Buena Vista 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir Tops Our Picks of the Week

The “Sideways” movie will be 8 years old this year. This is the movie that shot Pinot Noir into the stratosphere of popularity and in price point. Just take a look at the most highly rated Pinot Noir wines in the Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast. Many are well above the $40 mark and in my opinion an insane price to pay for a single bottle of wine that vanishes in just a few hours. I very much enjoy a good Pinot Noir wine, and here are two we can highly recommend this week that are terrific values.

Buena Vista 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir Trader Joe’s $10 (Mike’s and Joe’s Pick)
Do you know this Sonoma Valley winery is the oldest continuous operating winery in California? It was started in 1857. The winery has changed hands three times in the last ten years and in 2011 was acquired by the Boisset Family of Burgundy Fame. At a furious pace, the Boisset Family is upgrading the winery and its operations and has plans to return the winery to its former glory days.

Buena Vista Carneros Pinot NoirOne of the wine guys at the Millbrae Trader Joe’s told me two weeks ago to watch for this Buena Vista Pinot Noir. I purchased one bottle to try and will be going back for more this week. They have a good-sized display of this wine and I imagine at this price it will go quickly. Interestingly, I had difficulty finding comparison prices for this wine, so perhaps it had a limited release. The winery just released the 2009 vintage of this same wine, so maybe this is a way of clearing inventory.

The wine has generous aromas of strawberry and raspberry and a good dose of spice, with nutmeg prominent. It is a medium-bodied wine, and what I like most about this is the long and lingering finish of that typical Pinot Noir characteristic of the red berry fruit. One thing I noticed was this wine opened in aroma and flavors about 30 minutes after pouring the first glass. Run it through an aerated or just let it breathe for 30 to 60 minutes before pouring. Decanting would accomplish the same thing. On the Buena Vista Website, the 2009 is selling for $25, so I suspect that was the SRP for the 2008. At $10 at TJ’s this is steal. I am rating this wine at 88 Points. Just a note, Cost Plus World Market had this same wine on sale back in October for $9 if you bought 4 or more. One of our Vintage Tasters gave it an 87 at that time.

Cameron Hughes Lot 271 2009 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley $14 at Safeway (Joe’s Pick)
We opened both the Buena Vista and the Cameron Hughes and did a side-by-side tasting. The Cameron Hughes has a little more of the red berry fruit and a pepper spice to it. It is quite tasty and a little hardier than the Buena Vista. I found this at the Burlingame Safeway for $13.99. If you buy six in the current sale, you can get it for $12.99. We gave the nod to the Buena Vista for two reasons. The C.H. Pinot does not have that long and lingering finish that the Buena Vista has. Secondly, the Buena Vista is $4 less in price. Nevertheless, we think the Cameron Hughes is worthy of 88 Points, the same as the Buena Vista. Okay, so the Buena Vista is an 88.5. Wine Enthusiast gave the C.H. Pinot a 90-Point rating.

2008 Carneros Pinot and the C.H. 2009 Russian River Valley Pinot

Happy Pinot Noir shopping!

Interested in visting wineries in the Sideways Wine Trail?


  1. Michael Beltran says:

    Do you get to write off all the wines??? That would be a great deal..


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