Bottle and glass of 2018 Boen Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, California

From the Pinot Master

Fast facts:

  • 2018 Boen Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, California ($17.99* @ Costco, California – Item #1641974)

*Net price after $5.00 store discount


Let’s start with the name, BÖEN.  The owner/winemaker chose it because, in his words:  “BÖEN is a translation of ‘The Farm’ and I chose it as a reminder to myself that the wine I make is indivisible from the land it comes from and that first and foremost, I am a farmer.” 

We agree with his assessment and the old adage that “great wine is born in the vineyard.” And where that vineyard is located is equally important.

I added this bottle to my Costco cart for several reasons: the Santa Lucia Highlands appelation (prime Pinot Noir country) as well as the $5.00 discount which slipped the price below $20.  (Note, this wine sells for TWICE as much on the BÖEN website.)  But the main reason I chose this wine was because this is a new wine (to me) from fifth generation winemaker Joe Wagner, who has made a career out of crafting crowd-pleasing Pinot Noir. If his name is not familar to you, his wines might be.  He is “the mind behind” Belle Glos, Meiomi, Copper Cane, and Oregon’s Elouan. You could say Joe Wagner was literally born into winemaking. His father co-founded the Napa powerhouse Caymus Vineyards..

Joe Wagner has built a solid reputation on the Pinot Noir grape. But if you are a fan of delicate, light and old world style pinot, his signature style of big, fruit forward and slightly sweet bottlings might not be your thing.  Tasted blind, I might not peg this as Pinot Noir, but this is not to say this is not a good wine, it’s delicious (aged on 100% French oak I might add) especially at this price.


2018 Boen Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, California
Front label of 2018 BÖEN Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes:

Pours a rich, dark garnet. Abundant aromas of red fruit with notes of blackberry, cherry, and strawberry followed by hints of wild herb and dark chocolate.  Smooth with flavors of ripe plum, black currant jam, and strawberry filling well balanced with roasted almonds and a touch of vanilla. Bright acidity and soft tannins lead to a long, satisfying finish.  Pair with slow roasted red meats with grilled vegetables, rosemary chicken with roasted potatoes, or dark chocolate covered strawberries.


Part of Wagner’s success with Pinot comes from sourcing fruit from the best west coast regions. The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is arguably the most consistent, premium region for Pinot Noir in the world. A unique yet amazing combination of a dry, arid climate combined with the cool, coastal influence challenges conventional farming methods but opens the door to creating profound Pinot Noir. While the Santa Lucia Highlands lack the typical cool climate characteristics of ample fog and rainfall, the desert conditions, afternoon winds, elevation, and sandy loam soils yield extremely small berries with thick skins and small seeds. Thus the resulting wines are very dark, rich, and opulent in style.


Bottle and glass of 2018 Boen Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County, California
Bottle and glass of 2018 Boen Pinot Noir – from a winemaker whose name is synonymous with fine Pinot Noir.


Need More Wine Picks from Costco – or Trader Joe’s Even?

If your wine shopping excursions land you in Costco, prepare by grazing our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.

And if your shopping finds you at Trader Joe’s, you can find our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine here.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!



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