Assisting Your Awesome Pinot Noir Quest: Recommendations from the 2016 World of Pinot Noir

World of Pinot Noir 2016 offering awesome Pinot NoirsAre you on a quest for awesome Pinot Noir? We had a wonderful time at the 16th annual World of Pinot Noir (WOPN) last month, a stellar lineup of seminars, tasting events, and winemaker dinners held at the beautiful Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. We found some phenomenal Pinot Noirs over the weekend so we thought we’d offer recommendations for wines and wineries in case you wanted to plan a wine tasting trip (or 2) of your own.

Domaine GILLE with awesome Pinot Noir wines from France

Domaine GILLE Burgundies

For us, the highlight is always attending the Pinot Noir Grand Tastings showcasing over 200 wineries from around the world. Each year, we have the opportunity to taste wines from some old friends (Alma RosaBergström, Inman Family, Merry Edwards, and Stephen Ross) as we seek out new discoveries (at least, to us).  Our new favorites at this year’s WOPN included Domaine GILLE, JCR Vineyard and Spell Estate.

Keep reading and we’ll tell you our favorite wines at this year’s World of Pinot Noir in case you are interested in finding some new awesome Pinot Noir wines for yourself.

Favorite Wines at the 2016 World of Pinot Noir

DeLoach Vineyards offering an awesome Pinot Noir from Sonoma County

OFS Pinot Noir from DeLoach Vineyards

We tasted many phenomenal Pinot Noirs at this year’s World of Pinot Noir and we encourage you to consider visiting the wineries listed below and/or look for these wines in your local wine stores, restaurants or online.  To make trip-planning easier, we’ve broken down our recommendations geographically.

Awesome Pinot Noirs from Southern California wineries:

Alma Rosa Winery, offering awesome Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County

Alma Rosa Winery

Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards (Buellton, CA) – 2013 Sta. Rita Hills, 2013 Mount Eden Clone (El Jabalí Vineyard), 2013 Clone 115 and 2013 Barrel Select Pinot Noirs

Au Bon Climat (Santa Maria, CA) – 2012 Santa Maria Valley La Bauge Audessus and 2012 “Isabelle” Pinot Noirs

Brewer-Clifton (Lompoc, CA) – 2011 3-D Pinot Noir

Ca’ Del Grevino Estate Vineyards (Santa Maria, CA) – 2013 Grevino Pinot Noir Estate, 2013 Ca’ Del Grevino Pinot Noir Reserve

Côtiére (Santa Maria, CA) – 2013 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir

Drake Wines (Santa Barbara, CA) – 2013 Bien Nacido Vineyard and 2014 Spanish Springs Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Fess Parker Winery (Los Olivos, CA) – 2013 Ashley’s Pinot Noir

Fiddlehead Cellars (Lompoc, CA) – 2012 “728” and 2011 Lollapalooza Pinot Noirs

Gainey Vineyard (Santa Ynez, CA) – 2013 Limited Selection Pinot Noir

JCR Vineyard (Lompoc, CA) – 2012 Pommard 5 and 2013 Pommard 5 Pinot Noirs

Ken Brown Wines (Buellton, CA) – 2013 Rita’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir

Presqu'ile Winery

Presqu’ile Winery

Melville Winery (Lompoc, CA) – 2013 Estate Pinot Noir

Presqu’ile Winery (Santa Maria, CA) – 2013 Presqu’ile Vineyard Pinot Noir

TIMBRE Winery (formerly La Fenêtre) (Santa Maria, CA) – 2013 Guest Star and 2013 The Headliner Pinot Noirs


Awesome Pinot Noirs from Central California wineries:

John Sebastiano Vineyard an awesome Pinot Noir from Deovlet Wines

John Sebastiano Vineyard Pinot Noir from Deovlet Wines

Bernardus Winery (Carmel Valley, CA) – 2013 Ingrid’s Vineyard Pinot Noir

Chamisal Vineyards (San Luis Obispo, CA) – 2014 Edna Valley Estate and 2011 Califa Pinot Noirs

Deovlet Wines (San Luis Obispo, CA) – 2013 John Sebastiano Vineyard and 2013 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Kynsi Winery (Arroyo Grande, CA) – 2013 Estate Stone Corral Vineyard Pinot Noir

Morgan Winery (Carmel Valley, CA) – 2014 Twelve Clones and 2014 Rosella’s Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Stephen Ross Wine Cellars (San Luis Obispo, CA) – 2014 Bien Nacido Vineyard and 2013 Stone Corral Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Talley Vineyards (Arroyo Grande, CA) – 2013 Rincon Vineyard Pinot Noir


Awesome Pinot Noirs from Northern California wineries:

Ancien Wines (Napa, CA) – 2013 Fiddlestix Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills), 2013 Jouissance (Russian River Valley), 2013 Mink Vineyard (Coombsville) and 2013 Toxon Farm (Carneros) Pinot Noirs

