10 Best Pinot Noir Wines in Russian River Valley (2022)

10 Best Pinot Noir Wines in Russian River Valley Featured

A Noble Varietal That Found a New Home in the US

Pinot Noir is a wine grape that is typically light and medium-bodied, with pronounced flavors of red and dark fruits. Originating in Burgundy, France, Pinot Noir grapes are difficult to grow. Hence, its best expressions are valuable and usually expensive. When tasting a Pinot Noir, you are greeted with red fruits, such as strawberries, and raspberries.

Black fruits are also evident, as well as touches of spices, herbs, and earth. Mushroom, chocolate, and tobacco flavors are also common in Pinot Noirs. The low-to-medium tannins and the zippy acidity make for a perfectly balanced red wine.


Best Overall Best Value Best Cheap Under $15 Best Under $20 Best Under $25 Best Under $30 Best Under $40 Best Under $50 Best Under $100 Best With Unlimited Budget
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Name Belle Glos Dairyman Vineyard Pinot Noir Juggernaut Pinot Noir Kenwood Pinot Noir Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir Frei Brothers Pinot Noir La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Emeritus Vineyards Hallberg Ranch Lynmar Estate Pinot Noir Landmark Vineyards Hop Kiln Estate Pinot Noir Kosta Browne Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Color Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red Red
Country United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States United States
Grapes Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Pinot Noir Pinot Noir
Taste Raspberry, Blackberry, Plum, Fig, Strawberry, Cranberry, Cocoa Cherry, Raspberry, Cinnamon Spice, Vanilla, Charred Wood, Grapefruit, Cassis Blackberry, Mushroom, Coffee, Prune, Fig, Tobacco Strawberry, Spice, Game Meat, Vanilla, Ginger, Soil, Underbrush, Mushroom Prune, Fig, Cedar, Smoke, Pepper, Raspberry, Strawberry Cherry, Mushroom, Prosciutto, Fig, Prune, Vanilla Spice Prune, Fig, Plum, Caramel, Toasted Almond, Earth, Bergamot Cherry, Hibiscus, Grapefruit, Orange Blossoms, Clove, Cedar, Baking Spice, Strawberry Cherry Cola, Baking Spices, Strawberry, Underbrush, Redcurrant, Herb Notes, Tobacco Plum, Fig, Prune, Licorice, Tobacco, Coffee, Smoke, Game Meat, Mushroom
Food Pairing Lamb Rack, Parmesan Chicken, Fettuccini, Beef Burgers, Butter Seared Lobster Tail, Pepperoni Pizza Lamb Kebabs, Pork Chops, Seared Beef Tenderloin, And Blackened Sea Bass Roasted Pork, Turkey Sausages, Liver, Mushroom Risotto, Brie, Camembert Butterflied Lamb, Venison, Cassoulet, Sweetbread, Wild Mushrooms, Stilton Charcuterie, Quail, Seared Salmon, Beetroot, Roast Lobster, Brie, Manchego Pheasant, Venison, Chargrilled Steak, Duck With Olives, Glazed Ham, Gorgonzola Pigeon, Filet Mignon, Beef Wellington, Roast Goose, Goat Cheese, Blue Cheese Charcuterie, Terrines, Grilled Duck, Tuna, Rib-eye Steak, Brie Leg Of Lamb, Carpaccio, Roast Pork, Char Siu Pork, Grilled Asparagus, Gorgonzola Venison, Beef, Bejing Duck, Glazed Ham, Grouse, Cold Game Pie, Cheddar
Alcohol Content 14.8% 14.5% 13.5% 14.6% 13.5% 14.5% 13.9% 14.2% 14.6% 14.5%
Sugar Content Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry
Our Rating 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5) 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5) 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5) 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5) 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
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A New Home in California

As mentioned above, Pinot Noir is one of the toughest grapes to grow and demands optimum growing conditions. The vines prefer coastal climates and limestone-rich soils. Naturally, Pinot Noir comes from Burgundy, France, but it is also commonly grown in other winemaking regions, like California, Australia, and New Zealand. In California, Pinot Noir grows abundantly. Some of its best expressions are in the Russian River Valley.

