To go with the Earth Day festivities, try an earthy wine.

Pinot noir, finicky and grand, frequently has an elusive, earthy quality - as in the aroma of damp earth or the forest. That's the good side of earthy; the bad side, like poking your nose into the barnyard.

Let's stick with the good earth.

You'll find a trace of earthiness in the uncomplicated, nonvintage Barefoot Cellars California Pinot Noir ($7), a bargain-bin intro to pinot that carries a hint of spice.

Spice and vanilla complement red fruit in the 2008 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($20), a food-friendly Sonoma pinot that's finished with a splash of syrah.

Raspberry and cherry identify the 2008 Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley Pinot Noir ($35), a slightly smoky production that has spice and cola in the mix, too. It's a soft and fresh wine, easy to enjoy.

Complex and ripe, the 2007 Rochioli Estate Pinot Noir ($60) is a rich, full-bodied red that laces its earthiness with a suggestion of smoke. You'll detect black cherry and toasty vanilla in this Russian River Valley beauty, too.

Benziger Family Winery, which emphasizes biodynamics, or a chemical-free farming approach to winemaking, contributes to Earth Day with a plummy, harmonious Bordeaux-style blend from Sonoma. The 2006 Benziger Signaterra Three Blocks ($49) is made with certified organic grapes.

Long Island's Wine of the Week


The 2007 Wölffer Estate Perle Chardonnay ($30), gilded as a spring afternoon, offers ripe fruit, balance and versatility. A peachy, flinty winner from the Sagaponack winery.

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