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Senior Tim Fish joined the Wine Spectator staff in 2001. His tasting beat includes U.S. sparkling wine, and California Zinfandel and Merlot.
Tim Fish

A Rare Pinot Value from California

Saintsbury Pinot Noir Carneros Garnet 2009

Tim Fish
Posted: May 27, 2011

We’d drink a lot more California Pinot Noir in our house if we could afford it, but the best wines cost $40 to $60 a bottle and, with a daughter in college and a son soon to follow, we shop carefully.

One of the most dependable values is the Garnet line from Saintsbury, which sells for $20 or less. The 2009 is crisp and lively with fresh black cherry and spicy mineral flavors. It’s a good quaff to sip before dinner, and I often drink it with grilled pork chops or tenderloin. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.

Saintsbury recently sold the Garnet label to one of its longtime grape suppliers, giving the winery an opportunity to focus exclusively on its high-end Pinots and Chardonnays. Value-oriented consumers will have to wait until the 2011 Garnet comes out to judge the full impact, but my wallet is crossing its fingers.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the blind-tasting review for Saintsbury Pinot Noir Carneros Garnet 2009 (88, $20).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Top Values among California Pinot Noir.

Steve Order
Massachusetts —  May 31, 2011 8:43pm ET
Tim, I'm interested in what you think of Meiomi? I find this to be great everyday Pinot for just under $18. I'm surprised I don't find more buzz about this wine in the press. Thanks
Tim Ballard
Gilroy Ca —  June 4, 2011 6:59pm ET
In California, we can find Garnet PN for about $13 at Costco. Great QPR in Pinot.
John D Carlson
Oshkosh, WI —  June 7, 2011 2:26pm ET
@Steve Order

When I read the title of this article Meiomi immediately came to mind, what a great bottle of wine for the money-an amazing pedigree as well!! Better than Garnet IMHO.
John D Carlson
Oshkosh, WI —  June 8, 2011 2:40pm ET
@Steve Order

When I read the title of this article Meiomi immediately came to mind, what a great bottle of wine for the money-an amazing pedigree as well!! Better than Garnet IMHO.

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