It is not easy to find a really good Pinot Noir at a great price. The reason is that it is one of the most difficult grapes to grow and wines to make. It's quite fussy in the vineyard, demanding warm weather at certain times and cool weather at others with no exceptions. Mother Nature isn't always so accommodating.
It also doesn't like to produce too many grapes on a vine. A typical acre of Pinot Noir vines will produce about one-third less grapes than an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon. As if that isn't enough, once crushed the wine likes to oxidize quickly so one has to make sure it is kept as airtight as possible.
Wineries, like O'Neill, go through all this trouble because the finished wine is worth it. Their vast sources of vineyards and incredibly sophisticated facility allow them to put out a wine like this Silver Lining at a price other wineries can only dream of. Well, this dream is a reality for them.
Just have the word Sonoma, Santa Rita Hills or Santa Lucia on a Pinot Noir label and you just added $10-$15 to the price. O'Neill's holdings in cooler areas of Lodi, Paso Robles, and Clarksburg allow them to put out an amazing wine without the added price for its location.
Here is a classic Pinot offering cherry and pomegranate flavors with hints of spiced apple and red licorice. The plush vanilla from French oak comes through and dances with a rack of lamb or duck sausages.