Pinot Noir can be finicky and difficult to grow, but when the conditions are right it creates one of the world’s most popular wines. Here in Sonoma County, in the Russian River Valley and along the Sonoma Coast, we have some of world’s best vineyards and growing conditions for producing classic Pinot Noir of elegance and complexity.

Here are capsule reviews of Pinot Noir wines you may find along the Wine Road.

Bottle of Pinot Noir Balletto_Papapaierto_Perry_Sonoma_Cutrer on a deck with letter blocks

Balletto 2017 Pinot Noir Estate Grown RRV  
Oh yes, it has the unmistakable scent of Russian River Valley—loamy and earthy with complex notes of cigar box, dusty rose, black cherry, licorice and a whiff of bacon. Medium bodied with taut yet well-integrated tannins, the 2017 Balletto Pinot Noir Estate Grown RRV, is full of bright acidity with flavors of black cherry, cranberry, all spice and white pepper. A classic Pinot from a classic region.

D & L Carinalli Vineyards 2018 Estate Pinot Noir RRV
Light and floral this 2018 D & L Carinalli Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley opens with a distinct notes of sage and chamomile. The bright juicy red fruit flavors of raspberry and black cherry are tempered by a grounding undertone of vanilla and cedar that deliver great texture and knit into a bright yet silky finish. Elegant and structured it’s well suited for aging or enjoy now with friends from a distance or over Zoom.        

Glass of Pinot Noir and broken cork n foreground with bottles of Pinot in the background

Furthermore 2015 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
Pale garnet in color, the Furthermore 2015 Pinot Noir La Encantda Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills opens with notes of baking spice, a hint of thyme and a floral scent of crushed rose petals. This Pinot hails from the central coast and is full of juicy black fruits, cherry and a touch of fig preserves with a long and lingering finish that floats softly on the palate. Good structure and balance make this age-worthy if you have the self-control not to drink it immediately. 

Papapietro Perry 2016 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
This Papapietro 2016 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n roll— and by that I mean it hits all the right notes to create a symphony of flavor. On the nose it displays classic notes of dark berry fruit, brambles and allspice. The rich flavors offer a back beat of juicy tart pomegranate, black cherry and licorice with great balance and racy acidity. Each sip takes you deeper into a concentrated melody of pure Pinot pleasure. 

Bottles of Pinot Noir_Furthermore_DL_Carinalli_Woodenhead

Sonoma-Cutrer 2016 Pinot Noir Vine Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Bold and spicy this 2016 Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir is grown in the famed loamy Goldridge soils of the Russian River Valley. Dark garnet in color it presents a rich and multifaceted flavor profile full of ripe raspberry, dark plum, and blackberry with a lift of earthy sage and notes of cinnamon and black pepper. Texture abounds with round firm tannins and juicy acidity that carries through the lengthy finish.

Woodenhead 2015 Pinot Noir RRV
This brilliant ruby red Woodenhead 2015 Pinot Noir RRV has a pretty nose of dusty lavender and sagebrush. The palate presents a dichotomy of flavors—from ripe sweet blueberry and raspberry jam notes to tart bright cherry, strawberry and rose hips. Then, just when you think you’ve got it pegged, it opens up with surprising savory notes of leather, juniper and clove. It’s a complex kid that strikes a balance of soft tannin and zesty acidity as it continually evolves in the glass. A boost of French oak gives it a round and toasty warm finish.

Posted by Marcy Gordon

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