Pinot Noir is often referred to as the “heartbreak grape.” Ostensibly, this is because it is difficult to grow, thin-skinned, finicky, prone to disease, likes to get into pointless arguments with you in restaurants and other public places, and always returns your calls when it knows you aren't there. However, that is untrue. Pinot Noir should be called the heartbreak grape because trying to find worthwhile Pinot under $15 is an exercise in one’s dewy-eyed expectations being run over by the Greyhound bus of reality. Put another way, if Match.com were about hooking you up with drinkable, inexpensive Pinot, it would have been out of business eons ago.
However, you keep looking, and once in a while you get lucky. Here, without further delay—lest despair get the better of you, and you give up and switch to, you know, Merlot or something.
2012 Shoofly Yarra Valley Pinot Noir ($11) Australia’s cool Yarra Valley provides the counterargument to an ocean of super-juicy anonymous Shiraz: distinctive Pinot Noirs like this crisp, spicy, light-bodied version.