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PinotFile 11/7

From California Spring Releases of Pinot Noir to Covet

2016 Fogline Vineyards Swan Block Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 23 cases, $N/A. · oderately deep pinkish orange color in the glass. A clean, crisp and somewhat rich offering with aromas of watermelon, blood orange, Rainier cherry and biscuit, and flavors of strawberry, orange peel, red cherry and dried herbs. This wine has enough body to match with substantial foods. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Reichwage Winery Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $24. After foot stomping, the grapes were whole cluster pressed. The juice was fermented with native yeasts in used French oak barrels and allowed to age on the lees for 6 months. · Light apricot color in the glass. Absolutely wonderful nose offering aromas of nectarine, strawberry, Rainier cherry and melon. Very accommodating, with fresh flavors of white nectarine, apricot, apple and cantaloupe. A bit of tannin adds texture and the lip-smacking finish shows good tenacity. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Kanzler Vineyards Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.16, 167 cases, $26. Released April 1, 2017. 72% Kanzler Estate, 20% Walker Station, 4% Umino and 4% Mes Filles. Aged 3 months in neutral French oak barrels and gently filtered prior to bottling. Crafted using the saignée method where juice is bled from a fermentation tank and fermented apart as a Rosé. · Pretty in pink color in the glass. Soaring aromas of red strawberry, blood orange and peach that hold up over time in the glass. Welcoming in the mouth with fresh, crisp flavors of blood orange, Rainier cherry, apricot and white nectarine. Impeccable balance, finishing dry with some persistence. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Frank Family Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.56, $. Produced and bottled by Frank Family Vineyards, Calistoga, CA.. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 33% new and 67% once and twice-filled. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Soaring aromas of black strawberry, black cherry, blackberry and toasty oak. Luscious in the mouth, with the mid weight plus essence of black cherry and blackberry fruits. Enters better than it finishes but still satisfies. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the oak overlay characters of dark chocolate, coffee and spice were more evident. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Frank Family Vineyards Lewis Vineyard Reserve Napa Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.59, 1,000 cases, $. Produced and bottled by Frank Family Vineyards, Calistoga, CA.. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% once-filled. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark fruits and sweet oak lead off. Full-bodied and Syrah-like in concentration, with a no holds barred charge of purple and black fruits that thoroughly saturate the palate. The tannins are well matched and the finish is fruit-filled yet modest. The flavor profile is similar to the regular Carneros bottling, but ramped up fruit sap and oak. When sampled the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, oak notes of dark chocolate and coffee were prevalent. A wine for Pinot hedonists with a thing for oak. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Trader Joe’s Lot #79, Platinum Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 1,450 cases, $14.99. Vinted and bottled by Carneros Cellars, Napa, CA. · Upon opening, the nose is effusive with blueberry pie aroma but develops more oak notes of anise and tobacco over time in the glass. Soft and satiny in the mouth, with a decent attack of blueberry-pomegranate fruit flavor underlain with an earthy, mushroom riff typical of Carneros Pinot. A pleasant but not special wine, with adequate backing tannins and a modest finish. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Nga Waka Three Paddles Martinborough New Zealand Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.55, RS < 1 g/L, $20, screwcap. Harvest Brix 23º-25º. 10% whole cluster. Total maceration 24 days. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 19% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Fruit aromas of black cherry and pomegranate are accompanied by savory notes of undergrowth and tobacco leaf. An easy drinking middleweight wine with good attack and finish, offering flavors of black cherry and blackberry. Charming, with silky tannins and noticeable toasty oak overlay. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Sarah’s Vineyard Santa Clara Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 557 cases, $25. Produced and bottled by Sarah’s Vineyard, Gilroy, CA.. Estate grown on Dwarf Oak Vineyard. Clones 667, 777, 115 and “DRC.” 100% destemmed and whole berry native and inoculated yeast fermented in small lots, punched down by hand, and aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 10% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. A lighter weight offering, with pleasing aromas of cherry, raspberry, sandalwood and forest path, and flavors of confected cherry drop, raspberry and brown spice. Clean and harmonious, with gentle tannins, gossamer oak, and some finish. Easy to like and a very good value. