Best Pinot Noir Wine: 15 Bottles to Try Right Now (2021 UPDATE)

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Want to experience the best Pinot Noir wine this world has to offer? Pinot Noirs that are so bold and fruity you might mistake them for Syrahs? Then we have the perfect list for you – our favorite bottles of Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California. 

While the average wine drinker might be focused on Pinot Noir pairings, whether Pinot Noir is sweet or dry, or the differences between Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon

You are looking for something deeper. 

And you want to know where to find the very best pinot noir. You want to know where to get bottles of this seductive and silky red wine at the absolute pinnacle of its existence – and that’s exactly what we’re going to provide you with in this list. 

When it comes to Pinot Noir, it’s hard to beat Sonoma County. This hard-hitting little region of California consistently pumps out award-winning Pinot Noir wine year after year. 

So what is the secret? And how do you find the best Pinot Noir wine in Sonoma County with so many wineries to choose from?

We’ll answer your questions one at a time, but first let’s focus on what makes Sonoma County so special, and then talk about our favorite bottles of Pinot Noir wine from the best wineries in Sonoma County. 



Why does Sonoma County produce the best Pinot Noir wine?

Sonoma County has some of the best wine growing conditions in the word. The weather, the ocean, and the soil all play a pivotal role in shaping the exceptionally strong flavors of the wine it produces. 

In particular, the Russian River Valley AVA, a mere 165,000 acres in Sonoma County, produces some of the most stunning bottles of Pinot Noir wine. 

What makes Russian River Valley Pinot Noir so exceptional?

The answer is made of many facets, the first of which is the incredible diversity of the soil. The Russian River Valley has some of the most diverse soil in the world, with more soil types than all of France combined. 

This soil is the result of volcanic eruptions from millions of years ago. The ash from the eruptions created sandstone rich in silt and clay, which the people of the Russian River Valley refer to as “Goldridge Soil.” 

This loamy soil is especially well draining, which makes it a perfect match for hard-to-grow Pinot Noir grapes. 

Pinot Noir grapes need cool climates with plenty of sunshine to thrive. If it gets too hot they will shrivel and raisin. If it gets too cold they will develop rot and disease.

Because of these, there are very few regions in the world that can successfully grow Pinot Noir grapes – but the Russian River Valley is one of them!

The Russian River Valley is known for its characteristic blanket of fog that envelops the rolling hills, and the vineyards nestled between them, for most of the morning hours. 

This fog works as a natural air conditioner, protecting the grapes from too much heat and prolonging the growing season in the process. With up to 20% more hang time on the vines, Pinot Noir grapes in the Russian River Valley become bolder and fruitier than ever thought possible. 

But the fog doesn’t work alone. It gives away to gentle, consistent sunshine in the late afternoon, which further helps the Pinot Noir grapes to thrive. 

This combination of sun, soil, and seaside fog work together to build a symphony of flavors within the resulting wine. 

Sonoma County, and the Russian River Valley in particular, have absolutely the best terroir on Earth for Pinot Noir grapes – which is why it also produces the best Pinot Noir wine in the world. 

So, now that you know a little bit more about why wine in this region is so spectacular, let’s help you narrow down the best bottles of Pinot Noir to purchase for yourself. 

15 Best Pinot Noir Wines from Sonoma County

Here is a list, in no particular order, of what we deem to be the best Pinot Noir wines in Sonoma – including some gems from the Russian River Valley itself. 

1. 2017 Emeritus Vineyards Pinot Noir, Wesley’s Reserve

The 2017 Wesley’s Reserve Pinot Noir from Emeritus Vineyards is intense and dramatic – bursting with dark berry flavors of blackberry, loganberry, and pomegranate. With luxurious tannins and a rich, fleshy palate, this Pinot Noir is sure to impress. 

Sip through the layers of black coffee, black pepper, frankincense, cedar, and spice and marvel at the complexity of this incredible wine. 

2017 Emeritus Vineyards Pinot Noir, Wesley’s Reserve, $75

2017 Emeritus Vineyards Pinot Noir, Wesley’s Reserve, $75
Wine:2017 Emeritus Vineyards Pinot Noir, Wesley’s Reserve
Score:94, Wine Enthusiast
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Pomegranate, rhubarb, and blackberry with hints of dried herbs, black pepper, black tea, and forest floor. 
StyleIntense and Structured
Body:Medium to Full
Price:$75.00
ABV:13.8%
Vineyard:Emeritus Vineyards

2. 2018 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir

If you’re looking for the best Pinot Noir wine to pair with rich meat dishes like lamb stew, grilled meats, and duck – this is it. The 2018 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir from Dutton Goldfield is endlessly complex, and you’re taken on a journey with every single sip.