In the region’s hills, the oldest grapevines in California are planted.Since 1876, grape growing in the Russian River Valley has gone from strength to strength. As for Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley contains almost 20% of all the Pinot Noir production in California. As a result, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a traditional New World expression of this noble grape variety. So, here are some of the best Pinot Noir in Russian River Valley:


Best Pinot Noir Wines in Russian River Valley

Best Overall

  • Name — Belle Glos Dairyman Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Winery — Belle Glos
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Boysenberry, Violet, Lavender, Cherry, Mulberry, Cinnamon Spice, Clove, Nutmeg, Dill
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Raspberry, Blackberry, Plum, Fig, Strawberry, Cranberry, Cocoa
  • Alcohol Content — 14.8%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lamb Rack, Parmesan Chicken, Fettuccini, Beef Burgers, Butter Seared Lobster Tail, Pepperoni Pizza
Overall Rating: 4.9

Positives
  • Pronounced Oak-influence
  • The Pleasant, Fragrant Bouquet
  • Bold, Luscious Palate
  • Soft Texture
  • Graceful Aftertaste
Negatives
  • Quality Pinot That Lacks Just A Little Elegance

Tasting Notes

Dark ruby red in color with scents of cherries and mulberries, this Pinot Noir has fine aromatics. On the palate, bold flavors of red berries are uplifted by notes of cocoa and fig. Complex and superbly structured. Possibly the best Russian River Valley Pinot Noir!

This rich-tasting Pinot Noir opens with aromas of cherries, boysenberries, mulberries, and plums, framed by nuances of baking spices. The mouth is generous, with flavors of plums, figs, strawberries, and raspberries. Cocoa and coffee notes add to the silky mouth feel as the robust finish concludes the tasting journey. High acidity, moderate tannins.

Elegant Pinot Expressions

Belle Glos produces high-quality Pinot Noirs from some of California’s most notable winemaking regions. Each vineyard lies within proximity to the Pacific Ocean, which enables fog, wind, and sunlight to combine to create an exceptional micro-climate. This leads to the creation of elegant Pinot Noir expressions.


Best Value

  • Name — Juggernaut Pinot Noir
  • Winery — Juggernaut
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Cranberry, Strawberry, Violet, Hibiscus, Sage
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Cherry, Raspberry, Cinnamon Spice, Vanilla, Charred Wood, Grapefruit, Cassis
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Lamb Kebabs, Pork Chops, Seared Beef Tenderloin, And Blackened Sea Bass
Overall Rating: 4.7

Positives
  • Mouthwatering Flavors
  • Great Depth
  • Velvety Tannins
Negatives
  • A Bit Too Sweet

Tasting Notes

This Pinot Noir has patience. But once you wait for it to settle in the glass, you are met with aromas and flavors of vanilla, waffle, caramel, and charred wood. The moderate acidity refreshes, while the low tannins add a tone of complexity.

The wine has strong aromas of oak, charred wood, vanilla spice, waffle, and caramel that blend with scents of strawberries and cherries. The palate consists of black fruits, such as blackberries and prunes. At the same time, it presents an accent of oak and a touch of tobacco. The grippy acidity is refreshing, while low tannins are a signature of this grape variety. Great finish.

Structured and Juicy Wines

Juggernaut grapes grow in harsh conditions. In this way, they manage to become more concentrated, giving superbly structured and juicy wines. In other words, Juggernaut wines use the power of nature to produce compelling wines highly expressive of the terroir.


Best Cheap Under $15

  • Name — Kenwood Pinot Noir
  • Winery — Kenwood
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry, Dried Soil, Violet, Fig
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Blackberry, Mushroom, Coffee, Prune, Fig, Tobacco
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Roasted Pork, Turkey Sausages, Liver, Mushroom Risotto, Brie, Camembert
Overall Rating: 4.3

Positives
  • Great Aromatics
  • Soft Tannins
  • Gratifying Aftertaste
  • Smooth Tannins
Negatives
  • Pleasing But Short Finish

Tasting Notes

Fresh and vibrant, this Pinot Noir has the aromas and tastes of strawberries, raspberries, and figs. In fact, Kenwood Pinot Noir is excellent, with its soft tannins, brisk acidity, and long finish. This is one of the best-selling Pinot Noir wines in Russian River Valley.

