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Wine

7 perfect pinots for fall under $50

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Here are the best pinots to pull out when the whether starts to get colder. (iStock)

It’s time to move from the chilled, fruity wines of summer to warmer and more complex wines that pair nicely with the fall. From South Africa to Burgundy, wineries are producing some wonderful pinot noirs that go perfectly with comfort foods and cost less than $50. Here are seven you should try:

1. Paul Cluver Pinot Noir, Elgin, South Africa, 2013 ($22): 

Winemaker Andries Burger has crafted the value pinot noir of the season from South Africa’s Elgin region, where the grape is increasing in popularity. This delightful offering features notes of strawberry, cherry, pomegranate and spice and has a lovely balance of acid and tannin.

2. Copain “Tous Ensemble” Pinot Noir, Mendocino, Calif., 2013 ($28)

Winemaker Wells Guthrie is known for balanced, food-friendly wines like his “Tous Ensemble” line, crafted from 100 percent estate-grown Mendocino fruit. This classic Burgundian-style pinot displays notes of red cherry, tobacco, earth and spice with supple tannins.

3. Morgan Pinot Noir Twelve Clones, Santa Lucia Highlands, Calif., 2013 ($30):

Winemaker Gianni Abate draws from select vineyards of the Santa Lucia Highlands, including Morgan’s organically farmed “Double L” estate, for this wine. Rife with aromas and flavors of dried cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, spice and smoke, this wine delights right down to its lengthy, mineral finish.

4. Domaine Frederic Esmonin Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur, Burgundy, France, 2013 ($32): 

This rare value from the birthplace of pinot noir, Burgundy’s Cote d’Or, makes for enjoyable short-term drinking for fans of Old World wine. Notes of violet, black cherry, herb and spice are sure to please, along with a food-friendly acidity and firm tannins.

5. Truchard Pinot Noir, Carneros, Calif., 2013 ($34): 

Crafted from 100 percent estate-grown fruit from one of California’s legendary farming families, this fuller-bodied yet balanced Pinot delights with aromas and flavors of wild strawberry, black cherry, rhubarb, cedar and earth with a lengthy, spicy finish.

6. Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir Barda, Patagonia, Argentina, 2014 ($38)

This pinot was the inspiration of Piero Incisa della Rochetta, whose family created the legendary Italian Super Tuscan Sassicaia. His passion for Patagonian pinot has resulted in a wine with notes of strawberry, raspberry, rose petal and spice, with a brisk acidity and firm tannins.

7. Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Ore., 2013 ($44)

Robert Drouhin, patriarch of Burgundy’s legendary family, recognized the potential of Oregon’s Willamette Valley almost 30 years ago. Since then, the family has produced elegant incarnations of Oregon pinot noir like this wine with classic notes of red and dark fruit, spice and anise, with supple tannins and a mineral-tinged finish.    

Stephanie Miskew is a certified sommelier, wine educator and proprietor of The Wine Atelier, an online wine boutique.  She also runs the The Glamorous Gourmet, a website dedicated to wine and entertaining.