It starts with bold aromas of Bing cherry, red beet, and black raspberry, then moves through whiffs of dried lavender and crushed granite. 

The mouth has lush fruit flavors of cherry, pomegranate, and cranberry accompanied cigar box spice and a long, lingering finish of Ceylon tea and minerality. 

2018 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dutton Goldfield, $68
2018 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir, Dutton Goldfield, $68
Wine:2018 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir
Score:97, PinotFile; 96, Wine Enthusiast
AVA:Fort Ross-Seaview
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Cherry, pomegranate, and cranberry fruit framed by cigar box spice and black tea notes. 
StyleRobust and Bold
Body:Medium to Full
Price:$68.00
ABV:14.1%
Vineyard:Dutton Goldfield

3. 2017 Gioia Vineyard Pinot Noir

The 2017 Gioia Vineyard Pinot Noir from Furthermore Wines won the Double Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, so that should already tell you to grab a bottle of it!

This clear garnet wine boasts elegant dark fruit flavors of blackberry and black cherry with a hint of florals and a bit of barrel spice thrown in. With solid acidity, soft tannins, and notes of oak, this is a wine that plays well with any dinner spread. 

2017 Gioia Vineyard Pinot Noir, Furthermore Wines, $60

2017 Gioia Vineyard Pinot Noir, Furthermore Wines, $60
Wine:2017 Gioia Vineyard Pinot Noir
Score:98, San Francisco International Wine Competition
AVA:Sonoma Coast
Awards:Double Gold, San Francisco International Wine Competition
Tasting Notes:Black cherry, blackberry and barrel spice with ample acidity and hints of oak.
Style:Burgundian
Body:Full
Price:$60.00
ABV:14.4%
Vineyard:Furthermore Wines

4. 2016 Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir

The 2016 Pinot Noir from Claypool Cellars is one of their best vintages of the last 10 years (and definitely one of the best Pinot Noir wines in Sonoma County). This stunning wine has notes of dark cherry, hibiscus, plum, leather, cola, and crushed stone. 

There are also hints of lavender, mint and dried herbs that sing beautifully in this strikingly savory and tannic Pinot Noir wine. 

2016 Pachyderm Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir, Claypool Cellars, $150
2016 Pachyderm Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir, Claypool Cellars, $150
Wine:2016 Pachyderm Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir
Score:91, Wine-Searcher
AVA:Sonoma Coast
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Dark cherry, plum, hibiscus, leather, and cola with nuances of lavender and mint.
Style:Savory and Classic
Body:Medium
Price:$160.00 (1.5 L)
ABV:13.2%
Vineyard:Claypool Cellars

5. 2018 Toboni Vineyard Pinot Noir

The 2018 Toboni Vineyard Pinot Noir is one of the boldest and most zesty Pinots around. Bursting forth with plum, vanilla, and tiramisu flavors, this wine gives way to notes of pomegranate, boysenberry, and peppercorn. Try it paired with Steak au Poivre, or Coq au Vin.

2018 Pellegrini “Toboni Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Pellegrini Olivet Lane, $50
2018 Pellegrini “Toboni Vineyard” Pinot Noir, Pellegrini Olivet Lane, $50
Wine:2018 Pellegrini “Toboni Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Score:N/A
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Boysenberry, pomegranate, and plum with black peppercorn and tiramisu.
Style:Bold and Acidic
Body:Full
Price:$50.00
ABV:14.3%
Vineyard:Pellegrini Olivet Lane

6. 2018 Hartford Court Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir 

The rich soil at the bottom of the Sta. Rita Hills provides a deep complexity and highly textured feel to the 2018 Hartford Court Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir. Characterized by dark cherry and plum aromas and a long, beautiful finish, this wine brings Burgundian elegance straight to California. 

Aged in just under 30% new French Oak, this bottle of wine hosts an abundance of earthiness from sappy herbs to forest floor to the hints of loamy soil from whence the wine came. It delivers ample salinity, minerality, and tannins along with the delicious dark fruit flavors.

2018 Hartford Court Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir, Hartford Family Winery, $70
2018 Hartford Court Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir, Hartford Family Winery, $70
Wine:2018 Hartford Court Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir
Score:95, Jeb Dunnuck; 94, Antonio Galloni
AVA:Sta. Rita Hills
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Ripe cherry, plum, forest floor, and loamy soil.
Style:Burgundian
Body:Medium
Price:$70.00
ABV:13.6%
Vineyard:Hartford Family Winery

7. 2017 Pinot Noir, Hallberg Vineyard

This Pinot Noir wine is simply layered with notes of fresh fruit, dark candied cherries, roasted meat, molasses, and even Vegemite! With a lot of weight to the mid-pallet, this vintage is one of the best Pinot Noir wines for matching with hearty French dishes like beef bourguignon. 

