If you want to gift a Pinot at less than $20 the same rule applies. Unfortunately for your shopping convenience, value-priced Pinot is tough to find and often produced by names you may not know. Here are a few suggestions: New Zealand’s Dashwood, Oregon’s A-Z Pinot, California’s Fleur Carneros Pinot, MacMurray Ranch from Sonoma, or even an affordable Burgundy such as Joseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune Villages.
There are great choices at a slightly higher pricer for California Cabernet. Mondavi Napa Cabernet is an outstanding pick for under $30. Franciscan, Duckhorn, and Rutherford Ranch deliver great Cabs around $30 as well. If you want one in the $50 range, then look for Markham, Charles Krug, Chappellet or Joseph Phelps.
If you’re gifting Pinot Noir, try Artessa’s dynamite Sonoma County Pinot at $25. Lange’s Willamette Valley Pinot for $24, or any entry level Oregon Pinot in the $25-$35 range. If you’re wanting to gift better Pinot Noir look for an Oregon label at the $40-$60 price point. If you really want the bigger fruit of a California Pinot Noir with great elegance look for Russian River Valley on the label. Many will argue about the regions but for my money the valley produces some of California’s very best.
Howard W. Hewitt, Crawfordsville, writes about wine every other week for 23 Midwestern newspapers. Write him at: email@example.com.