Answer this question: do you know which 15 great Pinot Noirs you can buy for just under $20? If not, you need to try a swig from our list of great Pinot Noirs.
Pinot Noir is the temperamental focus of such wonderful flicks as “Sideways,” for good reason. Paul Giamatti stars as a depressed wannabe writer and English teacher, obsessed with the varietal.
One of the most ancient and difficult grapes to grow, it boasts haunting flavors of the past if done well. As grape geneticist extraordinaire Dr. Carole Meredith has found, it’s the parent for at least 26 of our most prized varietals, including Chardonnay.
If you too are a depressed writer in 2004 living bottle-to-bottle with a sharp tongue for flavor, these 15 wines under $20 are for you. Keep scrolling to find the elixir that whispers to your ennui.
1. Canned Oregon Pinot Noir
At $6, this canned Pinot Noir may put many off out of principle. Get off your high horse and start your way on that Canned Oregon trail to delight. Try to dodge dysentery along the way.
On a serious note, this great Oregon Pinot Noir makes most lists of great Pinot Noir under $30 too, if it’s any indication of this spicy label’s place at number one.
Feel the gentle roll of rich fruit flavors across your tongue, balanced with spice and rose hints. Canned Oregon Pinot Noir proves it’s a good choice for any occasion.
2. Dashwood Pinot Noir
No matter the year, this Dashwood Pinot Noir from Marlborough New Zealand will fill your heart with glee. Hobbits and Wizards alike will tell you the 2014 vintage could be the best, though.
The terroir of this Pinot also gives it a fruity essence, as most of the country’s fruit trees are also grown here. Balanced with minerals from the glacial and volcanic history of the island, it’s a flavor that few can beat.
3. Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills
This Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir is from the United States, also hailing from Oregon. This one is on the high end of the great Pinot Noir under $20, barely getting under by the skin of its grape.
Considered one of the top 2% of all the wines on the big bad planet we call earth, the 2018 vintage gets high praise for its small price. No matter the vintage, you’ll be pleased by the blueberry, spice, and earthiness over your palate.
This should come as no surprise since it’s part of the same company that runs Canned Oregon, our number one!
4. Cline Family Cellars Sonoma County Pinot Noir
This sustainably farmed and vegan-friendly treat is grown in Sonoma County, California, USA. Instead of relying on heavy sugar content, it takes a lot of flavor from medium toasted 40% new French oak barrels.
The vanillins of the oak transfer into the wine and complement its natural strawberry and cherry notes. Try this Clime Family Cellars treat if you can find it.
5. Cono Sur Chile “Bicicleta” Pinot Noir Reserva
This vineyard label, Cono Sur, is a no-nonsense Pinot Noir label that puts quality ahead of tradition and pomp. Not being the pretentious type, they claim this Pinot Noir as the best in all the land for good reason.
The cool, wafting climates of the Casablanca and San Antonio valleys in which it’s grown inspire flavors of pepper, nutmeg, plum, and currant. It’s crushed by foot (wearing sanitized waterproof waders!) giving an old-world feel to the tannins.
6. Erath Oregon Pinot Noir
After more than 40 years of making wines, the Erath winery in Oregon has the varietal down pat. Add the distinction of being one of the first American Pinot Noir growers on the West coast and you have a heritage to live up to.
The quintessential American Pinot Noir experience, make sure to try what history and experience can develop across generations.
7. J. Lohr Monterey County Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir
J. Lohr Estates Pinot Noir has definitely earned its top 10 status following its 2020 Sunset international wine competition standings. Coming from Monterey County, this unsung hero of Pinot Noir finally has its day.
The customary cherry flavors of this great Pinot Noir are complimented by smokey sage, camphor, and sharp rhubarb to make it a well-rounded wine must-try. You know, if you’re into falling in love with award-winning wines under $20.
8. Fowles Wine Australia Farm to Table Pinot Noir
No matter your personal feelings for the land down under, set it aside for a moment to try the exquisiteness of the Farm to Table Pinot Noir from Fowles. From the moment you see the butcher’s map of a pig on the label, you know it’s going to be good.
Spicy oak combines with cherry and strawberry flavors to create a medium-body wine with tannins that slide all too easy past your lips.
9. Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Lafôret Pinot Noir
10. Kim Crawford New Zealand Pinot Noir
Kim Crawford Pinot Noir from New Zealand pairs well with rich foods. This should be no surprise since the oak and mineral flavors of this wine balance so nicely with its blackberry and deep cherry base.
Yet another great New Zealand wine — go figure.
11. Buena Vista North Coast Pinot Noir
The Buena Vista Winery continues to win medals for its winemaking prowess. This Pinot Noir is sourced from Sonoma, Russian River Valley, and other North Coast appellations.
This culminates in a low-acid fruity wine with cinnamon flavors that roll across your palate like waves of the pacific.
12. Cameron Hughes Willamette Valley Lot 678 Pinot Noir
Lot 678 from Willamette Valley, offered by Cameron Hughes, punches on the scene of great Pinot Noirs. With cherry cola-inspired and rose perfume complementing with berry and cherry, you think it’ll be another random Pinot Noir.
However, as the moments pass and bacon and sautéed mushroom flavors bloom, the surprising flavor leaves you astounded.
13. The Pinot Project California Pinot Noir
From the understated label to the overstated flavor, this California Pinot Noir keeps you going back for more. At $14 a bottle, you can afford to!
Make The Pinot Project Pinot Noir part of your nightly routine. You did know that red wine habit of yours is hearth healthy, right?
14. Emiliana Chile Adobe Pinot Noir
No, this isn’t photoshopped! Emiliana is one of the premier wineries sending a number of wines, including great Pinot Noirs out of Chilé at a price that’s a steal. Rated well, these bottles of Pinot Noir usually only fetch between $10 to $12.
15. Verum Patagonia Pinot Noir
Next door to Chile, not to be outdone, is our final wine on the list, Verum Patagonia Pinot Noir, coming from Patagonia, Argentina. With only 45 acres creating this Pinot Noir sensation, it soaks up the best terroir Patagonia has to offer.
Great Pinot Noirs to Get You Through the Week
These 15 great Pinot Noirs will keep you going through the week, we guarantee it. Best of all, to enjoy these great Pinot Noir wines, you don’t even need to be a depressed wannabe writer down on his luck.
Don’t waste any more time, grab a bottle and try for yourself! Also, keep browsing for more food treasures that await you.