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Pinot Noir is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult varietal to cultivate and vinify. The grape's tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards, and the thin-skins and low levels of phenolic compounds result in mostly lightly colored, medium-bodied, low-tannin wines. The tremendously broad range of bouquets, flavors, textures and impressions that Pinot noir can produce lends to its overall popularity but also to its misunderstanding. In the broadest terms, the wine tends to display aromas reminiscent of black and/or red cherry, raspberry and to a lesser extent currant and many other fine small red and black berry fruits. Traditional Pinot Noir is famous for its savory fleshiness and 'farmyard' aromas, but changing fashions, modern winemaking techniques, and new easier-to-grow clones have favored a lighter, more fruit-prominent, cleaner style.

Like many other red varietals, the character of the wine depends heavily on where the grapes are grown and how they are vinified, and these distinctions are largely reflected in a New World/Old World dichotomy. The Burgundy region in France, Pinot Noir's place of origin, is renowned for producing the most complex, ageworthy, and esoteric versions. These can range from dark, brooding, densely tannic wines to light, ethereally elegant wines of intensely perfumed character. Fruit profiles often differ as well, but the common denominator in all Burgundy Pinot Noir is the essence of the place in which it grows, coined as the term terroir. The finest examples, after years of proper aging, display haunting aromas and flavors that defy description using refrences of common reference points. The grape has also found highly unique expression in the vineyards of Germany, where it's known as Spätburgund. From the steep slopes of the Ahr Valley to the rolling, pastorl hills of the Pfalz, the country is producing wines with notably vibrant fruit and deep savory character, but also a rugged edge in which the stamp of terroir is also evident.

New World styles of Pinot Noir also vary in their specifics, but in general they are built on a bright, expressive fruit profile. California has several regions that excel with the varietal, most famously the Sonoma Coast AVA and its sub-AVA Russian River Valley. The wines typically display exuberant red cherry and strawberry notes along with the occasional savory spice elements. While these are cool climates by New World standards, Pinot Noir still achieves more consistent ripeness and more viscosity and body as a result. The AVAs of Santa Barbara County also produce outstanding versions with more concentrated savory profile, while Mendocino County's wines tend toward the dark-fruited, earthy profile. Oregon's Willamette Valley is perhaps the most old school of the New WOrld profiles, where fruit is less pronounced and an herbacious forest floor component imparts a touch of terroir on the wines. Perhaps the most exciting New World Pinot Noir wines are now coming from New Zealand, where the Central Otago and Martinborough regions are producing wines of dark fruit character with essentially cool-climate structure and texture, an intriguing, if non-traditional, combination.

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96 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...the 2017 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard (70% new French oak) has the most salinity as well as minerality in the lineup. Dusty earth, blackberries, violets, and rose garden-like characteristics all soar from the glass. It’s ethereal and elegant on the palate, yet has the classic… ...
JD 96
WE 96
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Roar Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Pisoni Vineyard 2017  (#335511)

Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, Central Coast, California

96 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...the 2017 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard (70% new French oak) has the most salinity as well as minerality in the lineup. Dusty earth, blackberries, violets, and rose garden-like characteristics all soar from the glass. It’s…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
93 points James Suckling: This delivers a very complex, rather full, ripe and dense pinot with a savory nose, delivering aromas of spiced earth, forest berries and dried red plums. The palate has plenty of power, muscular dark cherries and red plums, which are framed in bold, sinewy tannins. Try… ...
JS 93
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By Farr Pinot Noir Victoria Farrside 2016  (#702444)

Pinot Noir from Victoria, Australia

93 points James Suckling: This delivers a very complex, rather full, ripe and dense pinot with a savory nose, delivering aromas of spiced earth, forest berries and dried red plums. The palate has plenty of power, muscular dark cherries and red plums,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
98 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The 2018 Cincuenta y Cinco follows the breathtaking 2017 with an extra degree of elegance and filigree. This wine has reached an amazing level of sophistication and nuance. There are tannins there, and there's more power and clout than the lightish color and… ...
WA 98
JS 97
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Chacra Pinot Noir Patagonia Cincuenta y Cinco 2018  (#702423)

Pinot Noir from Patagonia, Argentina

98 points Luis Gutiérrez (Wine Advocate): The 2018 Cincuenta y Cinco follows the breathtaking 2017 with an extra degree of elegance and filigree. This wine has reached an amazing level of sophistication and nuance. There are tannins there, and there…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
95 points PinotFile: 14.4% alc... Aromas of cherry and rose petal lead to a discreetly concentrated wine featuring riveting flavors of black cherry, kirsch and spice. The satiny mouthfeel is highly seductive and the gracious tannins make for easy access. The wine’s harmony and vigor impress as does… ...
PF 95
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Wesmar Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Hellenthal Vineyard 2016  (#334702)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

