Close-up glass of red wine with bottles in background. / Photo by: Ashton Worthington / Prop Styling by: JJ Chan
Something clicked for California Pinot Noir in 2019. Several lower- and medium-priced wines from the vintage taste like they should be twice as expensive, opening a wonderful window of opportunity for consumers shopping in the $12 to $20 range.
Both large and small wineries produced outstanding values, drawing on vineyards from all over the map: North Coast, Central Coast, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. It’s not that price came down in most cases, but quality came up. What happened? Some of it is due to weather.
“2019 is the greatest vintage since 2007 down here,” says Santa Barbara-based Doug Margerum, producer of the stunning, $20 Valle de Inez 2019 Pinot Noir. “It was a very, very cool, mild summer and morphed into a cool fall harvest,” he says. The extra hang time allowed fully developed flavors and a smooth, well-controlled harvest and fermentation.