Great Gift Ideas: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir makes some of the finest wines in the world. The grape is notoriously difficult – tightly packed clusters, highly temperamental to weather, and generally just fussy. Although it can flummox winemakers, when one gets it right it is the most romantic of wines, voluptuous and powerful. Joel Fleischman of Vanity Fair says great Pinot makes “the blood run hot and the soul wax poetical.” Madeline Triffon is more blunt, saying that a good Pinot is simply pure “sex in a glass.”


So, fussy and difficult, while at the same time wonderful and sexy… Sound like anyone on your holiday list? If so, we have some perfect gift ideas for you!


Pinot Noir


2012 Pigeonhole California Pinot Noir – (Buy Online)

This first vintage of lovely wine is from winemaker Jon Gant of Couloir and Straightline Wines. Jon has worked with some of the best winemakers in Napa. Stylistically he takes direction from both California and Europe, making balanced wines that are complex and expressive without being overly concentrated. The Pigeonhole is just such a wine – soft red fruits and warm baking spices complement notes of earth and spice. Medium bodied with perfect tannin/acid balance. Complexity on the finish. This is a wonderful, easy-drinking Pinot that makes the perfect gift. $24.

2012 Foxen Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir  – (Buy Online)

Foxen is one of the premier wineries of Santa Barbara County. Founded by Bill Wathen and Dick Dore in 1985 – know as the Foxen Boys. This is Foxen’s most fruit-forward Pinot Noir; it displays the bright red summer fruit of cherries and strawberries, with notes of cinnamon and clove, a velvety texture and a long lingering finish. A perfect holiday Pinot. $37

2010 Copain “Les Voisins” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir  – (Buy Online)

Copain is one of Robert Parker’s “favorite California wine producers,” noting that owner-winemaker Wells Guthrie’s wines “are unquestionably from the New World, although there is a complexity to them that even the most diehard French wine enthusiast will admire.” Les Voisins is wonderful Pinot. It has aromas of red berries, incense, and Asian spices and orange zest. On the palate flavors of strawberries and raspberries and closes with spice notes. Rated 91 pts by International Wine Cellars. $38.

2010 Bohème Taylor Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – (Buy Online)

Bohème wines are pure California in style, philosophy and spirit. Winemaker and owner Kurt Beitler was named one of the “Six to Watch” by James Laube of Wine Spectator. Kurt focuses on Pinot Noir from the northern coast, where cool air and fog from Tamales and Bodega Bay drift over the vines. The 2010 Taylor Ridge is a pleasing mix of subtle floral, raspberry, wild berry, and black cherry flavors. It is firm and intense without being weighty. Ends with a pure burst of fruit. The perfect gift for a California Pinot Lover. $50.

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