This Pinot has the aromas of strawberries, raspberries, cherries, and soil. If you focus, you can even find nuances of violets and figs. In the mouth, the zippy acidity refreshes as tastes of prunes, blackberries, mushrooms, and coffee dominate the mouthfeel. The tannins are smooth and soft, and the finish is long and gratifying. Perfect wine to pair with spit-roasted chicken.

Wines of Classic Character

Kenwood Vineyards produce premium wines that represent Sonoma County. Established in 1970, the winery came about after the transformation of a historic cellar that dated back to 1906. Kenwood Vineyards crafts wines that showcase classic character, restrained complexity, and exceptional balance.


Best Under $20

  • Name — Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir
  • Winery — Rodney Strong
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Raspberry, Cherry, Plum, Honeysuckle, Violet
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Strawberry, Spice, Game Meat, Vanilla, Ginger, Soil, Underbrush, Mushroom
  • Alcohol Content — 14.6%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Butterflied Lamb, Venison, Cassoulet, Sweetbread, Wild Mushrooms, Stilton
Overall Rating: 4.4

Positives
  • Elegant Aromas
  • Packed With Scents Of Fruits And Flowers
  • Thick Palate
  • Lingering Finish
Negatives
  • A Bit Tannic

Tasting Notes

This Pinot Noir has fine aromas of red fruits, florals, and earth on the nose. Soft and silky texture. The palate shows spice characteristics that drive to a lingering finish. Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir begins with fragrances of raspberries, cherries, plums, honeysuckles, and violets. In the mouth, softness is prevalent.

It presents tastes of strawberries, spices, and game meat. The acidity is moderate and refreshing. Vanilla-driven finish. Rodney Strong Vineyards was founded in 1959 by wine industry pioneer, Rod Strong. In 1989, Tom Klein purchased the company, transforming it into one of the best wineries of Sonoma County.


Best Under $25

  • Name — Frei Brothers Pinot Noir
  • Winery — Frei Brothers
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Cherry, Blueberry, Fig, Prune, Blackberry, Thyme
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Prune, Fig, Cedar, Smoke, Pepper, Raspberry, Strawberry
  • Alcohol Content — 13.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Charcuterie, Quail, Seared Salmon, Beetroot, Roast Lobster, Brie, Manchego
Overall Rating: 4.5

Positives
  • Bold Aromas
  • Smoky Palate
  • Mouthwatering Acidity
Negatives
  • Lacks The Pinot Noir Finesse

Tasting Notes

A Pinot Noir offering aromas and flavors of dark cherries, blueberries, and blackberries. Cedar notes and pepper sensations contribute depth and complexity. Elegant finish despite the intensity. Welcoming, but also bold aromas of cherries, blueberries, figs, prunes, and blackberries define the nose. As the wine enters the mouth, it has flavors of dark fruits, just like the bouquet, plus sensations of cedar, smoke, and pepper. The tannins are smooth and unobtrusive, while the finish is long and elegant. Moderate-to-high acidity.

One of California’s Winemaking Pioneers

Frei Brothers have been part of Sonoma County for at least a century. After coming to California from Europe, Andrew Frei founded the vineyards in Dry Creek Valley in 1890. Since then, the winery has become known for exceptional wines produced from grapes cultivated by passionate grape growers. In fact, the winery has established long-lasting connections with some of Sonoma’s best growers and collaborates with the county’s oldest winemaking families.


Best Under $30

  • Name — La Crema Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • Winery — La Crema
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californain Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Raspberry, Forest Floor, Underbrush, Plum, Tobacco, Cinnamon Spice
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Cherry, Mushroom, Prosciutto, Fig, Prune, Vanilla Spice
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Pheasant, Venison, Chargrilled Steak, Duck With Olives, Glazed Ham, Gorgonzola
Overall Rating: 4.7

Positives
  • Pronounced Aromas
  • Smooth Flavors
  • Fine-grained Tannins
  • Beautiful Depth
Negatives
  • Slightly Too Sweet

Tasting Notes

Fragrances of red berries and woodland notes accompany tastes of cherries and baking spices. The rich texture blends nicely with the brisk acidity and drives to a lingering finish. On the nose, this Russian River Pinot Noir shows fine aromas of raspberries, forest floor, underbrush, and plums, as well as notes of cinnamon spice and tobacco.

