2014 Castle Rock Mendocino County Pinot Noir


Producing low-priced wine is not difficult in California – as long as one uses undistinguished central valley grapes. Yet Castle Rock Winery sells premium, handcrafted wines from the best appellations in California, Oregon and Washington at prices that match those wines labeled “California.” Castle Rock Winery’s secret to providing “appellation wines at affordable prices” is to operate as a kind of “virtual winery,” owning neither its own vineyards nor a winery. Instead it maintains close, long-term relationships with around forty growers in such areas as Monterey County, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Willamette Valley and Colombia Valley and leases state-of-the-art winemaking facilities in all three states. Winemaker August "Joe" Briggs works closely with the growers to ensure they produce the best quality fruit while overseeing the winemaking at the same time. This unique method of operating allows Castle Rock to avoid the “money pits” of land and fancy buildings that sink many wineries and focus everything on securing the best grapes and crafting delicious wines. Since the beginning in 1994, Castle Rock has focused particularly on Pinot Noir, making distinct bottlings from such key Pinot districts as Carneros, Russian River Valley and Willamette Valley. However, over the years the winery has also branched out into other popular varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Riesling. Though an oft-repeated wine country adage goes, “it takes a fortune to make a small fortune in the wine business,” Castle Rock Winery has shown there is a way to make captivating wines for the discerning drinker without deep pockets. 


Because getting to Mendocino takes more effort than does a drive to the Napa Valley, the area remains rural and rugged. Forests, ranches, farms and vineyards encompass the landscape with restaurants and winery tasting rooms far and few between. The Anderson Valley and the western side of the county features a cool climate that allows Pinot Noir to develop wonderful aromatics and bright fruit flavors. The 2014 Mendocino PN is a great value, offering attractive cherry and wild berry fruit as well as notes of earth, cedar and savory herbs. Lamb, chicken, salmon and light pasta dishes will all pair well with this wine. 


Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. 

Tasting notes

88 points – Wine Spectator; 87 Points (and “Editors’ Choice”) – Wine Enthusiast    A medium-bodied wine that starts with bright cherry and herbal spice aromas and evolves into flavors of black cherry, plum, earth and spice. A smooth wine with a supple texture and mild tannins. 




Pinot Noir




Screw Cap