I am a pretty confirmed Europhile. For whatever wine I am buying--be it Cabernet, Riesling, Syrah, Grenache or Chardonnay--I usually feel I can get more wine for the money by buying French, Italian or even Spanish rather than New World. Pinot Noir is another matter. I have rarely had an outstanding red Burgundy, mainly because I am not willing to pay the big bucks. Even the least expensive (and ordinary) Pinots from Burgundy are $15 or more. Recently, I have had some good luck with California Pinots, such as the Acacia described below and some excellent examples from Anderson Valley, Russian River and Sonoma Coast. These wines are not cheap, either, but I have managed to get some good aged wines at decent prices through online auctions.
I opened this Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune soon after the Acacia specifically to make an unbiased comparison. And after the first night, I was leaning toward the New World wine. The Burgundy takes longer to open and is less fragrant. Very dry on the palate; is the fruit fading? On the second night, the aromas and flavors were more prominent, though. And on the third night, they were brilliant. Bright cherry fruit, very deep and concentrated. Gets better and better. Sweet and lovely with a long finish.
Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune is a modest appellation, and I bought this wine for about $15. It's clearly worth that and more. Whereas the Acacia seems to be fading at 10 years of age, this nine-year-old needs more time in the cellar.