completing the experience. Editors’ Choice. –M.K. 

Haden Fig 2018 Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $36, 94 points. Built upon 20-year-old Pommard vines, this opens with scents of plum, cocoa and cinnamon. Its rich and varied palate mixes cherries, plums and baking spices with a dash of fresh ground coffee. The length, detail and overall balance are exemplary. Editors’ Choice. –Paul Gregutt 

Hirsch Vineyards 2018 The Bohan-Dillon Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast); $38, 94 points. Made in slightly higher amounts than many of the producer’s other estate wines, this is an outstanding value for the quality—a wildly delicious expression of the grape, region and vintage that is in cohesive harmony. Savory, rocky and textured, it blends 30% of its grapes from neighboring Hellenthal Vineyard, the combination exploding in red tangy fruit. Editors’ Choice. –Virginie Boone 

Lingua Franca 2018 Avni Pinot Noir (Eola-Amity Hills); $30, 92 points. Bursting open with blueberry and blackberry fruit, this well-balanced Avni integrates its savory notes perfectly. It’s aromatic and brings a light suggestion of mineral. Barrel aging included 20% new oak, and it responds well to a bit of extra breathing time. Editors’ Choice. –P.G. 

Bravium 2018 Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley); $34, 92 points. This elegant, tasty, medium-bodied wine offers a flinty but jammy aroma, a light, smooth texture and plenty of plump cherry and strawberry flavors. It shows a good, appetizing balance and persistent, layered fruit and baking spices. –Jim Gordon 

Lange 2019 Classiqué Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley); $25, 92 points. A fine value, this introduces itself with a beguiling nose of vanilla and violets. The flavors bring strawberries and cream to mind, with other red fruits, notably pomegranate. It’s a very pretty wine, smooth and lingering. Delicious already, it should drink well on through the next half decade. Editors’ Choice. –P.G. 

Nathan K. 2018 Pinot Noir (Finger Lakes); $32, 92 points. A pleasantly brambly nose evokes aromas of wild strawberry and pomegranate, accented by rose, cinnamon and a hint of rooibos. Aged for one year in neutral French oak, it is silken in feel yet lifted by pulsing acidity. Tart red-berry fruit is properly filled out on the palate, with streaks of crunchy red apple peel and crushed velvet tannins adding a delightful texture. There’s purity and freshness to this wine that lingers long on the finish. –Alexander Peartree 

We Recommend:

Highlands 41 2019 Pinot Noir (Monterey County); $15, 91 points. The Riboli family is providing great value with this newer line of wines, even in the hard-to-master affordably priced Pinot Noir category. Generous aromas of baked red plum, strawberry, nutmeg and star anise lead into a palate that’s amply tense with prickly acidity. That balances the rich stewed fruit, caramel and mint flavors. Best Buy. –M.K. 

The Crusher 2018 Pinot Noir (California); $13, 89 points. This hearty, robust wine is an outstanding value. It leads with light woodsmoke and black-pepper aromas over fairly concentrated and appealing black-cherry and plum flavors supported by light tannins. Best Buy. –J.G. 

Published on April 9, 2021
Topics: Buying Guide