Red or White Tonight?

Written By: 
James Ginley

Try Pinot Noir, the food-friendly red

Sonoma Oaks Pinot Noir 2013

Russian River Valley, California, $22

Intense dark cherry and vanilla aromas with a touch of classic Pinot Noir earthiness. An all-around good wine and typical of the best region in California for Pinot. Try the food-friendly Sonoma Oaks with roasted pork and cranberry sauce, coq au vin or Asian dishes. Alcohol is high for a Pinot Noir at 14.1 percent.

Byron Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley 2012

Santa Maria Valley, California, $21

Grown and harvested in the cool coastal climate of the Santa Maria foothills. Dark berry and cherry hints enhance the allure of this very drinkable Pinot Noir. A light floral aroma beginning ends with a long finish. This wine pairs well with plank salmon, roasted chicken or pasta dishes. Earned 91 points from Wine Advocate.

King Estates Pinot Noir 2013

Willamette Valley, Oregon, $28

Lots of cherry, chocolate and cigar box notes give this wine a complexity you find in Pinots that cost $50 and more. Pinot Noir from Oregon is as close as you can get to Burgundy, France, where Pinot Noirs are quite expensive. Aging in French oak for eight months helps make it a good match for turkey, casseroles and stews.

Willamette Valley Estate Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 2015

Willamette Valley, Oregon, $24

Described as “fruit salad in a glass,” the aromas are blackberry, cherry and cocoa. An earthy, fruit-forward, juicy wine with good acidity. This wine was an editor’s choice and also earned 90 points from Wine Enthusiast. Try a glass with roasted beef or chicken.

Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2013

Anderson Valley, California, $50

You don’t have to be a James Bond fan to enjoy this one: big and bold, with textured earth tones and a touch of leather. Bouquet is cherry, followed by blackberry and pomegranate with a lingering finish. Drink with robust, hearty fare and rich sauces. 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.

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PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE WINERIES