Grown around the world, Pinot Noir can run the gamut from fresh and bright with tart red fruit to alluring and complex with earthy and savory notes. A darling among sommeliers, Pinot Noir’s prominent acidity and gentle tannins make it a versatile and food-friendly wine.
With holiday feasts on the horizon, we asked sommeliers for their picks when it comes to high–quality, affordable Pinot Noir. The experts’ responses include a global treasure trove that will reward any enthusiast, with under-the-radar regions and producers from California, Germany, and New Zealand. French producers were also heavily favored with plenty of bottles for the Burgundy fan, Loire Valley Pinots, and even a mineral-laced rosé Champagne that will delight family and friends at any occasion.
The Pinot Noir That Offers the Best Bang for Your Buck, According to Somms:
- New Zealand producers: Millton, Dry River, and Neudorf
- Pinot Noir from California’s Central Coast
- German and Austrian producers: Wasenhaus, Salwey, and Johanneshof Reinisch
- August Kesseler Pinot Noir, Rheingau, Germany
- Enderle & Moll Baden Pinot Noir 2021
- Frecciarossa Carillo Pinot Nero 2022, Oltrepò Pavese, Italy
- Sanford Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, California
- Soter Vineyards Planet Oregon Pinot Noir
- Littorai Pinot Noir Les Larmes
- Bodega Chacra Barda Pinot Noir, Patagonia, Argentina
- Cameron Winery Reserve Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Oregon
- Jean-Baptiste Boudier Les Combes Aloxe-Corton Bourgogne Rouge 2019
- Lioco Pinot Noir
- Pinot Noir from Sancerre and Menetou-Salon
- Domaine Yves Martin Sancerre Rouge
- Viñedos Veramonte Ritual Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile
- Pas de Problème Pinot Noir, Languedoc, France
- Jean-Pierre Maldant Clos de la Chapelle Bourgogne Rouge 2021
- Burgundy from producer Clarisse de Suremain
- Champagne Moutard Père & Fils Brut Pinot Noir Dame Nesle Côte Des Bar Cépage Rosé
“If you want a crushable Pinot that over-delivers on value you can’t go wrong with New Zealand! Many examples are at or under $30 retail, such as Millton in Gisborne, Dry River in Martinborough, and Neudorf in Nelson. You can splurge if you want; Quartz Reef and Burn Cottage are two high-end Pinots from Central Otago and are still well below most California or Burgundy prices.” —Vanessa Da Silva, wine director, Point Seven, NYC
“I find the best bang for my buck in the nooks and crannies of California’s Central Coast. The area, albeit large, is well suited to growing Pinot Noir, and produces some beautiful examples. Some of the better known AVAs and vineyard designates in the Central Coast may still garner a hefty price, but there are enclaves that remain relatively undiscovered.” —Emily Johnston, sommelier, The Dutchess, Ojai, Calif.
“I think that German and Austrian Pinot Noirs are some of the best bang-for-your-buck wines right now. Producers like Wasenhaus, Salwey, and Johanneshof Reinisch are producing beautiful, complex, and varietally driven versions that compete with any Burgundy and don’t carry as hefty a price tag because they still aren’t as widely sought after.” —Juliette Dottle, sommelier and beverage director, Nōksu, NYC
“I am a huge fan of German Pinot Noir. We have August Kesseler Pinot Noir from the Rheingau on our list, and it regularly outperforms some very expensive examples of Burgundy. Not a lot of people consider Germany a red wine-growing region, but with temperatures rising, Pinot Noir is ripening very well.” —Hugo Bensimon, advanced sommelier, Grill 23, Boston
“Enderle & Moll Baden Pinot Noir 2021. I love this for a few reasons: First, and most importantly, it’s incredibly delicious, complex, and aromatic. It hits all the high points that I love about a great Pinot. Since it’s from Germany — not a place most people turn to for this grape — it’s a crazy value, especially considering how much effort and care are put into it from the producer.” —Dustin Wilson, master sommelier, co-founder, Verve Wine, and founding partner, Apres Cru, Chicago, San Francisco, and NYC
