California Pinot Noir Perfect for the Table

California Pinot Noir for Dinner Parties and Beyond


At dinner parties and beyond, California Pinot Noir is a win-win. These charming wines offer blankets of red fruit and finessed tannins—and they pair with just about anything on the table. For some of the richest, most sumptuous California Pinot Noir, head south to Santa Barbara, where sunny skies ensure ripened grapes. Or, go north to foggy Napa and Sonoma for Pinot Noir that’s the best of both worlds—with plenty of Cali fruit and Burgundy elegance. But for further California Pinot Noir recommendations, we’ve turned to the advice of sales associate Marcarthur Baralla, sales manager Doug Yacka, assistant wine buyer Laura Mooney, and wine buyer Lorena Ascencios.


Mount Eden Estate Pinot Noir – 2012
If you want to try a Burgundian-style Pinot Noir outside of France, Santa Cruz, California might be the answer. The dominant flavors of this California Pinot Noir include strawberries, small berries, fresh soil and light oak. – MB

Clendenen Family Vineyards, “The Pip” Pinot Noir – 2014
This is “New World” style at its best. Jim Clendenen (the force behind the esteemed wines of Au Bon Climat) crafts this California Pinot Noir to showcase the fruit, exhibiting bold cherry, red currant, and plum. A touch of vanilla from minimal oak contact adds a decadent note, but mild earthy tones and just enough tannin keep the party from getting too wild. – DY

Matias Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast – 2013
Sourced from quality Russian River fruit, the Matias Pinot Noir shows a lighter, more feminine side of California Pinot Noir. Elegant and balanced, this California Pinot Noir is full of crushed red berries, a touch of spice, and bright acidity. Enjoyable by the glass, or with savory dishes like duck fat fries. – LM

Merlo Family Estate Pinot Noir, Trinity County – 2013
A lively California Pinot Noir that’s an ideal partner at the table. Think baby lamb chops or a duck ragu and you’re on the right track. – LA