The most powerful leader in the free world entertains with our wine-of-the-week winner. President Obama and the First Lady offered pours of the Siduri, 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir during their recent holiday parties. The full bars in both the State Dining Room and the East Room of the White House offered a handful of wines, but the Siduri was the only Sonoma County wine offered. Napa Valley bottlings included Domaine Chandon sparklers and Hagafen, 2011 Napa Valley Merlot.

"Daniel Shanks is the Director of Food & Beverage at the Executive Residence, the White House," explained Adam Lee, co-vintner of Siduri Wines in Santa Rosa. "Since 2010 we have occasionally sold the White House wine for various events, usually in small quantities . . . . We've met with Daniel before on a trip he took to Sonoma. He asked us this year about using one of our wines for the holiday parties . . . and he tasted a couple of our releases and selected the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir."

As for this bottling, it's a standout, a pinot with depth and complexity. It has aromas and flavors of rich dark cherry, berry, herbs and pepper. It also has an impressive, lingering finish, and at $28 it's a steal for pinot noir of this quality. "I believe (Daniel) mentioned being &‘wowed by the wine,' " Lee said. "The price point was also important. We've always tried to keep our wines at reasonable prices, and the White House seems to be very conscientious about making sure the wines are good values."

Lee, along with hia wife, Dianna, are behind the bottling and their winery is essentially a house of pinot noir. They make pinots from the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County, up through the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey, to Sonoma County and then all the way to Oregon's Willamette Valley.

"In our experience, pinot noir has a fascinating ability to be both complex and terroir-oriented and also just wonderful to drink," Lee said.

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 707-521-5310 or