Wine Reviews: 69 Pinot Noirs Graded by our Retailer Wine Panel

We asked members our our National Retailer Wine Panel to taste and rate their favorite Pinot Noirs.

As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’s retail price (which can vary from store to store and market to market).

If you’re a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you’re interested in participating in the panel, please contact associate editor Kyle Swartz at or 203-855-8499 x225.

(96) Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Clos de la Mousse 2011 (Burgundy, France). From a top Burgundy house, this exceptional, high-quality wine exhibits finesse, and breeding. Delicious now, it could certainly improve with a little more bottle-time, to bring out more of its elegant characteristics. One of those “don’t pass this up” type of wines. ($65)

(95) Louis Latour Gevrey Chambertin 2012 (France). Rich black cherry and raspberry, with a touch of earth and subtle tannin. Concentrated mouthfull of evolving flavors, with a long elegant finish. Very cellar worthy. ($50)

(95) Wren Hop Vineyards Pinot Noir Mortal Coil 2012 (Sonoma Coast). Complex black and red fruit aromas jump out of the glass. Medium-bodied with beautifully balanced fruit and acidity. Great varietal character and a long rich finish. ($72)

(95) Albert Bichot Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes de Pinot Noir 2012. The “old vine” grapes for this consistently stylistic and superb wine come from four estates across Burgundy. A bright ruby color. Aromas of not-quite-ripe berry and cherry meld with hints of chalk, loam, and flint which says “Burgundy.” Delicate flavors of red fruits coat the palate, showing strong in the middle, and finishing with firm tannins and more terroir. This is a classic “old-world” Bourgogne Rouge. The 2012 vintage will develop beautifully for five more years, easily. An excellent value. ($20)

(95) Buisson-Charles Bougogne-Pinot Noir Hautes Coutures 2012. Buisson-Charles is a small producer in Meursault who sources fruit from several small properties. The color is dark ruby. Aromas of raspberry, apple and cherry blend with floral notes and spice. On the palate, sweet/tart fruit flavors harmonize with hints of allspice and some earthiness. The texture is lush and silky, ending with firm tannins and a hint of blueberry. This is true Bourgogne Rouge in a modern style that still respects the terroir. Very nice now, it will be exceptional in five to seven years. ($33)

(95) Manuel Olivier Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Nuits 2011. Olivier macerates the grapes for 15 days, then matures half of the wine in stainless steel vats and the other half in oak barrels. The finished wine is fruit-forward, but perfectly balanced with supple tannins. Richly aromatic and flavorful with nuances of blackberry and black cherry, tempered with a hint of toastiness. A hint of mocha/coffee shows on the very end. The underlying notes of minerality throughout tell me that this is real Burgundy. If you cellar this for three to five years, you’ll be well rewarded. ($29)

(94) Frescobaldi Pinot Nero 2011 (Pomino, Tuscany, Italy). From the renowned Frescobaldi family of Tuscany comes a pinot noir, from a region better known for Sangiovese. Elegant, structured and oh-so-very delicious. More than a mere curiosity, it’s a wonderful example of what intelligent vineyard practices, and careful winemaking, can achieve. ($30)

(94) Gottardi Blauburgunder 2012, (Alto Adige, Italy). A lovely pinot noir from a region known for its cool climate. Supple, with good acid and tannins, the wine showcases the variety, while demonstrating what northern Italy can bring to the pinot noir table. ($62)


(93) Dierberg Drum Canyon Pinot Noir 2012 (Sta. Rita Hills). This is a beautifully balanced wine, having been aged 18 months in oak. On the nose, you will find black fruit and raspberry with notes of roasted coffee. On the palate, you will taste sweet smoke with blackberry, leading to a long, elegant finish with a delightful burst of fruit. ($41.99)

(93) Shandi Santa Rita Hills 2012 (California). Not an alcohol bomb. Medium-bodied, with balanced acidity that makes it very food friendly. Lush red berries and sweet, inviting aroma. Can be cellared for another three years. ($38)

(93) TULI Pinot Noir 2014 (Sonoma). Intoxicating aromas and flavors of dark fruit, black cherry, floral notes and plum. This pinot noir delivers an exuberantly plush mouthfeel while displaying serious nuance and harmony. The graceful, lengthy finish continues to deposit perfumed black cherry and baking spice notes. ($31)

(93) Fulcrum, 2013 Pinot Noir (Brosseau Vineyard, Chalone, CA). The nose displays a little of that wild, smoky, earthy pinot noir funkiness that pinotphiles adore. This is a medium-to-full-bodied red featuring dark, spicy berry flavors folded into a bed of stony minerals. The substantial finish reveals understated notes of earth and mocha. ($50)

(93) Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune Villages 2013 (Burgundy, France). From one of the best known names in Burgundy, the Côte de Beaune Villages brims with lovely red fruit. The mouthfeel is everything you’d expect from a Burgundy from the region. Elegant, soft and supple. A real keeper. ($28.50)

(93) Clos Pegase, Mitsuko’s Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012 (Carneros, Napa Valley, CA). This single-vineyard pinot noir, from the one of the coolest regions in Napa Valley, shows great color, with a spicy combination of red and black fruit. Plenty of structure, and a balanced finish display its pedigree. ($35)

(93) MacMurray Estate Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013 (Central Coast, CA). From a cool weather region, not far from Monterey Bay, this pinot noir shows plenty of elegance, with supple tannins, and supporting acidity. Enough structure to stand up to a wide variety of foods, the subtly spicy red and black fruits on the palate lead to a long and well-balanced finish. ($23)

(93) Wild Ridge 2012 (Sonoma Coast). This pinot noir starts out starts out showing plenty of fruit, but as you give it some time the layers of spice, earth notes and beautifully balanced acidity unfold on the palate. This classic Sonoma Coast pinot continues to evolve through the mid-palate as the acidity builds and the spice and fresh fruit notes fade perfectly. ($50)




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