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Wishful Drinking: The Spectacular 2021 Pinot Noir All-Americans

It is my annual tradition since 2004 to name the best Pinot Noir performers of the year as “All-Americans.” The All-Americans are a testimony to the cadre of passionate winegrowers and winemakers who have successfully corralled the temperamental nature of Pinot Noir.

The All-Americans are selected for their description-defying sensuality, their uniqueness, and for the emotion they illicit. The All-Americans are judged on merit independent of price, style, vintage, or region of origin. Only finished, bottled wines that are formally tasted in 2021 in controlled, and therefore comparable circumstances are eligible for All-American consideration.

The All-American Pinot Noir wines are special because the winners include trophy and cult Pinot Noir wines that are infrequently reviewed by major wine publications or wine competition panels. Some wineries choose not to submit their wines for review so I frequently purchase these wines and review them anyway.

I tend to focus on current drinkability rather than age-ability since most consumers prefer to drink domestic Pinot Noir when it is relatively young. I often re-taste wines later the same day with food at dinner to replicate the consumers drinking experience, or the next day or two from an opened and re-corked (but not gassed) bottle. This gives me insight into the quality, balance and age-ability of the wine.

I have no monetary arrangement with any winegrower, winery, winemaker, retailer or wholesaler and accept no advertising. I do not charge wineries for inclusion of the reviews or label images that appear in the PinotFile.

I am convinced that arriving at an apropos description of a wine is not only more challenging than awarding a score, but it is the fairest way to evaluate a wine. That said, the All-Americans are chosen when given scores of 94 or above rather than subjective opinions, and designate wines of exceptional merit.

To seek out any of the All-American Pinot Noir wines, contact the winery first, then the retail marketplace through any of the popular search engines such as

Since early 2020, I have decreased the number of Pinot Noir wines reviewed and no longer review Chardonnay. I primarily taste Pinot Noir wines submitted by invitation. and the overwhelming majority of these fall into the premium and ultra-premium categories and are priced appropriately.

In the section of this to follow, I will list the wineries whose wines most often appeared in my All-American honor roll in the PinotFile during the past 17 years.

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