“Frecciarossa Pinot Nero Carillo, Oltrepò Pavese, Italy 2022. When it comes to bang for your buck, there are few wines that check as many boxes as the fourth-generation estate of Frecciarossa. Located in the often overlooked wine region of the Oltrepò Pavese in southern Lombardia, this estate has been a benchmark for nearly 100 years. The second generation of Frecciarossa spent time learning agronomy in Burgundy, which ultimately led to the pursuit of plantings of Pinot Noir due to their unique clay and limestone soils reminiscent of their famed neighbors to the north. Carillo is everything you want in a youthful style of Pinot Noir: a stunning balance of ripeness from the warmer climate with a throughline of mouthwatering acidity. If you love warmer years of Bourgogne Rouge, this would be a dead-ringer for a much more affordable price at $25 retail.” —Sam Bogue, wine director, Flour + Water, San Francisco
“I love a great Santa Rita Hills Pinot and in my opinion, the wines from Sanford punch well above their weight class. They possess the depth and complexity of wines twice the price from Sonoma. Really great fruit from their single vineyards goes into the estate wine, which gives it a great boost.” —Zach Kameron, beverage director, Peak, NYC
“Living in Oregon, we are surrounded by amazing Pinot Noir but unfortunately, none of it is what you’d call ‘budget wine.’ Soter’s Planet Oregon Pinot is one of the few exceptions to that rule — it’s high quality, responsibly made, a major crowd pleaser, and it doesn’t break the bank! My favorite thing about Planet Oregon is that they are a brand built around doing the right thing: All fruit is farmed sustainably, the winery operates mindfully in regards to waste, emissions, and energy, and 1 percent of all sales are donated to environmental organizations. It also helps that the wine is great, too. They manage to capture that quintessential Willamette Valley Pinot style of spicy red fruit — think cranberry, bing cherry and a touch of clove — balanced with earthy, mushroomy savory notes. I love pairing it with dishes featuring local mushrooms (especially chanterelles) and Oregon truffles.” —Kelsey Glasser, owner and sommelier, Arden, Portland, Ore.
“Littorai’s Les Larmes cuvée is, to me, the ultimate undervalued Pinot Noir. Meaning ‘the tears’ in French, Les Larmes is a blend of declassified barrels and press wine from Anderson Valley Pinot Noir vineyards. Proprietor and winemaker Ted Lemon has such a deft hand, having spent his previous life making wine at Domaine Roulot in Burgundy, as well as at Domaine Dujac, Domaine Georges Roumier, and Domaine Bruno Clair. Littorai’s fruit is farmed organically and biodynamically. With Ted’s wine, you’re getting grand cru-quality winemaking for village prices. It feels criminal, but it’s also core to Ted’s — and his wife and business partner Heidi’s — mission of showing that incredibly delicious, quality, ageable Pinot Noirs (and other classic Old World varieties) can be made in the U.S., sustainably, and still be accessible.” —Emmeline Zhao, managing partner and sommelier, Silver Apricot and Figure Eight, NYC
“The best value Pinot Noir I’ve tasted recently is from Bodega Chacra in Patagonia, Argentina. Their Barda Pinot Noir is a blend of the estate’s youngest vines and shows very youthful and fresh. This project is not only from an exciting region but is also a collaboration between two big names in the wine industry: Piero Incisa della Rocchetta (grandson of the founder of Sassicaia in Bolgheri, Tuscany) and Jean-Marc Roulot of Domaine Roulot in Burgundy. The Barda Pinot Noir is a delicate balance of high-toned fruit, minerality, and earth. I haven’t found a guest at Indienne yet who hasn’t fallen in love with it.” —Tia Polite, sommelier, Indienne, Chicago
“I’d recommend Cameron Winery’s Reserve Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Oregon. It retails for about $44 a bottle, which I know is not cheap, but nor is quality Pinot Noir! But as far as being a bang for your buck, you would be incredibly hard pressed to beat this quality at this price. Winemaker John Paul Cameron and Cameron Winery are living legends, yet few besides the geekiest of Pinot-philes have heard of him outside of Oregon. This is in no doubt due to his limited production — about 4,000 cases annually — which is mostly consumed in Portland.” —Joshua Link, general manager, Corrida, Boulder, Colo.
