A decent-tasting Pinot Noir under $20 is one of the most difficult wines to find for bargain wine hunters. This is due to these two reasons: Pinot Noir is not an easy grape to grow and the yield per vineyard acre is lower than most grapes. Secondly, the popularity of Pinot Noir. You know the effect of the movie “Sideways,” don’t you? I recently purchased four Pinot Noir wines under $20, two from K&L Wines and two from the Redwood City Costco. I tasted two at a recent family dinner. The other two I tasted the following evenings. These four wines qualify as good Pinot Noir wines under $20.
Talbott Logan Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2013 – K&L Wines $17.99
The Talbott Pinot Noir was our favorite choice among the four Pinot Noir wines. Its aroma and taste are very Pinot-Noir like in a traditional sense. The wine is perfectly balanced. We like the balance of spice and delicious red fruit. I think the Talbott Logan Pinot can easily match many Pinot Noir wines that are priced at over $30. On another note regarding Talbott Vineyards, this family-owned winery was recently sold to the Gallo Family. If you are ever on Carmel Valley Road, Talbott has a nice tasting room where you can taste their very excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. I am rating this Talbott Vineyards Pinot Noir at 89 Points.
Morris Ranch Sonoma Coast 2013 – Costco $19.99
More than likely, this Morris Ranch Pinot Noir is made exclusively for Costco. The Wine-Searcher.com website did not show this wine for sale at any wine shop. I have seen Morris Ranch Vineyard on other labels like Moshin Vineyards Morris Ranch Pinot Noir. The Morris Ranch Pinot Noir is more on the side of a full-bodied Pinot Noir. The flavors are much more forward than the Talbott, and for that reason we think the Talbott is a better choice with food like roast chicken and salmon. Yes, indeed, this is a big-boy Pinot Noir, and fans of that style will certainly enjoy the Morris Ranch Pinot Noir. 88 Points
Cameron Hughes Monterey Pinot Noir Lot 462 2013 – Costco $7.99
The CH Pinot Noir is quite a steal at this price. It has typical Pinot Noir character, and smells and tastes like a good Pinot Noir. According to the Cameron Hughes Website, a portion of the Pinot Noir wines comes from “high-end Pinot producers from the Santa Lucia Highlands and Gavilan Mountain.” Vintage Wine Taster Bruce recommended this wine to me and I think he is right on. He purchased a case, and I think I will do the same before it leaves the shelves at Costco. The price on the Cameron Hughes Pinot Noir Monterey Lot 462 is posted as $10.99, but indicates a $3 rebate at checkout. 88 Points.
Ritual Pinot Noir Casablanca 2014 – K&L Wines $17.99
This is also a tasty Pinot Noir and highly rated, 93 points by James Suckling. It is amazing that in Chile and in Argentina, Pinot Noir is being produced more and more. We liked everything about this wine except for one little thing. In the aftertaste, we did not like an herbal characteristic. We could do without that, but nevertheless we say 87 Points.