Balletto Vineyards (Sebastopol, CA) – 2014 BCD Vineyard Pinot Noir

Bouchaine Vineyards Gee Vineyard, an awesome Pinot Noir from Los Carneros

Gee Vineyard Pinot Noir from Bouchaine Vineyards

Benziger Family Winery (Glen Ellen, CA) – 2015 de Coelo Rosé, 2013 de Coelo Quintus and 2013 de Coelo Arbore Sacra Pinot Noirs

Bouchaine Vineyards (Napa, CA) – 2014 Gee Vineyard, 2013 Gee Vineyard and 2011 Carneros Pinot Noirs

Copain Wines (Healdsburg, CA) – 2015 Les Voisins Rosé and 2013 “Solstice” Pinot Noir

Davis Bynum Winery (Healdsburg, CA) – 2014 Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir

DeLoach Vineyards (Santa Rosa, CA) – 2013 OFS (Our Finest Selection) Pinot Noir

Flanagan Wines (Windsor, CA) – 2014 Pinot Noir

Flowers Vineyard & Winery (Cazadero, CA) – 2010 Sea View Ridge Pinot Noir

Fog Crest Vineyard (Sebastopol, CA) – 2014 Upper Block Estate Pinot Noir

Freeman Winery (Sebastopol, CA) – 2014 Keefer Ranch, 2014 Gloria Estate and 2013 Akiko’s Cuvée Pinot Noirs

Inman Family Wines (Santa Rosa, CA) – 2013 Sexton Road Ranch, 2012 Thorne Ridge Ranch and 2012 OGV Estate Pinot Noirs

Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards (in Freestone)

Joseph Phelps Vineyards (St. Helena, CA) – 2013 Freestone Vineyards Pinot Noir

Merry Edwards Winery (Sebastopol, CA) – 2013 Meredith Estate and 2013 Klopp Ranch Pinot Noirs

Rubin Family Vineyards and Winery (Sebastopol, CA) – 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Saintsbury (Napa, CA) – 2014 Stanly Ranch and 2014 Donnelly Creek Pinot Noirs

Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards (Windsor, CA) – 2013 Owlsley Vineyard Pinot Noir

Spell Estate (Santa Rosa, CA) – 2013 Umino Vineyard, 2013 Weir Vineyard and 2012 Marimar Estate Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Talisman Wines (Glen Ellen, CA) – 2012 Weir Vineyard and 2012 Red Dog Vineyard Pinot Noirs

Trombetta Family Wines (Forestville, CA) – 2013 Gap’s Crown Vineyard and 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs

Wayfarer Vineyard (Sebastopol, CA) – 2013 Wayfarer Vineyard and 2013 Golden Mean Pinot Noirs


Other Awesome Pinot Noirs (at the 2016 WOPN):

Patricia Green Cellars offering awesome Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley

Etzel Block Pinot Noir from Patricia Green Cellars

Bergström Wines (Newberg, OR) – 2014 Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir

Patricia Green Cellars (Newberg, OR) – 2014 Estate Vineyard, Old Vine and 2013 Estate Vineyard, Etzel Block Pinot Noirs


Domaine GILLE (Burgundy, France) – 2012 Cote de Nuits-Villages, 2012 Nuits-Sant-Georges and 2010 Corton Les Renardes Pinot Noirs


Food Highlights at the 2016 World of Pinot Noir

Bacara Resort and SpaWhile wines were definitely the focus at the World of Pinot Noir Grand Tastings, we also enjoyed the passed Hors D’oeuvres and various small bites from the host hotel, Bacara Resort & Spa. We particularly enjoyed a selection of grilled vegetables including Asparagus, Carrots, Eggplant and Zucchini.

C'est Cheese

C’est Cheese Offerings

The WOPN Grand Tasting purveyors also included the delightful C’est Cheese, a gourmet food store and lunch café in downtown Santa Barbara offering over 120 cheeses, 2 dozen fine cured meats, and an array of artisan food products.   At the Grand Tastings, their friendly staff offered samples such as Camembert Fermier, Campo de Montalban, Chabrin, Ewephoria, Fourme d’Ambert and Prima Donna alongside their (awesome) house-made “Sweet n Spicy Nuts.”  If you end up in the neighborhood, they are located at 825 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, or you can call them at 805-965-0318.

If you weren’t aware, the World of Pinot Noir is a non-profit organization whose mission is to further the knowledge and breadth of Pinot Noir through educational seminars and tastings.  As usual, our gratitude goes out to WOPN’s Board of Directors, Advisory Panel, Event Coordinator, and volunteers for providing such an enjoyable experience. You really should go to their website to join their mailing list so you will receive details about next year’s event as they unfold.

Upcoming Awesome Pinot Noir Events

If you’re a Pinot Noir fan looking for another awesome Pinot Noir-centric experience, here are some events and special tasting opportunities coming up in the next few months you may to check out:

Personally, we’re considering some of the above ourselves but we’ve definitely marked our calendars for the first weekend of March 2017 for next year’s World of Pinot Noir.


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