Top 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.
Best pinot noir wines for the holidays
Laetitia 2012 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir – $40
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.
LaZarre 2011 Pinot Noir – $32
This Central Coast standout is the result of the small harvest of 2011 caused by a freeze. It starts with earthy notes and leads into black cherry on the tongue. Having been barrel-aged for 27 months gives it a rich and delicious mouthfeel. It will pair well with just about any holiday meal.
Nadeau 2012 Pinot Noir – $28
This wine is surprisingly dark and rich for a pinot. It blends fruit flavors with a bit of earthiness and oak. The Nadeaus made only 116 cases.
Pomar Junction 2011 Pinot Noir – $34
This Paso Robles pinot noir has aromas of wild flowers and red berries and follows through with similar flavors. It’s a food friendly wine, very approachable, and will pair well with fish and fowl.
Via Vega Offshore Pinot Noir – $32
Winemaker Larry Gomez calls this pinot “Offshore” because he brings the fruit in from San Lucas in Monterey County. The wine is a lighter-styled pinot, fresh and silky with ripe berries and earthiness. It will pair well with roasted turkey and all the trimmings.
Kenneth Volk Blaufränkisch – $28
I saved this for last because it’s not a pinot noir, but a similar and delicious wine. Genetic testing shows the grape comes from the same parent as pinot noir, Volk says. This festive non-vintage wine is velvety and plush. It gives notes of mixed berries and potpourri. Pair it with turkey, duck or lamb with a fruit sauce.
Best Paso Robles wines for the holidays
- White wines
- Rosé wines
- Pinot noir wines
- Rhone-style wines
- Zinfandel wines
- Cabernet and bordeaux-style blends
- Dessert wines
Editors note: I thought it would be a great idea to recommend local wines for upcoming holiday parties and dinners, but I had no idea how much participation we would receive from wineries. Over the last week we received about 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.