Best Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
While the Russian River Valley is a large appellation with multiple climate zones and soil types, it is best known for cool-climate varieties, with Pinot Noir as the most celebrated. The grapes benefit from a reliable late afternoon flow of Pacific Ocean fog through the Petaluma Gap and along the Russian River Valley that ensures slow and steady ripening and the preservation of grape acidity. Today many of California’s most highly regarded Pinot Noir vineyards are in the Russian River Valley, along with its sub-appellation, Green Valley.
Historically, Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs had bright red fruit and delicate earthy, mineral notes. But changes in viticultural and winemaking practices have led to stylistic changes in some of the region’s wines. Adjustments to canopy management, among other techniques, have resulted in riper fruit and bolder wines as well. These show flavors of black cherry, blackberry, cola, spice and darker, loamy earth tones, accenting traditional Pinot Noir notes of strawberry, raspberry and light cherry.
Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2018, $69.99
Sourced predominately from the estates that are defined by their proximity to the coast and Russian River climate, the wine displays vivid crimson and aromas of violet, Morello cherry, and black tea.
Velvet tannins on the palate ride along a juicy backbone of flavors such as cranberry, Blood orange, and Damson plum. The finish is long, powered behind a crisp acidity and appealing red clay-like minerality.
Freeman Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, $45
The 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was similar in character to our Gloria Estate
With a medium dark ruby color and pleasant aromas of ripe plums and earth, with wine is soft and rich on the palate.
It has just the right amount of balanced acidity, along with flavors of spicy Pinot berries and watermelon.
Barnett Vineyards Tina Marie Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2019 $50
The 2019 Tina Marie is lighter in color with more of a deep ruby core vs dark purple, with very pronounced aromatics.
Fresh blueberries, light plum, cherry blossom as well as cinnamon stick and white pepper are all prominent on the nose.
The wine is soft and silky with more pomegranate and gravel minerality on the palate.
The tannins are soft and elegant, with very balanced acidity. The finish is long and of bright cherry.
Domaine Della Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2016, $84.99
The 2016 Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Vineyard has a pale to medium ruby color and pretty nose of violet, kirsch, blueberry, black and red cherries and berries wrapped in a layer of sweet spice with savory/earthy accents of tobacco and soil.
Medium-bodied, it’s soft and silky in the mouth with spiced fruits, firm, grainy tannins and a long earthy finish.
Merry Edwards Klopp Pinot Noir 2017, $79.99
A deep garnet color portends a wine of depth and richness. The 2017 vintage has given us a classic Klopp Ranch — luxuriant with black raspberry, brambleberry, berry compote, blackberry pie and very ripe Bing cherry. The aroma expands with hints of lavender, cassis and toasted brioche.
Earthy notes reminiscent of mushrooms sprouting on a forest floor, along with smoky bacon, add highlights. The palate is bright on entry with inviting dark fruit, cocoa and cola. Tannins are firm but round and rich while the finish shows off black pepper and dark cherry.
Good acid balance keeps the wine lively and foretells a long future for this Pinot.
Pairs well with braised five-spice ribs, duck breast with blackberry reduction, ratatouille, and veal milanese.
Martinelli Bondi Home Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2019, 69.99
The 2019 Pinot Noir Bondi Home Ranch has alluring scents of wild blackberries, licorice, dried orange peel and amaro.
The medium-bodied palate is grainy and fresh with surprising depth of flavor, loaded with spicy accents and finishing very long.
Radio-Coteau Alberigi Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2017, $64.99,
The 2017 Pinot Noir Alberigi is pretty shy today, which is not especially typical for this wine.
Sweet tobacco, cedar, spice and floral nuances add aromatic depth.
Walter Hansel ‘The North Slope’ Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, 2017, $45
The South Slope begins at the highest elevation and the furthest South of all of their Vineyards blocks.
It slopes from South to North about 45 feet and its soils are predominantly sandy loam.
The berry size is medium with a high berry count giving cluster weight that has yields approaching 2 1/4 tons/acre (their highest yields).
It is 100% French clone 777, and tends to show its earthy side far more than their other clones.
Although this wine definitely has a French origin, each year it becomes more and more new world.
Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Russian River Pinot Noir 2018, $49.99
A concentrated tapestry of flavors, our 2018 Twomey Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has a complex yet delicate nose of black cherry, sage, red rose and tobacco. On the palate, refreshing acidity balances opulent berry notes. Voluptuous and polished tannins yield to a finish of cacao nibs and dark lingering fruit.
This wine brings to the fore aromas and flavors of black fruit, forest floor, and anise. Pair it with a well-seasoned, oven-roasted Porchetta.
La Crema Fog Veil Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2017, $55
Aromas of black cherry, wild blueberry, and allspice are followed by flavors of red plum, boysenberry, and sassafras.
On the palate, the 2017 vintage presents juicy acidity and soft tannins.
Tangy in strawberry and dark cherry, this impressively full-bodied, richly constructed wine is expansive and elegant.
Tremendous structure upholds its core of tannin and oak, finishing with a tangy, high-acid crispness and length.
DeLoach O.F.S. Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2017, $46
The quintessential Russian River Pinot Noir, the 2017 O.F.S. Pinot Noir opens with notes of pomegranate and orange zest with star anise.
Mouthwatering flavors of cranberry, blueberry, and black currant are accented with a touch of baker’s chocolate leading to a clean finish. Medium bodied with bright acidity.
This wine is a perfect accompaniment to cherry glazed duck breast or herb roasted pork tenderloin.
J Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir 2017, $40
The vintage 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a richly aromatic, layered, and deeply expressive example of the classic style of Pinot Noir from this renowned region.
Opening with aromas of supple leather, violets, and cherry cola, the silky, palate delivers complex forest fruit notes of blueberry, raspberry, and dark cherry that merge with hints of freshly-turned earth, mushroom, and allspice.
Well-integrated, fine tannins and a long finish leave a lasting impression. Perfect for complex, rich meals, this is an ideal wine with roasted turkey with cranberry chutney or cremini mushrooms stuffed with sage sausage. For a cheese pairing, try this with aged Manchego.
Lynmar Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2018, $49.99
The 2018 Lynmar Winery Russian River Pinot Noir pours a saturated ruby color in the glass. This vintage showcases aromatics of ripe strawberry, Santa Rosa plum, fresh rhubarb and black tea. On the palate, flavors of bing cherry, hibiscus and orange blossom are followed by undertones of baking spice and clove. A textured finish echoes notes of strawberry, black tea and spice.
Benovia Bella Una Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2017, $45
The 2017 vintage provided a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir with intense fruit and spice aromas and a layered texture. Dominant aromas of Blackberry and Boysenberry give way to red plum, toasted brioche and allspice, while black fruits occupy the palate with integrated acidity and fine-grained tannins that allow for mid-term cellaring
Through intensively farming each vineyard site, our intent is to maximize the character and individuality of place and we do so utilizing the most progressive viticultural techniques. Harvested at night, the fruit was rigorously hand sorted prior to de-stemming and then berry selected before open top fermentation.
Hartford Court Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2017, $37
Aromas of black cherry, allspice, black currant and loam are followed by flavors of wild raspberries, dark berries and a crushed rock minerality. The dense entry is followed by a sweet and juicy mouth feel, supported by acidity, silky tannins and a subtle earthyish.
Ten Acre Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2017, $48
Dark ruby-red in color, the Russian River Pinot Noir begins with a nose of sarsaparilla and violets, as well as notes that are reminiscent of a maple forest.
On the palate, a mouthfeel brimming with luscious red fruit leads into chewy, soft tannins and a vibrant finish.