Wine Talk

Snooth User: Creole Williams

Pinot noir under $15

Posted by Creole Williams, Apr 2, 2011.

Hi All,

I'm pretty new to the site (this is my first forum post), I find it to be an invaluable resource though.  It's greatest accomplishment for me has been to help me find great and afforable wine, allowing me to drink beautiful vino as often as I want.  However, I haven't been running into many recommended pinots in the price range where I can do some serious sampling.  So I thought I'd put it to the wisdom of crowds.  Are you drinking some solid pinot for 15 bucks or under? If so please share.  Cheers


Reply by Flamefighter, Apr 3, 2011.

Very hard to find, at least here in Southern Cal.  There are a few that are OK but if you want good Pinot Noir I think you have to cross into the 20 to 30 dollar range. I don’t know if it is because it has become so popular after the movie Sideway’s, or because it is such a difficult grape to work with or if it is just that the weather hasn’t been kind to P.N. recently in Californian but it is increasingly more difficult to find any rock solid P.N. in an everyday price range.   

Try Castle Rock, Estancia, Donovan-Parke (when on sale at BevMo), my new favorite MacMurray Ranch and anything from Oregon, if you can find any under $20. 


Reply by JonDerry, Apr 3, 2011.

Would agree w/ Flamefighter.  If you could step up to around $20-$30 your options become much better.  Recommend Melville and Domaine Carneros - Carneros 2007

If it has to be under $20, think I recall a 2009 Poppy being decent. 

Reply by outthere, Apr 4, 2011.

Look north to Oregon and the Great Oregon Wine Co.

Rascal Pinot Noir - We lovingly refer to it as Doggie Wine. Best value in a PN I have had in years. Willamette Valley fruit that even improves with air for under $10. Not real complex but a great summer wine at an affordable price. I bought a mixed case during a promo for $75. Sold at many Safeway stores or direct from the winery. They have a very drinkable Pinot Gris under the same label for the same low price.

Reply by radrocker, Apr 4, 2011.

Thanks for the tip, outthere

Reply by ssigaud, Apr 5, 2011.

Try the Mark West Pinot Noir.  It is from California.  IMHO it is excellent for every day and a steal at about $11.

Reply by Ursus Quafficus, Apr 6, 2011.

I also enjoyed the Mark West Pinot Noir, at least the 2008 vintage.

Reply by StevenBabb, Apr 14, 2011.

marke west at the lower price point for no frills, everyday drinking is a great buy... also try hahn pinot... la crema isn't bad at around 17/btl...

but good pinot under 20 isn't going to be an easy find...

Reply by zufrieden, Apr 15, 2011.

I recognize that price point is always important - regardless of pontifications to the contrary.  However, having admitted this, I have a great deal of trouble finding Pinor Noir I would drink with much pleasure in the 15 dollar US range.  When exploring the under 20 dollar price range, I find that there are indeed quaffable wines available such as Mark West, Cono Sur - even Gallo.  But the consistency is very spotty indeed and obviously depends on a serendipitous combination of winemaker, vintage bulk juice quality.  Still, a number of Chilean entries make the price grade and are worth trying (including my suggestion of Cono Sur to which you can add Santa Rita Pinot Noir Medalla Real Gran Reserva).  I fear, however, that the list is not long.  

Reply by Andrew46, Apr 17, 2011.

I got some of this:

  1. 2009 Our Cellars Pinot Noir Hamilton-Steven's, USA, California ...

at Trader Joes for $10.  It was reviewed by Prince of Pinot.  I got one bottle, and went back for a case.  I find it to be a good, clean, fruit forward wine with clear Pinot varietal character.  A bit on the ripe side for my taste, and perhaps lacking nuance of the best pinots.  Even so, at $10, it is better than some that sell at 3x the price.

We make Pinot Noir, but it sells out, so it costs me more than $10 per bottle to drink our own wine.  Plus, variety is the spice of life...


Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 17, 2011.

I must admit I feel sorry for the makers of sub $15 Pinot.  These guys can't be making any money.  If the wine is genuinely a good pinto you are getting it at close to if not less than the cost of production, which is not sustainable.

Also we should remember that Pinot is a very fickle variety to make and it is the one wine that has the greatest vintage to vintage variation, so when comparing Pintos it is important to note the vintages.

An extreme example is often a Grand Cru Burgundy from a poor Burgundy VIntage is less enjoyable than a much cheaper wine from a good to great vintage

Reply by StevenBabb, Apr 18, 2011.

Stpehen, i would agree on the vintage variation as a general rule... but at this price point, it's not a single vineyard pinot, and a lot of blending from different sources goes on, and they usually try and make it as consistant as possible...

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 18, 2011.

Steve, I agree but they still can't make any money on Sub 15 let alone sub 10 pinot, the maths does not add up, and  have just done some costing on Cali pinot and it is even more unsustainable than here in Aust

Reply by StevenBabb, Apr 18, 2011.

i think as a whole thats true... but i work for a retailer that caters to that 75% that i mentioned earlier, and they have shelves full of $15 and under.... and this retailer is home of the .05 cent sale, where when you buy one wine, the second of the same label is .05 cents, and this sale takes place about every quarter.... people are making money

this inexpensive pinot is getting the bottom 5% of pinot grapes from any given vineyard... the fruit varies from block to block, and sometimes even from row to row.... so it's not going to be too hard to get sub par fruit to make inexpensive wine, and still be able to come out a head... and more often than not, a producer of wine in this price point is almost always making other wine, and making anough of it to be profitable....

Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 18, 2011.

Thats hard work given Pinot yields and cost of production, retailers rarely lose money

Reply by grunkiejr, Apr 27, 2011.

Castle Rock Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: $10.99

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