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Sarah’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 160 cases, $38. Sourced from White Sage Ranch and Tondre Grapefield. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of cherry and sandalwood in a light to mid weight styled wine that is juicy and vibrant. Hints of savory herbs and tobacco oak ply the background. Elegant tannins make for early and easy drink ability. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Migration Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 12,840 cases, $40. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, 60% neutral. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of darker red and black fruits with a hint of tobacco oak. Sappy and somewhat dense core of very ripe fruit including blackest cherry and black raspberry flavors framed by firm tannins. The wine’s best feature is the silky texture. A bit moody and reclusive, even when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Nga Waka Three Canoes Lease Block Martinborough New Zealand Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.57,TA 0.60, RS < 1 g/L, $40. Harvest Brix 25.2º. 10% whole cluster, total maceration 24 days. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 28% new. Vineyard planted in 1999 and this wine was sourced from a 1.8-acre block of Pinot Noir. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, fertile earth and clay arrive over time in the glass and become quite enticing. Mid weight plus core of blackberry fruit is accented with notes of spice and ash. Well-structured in the typical Martinborough manner, with a generous finish that urges another sip. The wine picks up interest over time in the glass, and is an age worthy, exceptional offering. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Sonoma-Loeb Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 1,430 cases, pH 3.75, TA 0.61, 1,430 cases, $40. Dijon clones 667, 777 and 115. Harvest Brix 25.2º. Wild and inoculated yeast fermentation, cap managed with punch downs and pump overs, and aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Hard to find descriptors for the nose as there is little find other than a whiff of oak, even when checked the following day from a previously opened bottle. The wine offers a load of purple and black fruits with a green thread in the background. Difficult to be highly complimentary other than the tannins are supportive. The wine lacks a Pinot message. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Presqu’ile Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.56, $42. Produced and bottled by Presqu’ile Winery, Santa Maria, CA.. Sourced from both the Western and Northeastern areas of the Santa Maria Valley (50% Bien Nacido, 30% Presqu’ile and 20% Solomon Hills vineyards). Clones are Mt. Eden, 777, Pommard, 667 and 115. 32% whole cluster fermented. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Inviting aromas of black cherry, tar, tobacco, dried rose petal and toasty oak. An explosion of delicious purple grape, boysenberry and tobacco flavor greets the palate and carries through to a lingering finish. Silky in the mouth with accommodating balance. Very nice whole cluster compliment in this wine. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lombardi Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.59, 200 cases. $46. Grapes sourced from Petaluma Gap vineyards (Griffin’s Lair, Sun Chase and Terra de Promissio). Calera selection, clones are Pommard, 667 and 777. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 18% new. Winemaker is Cabell Coursey. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is foresty upon opening (earth, wood and mulch aromas), with very pleasant aromas of black cherry fruit and spice arriving over time in the glass. Silky smooth in the mouth, with a sumptuous core of tasty blueberry and blackberry fruits that linger with intent on the finish. Discreetly concentrated, with suave tannins and balanced acidity. Considerably more appealing when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Reichwage Winery Twin Hills Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $48. Produced and bottled by Reichwage Winery, Sebastopol, CA.. Grapes were fermented with native yeasts, 15% whole cluster, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 12% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is primary even when sampled from a previously opened bottle the following day. Much more expressive on the palate yet still reserved, with a mid weight plus core of sweet cherry and blackberry fruits that are somewhat sappy. Earthy and savory, with substantial tannins, a spring in its step, and a generous, intenselyfruity finish. This wine needs more time in the bottle to rouse itself. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lucienne Doctor’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.57, 1,530 cases, $50. This vineyard is located near the center of the Santa Lucia Highlands 520 feet above sea level. Harvest Brix 24º-26º. Clones 667, 777, 115, 113, Pommard and Jardini. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, 60% neutral. