By: Bill Kniep, Founder, Pinnacle Imports
Pinot Noir has been called “The Heartbreak Grape” because it is so finicky to grow and so difficult to make into wine. It was the real star of the movie Sideways, even outshining Paul Giamatti. Pinot Noir is intensity without weight. It is elegant, caressing, silky, floral, spicy and bright. What Pinot Noir is not (when made properly) is a big, rich, full-bodied wine. Pinot only grows in very limited areas that are generally cooler than where other grapes grow. It loves the Russian River Valley, the Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Barbara, the Sonoma Coast, and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. It also loves a tiny limestone ridge in the northeast of France. Pinot Noir is sensitive to yields. Where Cabernet Sauvignon might make good wine when farmed to produce 5 or 6 tons from an acre, Pinot gets thin and diluted above 3 tons. This means Pinot is harder to make well under $15 than any other grape. Our selections here will introduce you to our favorite Pinots that can help show you what this amazing grape is all about. One of St. Louis’s best palates once said to me, “Everyone’s wine journey eventually ends at Pinot Noir.” And he was absolutely right.
With this new knowledge, try out these Pinots and see what you think.
2019 Siduri Pinot Noir,
Willamette Valley Oregon
91pts Wine Spectator
Notes of Black cherry, boysenberry, cinnamon and hints of clove. Pleasantly firm tannins hold the long finish, which is highlighted by juicy acidity and spice.
2020 Parducci Pinot Noir,
North Coast California
90pts Tasting Panel
Mouth-filling and complex, this balanced wine packs a lot of flavor into a big but soft frame. Raspberry, cherry and subtle earthy notes. Hints of toasty vanilla from French oak lead to a lush finish.
2019 Siduri Pinot Noir, Russian River California
91pts Jeb Dunnuck
Spiced cherries, earthy herbs, orange blossom, and hints of flowers. A medium-bodied, supple, elegant Pinot Noir. It has classic Pinot Noir character, a seamless texture, and outstanding length.