by Fred McMillin
for October 18, 1999


Picking a Pinot



My dentist: "Anyone can pick out a good Pinot Noir that's expensive. Tell me the name of a good Pinot Noir that's INEXPENSIVE!"

The Answer

These are the credentials of the wine I gave him.

  • 100% Russian River Pinot Noir—Unquestionably, the Russian River Valley produces some of the best Pinots in the New World.
  • A Fine Price— I checked the last 15 tastings and only eight Pinots were rated higher than today's wine. The average price of those eight wines was $23. Our wine is TEN DOLLARS less...$13! Here it is, the first Pinot Noir ever produced by Barefoot Cellars.

The Wine

Russian River Valley 1997 100% Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Reserve
Barefoot Cellars, Santa Rosa, CA
Appellation—Sonoma County
HURRY—Production was less than 800 cases.
Winemaker Jennifer Wall—"Berry and plum flavors...a smooth, silky finish."
My Panel—Good value. If you drink Pinots under $15, you must try this one.
Contact—Office of Marketing Manager Adrienne Barner, (707) 524-8000, FAX (707) 524-8001


What California county grows the most Pinot? SONOMA, with nearly one-third of the state's total. (Source: Charles Sullivan's Wine Companion)

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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