Drinkable California pinot noir under $20 has been one of the wine industry's unicorns for a long time. In fact, depending on the region, spending $20 on a random pinot is fraught with risk as the entry level for places like Santa Rita Hills, Russian River Valley, and many others is closer to $40. Every once in a while, though, a pleasant surprise comes along. This is one of those
2018 Castle Rock Pinot Noir California Cuvee $8
Generous fruit is framed by a respectable spice rack and moderate acidity, making for a versatile crowd-pleaser. Way more than merely serviceable, this pinot outperforms its on-sale price tag by a wide margin. Actually tastes like California pinot noir without the jammy, high-octane bite. Buy it by the case.