Lafond, in the Santa Rita Hills just inland from the Pacific Ocean, is closer to Los Angeles than to Napa and Sonoma, which are north of San Francisco. Pinot gets very ripe at that latitude – too ripe in the eyes of some red-Burgundy fans accustomed to pinot’s ultimate, elegant expression. But the cool ocean breezes impart welcome acidity, and Lafond knows how to turn out great wines for the money. This dark-hued effort shows rich berry and vanilla flavour along with a subtle woodsy character. It’s smooth, complex and very satisfying. Available in Ontario.