With the continuing and rapidly rising cost of Burgundy wines, we continue to search for fine Pinot Noir from around the world. We’ve found some winners in Oregon and New Zealand, with their own sense of place and styles that are a fine match with food, something not always found with the bigger style Bordeaux varietals.

The following roundup includes wines from under $20 to high-priced classics from Cote d’ Or, tasted at events where costs were shared.

Domaine Serene Library Tasting

Enjoyed tasting a vertical of older Domaine Serene wines, 2011-2014, plus 2004. Hosted by Meritage Wine in North San Diego. In order of tasting, with rankings in the notes:

Domaine Serene

  • 2011 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Côte Sud Vineyard. Fourth place. Light-mid ruby, rim variation, low viscosity (13.2 alc.); red fruit, cherries, wood, slight weedy and stemmy nose; low-mid acids, tannins; balanced; semi-long red fruit and wood finish. 16.5 UC Davis scale, 91 other scales.
  • From a great year in Dundee Hills, Oregon. 2012 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Grace Vineyard, $105. First place. In vertical of 2011-2014 and 2004 Domaine Serene wines. Mid-ruby, viscous (14.8 alc.); smokey, red fruit, rose petal, stemmy, mineral nose; low-mid acids; mid-full tannins; deep fruit; long lush rich finish. 17.5/93.
  • Dundee Hills, Oregon, 2013 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Gold Eagle Vineyard, $68. Fifth place. Lightest of the group; light ruby, rim variation (13.1 alc.); light red fruit, earthy, anise, redwood nose; low acids, tannins; light-mid fruit; decent flavor; a bit short on the finish. 16/90.
  • Dundee Hills, Oregon. 2014 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Mark Bradford, $94.  Second place. Light-mid ruby, viscous (14.0 alc.); red fruit, cherries, rose petal, slight mineral, wood; low acids; low-mid tannins; mid depth on fruit; balanced; good Pinot Noir flavor; semi-long tasty finish. 16.5-17/91-92.
  • Willamette, Oregon, 2004 Domaine Serene Pinot Noir Evenstad Reserve (donated from the cellar of one of the guests). Third place. Light-mid ruby, rim variation, viscous (13.5 alc.); red fruit, light stemmy nose; low-mid acids; mid tannins; good Pinot fruit; long semi-deep balanced finish. 16.5/91.

Values, Discoveries

  • Fine Oregon value 2016 Erath Pinot Noir Willakia Vineyard, $25 (on sale, Costco). Light-mid ruby, viscous (13.0 alc.); red fruit, cherry, wood, light floral nose; mid acids, mid+ tannins; balanced; good Pinot fruit; long semi-deep red fruit finish. 16.5-17/91-92.
  • $22 Central Otago, New Zealand, 2019 Misha’s Vineyard Wines Pinot Noir The High Note. Mid-ruby, some viscosity (14.0 alc.); red fruit, strawberry, stemmy Pinot nose; mid+ acids; medium tannins, fruit; semi-long tight, slightly hot Pinot finish. w/salmon. 16/90.
  • $22 Russian River Valley, Sonoma, 2020 Brian David Pinot Noir. Light-mid ruby; viscous (13.9 alc.); red fruit, cherry and wood nose; mid+ acids; medium tannins; some depth; long semi-hot cherry and wood finish. Opens with air. w/meat loaf. 16/90.
  • $20 Oregon value wine, 2021 The Four Graces Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. Light-mid ruby, viscous (14.1 alc.); red fruit, light stemmy, mineral nose; low-mid acids; mid tannins; semi-long, balanced, red fruit finish. w/grilled salmon. 16/90.
  • Value $22 Oregon Pinot Noir Ken Wright 2021 Willamette Valley. Mid ruby; smokey, red fruit, cherries, wet wood, aldehyde nose; mid acids; light-mid body (13.0 alc.); balanced; long red fruit and wood finish. 15.5-16/89-90.

Recent Burgundy Notes

  • 2006 Frédéric Magnien Bonnes Mares. Sharp mid-ruby; red fruit, musk, light animal, minerals, oak nose; mid acids; softening tannins; round, ripe, long complex finish; hints of oak. 17-17.5/92-93.
  • 2007 Domaine Jean et Jean-Louis Trapet Chambertin ($275 on various wine sites). Mid garnet, brick edges; earthy, animal, red fruit and wood nose; mid+acids; mid+tannins; semi-tight; good depth; long wood, earth, red fruit finish. Needs time. Bottle variation? 17-17.5/92-93.
  • 2007 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes (Magnum). Mid-ruby, brick/amber edges; complex earthy, animal, smokey, red fruit, barnyard nose; mid-body; balanced; softening acids/tannins; rich fruit; long, smooth, elegant finish. 17/92.

    Ponsot 2007 Clos de la Roche

  • 2007 Domaine Jean Grivot Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru Les Pruliers ($85). Mid garnet, brick edges; animal, earthy, barnyard nose; mid+ acids; mid+ tannins; tight, long chewy finish. Needs time. 16.5/91.
  • 2005 Comte Senard Corton-Bressandes, ($75). TG 2. Mid-ruby, rim variation, amber edges; closed red fruit, cherries, wood, gamey nose; mid body; mid+ acids; mid+ tannins; tight; long chewy finish; needs time. 16.5/91.