The places we look to for quality pinot noir are few; typically Burgundy, parts of California and Oregon, and New Zealand. I wanted to point out a few really nice pinots from places you normally wouldn't think about.
Two generous and lovely pinots from Germany
Becker Estate Pinot Noir, Pfalz, Germany 2008 ($19.99) - This wine is made from grapes grown right on the German border with Alsace. It's a ripe and generous pinot, with balanced, dark red fruits and a little spice framed by a silky mouthfeel.
A. Christmann Spatburgunder, Pfalz, Germany 2008 ($24.99) -
Also from the Pfalz, this features beautiful woodsy aromatics leaping out of the glass. The palate has firm cherries up front, then winding into a deep, lingering, savory complexity.
Two Mountain Reds from the Italian Alps
Ottin Pinot Noir, Vallee D'Aoste, Italy 2008 ($24.99) - A gorgeous wine. The fruit here is pure raspberry and it has very interesting smokey, meaty notes. It's one of my favorite reds in the store, I had even featured this in a blog several months ago.
Arnad Montjovet "La Kiuva", Vallee D'Aosta, Italy 2008 ($19.99) - Another Italian mountain red, this is actually a blend of nebbiolo, pinot noir, and a tiny bit of a local varietal. Red raspberries in a medium light style and some mushroomy tones make for a unique and tasty wine.
A New Zealand wine from an unknown region
Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir, North Canterbury, New Zealand 2009 ($23.99) - We know that New Zealand is capable of making some stunning pinots and this is the first one I've seen from this part of the South Island. Rarely do we find a pinot this good at this price. The wine is a mid-weight with gorgeous red raspberry fruit, a meatiness on the palate, and a wisp of toasty oak in the finish.
The quality of all these wines is superb and they represent tremendous value. I hope you can give one a try.