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Sips of Recently Tasted Wines

2010 Alysian Hallberg Vineyard Crossroads Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc.,156 cases, $55. · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, shaved oak and fennel lead to lean, dilute flavors of black cherry and plum with a citrus-infused cranberry finish. Hi-voltage acidity underlies the wine’s tartness, and the barely ripe fruit is austere. Score: 85

2010 Alysian Rochioli Vineyard Allen-Rochioli Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 238 cases, $65. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. A hint of cherry jam is overwhelmed with aromas of oak vanillin and biscuit. Light and juicy, with an array of red cherry and berry fruits accented with a touch of oak and vanilla. Smooth in the mouth with supple tannins and a vibrant cut of acidity on the finish. Score: 88

2010 Alysian Floodgate Vineyard Origins Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 238 cases, $55. Martini 12 clone planted in 1972. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of wood-kissed red berries and baking spices including nutmeg. Lean, slightly confected red fruits clothed in soft tannins and supported by lively acidity show up most on the soprano finish. Pleasant, but not special, with better acid integration than the Hallberg bottling. Score: 87

2010 Au Bon Climat Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Barbara Historic Vineyard Collection, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $40. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of wild raspberry, dried herbs, and rose petal. The wine is lean and somewhat tart, but pleasing, with flavors of red cherry, raspberry, savory herbs, spice and nutty oak. True to the ABC style with demure extraction, gentle tannins and fresh acidity, all in admirable balance. Score: 90

2012 Briceland Vineyards Ronda’s Vineyard Humboldt County Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 78 cases, $35. Vineyard is situated at 1600 feet elevation above the fog line a few miles west and north of Briceland. · Dark plum color in the glass. Vibrant aromas of purple berries, plum reduction sauce and violets. Packed with boysenberry and black plum fruit and long in the mouth with a huge fruit-driven finish. The tannins overwhelm the fruit at this stage and the wine should achieve more tannin integration with additional time in the cellar. Close to Syrah in intensity, but retains enough pinot charm to be embraceable. Score: 88

2012 Briceland Vineyards Wiley Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 150 cases, $32. Aged 12 months in a combination of French and Virginia American oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Smells of a walk in a redwood forest with scents of timber, balsam, and dark cherries. Flavors of black cherry, raspberry, blackberry and umami pick up intensity over time in the glass. Modest in weight and quite charming, with fine-grain tannins and a lengthy finish. I suspect this wine will benefit from more time in bottle. Score: 89

2011 Champ de Rêves Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $30. From Boone Ridge Vineyard. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Very aromatic offering bright scents of dark cherries, fruit leather and spice. Middleweight flavors of black cherry pie with undertones of cola, oak, spice and herbs with a well tailored tannic backbone. The welcome burst of cherry on the juicy finish is backed by dry, ripe tannins. Score: 89

2011 Chanamé Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.81, TA 0.534, 50 cases, $45. Released spring 2013. The Hahn family planted vineyards in the Anderson Valley in 1972. This wine is sourced by winemaker James Hahn and his wife Mila Chanamé from a variety of vineyards farmed by Norman Kobler and Ardzrooni Vineyard Management nearby the original family plantings. Brix at harvest 23.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 7-day cold soak. Aged 13 months in 50% new and neutral French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Darker garnet color and cloudy (unfiltered) in the glass. Clean and fresh aromas of black cherries, dark berries, smoky oak, tobacco and cut flowers. Plush and full-bodied on the palate with deep black cherry and raspberry flavors accented with cola and brown spice. The texture is fine grained and the tannins are ripe and balanced. Lacks acidic verve, but otherwise fine. Score: 88

2011 Deovlet Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 100 cases, $45. From two blocks planted 30 years apart. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of dried cherry, cranberry, wet stones and dried herbs lead to a full palate of tasty dark cherry and plum fruit wrapped in firm, dry tannins. Spice, herbs and oak in the background add layers of interest and the finish offers enough pleasure to draw your attention. Score: 89

2012 DRNK Cavers Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.67, 196 cases, $32. From DRNK Wines in Sebastopol. Sourced from Saralee’s, Hallberg Ranch, and Sweetwater Ranch vineyards. Winemaker is Ryan R. Knude. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is shy upon opening and better the following day from a previously opened bottle. Aromas of dark red cherry, brewed tea and gingerbread. A pleasant, easy drinking wine with a mid weight core of slightly sweet cherries with notes of spice, cola and oak. Respectable balance with mild tannins and some finishing power. Score: 88

2012 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.60, 5,762 cases, $40. Sourced from 9 vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, 14-20 days on skins, aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. The aromas leap from the glass, offering very bright scents of cherry, strawberry, rose and spice. On the palate, the flavors of black cherry, cranberry, and nutmeg are satisfying and persist through a generous finish which displays a citrus-driven spark of acidity. The vibrant acidity really stands out in this wine, making for thirst-quenching pleasure. Score: 90

2012 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.62, 3,343 cases, $38. Sourced from Dutton’s Mill Station, Walker Hill, Rued, Morelli Lane and JJJS vineyards. Indigenous and inoculated yeast fermentation. 100% barrel fermentation, 100% MLF. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels with twice monthly lees stirring. · Light golden yellow and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon zest, white peach and subtle oak. Soft in the mouth and delicately flavored with citrus fruits the main theme. On the lean side, but crisp and pleasant with oak playing a complimentary roll. A sneaky wine that draws you in over time as nuances surface with every sip. Score: 89

2012 Easkoot Cellars Foggy Bottom Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $20.50. Clones 777, 115 and unknown. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of dark red cherries and berries and balsam lead to a lighter weight palate of black cherry and cranberry fruit. Flavorful and pleasant to drink with fine grain tannins and a dry finish which is a tad dilute. Score: 87

2011 MacPhail the flyer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.44, TA 0.61, 388 cases, $59. Released spring 2013. Swan, Mt. Eden and Calera selections with clone 777. Aged 11 months sur lies in 50% new French oak barrels. Susanna’s Vineyard and Dutton Manzana Ranch. Swan, Mt. Eden, Calera and 777 clones. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, indigenous and inoculated primary fermentation, native malolactic fermentation in barrel. Lees stirred weekly for 3 months. Aged 11 months sur lie in 50% new, 25% 1-year-old and 25% 2-year-old French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, dried rose petals and subtle smoky oak. Modest weight but deeply flavored on the palate, packed with black cherry and black raspberry fruit with complimentary oak in the background. The finish is intense and persistent. A virile wine with uncommon concentration for this vintage. Score: 89

2010 Reaper Sonoma County Pinot Noir

13.9%, $25. From Reaper Vineyards located in Hopland, CA. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is rather unpleasant with a strong woody aroma hovering over the cherry fruit. Equally unpleasant on the palate with a heavy overlay of oak-driven notes of tobacco and smoke smothering the cherry core. Highly touted in the Wine Enthusiast so I suspect this was a bad bottle. Withhold score.

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