“At the moment, I’m in love with the 2019 Jean-Baptiste Boudier, Les Combes, Aloxe-Corton, Bourgogne Rouge. Jean takes a really soft approach to his wines. The Aloxe-Corton is really finely structured with light tannins and young, ruby red fruit. He shorts his maceration period and does very minimal pumpovers to keep the essence of the fruit and terroir preserved — a hands-off approach for sure. For a village-level Beaune rouge, [this] wine is very approachable and reasonably priced for village-level Burgundy.” —Matthew Brodbine, beverage director, Pasjoli, Santa Monica, Calif.
“You can find great-value, porch-pounder Pinot Noirs by Lioco. There are many single vineyard choices at an unprecedented value. Fantastic Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley fruit with bright flavors and minerality really highlight the acclaimed sources. These wines are an excellent buy with plenty of variation to choose from.” —Scott Taylor, beverage director, Harris’ Restaurant, San Francisco
“Pinot Noir from the Loire Valley delivers super-elegant, vibrant, and classic Pinots at a much lower price point than its neighbor, Burgundy. The two major appellations are Sancerre and Menetou-Salon, though there are a handful of other smaller appellations. These wines are lean and low in alcohol, and are great crowd-pleaser wines that work with a variety of cuisine types.” —Kylie Monagan, sommelier and partner, Amali, Calissa and Juniper at The Vanderbilt, NYC/Water Mill and Westbury, N.Y.
“For those of us seeking a great Pinot without getting sticker shock, one only has to look a bit south to Sancerre in the Loire Valley, better known for their Sauvignon Blanc. Yves Martin has been producing beautiful Sancerre Rouge for years and will be sure to impress your friends at the dinner table.” —Gehad Hadidi, owner, Huda, Brooklyn
“Viñedos Veramonte Ritual. This Pinot Noir comes from the Casablanca Valley in Chile. The wine has tart cherry because of the cool Pacific influence, but still gets rich fruit because of the intense Southern Hemisphere sun [and shows] opulence and restraint, which is incredibly hard to find with a low sticker price.” —Benjamin Oram, sommelier, Rochambeau, Boston
“A go-to for me is the Pas de Problème Pinot Noir out of the Languedoc in France. This lean and unoaked Pinot Noir is a delight by itself with a light chill, or can be more serious, served alongside grilled lamb chops. It’s well made [and sells] at a great price point, but doesn’t compromise the flavors or natural charm that we expect from Pinot Noir. It’s all there: the tart strawberry and cranberry, some lilac and spice. In a market filled with expensive Pinot Noir, this wine is a gem.” —Eric Gallen, sommelier and beverage director, Bardea Steak, Wilmington, Del.
“The best bang for your buck is Jean-Pierre Maldant Clos de la Chapelle Bourgogne Rouge 2021. Although the price of Burgundy has dramatically increased in the past years, while supply stayed limited — as it always has been for over a thousand years — there are still many less-known producers and subregions that make stunning wine.” —Peter Juong, head sommelier, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, NYC
“These days, I’ve found myself strongly recommending any and all Pinot Noirs from Clarisse de Suremain, an absolutely incredible young producer in Burgundy making some of the most gorgeous, texturally rich, more-ish wines I’ve had in years. Her wines are still comparatively quite affordable when looking at Burgundy of this quality, and I strongly recommend seeking her bottles while you can still find any.” —Cody Pruitt, owner, Libertine, NYC
“My favorite bang-for-your-buck Pinot Noir is not your traditional red wine Pinot Noir from Oregon or Burgundy, but is actually from Champagne, France. It is Champagne Moutard Père & Fils Brut Pinot Noir Dame Nesle Côte Des Bar Cépage Rosé. This is one of the least expensive Pinot Noir-based rosé Champagnes, and generally retails around $50 where most other rosé Champagnes will set you back at least $75 or more. This wine is from the Côte des Bar region of Champagne and is characterized by mineral notes more reminiscent of Chablis than other Champagne regions. This is one of my all-time favorite Pinot Noirs.” —Thomas Delasko, general manager and sommelier, Via Sophia and Society at Hamilton Hotel, Washington, D.C.