Top 10 Pinot Noirs Under $15

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Sideways was a wonderful and horrible thing for Pinot Noir. Sure it brought attention to the grape, but now everyone and their mother is making sub par pinot noir that is either spiked with other grapes, completely flaccid or just plain garbage. That being said, there are some decent every day Pinot Noirs that are quite acceptable at around $15 (yeah, not really under…but at $15).

Sideways Movie Poster

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Our staff tasted through lots of Pinot (most of it not too good) and we came up with a list of the 10 Pinot Noirs around $15 that we thought were a nice value.

Underwood Cellars Pinot Noir 2009

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Underwood Cellars Pinot Noir 2009: This gem comes from Oregon and is pretty impressive for the price. I found a bottle for $11. It has a nice hit of raspberries on the nose and a slight hint of oak. It has a little hint of vanilla (I’m assuming a few months of French oak). At first it was slightly too acidic, but after a few more swallows, this characteristic is downplayed. At $11 bucks, it’s a great bottle if you are entertaining 10 people or more.

Joseph Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir 2008

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Joseph Drouhin Laforet Pinot Noir 2008: This one barely made the list, not because of it’s quality, but because of the price. You may find it in some shops at $15 (but at most shops this one will hit you at about $16 to $17). This is a pretty rich wine with tons of fruit on the nose (mostly strawberry). Light and elegant tannins will leave a soft dryness on the palate. Overall a beautiful bottle at a great price.

3 Trees Pinot Noir 2009

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3 Trees Pinot Noir 2009: If you go to a friendly wine shop, you can probably pick up a bottle of this Australian beauty for about $15. What’s amazing. That at $15 bucks this wine not only makes its way to the US from Australia, but also that it comes from a single vineyard and still manages to taste good. The wine is unoaked and super fruity. I’d suggest having this with some roast duck or a nice truffled cheese.

Santa Carolina Reserva Pinot Noir 2009

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Santa Carolina Reserva Pinot Noir 2009: Chile is a big hitter in the wine world lately. They have started to take over with their inexpensive quality wines. Their ’09 vintage from the Maule valley is quite a nice bottle. There is no flabbiness to this juice, one can expect balance of fruit, acid and tannins. They even threw it in oak (French and American) for 9 months which yielded a nice tannic structure. You can get this pretty Pinot at most wine shops for $11.

Aquinas Pinot Noir Napa 2009

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Aquinas Pinot Noir Napa 2009: This $15 bottle packs on dried berry flavors. What we liked best is that it is varietally correct. There is no doubt that this is Pinot Noir with its cherry notes and slight oakiness.

Bouchard Aine & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009

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Bouchard Aine & Fils Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009: Yup, I hear Bourgogne and I think Pinot Noir. This Pinot Noir is delicious. It has notes of cherry and a hint of citrus. A bit of tannins on the mouth that is nicely balanced with the wine’s acidity. Our tasting pannel agreed that this is quite a pleasant drink (even more pleasant at a $15 price point).

Over the Edge Pinot Noir 2009

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Over the Edge Pinot Noir 2009: This New Zealand Pinot runs at about $13 bucks. At that price you end up with bright cherry and tons of dark fruit. The wine has good acidity to contrast the fruit. The mouth feel is silky and decadent; at the same time it is not overly complex so you can easily share while watching…well…Sideways.

Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Reserva Pinot Noir 2009

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Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Reserva Pinot Noir 2009: Chile is not the only South American country getting into the Pinot game. Count on the Mendoza region of Argentina to come through. Bodegas Nieto Senetiner bring to us a bright, food friendly wine to pair with lighter meats. A little plum on the nose and smooth on the palate. At about $11 you can’t go wrong.

Heron Pinot Noir 2009

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Heron Pinot Noir 2009: When I think California, I usually don’t think of value wines. Heron’s ’09 Pinot fits into this category. Perhaps a bit pricier than the rest on this list at a “whooping” $15 and totally worth every penny. Why did we love it? 9 months of oak, earthy and more Burgundian in style. On top of that, the grapes are produced by sustainable farming.

Red Door Pinot Noir 2009

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Red Door Pinot Noir 2009: Another outstanding Oregon Pinot. This wine over delivers for the money. This pinot noir starts off earthy, continues to a bright acidity and finishes with nice touches of red fruit. It has a nice silky palate and just a touch of spice that makes things more interesting. Another fifteen dollar find that will leave you satisfied and your wallet intact.

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Blanca Valbuena
I am one of the co-founders of FriendsEAT. Obviously, I love to eat. Other passions include A Song of Ice and Fire, Shakespeare, Dostoyevski, and Aldous Huxley.
Blanca Valbuena
Blanca Valbuena

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