The mouth is smooth and richly textured and displays tastes of cherries, mushrooms, prosciutto, figs, prunes, and vanilla. The tannins are fine-grained and add depth, while the acidity is lively, offering freshness. Lingering finish.

The Best of the Vine

La Crema Viñera translates to the best of the vine. In a way, it sets the standard for what the winemaking team has done since 1979 when La Crema was founded. For more than 35 years, the family-owned winery has focused on cultivating vines in cool-climate vineyards, from Russian River Valley to Monterey, and the Willamette Valley.  The result?  Expressive, chic wines that brim with dynamism and flavor.


Best Under $40

  • Name — Emeritus Vineyards Hallberg Ranch
  • Winery — Emeritus Vineyards
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Blackberry, Blueberry, Cinnamon Spice, Violet, Strawberry, Cherry
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Prune, Fig, Plum, Caramel, Toasted Almond, Earth, Bergamot
  • Alcohol Content — 13.9%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Pigeon, Filet Mignon, Beef Wellington, Roast Goose, Goat Cheese, Blue Cheese
Overall Rating: 4.8

Positives
  • Attractive Aromas
  • Long And Smooth Tannins
  • Dominating Mouthfeel
Negatives
  • A Bit Too Complex For Some Palates

Tasting Notes

Pure, complex, and elegant, this wine has notes of sweet tarts, cinnamon spice, and cherries. One can also discern hints of caramel and almonds. Fine-grained tannins, pleasant acidity, and pleasing finish. Aromas of ripe and juicy cherries, blackberries, blueberries, cinnamon spice, and violets dominate the bouquet. In the mouth, it shows a supple feel with an array of fine-grained tannins that emerge long and smooth.

Tastes of prunes, figs, and plums dominate the mouthfeel and combine with notes of caramel, toasted almonds, earth, and bergamot. The spices are augmented on the finish, which is super pleasing. Acid structure that refreshes from the pronounced flavors.

Sustainable Viticulture

Emeritus is the creation of renowned vintner Brice Cutrer Jones and was founded to create New York’s best Pinot Noir expressions. In total, Emeritus has 150 acres of dry-farmed vines in the Russian River Valley and Sebastopol Hills, crafting wines of unbelievable balance, elegance, and complexity.


Best Under $50

  • Name — Lynmar Estate Pinot Noir
  • Winery — Lynmar Estate
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Strawberry, Plum, Fig, Tea, Rhubarb
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Cherry, Hibiscus, Grapefruit, Orange Blossoms, Clove, Cedar, Baking Spice, Strawberry
  • Alcohol Content — 14.2%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Charcuterie, Terrines, Grilled Duck, Tuna, Rib-eye Steak, Brie
Overall Rating: 4.8

Positives
  • Brooding Aromas
  • Exceptional Palate
  • Refreshing Acidity
Negatives
  • Sweeter Than Expected

Tasting Notes

This Pinot displays a ruby-red color in the glass and highlights aromatics of red berries, rhubarb, and tea. Big flavors of cherries, citruses, and baking spices dominate the palate. The textured finishes with echoes of spice and strawberry. This certainly is one of the top-rated Pinot Noir wines in Russian River Valley.

With brooding aromas of strawberries, plums, figs, tea, and fresh rhubarbs, Lynmar Estate Pinot Noir begins the tasting profile with dynamism. As it tickles the taste buds, flavors of cherries, hibiscus, grapefruit, and orange blossoms emerge, followed by notes of clove, cedar, and baking spice. The finish is long and delicious. It shows notes of strawberries, tea, and cinnamon. Smooth and unobtrusive tannins and moderate, refreshing acidity.

