California pinot is just waaay too expensive

I stopped at Hi Time at lunch today, wasn’t even shopping for pinot (was there to pick up some Liquid Farm 2011 White Hill Chardonnay, which is awesome), but passed through that section.

Within one physical view of mine in the B through D portion of the alphabet, I see the following: 2010 Domaine Eden Pinot Noir SCM $35, 2010 Cabot Pinot Noir Anderson Valley $24, 2010 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble $28, and 2010 Calera Pinot Noir Ryan Vineyard $35.

Four pinots of that caliber, artisinal wines with complexity, balance and ageworthiness, sitting on the shelf, no need to be on a mailing list or have some special connections, and all between $24-35. And not only was I not hunting around, I wasn’t even looking except in passing as I was walking by.

Granted, this is totally just an anecdotal snapshot on one occasion, but I was struck by how much better value there is in California pinot than most people realize or acknowledge. Of course, like any category, there are also expensive wines which aren’t that great or which you personally won’t like, but there are some great deals to be had as well.

I’ll add Vrai Cote from Chasseur, Cep from Peay, Paring, Morgan 12 Clones, Sandhi, Lioco, Sequanna, Calera CC. Lots of great juice in a variety of styles and regions. Siduri Appellation wines.

FWIW - in the retail world anything north of $25 is typically considered “ultra premium”…true story.

So for the average wine consumer, these are special occasion wines.

The average wine consumer also doesn’t read and post on the Wine Berserkers board. I was speaking to people on here. I realize my mom wouldn’t see Domaine Eden 2010 for $35 and think “wow, what a crazy good deal!!”

My bad - I read this:

and thought you were speaking about people in general.

Sorry that wasn’t clear. I doubt “most people,” speaking broadly about Americans or wine-drinking Americans, had an opinion about the pricing of California pinots to begin with.

But, of course, you are correct that we do live in a little bubble here, where $30 wines are “daily drinkers” and so forth (or, in the case of Jonathan Favre, Grand Cru Burgs from medium and lesser vintages are daily drinkers [cheers.gif] ). The only time we’re tight with money around here is when it comes to corkage fees or tasting room fees.

My non wine geek friends gaze at me like I have two heads when I describe this range as value.

I’ll say, though, in the case of this particular wine, it IS a great buy. The 2010 version drinks like a very good villages burg, which these days go for $60-$80

I tend to subscribe to that branch of the wine pricing discussion that says if people will pay a price for something, then you can’t lay fault in anyone for keeping that as the price or raising it a bit to see what the market will bear. But here’s the other point you raise, which I’ve seen play out: newer wine drinkers who feel like California Pinot is so expensive that they just avoid it entirely in favor of other wines. That’s unfortunate. There are great producers in a frugal price range (even “real world” frugal) and I try to direct people to them when I can.

I need to try the Mt. Eden, but in my opinion Copain Tous is not a particularly good value at $28. There are a bunch of good Bourgognes I’d rather drink at $20-30. I would also rather drink Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara than Copain Tous, and it’s about $20.

Great values (amongst our crowd)…I’ve enjoyed the Cabot myself, also bought a few at Hi Time this year. Also love the Liquid Farm.

Still have to say Burgundy is a completely different genre, and I can’t make the comparison of a very good villages Burg. Something like a 2010 Chevillon NSG VV would be figure to be a cut above for me, age longer, go with food better, etc. $45-60, though importing costs and a weak dollar don’t help matters.

I don’t they should be related. Speaking as someone who has to sell to a wide range of palates, I can find a lot of Bourgogne in the $20-$30 range that I find as compelling as their California equivalents. Some people crave the former - others the latter. I will say that finding village level quality Burgundy costs more than $30. Based on a lot of tasting across the spectrum, and with my preference for the old world, there is a lot if West Coast Pinot (we haven’t even touched upon Oregon) that currently rocks in the $25-$40 range.

Argh! Post-editor! [cheers.gif]

2010 Tortochot Morey St. Denis - $30 big ones. I agree though, that’s the exception.

The comparison to Burg on this board was inevitable.

Sorry, didn’t mean to rehash old comparisons. My only point was that the 2010 Dom Mt Eden SCM pinot carries the class and poise I find in good village red burg. And at the pricepoint of $35, it is a no-brainier for a burg guy like me.

Incidentally, I’ve not seen Chevillon’s village NSG for under $60 in '10 or '11. I think even PC has it above $60 (pre-arrival of course)

I should try all of those CA wines mentioned, especially by those like yourself who like Burg as well.

Re: Chevillon - Bought at $50 through Rare Wine Co. Also spotted at $45/each at Buckley. Surprised Wine Exchange was @ $60…guess they figured it would sell out regardless.

I better double my efforts, then, b/c I love the village wine but gave up at the >$60 point.

The low point on PC’s 2010 Chevillon NSG was $23 in April 2012… hopefully mine will show up eventually.

bought at about that, I think it is in now.

I agree there is a sea of value in Cali pinot, but there is sure a lot of stuff you need waders for. But ultimately, in the $30-$40 range, pretty stiff competition.