2017 Pinot Noir, Hallberg Vineyard, $50
2017 Pinot Noir, Hallberg Vineyard, $50
Wine:2017 Pinot Noir, Hallberg Vineyard
Score:N/A
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Dark cherry, roasted meat, molasses, and vegemite. 
Style:Earthy and Rich
Body:Full
Price:$50.00
ABV:14.3%
Vineyard:DRNK Wines

8. Cristina Pinot Noir 2017

The Christina Pinot Noir 2017 from Marimar Estate is incredibly engaging, with aromas of ripe cherry, dark fruit, and just a hint of pomegranate. The palate is seductive and silky with an unending finish and savory notes of anise and bay leaf. This is a wine that will age sublimely. 

Cristina Pinot Noir 2017, Marimar Estate, $74
Cristina Pinot Noir 2017, Marimar Estate, $74
Wine:Cristina Pinot Noir 2017
Score:92, Wine Spectator
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Cherry, pomegranate, bay leaf, and anise. 
Style:Balanced and Acidic
Body:Medium
Price:$74.00
ABV:14%
Vineyard:Marimar Estate Vineyards & Winery

9. 2017 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir

This glistening garnet wine is as silky as it is bold, with gamey tannins, medium body, and ample fruit. It greets you with alluring aromas of boysenberry, blueberry, and sweet almond, and deep flavors of blackberry, coffee and cola. This is truly a classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. 

2017 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, Joseph Jewell Winery, $60
2017 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, Joseph Jewell Winery, $60
Wine:2017 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir
Score:N/A
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Blackberry, coffee, and cola.
Style:Savory and Classic
Body:Medium
Price:$60.00
ABV:13.8%
Vineyard:Joseph Jewell Winery

10. 2017 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir

If you’re looking for a truly smooth sip of wine, then the 2017 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir from Gary Farrell Winery is just the ticket. This lighter-styled Pinot features summer strawberry, ripe cherry, and raspberry flavors all rolled up in layers of violet, rose, mushroom, and black tea. 

2017 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir, Gary Farrell Winery, $65
2017 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir, Gary Farrell Winery, $65
Wine:2017 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir
Score:95, Wilfred Wong
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Cherry, raspberry, violet, cedar, and mushroom.
Style:Smooth and Balanced
Body:Medium
Price:$65.00 
ABV:14.1%
Vineyard:Gary Farrell Winery

11. 2018 Heaven & Earth Pinot Noir

The 2018 vintage from Red Car is particularly special because of the cool, long growing season that produced this wine. It allowed the fruit from each of the three clones at the Heaven & Earth vineyard to build deeper, more complex flavors from the extended hang time. 

This is one of the best Pinot Noir wines for experiencing the pinnacle of the cool-climate style. Savory, brooding, and deliciously balanced, this Pinot Noir boasts bright blackberry, pomegranate and rhubarb – seasoned in baking spice, cardamom and a hint of white pepper.

2018 Heaven & Earth Pinot Noir, Red Car, $75
2018 Heaven & Earth Pinot Noir, Red Car, $75
Wine:2018 Heaven & Earth Pinot Noir
Score:93, Wine Enthusiast; 93, Wine Spectator
AVA:Sonoma Coast
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Blackberry, pomegranate, rhubarb, and baking spices.
Style:Savory, Cool-Climate
Body:Medium
Price:$75.00
ABV:13.5%
Vineyard:Red Car


12. Synthesis 2019 Estate Pinot Noir

The cool mornings and fog drenched valleys of the Russian River Valley produce exceptional Pinot Noir wine, and the Synthesis 2019 Estate Pinot Noir from Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery is one of them. 

This Pinot Noir is exceptionally perfumed with aromas and flavors of fresh pomegranate, dark berries, rip strawberry, fresh earth, orange peel, and subtle hints of rose. With a spine of firm acidity, fleshy tannins, and a finish of truffle and clove, it’s worth far more than its price tag. 

It’s rare to find Pinot Noir of this quality at this price point, so if you’re on a budget, this is the best Pinot Noir wine for you. 