Premium Winemaking

Lynmar is based on a picturesque site with rolling vineyards next to Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed. The 40-year-old vineyard features 15 Pinot Noir clones and 4 Chardonnay clones, canopy, and rootstock combinations. The gravity-flow winery and caves offer the best environment for aging premium wine. In other words, Lynmar Estate has become synonymous with winemaking perfection.


Best Under $100

  • Name — Landmark Vineyards Hop Kiln Estate Pinot Noir
  • Winery — Landmark Vineyards
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Pinot Noir
  • Aroma — Raspberry, Violet, Blackberry, Compote, Woodsmoke, Blackcurrant, Earth
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Cherry Cola, Baking Spices, Strawberry, Underbrush, Redcurrant, Herb Notes, Tobacco
  • Alcohol Content — 14.6%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Leg Of Lamb, Carpaccio, Roast Pork, Char Siu Pork, Grilled Asparagus, Gorgonzola
Overall Rating: 4.9

Positives
  • Complex
  • Fine Acidity
  • Creamy Finish
Negatives
  • Thick for Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes

Vibrant aromas of raspberries, violets, and blackberries define this wine’s nose. The palate is bright, brimming with raspberry and dried strawberries. Baking spices dominate the long finish. Moderate acidity.

Super complex, this Pinot begins with a layer of raspberry, violet, and blackberry. Then, one can discern aromas of compote, woodsmoke, and blackcurrants, as well as a hint of earth. In the mouth, tastes of cherry cola, baking spices, strawberries, and underbrush emerge, drawing you in. What is more, flavors of redcurrants, ground herb notes, and tobacco drive to the long and creamy aftertaste. Moderate acidity that refreshes the taste buds.

A Landmark Winery

Landmark Vineyards was founded in 1974 in Windsor, California. Since then, the mission of the winery has been to create exceptional wines that bring out the joy of living. They produce wines with fruit sourced from their own vineyards in Sugarloaf Mountain, Sonoma Valley. Or they source the grapes from different vineyards that take advantage of Sonoma’s diverse microclimates.


Best With Unlimited Budget

  • Name — Kosta Browne Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • Winery — Kosta Browne
  • Country/Region — United States, California, North Coast, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
  • Type — Californian Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Aroma — Rose Petal, Raspberry, Apple, Pomegranate, Cinnamon Spice, Vanilla, Wildflowers
  • Grapes — Pinot Noir
  • Taste — Plum, Fig, Prune, Licorice, Tobacco, Coffee, Smoke, Game Meat, Mushroom
  • Alcohol Content — 14.5%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Venison, Beef, Bejing Duck, Glazed Ham, Grouse, Cold Game Pie, Cheddar
Overall Rating: 5.0

Positives
  • Perfumed Aromas
  • Thick And Pure Mouth
  • Refined Aftertaste
Negatives
  • Absolute Perfection

Tasting Notes

Expressive raspberry, red apple, and pomegranate aromas define the bouquet alongside notes of spices and florals. The palate has a lively texture, while the finish is refined. Fantastic. A perfumed nose with notes of rose petals, raspberries, apples, and pomegranates. Nuances of cinnamon spice and vanilla blend with wildflowers and underbrush elements. The mouth is thick with a pure, rounded texture and smooth tannins. In addition, expect to taste plums, figs, prunes, and licorice. The finish is earthy and refined. Fine, racy acidity.

Single-Vineyard Bottlings

Established in 1977, Kosta Browne is considered one of North America’s best wineries, widely recognized for crafting some of the best Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the world. Kosta Browne focuses on producing single-vineyard wines with fruit sourced from cool-climate appellations across the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Rita Hills, and Santa Lucia Highlands. Their wines have been included among the world’s 100 best several times.

Conclusion

What is the best Pinot Noir in Russian River Valley, then? Well, the above, of course! Pinot Noir is the noblest of the noble grape varieties. Elegant, chic, and dynamic, Pinot Noir can take you on a journey to the vineyards of Burgundy. Fruity and creamy, with fine-grained tannins, refreshing acidity, and lingering aftertaste, Pinot Noirs are highly-priced. Yet, if you’ve to go for only red wine type, Pinot Noir could very well be the best choice. So, don’t lose time. Visit the grocery store for one of the above delicious Pinot Noirs!

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