2011 California Pinot Noir All-Americans Second Team
2009 Arista Winery Ferrington Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 14.1% alc., 213 cases, $56. While
the Arista Perli Vineyard Pinot Noir seduces you, the Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir overwhelms you.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely composed aromas of black raspberries and blackberries
touched by oak and loam picking up interest over time in the glass. Endowed with rich tasting, earthy black
plum and blackberry fruit wrapped in supple tannins. The wine grabs hold of the mid palate, surrounds it and
refuses to relinquish its hold, before finally conceding to a Grand Cru ending that is like a three-hour movie you
don’t want to end. A beautiful representation of this distinguished vineyard. Available through “A-List” mailing
list members at www.aristawinery.com.
2009 Auteur Manchester Ridge Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir 14.2% alc., 182 cases, $50. Moderately deep
reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure, but seductive perfume of fresh black raspberries, black cherries,
spice and vanilla wafers. Perfectly composed and seamless with delicious flavors of berries and fresh cherries
accented by notes of cola, baking spices and mocha, wrapped in silky tannins. Plenty of vim and vigor with a
remarkably long finish. Still great the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle predicting a long
life ahead. I have had several stunning wines from this vineyard. Available to mailing list customers at
2009 Davis Family Vineyards Starr Ridge Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 14.1% alc., 225
cases, $40. Medium ruby color in the glass. Quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir sporting aromas
and flavors of Bing cherries, baking spices and cola with a moderate dose of red raspberries and red currants.
Still has firm tannins that will soften over time, but the wine is very enticing now. Finishes strong with
impressive mouth coating intensity and a refreshing riff of acidity. A classy wine from a mature vineyard that is
now coming in to its own. Available at www.davisfamilyvineyards.com.
2009 Drew Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir 13.9% alc., $40. Moderate reddish-purple color in
the glass. Complex nose that unfolds slowly revealing many nuances including aromas of dark berries and
black plums, mushrooms, bramble, spice and rose petal. Delicious core of fresh plum compote wrapped in
firm, but well-honed tannins, attacking the mid palate with conviction, and persisting on the soft finish that
shows a riff of citrus and a perfume of plum sauce. Deft balance between richness, acidity and tannin. It is
wines like this that make Pinot my paramour. Available through New Release Club; recently released so
inquire at 707-877-1771.
2009 DuMOL Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 14.3% alc., 3,900 cases, $64. This wine was a revelation.
Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely, demure aromas of dark red cherries and berries
and brioche. Sinfully delicious with intense, sweet flavors of black cherries, spice and Hoison sauce. Polished
and classy, seductively silky on the palate, with suede tannins and perfect integration of oak, ending with a
juicy finish that lures you back to the glass. Impeccable balance. One of the highest priced Russian River
Valley appellation wines, but everything you could ask for, and worth every penny. Available through a mailing
list (pre release members) at www.dumol.com with limited retail and restaurant distribution.
2009 Eric Kent Small Town Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 13.7% alc., 288 cases, $45. Moderately light
reddish-purple hue in the glass. Shy but very pleasant perfume of dark red berries, black cherries, Asian spice
and cola, becoming more expressive in the glass over time. Vigorous with dark red fruit flavor, complimented
by notes of sassafras and spice including clove. Possessing plenty of character with svelte tannins and
welcoming acidity on the generous finish. Really spectacular two days later from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle. Best Pinot ever from winemaker Kent Humphries. Available through a mailing list at
www.erickentwines.com, currently sold out.
2009 Freestone Vineyards Estate Grown Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 13.5% alc., 4,660 cases, $55.
Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Subdued nose initially, picking up intensity over time in the
glass, offering a fresh blend of cherries and berries with a floral element in the background. Very impressive
concentration, even sappy on the mid palate, with generous and expressive flavors of black cherries, black
raspberries and Hoison sauce, lifted by hi-tone acidity, and caressed by gentle, ripe tannins. An impressive
hedonistic style of wine with the right touch of acidity, a creamy mouth feel and admirable balance. Good
approachability now but has excellent aging potential. Available at www.freestonevineyards.com.
2009 Kosta Browne Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 14.7% alc., 439 cases, $72. Dark
and dense reddish-purple color in the glass. Reserved but pleasing aromas of black stone fruits with
complimentary oak spice and anise. Rich, full, sweet and beautifully composed black plum and blackberry
flavors that offer real density and a mouth coating finish of unbelievable persistence. Fruit-driven and primary
now, but the gorgeous fruit is impossible to ignore. I have never tasted anything so sensual from this vineyard.
Wowzaa! Available through the secondary marketplace; sold out at the winery via mailing list at
2008 Rhys Vineyards Swan Terrace Alpine Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 13.0% alc., $69.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. With intense swirling, an appealing scent of mixed berry
preserves, crushed black grapes, and a hint of floral perfume emerges. The wine offers well-endowed flavors
of plum sauce and dark red raspberries, cola and grilled meat. Rather linear now with the fruit buried in
flamboyant tannins. There is an earth and mineral infused quality to the fruit which is appealing and I sense
that this wine will perform beautifully in another five years. The wine benefited from re-corking the bottle and
sampling it the next day. A connoisseur’s wine with unlimited potential. Available only to mailing list customers
2009 Siduri Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 14.2% alc., 298 cases, $50. Enticing
aromas of black cherries, deeply colored berries and cola. A lip smacker with oodles of fruit that saturates the
palate and persists on the finish with a clinging vengeance. Soft and smoothly textured with relaxed tannins.
This is a kick-ass Pinot that will bring you to your knees. Available to mailing list customers at www.siduri.com
with limited retail distribution.
2008 Windy Oaks Limited Release 100% Whole Cluster Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 13.9% alc.,
173 cases, $55. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Remarkably effusive aromas of black
cherries, vanilla, musk and spice. Delicious essence of fresh black cherry pie with subtle notes of baking
spices, cola and oak. Almost creamy, with moderate fine-grain tannins. Discreetly rich and fully ripe fruit with a
striking note of cherry on the finish. The whole cluster fermentation confers a seductive mouth feel and a
charming spice note. Very special.