I love Pinot Noir but have never been a Burghound (my apologies to Allan Meadows, author of the authoritative newsletter that covers Burgundian wines). Compared to wines of similar quality from the Rhone, Loire, Alsace or even Bordeaux, red and white Burgundy wines have always been at least 50 percent more expensive. Whereas there are always many excellent Rhones on the market for $10 or less, that price point will generally not buy even a "decent" red Burgundy. That's why I nearly passed up this wine, labeled only "Le Pinot Noir" and priced at $8.99.
Again, I am not a Burghound and have not tasted my way through some of the best Burgundy has to offer. But I am quite happy drinking this little $8.99 Pinot from the Cotes d'Auvergne (a backwoods area near the Loire Valley.) The color is a medium light, typical of Pinot Noir, and there are no smells reminiscent of new oak or oak chips. Pure fruit here from what is clearly a cool climate. Cranberries, spice and pepper. More black pepper than I expect from Pinot Noir, but it's very pleasant. Gives the wine backbone and plays nicely against food (Tuscan vegetable stew at the moment). At this price, I can drink this Pinot frequently. And I intend to do just that.