95 points PinotFile: 14.4% alc... Aromas of cherry and rose petal lead to a discreetly concentrated wine featuring riveting flavors of black cherry, kirsch and spice. The satiny mouthfeel is highly seductive and the gracious tannins make for easy…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 4 available
93 points Wine & Spirits: Blended from cool vineyards like Hagan, Platt and Red Car’s own hypercoastal estate, Carroll Kemp’s 2014 appellation wine is a bit shy right now but crunchy and completely refreshing, presenting trim, breezy strawberry and herb flavors over a subtle sandalwood imprint of… ...
W&S 93
WE 92
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Red Car Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2014  (#333917)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

93 points Wine & Spirits: Blended from cool vineyards like Hagan, Platt and Red Car’s own hypercoastal estate, Carroll Kemp’s 2014 appellation wine is a bit shy right now but crunchy and completely refreshing, presenting trim, breezy strawberry and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
92 points Jeb Dunnuck: Moving to the Pinot Noirs, the 2017 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is a terrific introduction into the style of this estate. Lots of cherry and currant fruit as well as subtle smoked earth and graphite all flow to a medium-bodied, nicely balanced, elegant wine from Failla that has… ...
JD 92
CT 90
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Failla Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2017  (#334835)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

92 points Jeb Dunnuck: Moving to the Pinot Noirs, the 2017 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is a terrific introduction into the style of this estate. Lots of cherry and currant fruit as well as subtle smoked earth and graphite all flow to a medium-bodied,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
91 points Wine Enthusiast: Lighter in the glass, this appellation blend shows pomegranate sorbet, cranberry skins, rose petals and wild herbs on the nose. The palate is crisp and tart with raspberry fruit that's lifted by chaparral spice and wild thyme. Alcohol 13.5%. (Dec 2018) ...
WE 91
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Foxen Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley 2016  (#333476)

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California

91 points Wine Enthusiast: Lighter in the glass, this appellation blend shows pomegranate sorbet, cranberry skins, rose petals and wild herbs on the nose. The palate is crisp and tart with raspberry fruit that's lifted by chaparral spice and wild…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
93 points James Suckling: An attractive array of rich red to dark cherries that delivers a fine layer of perfume and a wealth of bright raspberries and red cherries. The palate is subtly earthy and gently spicy with a very plush and assertive core of blueberries and red cherries. Smooth, supple and… ...
JS 93
WS 92
V 91
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Cristom Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Mt Jefferson Cuvee 2017  (#334658)

Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon

93 points James Suckling: An attractive array of rich red to dark cherries that delivers a fine layer of perfume and a wealth of bright raspberries and red cherries. The palate is subtly earthy and gently spicy with a very plush and assertive core of…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12 available
92 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Despite being the cheapest pinot, and of similar weight to its siblings, it has most attractive fruit flavours, with no stemmy/green notes at all. Alcohol 12.0%. Drink By: 2024. (Aug 2018) ...
JH 92
WS 90
JS 90
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Mac Forbes Pinot Noir Yarra Valley 2017  (#335043)

Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

92 points James Halliday (Wine Companion): Despite being the cheapest pinot, and of similar weight to its siblings, it has most attractive fruit flavours, with no stemmy/green notes at all. Alcohol 12.0%. Drink By: 2024. (Aug 2018)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
JH 92
WS 90
JS 90
Exotic notes of orange zest and cherry liqueur leap from the glass. On the palate the wine is wonderfully understated and elegant with soft, supple tannin. Bright acidity lends balance and freshness to the long finish. ...
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Cashburn Pinot Noir Central Otago 2016  (#702225)

Pinot Noir from Central Otago, New Zealand

Exotic notes of orange zest and cherry liqueur leap from the glass. On the palate the wine is wonderfully understated and elegant with soft, supple tannin. Bright acidity lends balance and freshness to the long finish.

750ml Bottle | In stock, 11 available
93 points James Suckling: Attractive, spicy oak and gently reductive notes make for a complex young pinot. The palate has lovely ripe cherries with nicely layered tannins and a fresh and lively finish. Screw Cap. Drink now. (9/2/18) ...
JS 93
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Paddy Borthwick Pinot Noir Wairarapa Left Hand 2016  (#702196)

Pinot Noir from Wellington/Wairarapa, New Zealand

93 points James Suckling: Attractive, spicy oak and gently reductive notes make for a complex young pinot. The palate has lovely ripe cherries with nicely layered tannins and a fresh and lively finish. Screw Cap. Drink now. (9/2/18)

750ml Bottle | In stock, 12+ available
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