Vine Values

Pali Wine Co. has Pinot Noirs for every budget

Making good Pinot Noir is one thing, but making good inexpensive Pinot Noir is entirely another. Lompoc's Pali Wine Co. is up to the challenge.

Pali's owners hail from Pacific Palisades, so their four new "Cuvée" Pinot Noirs–all priced around $19–are each named for a neighborhood found in L.A.'s tony enclave. But it's no gimmick: When the 2007 vintage was released earlier this year, it quickly sold out.

Luckily, the 2008 vintage has just hit the shelves–look for it at Mission Wines in South Pasadena and Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach.

By blending grapes sourced from single appellations, winemaker Kenneth Juhasz has created four distinct interpretations of Pinot. For a more elegant style, try the ruby-colored "Huntington," made from Santa Barbara County grapes. For lovers of bigger-flavored Pinot, the "Bluffs" is a bold blend of Russian River Valley fruit. And "Alphabets" has spicy, woodsy notes, like others from Oregon's Willamette Valley.

Gary Fishman, a wine buyer for Wally's, says the "Riviera" has luscious fruit and isn't too syrupy. "It's a great Sonoma Coast wine," he says. "And you can't always get those for under $50."

Look for the 2008 "Riviera," plus others from the 2007 vintage, at Wally's annual tent sale this weekend (Friday through Sunday).