I visited Monterey, California a couple of years ago, and remember the awe I sensed after tasting the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from there. Monterey is sadly a region that is virtually undiscovered outside the state of California but it’s slowly edging its way into the mainstream. It’s not easy to compete against the reps of Sonoma County and Santa Barbara for these two expensive-to-grow, cool climate varietals but Monterey sure as hell has what it takes to win big. (Read the piece on my Monterey trip)
Which means even generic, corporate-owned wineries like Estancia can make good wine if they have less expensive, great fruit from Monterey, specifically their Pinnacles Ranch vineyard. And another thing corporate wineries have to offer is lower prices. Like under $15 for a pretty decent Pinot.
The Estancia 2009 Pinot Noir is very light-bodied and has food-friendly acidity with red cherry, strawberry, a little mushroomy dirtiness and a surprising dash of eucalyptus. Well-crafted yet not too complicated or, frankly, special, but what can I ask for in a Pinot Noir that costs less than $15?
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Retail price: $12 – $15
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Occasion: Sample sent from the winery.
Availability: Widely available at many grocery stores throughout the country and online at Wine.com.
Other recommended wines from Monterey: