Best CA Pinot Noir

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AlexO
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Best CA Pinot Noir

#1 Post by AlexO » May 22nd, 2020, 7:42 am

Looking to expand my Pinot universe beyond the few that I love. I am a big fan of Peter Michael and Marcassin, but I wanted to see what other producers (and their specific bottlings) might be worth exploring. Definitely not a fan of overly extracted Pinot like KB.
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Bryan Price
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#2 Post by Bryan Price » May 22nd, 2020, 7:48 am

Morlet.
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Brandon R
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#3 Post by Brandon R » May 22nd, 2020, 8:04 am

If you like PM and Marcassin, you might like Dehlinger, Walter Hansel, and possibly Rivers-Marie (although they might fall into the more extracted style you don't like).
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Dave McIsaac
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#4 Post by Dave McIsaac » May 22nd, 2020, 8:11 am

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Cody S
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#5 Post by Cody S » May 22nd, 2020, 8:12 am

I would look at Littoai, Domaine de la Cote, Ceritas, Cobb and Peay (Scallop Shelf especially). These are far more restrained than PM or Marcassin but beautiful examples of Cali Pinot.
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#6 Post by R. Gaston » May 22nd, 2020, 8:26 am

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T Fletcher
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#7 Post by T Fletcher » May 22nd, 2020, 8:31 am

Based on your affinity for Marcassin, I would say Ferren or Arista b/c of Matt Courtney being the winemaker at both and having been the assistant at Marcassin.

I've been a buyer of Ferren since the 2015 vintage and find the Pinots (and Chards) to be wonderful for my palate. Definitely riper in style but nowhere near being over-extracted. Lots of depth and layers.
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#8 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » May 22nd, 2020, 8:32 am

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Frank Murray III
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#9 Post by Frank Murray III » May 22nd, 2020, 9:21 am

I buy from four producers, that's it now. I've been on these 4 lists each close to (or even) more than a decade. And even as my palate shifted 5 years ago, I have maintained these producers because they keep evolving, improving with the wines continuing to bring me joy. Add these to your pursuit, good luck on your journey, Alex. PS...I listed a couple of notable wines for each (except for Pisoni, which is a singular, vintage designated, released in Fall wine).

RHYS. Alpine and Horseshoe.
RIVERS-MARIE. Summa and Summa OV.
KUTCH. McDougall and Sonoma Coast.
PISONI. Estate
My best wines for 2020:
2014 Marie Courtin Champagne Efflorescence Extra Brut
2012 Minière F & R Champagne Influence Brut
2008 Rhys Skyline PN SCM

My best wines for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut

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Bud Carey
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#10 Post by Bud Carey » May 22nd, 2020, 9:24 am

Anything from WesMar.
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Chris Seiber
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#11 Post by Chris Seiber » May 22nd, 2020, 9:39 am

AlexO wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 7:42 am
Looking to expand my Pinot universe beyond the few that I love. I am a big fan of Peter Michael and Marcassin, but I wanted to see what other producers (and their specific bottlings) might be worth exploring. Definitely not a fan of overly extracted Pinot like KB.
Can you give some more examples of pinots you've liked and disliked? Otherwise, you're just going to get a hundred names thrown at you and not have any idea which ones are going to be more your thing.

There is a huge spectrum of styles and regions in California, plus it's constantly shifting (KB now makes pinots at around 14% -- probably much less extracted than PM and Marcassin at this point). For example, Kutch and Sea Smoke are both great pinots, but they're very different from each other.

Also, what price range are you looking for?

I'm just asking those questions in an effort to focus the thread in some way that is useful for you. A laundry list of the personal favorites from dozens of posters is probably not going to get you anywhere.

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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#12 Post by Vince L. » May 22nd, 2020, 9:46 am

Producer wise I've loved everything I've had from Chanin. (I just hate how the bottles are so fat) I'm starting to love Domaine de la Cote but they're pricier.

