Regular readers of my wine stuff know that I hate overpriced wine — and that way too many wines that cost more than $10 are overpriced. (I am, after all, the guy who does the $10 Wine Hall of Fame.) So when I find something that is expensive and fabulous, I swoon. Or at least as close to swooning as a cranky ex-sportswriter can get.

The Sanford is among the best pinots made in California, and Sanford makes some of the best pinot noirs in the world. Hence, $45 is not a stretch. The wine has a bit of a red Burgundy nose and flavor, which is more rustic than those from California and Oregon. But it also has terrific California-style fruit (think cherry and raspberry), without any of the candied flavors of too many other U.S. pinots.

Drink this by itself (I shared it on a Sunday with several people who came over to talk away the afternoon) or with any classic pinot food, be it duck or beef braised in red wine. (Availability may be spotty, though I’m told it has been seen at Centennial, Goody Goody, Central Market and Majestic.)

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