I am a fan of Burgundy, but great Burgundy is, as every aspiring wine snob knows, “mad expensive.” So I turn to the cheaper, still-tasty alternative producing nations, such as New Zealand, the United States, and Chile. For domestic Pinot, I generally turn to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, or cooler mesoclimates in California like the Carneros Valley. These regions can produce Pinot with finesse and grace.
The 2007 Primarius Pinot Noir, bottled in Walla Walla, Washington but sourced from good vineyards in Oregon, is an example of domestic finesse, and also has great intensity. Good bang for the buck. A light ruby red in the glass, decent clarity, with a nose of ripe red cherries, floral and vegetal notes, aged meats, and a slight smokiness. This follows with a silky mouthfeel, expressing nice vanilla and spiciness, tinged with mineral. Very well-balanced, long finish. $14.