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Known as the "problem child" of the wine industry due to its notoriously finicky nature, pinot noir tends to mystify folks. Thin-skinned, delicate, and prone to splitting and sunburn, the pinot noir grape is incredibly challenging and difficult to successfully grow. Pinot noir grapes are an early-budding variety, which makes the grape susceptible to late-season frost and cold temperatures, which often means the grapes don't survive a full harvest season. But dang, when they do ... a perfectly-balanced glass of pinot noir has this way of staying with you.
Pinot noir actually has a fairly diverse global footprint and tends to grow best in regions with long, cool growing seasons like Oregon's Willamette Valley, California's Sonoma County, and France's Burgundy region, though there are many new regions emerging that are also producing killer pinot noir, like New Zealand and California's Central Coast. There are a lot of technical differences between Old World-style (European) pinot noir and New World-style pinot noir (grapes grown in the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, etc.), but for the sake of this piece, we'll stick to only New World-style pinot noir.
The below pinot noir picks are some of our personal favorites — and yes, we're happy to say that one of these wines comes in a can. Here are eight killer pinot noir picks that'll turn you into a red wine lover.
We're sort of obsessed with this line of canned wines from Oregon-based Union Wine Co. This pinot noir is super luscious and silky, with notes of black cherry, currants, and fall baking spices. There's also an interesting subtle bitterness and some Fernet-like herbal qualities to this very drinkable wine.
Approachable, easy to transport, and incredibly food-friendly, this easygoing canned pinot noir is a perfect example of what the future shape of wine looks like.
This luscious wine is bursting with notes of cherry, cloves, and Coca-Cola. Fruity and smooth Folly of the Beast Pinot Noir is a product of California's Central Coast — a slightly lesser-known region than Sonoma or Napa that produces incredible pinot noir. At a budget-friendly price point under $20, we suggest you stock up on this versatile vino and pair it with your next savory charcuterie spread or barbecue fare.
If you love whiskey, this Bread & Butter Pinot Noir is for you. First taste brings a wash of juicy black cherries, but what lingers is a touch of cedar, smoke, and tobacco — strikingly similar to the after-taste of a perfectly oaked bourbon or a Clove cigar (remember those?). Savory, balanced, and beautifully smooth, this is a sexy pinot noir that's almost hauntingly good.
Organically grown in California's Mendocino County, this pinot noir from Bonterra has notes of raspberry, strawberry, and plum balanced out by hints of vanilla and warm baking spices. We love the principles of organic farming that Bonterra is committed to, as their holistic approach helps maintain the vineyards' surrounding habitat of local bees, birds, and other wildlife.
Not only is this pinot noir well-balanced and lush, but it's also one you can truly feel good sipping.
A solid representation of the quality wines being produced in California's cool-climate Monterey County region, this 2016 vintage pinot noir from Hahn Family Wines just kind of rocks. There's a smooth balance of juicy dark berries with just a touch of earthy and dry minerality.
This specific Arroyo Seco region of Monterey County sits on a gravelly and windy plain at the foot of the Santa Lucia mountains, and we swear we can taste that subtle chalky flavor kicked up by the dust in each sip.
This wildly popular pinot noir is comprised of three grapes from California’s coast — Monterey, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara — and it represents the best elements of all three of these very diverse regions. A nice balance of spice and fruit, this is one of the most complex and dynamic pinot noir wines you can buy at this price point.
Silky, well-balanced, and bursting with a lush berry ripeness, we had a bit of a hard time sharing this bottle with others. Although it's absolutely delicious sipped alone, this pinot noir really comes out to play when paired with a juicy burger.
This pinot noir from New Zealand's up-and-coming Waihopai Valley has a smooth, mellow, earthy coolness that immediately had us hooked and craving another sip. We think it tastes best just slightly chilled to fully enjoy this wine's softness and subtle herbal notes.