Vineyard wise, Bien Nacido is my jam.
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Bryan Price
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#13 Post by Bryan Price » May 22nd, 2020, 1:44 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 9:39 am
AlexO wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 7:42 am
Looking to expand my Pinot universe beyond the few that I love. I am a big fan of Peter Michael and Marcassin, but I wanted to see what other producers (and their specific bottlings) might be worth exploring. Definitely not a fan of overly extracted Pinot like KB.
Can you give some more examples of pinots you've liked and disliked? Otherwise, you're just going to get a hundred names thrown at you and not have any idea which ones are going to be more your thing.

There is a huge spectrum of styles and regions in California, plus it's constantly shifting (KB now makes pinots at around 14% -- probably much less extracted than PM and Marcassin at this point). For example, Kutch and Sea Smoke are both great pinots, but they're very different from each other.

Also, what price range are you looking for?

I'm just asking those questions in an effort to focus the thread in some way that is useful for you. A laundry list of the personal favorites from dozens of posters is probably not going to get you anywhere.
You're missing the point Chris. We need to tell people want to think and like! We're influencers!
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blarmston
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#14 Post by blarmston » May 22nd, 2020, 2:02 pm

I had a 2018 MAXEM UV Pinot last night, and while I’m by no means a PN expert, I found it to be quite tasty...
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Brandon R
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#15 Post by Brandon R » May 22nd, 2020, 2:47 pm

Cody S wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 8:12 am
I would look at Littoai, Domaine de la Cote, Ceritas, Cobb and Peay (Scallop Shelf especially). These are far more restrained than PM or Marcassin but beautiful examples of Cali Pinot.
Good producers, but seems to me they'd be (as you say) quite a departure from what the OP likes.
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M. Dildine
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#16 Post by M. Dildine » May 22nd, 2020, 2:54 pm

My Pinot purchases include:
Rhys (Horseshoe, Skyline and Swan)
Rivers Marie (mainly SC and Summa OV)
Pisoni (Estate and Gary's)
Williams Selyem, Windy Oaks, Arnot-Roberts and Mount Eden
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#17 Post by Mel Knox » May 22nd, 2020, 3:18 pm

I feel for somebody who loves Marcassin since it has been about six years since they released their last wine.
There are a lot of good suggestions here.

I would add Steve Kistler's newish venture, Occidental, to the list.

I would also second the notion that Kosta Browne has changed. Some of the wine don't each reach 13% alc.

Insofar as Au Bon Climat wines are concerned it sounds to me as though the better (more expensive) offerings might be in order.
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#18 Post by markjchambers » May 22nd, 2020, 5:00 pm

Agree with Arista, but if you really don't like the extracted style, you should be looking at Oregon

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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#19 Post by Scott Jameson » May 22nd, 2020, 7:42 pm

If one is looking for something similar to Marcassin and Peter Michael, I would not suggest Oregon. I would suggest Aubert as a producer in the same vein, although they can lean in the over-extracted direction. I also agree that KB has dialed it back a bit in recent years and is probably worth revisiting.

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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#20 Post by Ryan A » May 23rd, 2020, 12:07 am

blarmston wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 2:02 pm
I had a 2018 MAXEM UV Pinot last night, and while I’m by no means a PN expert, I found it to be quite tasty...
+1 Maxem
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#21 Post by Adam Frisch » May 23rd, 2020, 4:29 am

Not all Oregon is lean and restrained. Look at Antica Terra for example - some of the biggest style PN I've come across.
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#22 Post by Len Stevens » May 23rd, 2020, 5:15 am

Without question my favorite varietal and my 3 favorite, in order, are-

1. Rochioli small block-esp West Block, but love them all
2. Kutch-have yet to find one I don't enjoy, have been a fan since his debut and really enjoyed watching him evolve, also my fave Cali Chard producer
3. Rivers Marie-again, love them all but OV Summa floors me and have stocked up on Platt the last 2 years, buy haven't tried yet

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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#23 Post by R. Smith » May 23rd, 2020, 6:55 am

Hanzell all the way. The best of old and new world.
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Re: Best CA Pinot Noir

#24 Post by Thomas Keim » May 23rd, 2020, 6:59 am

R. Gaston wrote:
May 22nd, 2020, 8:26 am
Au Bon Climat
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My two favorites as well.
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