Parker on Wine May 22, 2008, 8:20PM EST

Wines to Make You Forget Burgundy

A selection of 15 of California's finest pinot noirs that, while expensive, are as good or better than most red Burgundies

by Robert Parker

Red Burgundy is the ultimate minefield of the wine world—notoriously unreliable, often disappointing, and rarely living up to its illustrious reputation. No region in the world has made greater progress with the fickle pinot noir grape than California, and here are some of the best pinot noirs money can buy from that state. None of them is inexpensive, but most of them will eclipse almost any red Burgundy made today.

91 points
Kalin Cellars 1997 Pinot Noir Cuvée DD (Sonoma)

The Burgundy-styled 1997 Pinot Noir Cuvée DD exhibits smoky, gamey, forest floor, herb, fresh mushroom, meat, plum, fig, and cherry characteristics. Made in a northern Côte de Nuits style with zesty acidity, ripe tannin, and a dark plum/garnet color, this beautiful wine should last for another decade. Terry Leighton must be the most singular and distinctive wine producer in California, and we're all better off for it. $42