Pinot noir, one of our favorite table wines, can be pricey, so it's a pleasure to discover one that not only is eminently quaffable but also goes for about $8 at bay area big-box stores. As a result, we're declaring the 2011 Harlow Ridge Lodi Pinot Noir from California an official good buy.
This medium-bodied but mouth-filling red will pair with lots and lots of dishes, from mojo roast pork to herb-roasted chicken to a classic meatball sub to all manner of tapas and barbecue.
It's fun and easy drinking from its pronounced cherry cola, blackberry and peppery bramble nose right through to its medium-long and satisfying finish. At mid palate it offers plenty of juicy ripe cherry and blackberry along with that snappy bramble, plus a smidge of clove. Cherry cola and white pepper come back strong on the finish.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.