Since Crush opened, I’ve had the hardest time finding a great Pinot Noir for under $20.
California has pretty much priced itself out of the market; same with Oregon.
And you can forget Burgundy.
The New Zealand Pinots are often good but have never inspired me the way a truly excellent Pinot should.
After months of patiently tasting lesser bottlings, I have finally found the greatest Pinot Noir for under $20 on the market today: the 2004 Vignoble Guillaume.
Hailing from the Franche-Comté region of Eastern France, the wine has an expansive nose of red fruits with beautiful minerality and light floral notes. An ever-so-slight tartness adds complexity, while incredible purity of fruit and a wonderful restrained sweetness round out this excellent effort.
But the truly inspirational part of the Guilaume, and the one that makes it my Wine of the Month, is the soft supple texture and lacy character, that remind me of Burgundian offerings at twice the price.
This is an extremely versatile choice that will warm up any winter party or pair beautifully with a weekday dinner.
Where In The World?
The Franche-Comté region falls near the French- Swiss border. While this ski resort area is better known for its delicious Comté cheese than its wines, the Guillaume Pinot Noir is made in Haute Saône, just northeast of Burgundy.
What about Guillaume?
The story of this winery is an interesting one. The winemakers own one of the biggest nurseries in the world and specialize in cultivating different clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their client list includes some of the most famous wineries in the world, including DRC, Gaja, Isole Y Olena and Daniel Rion, and they replant vineyards all over the world. About 50 years ago, they built a winery to do micro-cuvees of the clones they developed. They eventually started making wines from their established vineyards.
Since their nursery and consulting business is so successful, they can charge very reasonable prices for their wines. But fear not. They spare no expense in making this wine.