Pinot Noir lovers have a hard time believing there are any great values to be found in California with this varietal, and who could blame them?
There are some folks who won’t drink anything but Pinot unless there’s nothing else to drink. Call them patriotic to the grape or simply stubborn, but they’re among us and can be a vocal lot at that.
But from time to time (OK, so sometimes it’s a long interlude), we find a few gems that qualify as good deals on Pinot.
The 2007 Siduri Sonoma County (90, $20) shows how one winemaker (Adam Lee) can pull from many sources in Sonoma and use the leftovers for a classy, elegant cuvée.
Greg Norman’s 2007 Santa Barbara Pinot ($15) is incredible not so much because it’s a spectacular wine (it is very good, with clean, ripe Pinot flavors) but because of its volume: 56,000 cases.
The 2006 Lyeth Sonoma County Heritage Reserve ($19, 4,700 cases) is another new release to check out, as it has lots of personality, depth and complexity.
And leave it up to Bogle to enter the fray with a 2006 Russian River Pinot with 30,000 cases and a $13 price tag. This is the value producer's second bottling from this heartland of Pinot (I didn’t taste the 2005), and it’s refreshingly delicate and spicy, if a bit woody (tastes like American oak). But the wine has enough varietal character and personality for me to gladly endorse it.