Pinot Noir is one of those grapes that makes a wine people love…or not. There seems to be little common ground for the people on this particular wine. Pinot Noir grapes tend to be tiny little things with a thin skin (I’m thinking my mother); fussy about weather, dirt, and kind of prima donna-ish. Compare that with over-achiever grapes like Syrah or sturdy Cabernet, and Pinot ends up being more expensive to grow and produce and therefore to buy a bottle requires some serious cash. However, in my endless quest of all things wine I discovered two Pinots that defy price points. May I present the 2013 Vista Hills Estate Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon and Fossil Point from California’s Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo County - just 20 bucks each.
The Vista Hills Vineyard from the Dundee Hills region is a dynamic spicy pepper number, a little earthy mineral quality, muted on the fruit and with a moderate acidity. Conversely the 2013 Fossil Point from the Edna Valley is indicative of the California Central Coast, bright and lively with more noticeable strawberry and black cherry and a solid through-line of acidity. Let me be honest, these are not mind-blowing wines. But the larger issue is that they are solid values; well crafted and worthy of your $20 if even just once precisely because they are so well made and demonstrate exactly how a wine can deliver quality, value and integrity. I sample high end wines from across the globe but most people I talk with ain’t willing to drop $80 for a bottle of wine for dinner; they want a bottle of wine that doesn’t equal a car payment. Search these baby’s out (the Vista Hills in more likely to be found in Oregon restaurants) and enjoy them, remembering that not all wines need to be expensive.