January 13, 2010

Affordable Pinot Noir from California

We love finding an affordable and versatile pinot noir that we can pair with anything from burgers to pizza.  The 2006 Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir (Estate Bottled) was one of those finds.  We enjoyed a glass (or three...) with our leftover meat pie a few weeks ago and were pleased to find that it was not a typical California fruit bomb.

From the Santa Maria AVA in Santa Barbara County, California, this estate-produced pinot noir has ripe, bright red fruit (strawberry seemed to shine through at first), cinnamon spice, with a light oak toast and  pleasant acidity and earthiness on the finish.

Upon opening, it turned out to be lighter than we would have expected; however, over a 12 to 24 hour period, the wine seems to gain more weight (we've seen this a lot in the '06 and '07 California pinot noirs) with more cherry notes.  The wine became more round with air and full-bodied to stand up to various meat dishes.

Check out the 2006 Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir (Estate Bottled, though some retailers like K&L Wine Merchants in California have labeled the same bottles as 'Non-Estate').  In the tri-state area, we have bought bottles for $19.99 in various New Jersey wine shops and for $17.99 at Trader Joe's in Manhattan.  Overall, it's a fantastic QPR (quality-price-ratio) wine.

Cambria Winery & Vineyards is located in Santa Maria, CA

What would be your affordable pinot noir suggestions?


  1. Will have to check this one out, we love finding good pinot noir. We're drinking Panther Creek Freedom Hill (2006) right now, my husband got some directly from the winery.

  2. @ 5 Star Foodie - sometimes direct from the winery is the best way to get good wines. Nice to see someone still has some '06 Oregon PN left, we drank all of ours except for some Chehalem. We'll be on the lookout for good '08 Oregon pinot noir.


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