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Pinot Noir under $25? Try New Zealand

Northside Staff Tasters: Dave Pohl, ed., Dana Malley, Kelley O’Neill, and Jason Wentworth

Sales of Pinot Noir in the U.S. have grown steadily since the release of the movie Sideways, which contains a memorable scene featuring a sensual discussion of the beauty of that grape.

From October 24, 2004, two days after the film’s release, to January 5, 2005, there was a 16% increase in sales compared to the same period a year earlier, according to ACNielsen (Detroit News, "The Wine Report," March 2005). Much of the growth has come from sales of inexpensive to moderately priced New World Pinot Noir.

The staff at Northside recently conducted a blind tasting of 31 $25-and-under Pinot Noirs from Oregon, Australia, and New Zealand to get a sense of the overall quality of the category.

The quality of many of these wines was found to be disappointing. What was interesting, however, was that all the top wines came from New Zealand, not the first place most consumers look to for quality Pinot Noir.

The top wine was the 2005 Oyster Bay Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand. At $16 a bottle, it is an excellent value [Sku 8171].*

It has a lovely balance of oak, cherrylike fruit, and an intriguing gingery note — a gorgeous wine for the price. Enjoy it with grilled salmon, roast beef, mushroom dishes, or classic braises like Coq au Vin or Boeuf Bourgignon.

"Top Wine Picks" as seen in The Ithaca Journal 10/30/2006

Northside Wine & Spirits is located in the Ithaca Shopping Plaza on Elmira Road.

Phone 607-273-7500

*To purchase this wine, simply type its "Sku" into the "Find" Field at the top of the page, and then click "Go."

If you would like the full tasting list along with the rankings, please email us your name, phone number, city, and zip code to

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