Top Pinot Values

Don't break the bank with these budget-friendly Pinots


Value is a nebulous thing, it can be found everywhere, but sometimes we don’t even realize that what we’re looking at is value if we don’t have a context to place it in.

The following list is a set of value wines, with each bottle offering a compelling value at its respective price point. Some of these are the highest scoring wines within their price category, others may just have missed being placed in a lower priced category by a buck or two, but all are worth the fine wine buyer’s consideration.

Pinot Noir image via Shutterstock

2010 Jovino Pinot Noir Oregon 13.5% $16

2010 Jovino Pinot Noir

This smells stemmy and minty. High toned with chalk, crushed raspberry, rhubarb and floral aromas all topped with a touch of bacon and a little allspice. This is really fresh and has a fine combination of richness and precision in the mouth. The fruit is transparent with light red cherries and raspberries all wrapped in fine herb and spice notes with a hint of carob on the back end. The texture here is fantastic, so light and fresh, yet the fruit has a sweet edge of ripeness to it with zesty acidity and ripe, fine-grained tannins serving as support. This is not a complicated wine but it is delicious and a joy to drink with a moderately long finish that shows a hint of milk chocolate. 88pts

2010 The Seeker Pinot Noir Vin de Pays du Puy de Dome 13% $14

2010 The Seeker Pinot Noir

Very sweet on the nose with lots of herb, tobacco and violet spice notes over complex and elegant wild blueberry and blackberry fruit. This is a touch sweet on entry as well but I think that will fade with a little bit of time in the bottle. On the mid-palate, this is tense and a bit firm with nice wild strawberry and cherry fruit that shows a faint edge of earthy animal. The finish is a touch short and mostly about the savory tannins at this point. If this can shift some of the fruit from the front of the palate to the back, the wine will move up a point or two, but it already offers a nice alternative to most Pinots at this price. 88pts

2010 Praxis Pinot Noir Monterey County 13.5% $19

2010 Praxis Pinot Noir

A touch dull on the nose with meaty base notes, spicy blackberry pie fruit and hints of pine and raspberry emerging with air. This enters the mouth with real polish and more freshness than the nose promises. The fruit has a lovely woodsy edge to it with slightly brambly blackberry and an undercurrent of strawberry and lovely, nuanced herb and spice notes. The oak becomes a touch more apparent with time but never dominates the palate, which shows complex flashes of cherry pit fruit, some slate minerality, a touch of blue fruit on the back end and a really nice fresh yet firm finish. 90pts

2009 Brophy Clark Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 13.5% $20

2009 Brophy Clark Pinot Noir

There's a lot going on in the glass here, with sweetness from candied black cherry fruit meeting a little beefy edge and showing off integrated notes of earth, white mushroom and candied citrus zest. Quite refined in the mouth, this doesn't show off much in the way of acid or tannin, but it does fill the mouth with almost tactile intensity. The fruit is complex with a medicinal base note, some floral extract notes and bitter black cherry all coming together to deliver subtle complexity. The finish is a touch short but it does have a lovely melange of beet root and medicinal spice notes. This is a little outside the box for Pinot as it is a bit tougher in some ways with an unusual flavor profile, but it is quite interesting and a pleasure to drink. 90pts

2010 Nautilus Pinot Noir Marlborough 14% $28

2010 Nautilus Pinot Noir

Lightly smoky and stemmy, this shows hints of oak and dried herbs over red berry fruit. Fruity on entry with mineral-laced red cherry flavors that pick up some nutty oak on the mid-palate and hints of herbs and a touch of beet root on the back end. This is rather vivid and decidedly fruit driven, though it does pick up a touch of noticeable oak on the long finish along with a wash of savory tannins that serve as contrast to the fruit of the palate. That fruit, succulent and bright sour cherries and raspberries, does outlast the oak right through to the bright finale. Yummy. 92pts

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