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Best local pinot noir wines for the holidays  

Pinot noir is always a popular choice for holiday parties and dinners because it is easy to pair with so many holiday dishes. Pinot noir’s traditional characters of medium-bodied fruit, lower alcohol, velvety mouthfeel, and bright acidity make it an excellent lighter red wine for holiday meals. After tasting more than a dozen local pinot noir wines we made some recommendations below. We suggest serving these wines slightly chilled at about 55°F.

Top Paso Robles pinot noir wines

Asuncion Ridge Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir – $42
This estate pinot noir drinks very well. Its vineyard is perched high on the ridge of the Santa Lucia mountain range overlooking the ocean. It recently won a gold medal at the Central Coast Wine Competition. Serve with any grilled or roasted poultry.

Bianchi Winery 2013 Pinot Noir – $36
From Garey Vineyards in Santa Maria Valley, this reserve pinot noir is medium-bodied yet light with a fruity aroma and a robust earthy, tannic and oak finish. Hints of raspberry, vanilla, chocolate and smokey cedar. The flavor lingers.

Castoro Cellars 2012 Pinot Noir “Blind Faith Estate” – $30pinot-noir
This wine was fermented on its skins for 10 days to bring out the delicate nuances of pinot noir. It offers balanced flavors of fresh strawberries and light toasted oak notes. It recently received 87 points from

Hearthstone 2013 Pinot Noir – $42
This Paso Robles pinot has aromas of strawberries, cherries and vanilla with a hint of white pepper. It’s a juicy wine with a lingering, tart finish. It will pair well with lamb, ham, or prime rib for your holiday meal.

Laetitia 2014 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir – $42
Laetitia Vineyard and Winery has made a name for itself as one of the best pinot noir producers in San Luis Obispo County. This vintage shows their expertise in the varietal, even though it’s outside their typical softer style. It has bold notes of cassis, tobacco and black pepper. It will pair nicely with roasted duck and other holiday meats.

Pomar Junction 2013 Pinot Noir Reserve – $54
This pinot is aromatic with bright raspberries, eucalyptus, and a touch of minerality. It has flavors of tart berries, wild apples, and allspice with a lingering finish of chocolate and cinnamon. It recently won a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

Paso Robles wine recommendations


Publisher’s note: For the second year in a row we thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for upcoming holiday parties and dinners. Once again, I had no idea how much participation we would receive from our local wineries. Over the last few weeks we received more than 100 entries. I was originally planning a list of 10 or so of the best wines, but after tasting and tasting and tasting, there were just too many solid, well-made wines to recommend. So we decided to break up the list of top local wines into categories. The recommended wines are in alphabetical order.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.