Quietly, in 1978, without anyone necessarily realising it, the face of winemaking changed forever. Before this point in time, many wine brands had made many good pinot noirs, but none had dedicated its production solely to perfecting development of this much-loved grape varietal. And then, along came Mark West. 

Named after the Mark West community in the heart of Sonoma County – one of the best places in the world to grow pinot noir – Mark West aims to produce high-quality wines without the hefty price tag attached. Pinot noir is no easy grape to perfect, either. Its thin-skin makes it extremely susceptible to environmental changes, and it thrives best in cool, dry climates. As the brand say, "nothing worth obsessing over ever came easy," and that couldn't be truer of the pinot noir grape. 

Inspired by the winemakers of Burgundy, one of the world's premier pinot noir-producing regions, Mark West aims to showcase the textural elements of the grape, and its unique aromas and flavour profiles. There's a reason pinot noir is a crowd favourite food pairing drop, and it's this side of the grape that Mark West seeks to showcase. 

So, how best to drink it? The brand's California Pinot Noir has a fruit-forward flavour profile, with notes of black cherry, strawberry and plum. Light tannins make it extremely quaffable, while the medium body makes this a wine that can hold its own against a number of flavours. Pair it with lighter meats; dishes that will benefit from its mouth-watering acidity, like roasted chicken, grilled salmon, grilled romaine hearts and spicy shrimp, or even a classic tomato-based pasta sauce. Fancy cracking it out for special occasions? The wine makes the perfect partner to roast duck, or even a beef tenderloin. How about if you have friends coming round? Construct a cheese board made of firm cheese – the wine will perfectly balance the nutty flavours of parmesan or gruyere. 

Fancy trying a bottle for yourself? Shop here to grab a bottle (or six). Find out more at markwestwines.com