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Vin Ordinaire

Cheap but drinkable Pinot within the US?

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With the current craze for Pinot Noir, (call it the "Sideways Effect"?) it seems nearly impossible to find decent Pinot Noir from California or Oregon for less than $15 a bottle. All my old favorites have either dramatically increased in price, or the quality has taken a nose dive. So I ask, what if anything are you drinking?

edited 'cause I can't proofread


Edited by Vin Ordinaire (log)

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With the current craze for Pinot Noir, (call it the "Sideways Effect"?) it seems nearly impossible to find decent Pinot Noir from California or Oregon for less than $15 a bottle.  All my old favorites have either dramatically increased in price, or the quality has taken a nose dive.  So I ask, what if anything are you drinking?

I mentioned the short history of the PN glut-turned-drought on the California bulk market (Here). Ironically, at the PN conference this year where I heard that, I had with me John Haeger's unique history North American Pinot Noir (ISBN 0520241142), 2004. In 2004, there still was a PN surplus and Haeger speculated about the future. He could not have anticipated "academy awards night") (Turrentine's phrase) when the PN surplus vanished suddenly. (Haeger, who is local to me, has been writing a second edition as I understand.)

In other words, this scarcity of PN is a historical quirk. (The same conference discussed the almost desperate overplanting of PN now underway. In time it could yield another surplus.)

Short answer: Drinking the same inexpensive PNs we all bought before drinkable PNs became common from US winemakers 20-25 years ago: Bourgognes Rouges, the basic Burgundian Pinots Noirs and throughout all this time, often good values at US $10-$15 from larger producers like Jadot and Drouhin.

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With the current craze for Pinot Noir, (call it the "Sideways Effect"?) it seems nearly impossible to find decent Pinot Noir from California or Oregon for less than $15 a bottle.  All my old favorites have either dramatically increased in price, or the quality has taken a nose dive.  So I ask, what if anything are you drinking?

edited 'cause I can't proofread

The cost of farming quality Oregon pinot noir precludes a $15 wine unless you want the producer to go broke.

Frankly I would not look for pinot noir in the under $20 price range. If you want pinot noir-like qualities at bargain prices look for Beaujolais from small estate producers. You can buy great wines online for under $20 from retailers like Chambers Street Wines in New York City.

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