Synthesis 2019 Estate Pinot Noir, Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery, $31.50
Synthesis 2019 Estate Pinot Noir, Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery, $31.50
Wine:Synthesis 2019 Estate Pinot Noir
Score:93, James Suckling
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:Double Gold, Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Tasting Notes:Pomegranate, raspberry and cranberry with earth, orange peel, rose, and clove.
Style:Burgundian
Body:Full
Price:$31.50
ABV:14.4%
Vineyard:Martin Ray Vineyards & Winery

13. 2018 EnRoute “Les Pommiers” Pinot Noir

Tantalizing and opulent, the 2018 EnRoute “Les Pommiers” Pinot Noir does the Russian River Valley proud. Lush and silky from start to finish, this decadent Pinot Noir unfolds layers of dark berry flavor, dried rose petal aromas, and lingering hints of clove and forest floor. 

With a juicy entry, spiced accent and mineral finish, this complex bottle is one of the best Pinot Noir wines to enjoy with a buttery grilled salmon. 

2018 Les Pommiers Pinot Noir, EnRoute Winery, $60
2018 Les Pommiers Pinot Noir, EnRoute Winery, $60
Wine:2018 Les Pommiers Pinot Noir
Score:93, Wine Spectator; 91, Wine Enthusiast
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Berry jam, clove, and forest floor.
Style:Classic and Chewy
Body:Full
Price:$60.00
ABV:14.5%
Vineyard:EnRoute Winery

14. 2018 Cuvée Eva Marie Pinot Noir

The 2018 Cuvée Eva Marie Pinot Noir is named after the wife of Three Sticks founder, Bill Price. The wine has a lot to live up to – but we’d say the pure luxury of this bottle certainly does. With a light, velvety smooth mouthfeel, and long, smoky finish, you’ll keep coming back for more. 

Crafted from their organically farmed Sonoma Mountain property, and aged in hand-selected toasted French Oak barrels, this carefully curated Pinot Noir is a delight. Deep blackberry, followed by cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa nib, and sultry vanilla play on the palate with every sip.

2018 Cuvée Eva Marie Pinot Noir, Three Sticks, $95
2018 Cuvée Eva Marie Pinot Noir, Three Sticks, $95
Wine:2018 Cuvée Eva Marie Pinot Noir
Score:97, Blue Lifestyle; 95, Wine Enthusiast
AVA:Sonoma Mountain
Awards:N/A
Tasting Notes:Blackberry, cinnamon, vanilla, and cocoa nib.
Style:Velvety and Smooth
Body:Medium
Price:$95.00
ABV:14%
Vineyard:Three Sticks


15. 2017 The Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir 

No list of the best Pinot Noir wine in Sonoma County would be complete without the 2017 The Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir from Halleck Vineyard. 

That’s because this incredible Russian River Valley Pinot Noir won the Double Gold and Best in Class at the SF Chronicle Wine Competition – naming it the best Pinot Noir wine in the whole nation! 

The Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir is truly stunning and sophisticated. Entirely organic, it is one of the finest wines in the world. This garnet gem of a wine is transparent and brilliant with a highly aromatic noise of rose petals, black tea, bing cherry, and cranberry. 

The Pinot Noir has ample minerality, and great texture with rich fruit tones of dark cherry and dried fruit, as well as earthy hints of dried herbs, tea leaves, and gentle tobacco. 

But 2017 The Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir isn’t the only award-winner on the Halleck Vineyard roster. With a foundation of hard work and the perfect Sebastopol Hills terroir, Halleck Vineyard regularly releases Best in Class and Double Gold winning bottles of Pinot Noir. 

2017 The Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir, Halleck Vineyard, $79
2017 The Farm Vineyard Pinot Noir, Halleck Vineyard, $79
Score:N/A
AVA:Russian River Valley
Awards:Double Gold & Best of Class, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Tasting Notes:Dark cherry, dried fruit and herbs, tea leaves, and tobacco.
Style:Sophisticated and Old-World
Body:Full
Price:$79.00
ABV:14.5%
Vineyard:Halleck Vineyard

Experience the very best Pinot Noir wine on offer

Armed with this list of the best Pinot Noir wine in Sonoma County, you’ll be well on your way to experiencing Pinot perfection. 

And, if a specific vintage is no longer available at the time you read this article, don’t worry! The Sonoma County wineries on our list are some of the best of the best – wineries that consistently pump out delectable and award-winning bottles of Pinot Noir wine

When it comes to Sonoma County wine, it’s hard to go wrong, but these vineyards always get it very, VERY right. So grab a case or two and get to sipping this sublime red wine for yourself!

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Averi Melcher

Averi is a professional writer, travel blogger, full-time digital nomad, and self-proclaimed wine lover. After spending a year in France and, later, a year in Argentina, she fell in love with red wines but will never turn down a summer-y white or dry rose in the interest of research.
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