A friend who works at the local Liquee Mart recommended this 2008 Robert Mondavi Solaire pinot noir, which was on sale for about $8, usually $13-something.
This pinot hails from the Santa Lucia Highlands [nothing else of note on the label about the wine], which is an AVA in Monterey County [i.e., the central coast of California]. This AVA has about 2,300 acres, some as high as 1,200 feet above sea level in the Santa Lucia Mountains, and half of them are planted with pinot.
Frankly, this didn't do it for me, and I both aerated it and drank a glass with food [brie]. It should be obvious, I suppose, but I'm discovering that food [esp. something relatively mild tasting like brie] really does bring out the flavors in some wines. You get completely different notes drinking a glass from a freshly opened bottle from drinking a glass with a snack or a meal.
This pinot just seemed thin without a lot of flavor. I may have gotten a bad bottle. After a night in the fridge, it did taste a little fruitier but I still wasn't crazy about it.