Wife and I have been on a huge OR Pinot kick over the last year+ (probably trying Thomas for the first time set the wheels in motion).
While I’d love to be able to drink Thomas every night, unfortunately my allocation nor my wallet are big enough, so I’d like to find something that is more accessible (high end grocery, Total Wine, LWS) and in the $20-$35 range.
My palate isn’t sophisticated enough to know what characteristics of Thomas and the other “higher end OR PNs” are so appealing, but I’m hoping there are some options that are easier to obtain and easier on the wallet.
While I also love OR PN, I really find it’s tough in that price range - you’ll need to be at the high end. I think Patricia Green and Evening Land have some in that range which are solid. While I have had some reasonable Erath SVDs, I can’t recommend the WV or OR versions. Looks like Ken Wright might have a few cuvees in that range; haven’t them lately but may work for you.
I think there are plenty of decent options here. In my opinion $30 will get you much more consistent quality in Oregon than California. There are good $30 Pinot Noirs from both, but you’re much likely to get crap wine at this price if the label says California. I recommend looking for Ayres, Hayden Fig, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Elk Cove, Bow & Arrow.
On the low end of that scale ($20 or less) are two giant producers that actually make surprisingly decent stuff for the money: Erath and A to Z.
For a little bit more money, you really have tons of options. I’d recommend checking out the single vineyard wines from the producers above, as well as Big Table Farm, Domaine Drouhin, Eveningland, Beaux Freres, St Innocent (whose Chardonnay is a favorite of mine), Ken Wright, Belle Pente etc etc.
Finally, consider trying a bottle Sandhi. It’s at the price point you’re considering and, to me at least, has a similar sensibility to it that many good Oregon Pinots do. I wasn’t a huge fan of their Chardonnay, but the Pinot was fantastic.
Basic WV bottlings from all of these will be solid weeknight wines:
Cameron(must like the funk)
Love & Squalor
Walter Scott La Combe Verte
Arterberry-Maresh Dundee Hills
Whistling Dog(don’t be fooled by the name, the wines are good)
Shiba-Wichern($20 from Avalon, excellent wines)
Belle Pente ($23 from Avalon)
Loop de Loop (very good wines, and the Four Winds PN is $25)
Division Winemaking Cuvee Un
Trathan Hall (these are dynamite)
Granville Farmhouse Cuvee ($25)
McKinlay Chehalem Mountain ($25)
Horsetail PN ($27)
Johan Estate PN ($27)
White Rose Dundee Hills ($27)
Hundred Suns ($28)
Bethel Heights ($29)
Timothy Malone ($28)
There’s a stupid number of very good entry level Oregon Pinot Noirs available sub-$30. Maybe not at Total Wine, but Avalon, Sec, and Vinopolis all ship. As do the wineries themselves. We make an excellent Willamette Valley bottling that is $27/bottle. With case discount the shipping is basically a wash. All of the fruit is from the same vineyards our vineyard bottlings and Heritage wines come from. Most of the wines I’ve listed would be the same situation, and I recommend trying all of these.
Lots of great options mentioned and I suppose it depends on the market (my market does not have a deep selection of Oregon pinots), but I will second (or 3rd) the Patricia Green and Belle Pente options. Great stuff for the price. A to Z is at the low range and is usually solid if not spectacular for the price. Also at the low end of your range, I think Planet Oregon is a good choice – it is an entry level offering of Soter Vineyards (I love their Mineral Ranch Ranch cuvee which would be a great one for you for special occasions). If you have a deep selection of Oregon Pinots in your market then you can probably find some smaller producers that will have plenty of great selections in that range. I have long wanted to take that trip and explore many of the stellar options (thank you Marcus!) that do not make it to our market.
For many on this board, $25-$35 for an everyday “house” wine is fine. And what most people are calling $20 Pinot Noirs are usually $25-$30 bottles in most other markets outside the Pacific Northwest.
The best bargain in an everyday Oregon Pinot Noir? Castle Rock. Not every year, but the last two have been absolutely delicious (2018 & 2019) and sell for $12-$13 bucks a bottle. A negociant brand that can really hit the ball out of the park, it’s worth a try. The current vintage (2019) is a terrific bargain.
+1. And, while I believe it gets a little less love here, I may prefer the Vincent Eola-Amity Hills bottling at the same price. Either way, they are both excellent. Both at the lower end of your range if pre-ordered.
We are with Quail Distributing in AZ which is based out of Phoenix. They certainly carry our Reserve Pinot Noir. I have no idea what they wholesale it at but I’m sure if you have a shop you work with on the regular you could get it in the $25-27 sort of range. Single vineyards would probably start a tick above that at around $35 or so. 2019 Reserve is quite solid.
+1 for the Evesham Wood and Vincent bottlings others have mentioned. And Marcus’ list is solid. Sneaking in under $35 are single-vineyard wines from the likes of Vincent (must be on the list to get that price), Twill, Evesham Wood.
A few shops on wine-searcher are showing Kelley Fox’s Mirabai right at $35. Lovely wine for the money.