Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

T. Solomon Wellborn is a wine made by Tantara that's around $18. Tantara takes their worst barrels and blends them together. Hard to find. Usually Wally's in LA has a lot of them. In fact, they may get all of it.

I also like Innocent Bystander, an Aussie pinot that's about $9-$11. At that price, it's good pinot and you'll be hard pressed to find better.
Originally posted by indybob:
I've been enjoying New Zealand Pinot lately. Look for Nobilo Icon, which you can find for $15-20.

I have had the 2008 Framingham (South Island, Marlborough); half the bottle on the first night, then the remainder on the second night. The first night was the best, with mineral/earthy notes. Second night that quality was missing. Still not too bad for around $20.
If you want to experience Pinot Noir, as an expression of its terroir, try Pinot from CA, OR, and Burgundy. If you want to be adventurous, try it from Alsace and Dr. K in the Fingers Lake region. Elsewhere, you will discover the full range of this grape. Pinot Noir is a grape of Nature and Nurture. It has to be in the right place, and given the right conditions, and treated as something special. When that happens, you get a great bottle of wine. If any one of these fails, the grape will turn on you, and show its faults. Bon chance!
Ray, have you had any Alsatian Pinot Noirs you liked? We were in Alsace this summer and didn't taste any we'd buy, other than maybe for a picnic.

As for Dr. Konstantin Frank, I think they produce the best reds in the Finger Lakes, but most of the region's Pinot Noirs are not good. I have a 2001 Dr. Konstantin Frank Pinot Noir that Willy gave me a couple of years before he died. He told me it would age well, so I'm holding it for a future offline.
OK. I just read this article:
Cheap Pinot Noir
10 Top Wines
- $16 or Less

Here's what they suggest / recommend. (all 2008's)

Toad Hollow Pinot Noir Goldie's Vineyard, Russian River Valley
Valley of the Moon Carneros Pinot Noir
Feudo Arancio Pinot Noir, Sicily, Italy
Mezzacorona Pinot Noir Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Italy
Montinore Estate Pinot Noir, Oregon
Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
The Seeker Pinot Noir, France
Mirassou California Pinot Noir
Hob Nob Pinot Noir, France
Erath Pinot Noir
I consider a wine a value if its price is below the average of similar scoring wines. I started WineBlueBook in 2004 for this purpose. For a 90 point West Coast Pinot Noir, the average price is $50. Here are the other Pinot averages:
84: $25
85: $28
86: $30
87: $33
88: $39
89: $46
90: $50
91: $66
92: $68
93: $74
94: $174
95: $211
96+ not enough statistically reliable data

You can visit the site and download the free sample issue which has the ‘average price per score’ for 19 different varietals at
I can't think of any US Pinot under $20 that's remotely worthwhile, but there are a few from Europe worth checking out:

Becker Estate (Pfalz)
Gerard Boulay Sancerre Rouge (Loire)
Domaine Camus-Bruchon Savigny-les-Beaune (Burgundy)

Just keep in mind that none of these compare with California in terms of jammy, sweet fruit. They're all on the light-bodied side but have good purity, focus and persistence on the finish and are very versatile with food.
I'll take a 90 at fifty and an 86 at thirty.

But the scale needs more work.

Pts Price Price/pt
84 $25.00 $0.30 xx
85 $28.00 $0.33 $0.03
86 $30.00 $0.35 $0.02
87 $33.00 $0.38 $0.03
88 $39.00 $0.44 $0.06
89 $46.00 $0.52 $0.07
90 $50.00 $0.56 $0.04
91 $66.00 $0.73 $0.17
92 $68.00 $0.74 $0.01
93 $74.00 $0.80 $0.06
94 $174.00 $1.85 $1.06
95 $211.00 $2.22 $0.37

As you can see, the incremental cost of moving from 86 to 87 is not that much. The incremental cost of going from 90 to 91 however, is downright foolish. This, I feel, is a great way to evaluate wine and also to give you an idea of how much more you are likely to enjoy the wine as you move from one point to another. After all, if you're paying a penny or so a point, that's not all so bad, but if you're paying seventeen cents a point, that's going to diminish your enjoyment.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.