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of black grape, black cherry, pipe smoke and wood. Luscious and bold on the palate yet not jammy. Flavors of black fruits, black tea and toast. Polished, with a satiny mouthfeel and nicely integrated tannins. This wine shows the most concentration and oak overlay of the four 2015 Lucienne Pinot Noirs. The wine needs a little more time to rouse itself. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lucienne Hook Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.54, 135 cases, $50. The farthest south of Hahns four SLH vineyards, this vineyard is least affected by the cooling influence of winds from Monterey Bay. Harvest Brix 25º. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% neutral. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of red and black fruit compote and graham. Mid weight flavors of cherry and spice have exceptional lift and length. Very polished, with integrated oak highlights. The wine sported more aromatic interest and flavor expression when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lucienne Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.55, 644 cases, $50. This wine is from a 20-acre vineyard located at the northern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands. It experiences the strongest maritime influence of all of Hahn’s vineyards and the coolest growing season. Harvest Brix 24º-25.5º. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% neutral. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of cherry, red berry, spice and toast. The delicious dark cherry core really alerts the taste buds. Very polished, even slinky, with a subtle swirl of toasty oak and brown spices. The gossamer tannins make for seductive drinking and the persistent finish is the most striking of the four 2015 Lucienne Pinot Noirs. This wine is quintessential Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lucienne Smith Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.57, 2,230 cases, $50. This vineyard sits at the highest elevation of Hahn’s vineyards. Harvest Brix 24º-26º. Calera and Jardini clones. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, 60% neutral. · Invigorating aromas of cherries and spice. This wine has a noticeable juiciness and spring in its step. Fresh, clean flavor of dark red, spiced cherry in a middleweight style with a luxurious, comforting texture like a Nike Dry Fit shirt. Complimentary notes of mocha and vanilla join the tasty fruit flavors. The finish is extended and generous, and the final impression is one of thankful harmony. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Kanzler Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.55, 481 cases, $56. Released April 1, 2017. Sourced from grapes grown west of Sebastopol: 60% Kanzler Estate, 20% Mes Filles, 20% Umino, 5% Walker Station. Early pick date in this vintage so less whole cluster inclusion (only 5%). 3 to 5-day cold soak, native and inoculated yeast fermentations. Basket pressed. Aged 14 months on the lees in French oak barrels, 50% new, and finished 1 month in stainless steel. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackest cherry, black raspberry and clay loam lead off. An attacking charge of purple and black fruits aim to please and the flavors last and last. The mouthfeel is velveteen, the tannins blend in inconspicuously, and only the slightest hint of vanilla suggests an oak presence. Can be drunk now or aged for several years. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Kanzler Walker Station Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $56. Release September 1, 2017.This 3-acre vineyard is planted in Goldridge soil in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of black fruits and earthy flora. A huge wine with an explosion of boysenberry and black raspberry sappy fruit that floods the palate. The tannins are majestic as well but the wine has some tension to counteract the prodigious tannins. Oak is integrated. Both tannins and a little alcoholic warmth stick out on the finish. A bit over-the-top for my taste. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Domaine Della Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.64, 150 cases, $60. Sourced from three vineyards. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. · Dark garnet color in the glass. An array of black fruit aromas ply the nose with added notes of rose and oak. A big boy wine not for the timid with an onslaught of sweet black stone and berry fruits embellished with oak-driven notes of dark chocolate and toast. The tannins and acidity keep the fruit in check, and the high alcohol is not evident when the wine is cool, but the heavy fruit load obscures Russian River Valley typicality and is excessive for my taste. A good transition wine for previous Cabernet drinkers. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Domaine Della Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.62, 125 cases. $60. Sourced from four vineyards. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. An array of aromas appear over time in the glass, including boysenberry, blackberry and brewed tea. Mid weight plus in style, with commendable vibrancy and lift and silky in the mouth. Flavors of black cherry and black raspberry dominate, with a deft touch of oak in the background, refined tannins and a decent finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Fulcrum Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 152 cases, $60. Produced and bottled by Fulcrum Wines, Napa, CA. In tasting room prerelease - full release October 2017. Pommard and 113. 100% Donnelly Creek Vineyard. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Infatuating aromas of cherry, spice and earth tones. Delicious flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and candy apple. Modest tannins with a silky mouthfeel and the slightest oak enhancement. A very pleasant wine that is forward and giving, and an ideal everyday wine. The tenth vintage from Fulcrum and the wines keep reaching for greatness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Sean Thackrey Andromeda Devil’s Gulch Ranch Marin County Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 329 cases, $60. Produced and bottled by Sean Thackrey, Bolinas, CA. Grower Mark Pasternak only sells Pinot Noir grapes to Sean Thackrey and Dan Goldfield for vineyard-designated bottlings. Devil’s Gulch Vineyard is located above Nicasio and is one of the cooler and windier Pinot Noir growing sites in California. Yields are small due to wind that interferes with pollination, often less than 1 ton per acre. Thackrey aims for a wine “that is uniquely expressive and one that is wilder and more mysterious and not meant to be light and simple.” Aged 13 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. A very interesting nose with uncommon aromas of peppermint basil, herbcoated black cherries, peppered beef and earthy flora. Rather bold in a mid weight plus style, with generous flavors of black cherry, blackberry and brewed tea. Plush in feel, with commendable balance and with a density that does not sacrifice charm. A truly unique wine from a challenging site crafted by a contemplative winemaker. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Sonoma-Loeb Bateman Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 169 cases, $60. Vineyard is located in Graton in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA. It was planted in 1999 to Dijon 777 and 115 clones in Goldridge soil. Harvest Brix 26,8º. Winemaker is Phillip Corallo-Titus, the winemaker for Sonoma-Loeb and Chappellet since 1990. · Very dark, inky purple color in the glass. The nose lacks aromatic inspiration, offering only a hint of cassis along with oak-driven aromas of dark chocolate and toast. A huge fruit load greets the palate, with a mixed bag of purple and black fruits. Tannins and acidity are in harmony, but the wine lacks nuance and interest. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Hard to know this is Pinot. May be a good transition wine for ex-Cab drinkers. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Three Sticks PFV Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.60, 658 cases, $65. Released February 7, 2017. 29% whole cluster fermentation in open-top fermenters. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 60% new. Swan, 115, 667, 777 and “828” clones. Sourced from vineyards owned and farmed by Three Sticks’ owner Bill Price and his farming company Price Family Vineyards. Gap’s Crown, Walala, Dupoint and Durell vineyards make up this blend. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackest cherry, underbrush and new oak lead. Well structured, yet offering a gracious character, with mid weight flavors of black raspberry and purple grape. Nicely composed, with an oak thread in the background and some length and grip on the finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Three Sticks Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.58, 283 cases, $65. Released February 7, 2017. Grapes sourced from vineyards north of Sebastopol. Clones 777 and “828.” 22% whole cluster fermentation in open- top fermenters. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of Bing cherry, fruit bin and seasoned oak. The core of purple and black berries and black cherry is modest on the attack but satisfying. The wine is giving all it has but is not assertive. There is noticeable oak overlay that occupies the somewhat lengthy finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Three Sticks The James Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.61, 732 cases, $65. Released February 7, 2017. Grapes sourced from Rita’s Crown, La Rinconada and Sanford & Benedict vineyards. Martini, 777, “828,” and Mt. Eden clones. 25% whole cluster fermentation in open-top fermenters. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 55% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Bright aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, fertile earth and spice. Satisfying mid weight flavors of blueberry and pomegranate with a touch of spice and toasted oak. An earthy undertone pervades the background. The mouthfeel is silky and the wine finishes on a spirited cherry note with just a hint of dry oak tannins. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Domaine Della Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.62, 150 cases, $70. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The black cherry and spice aromas reach for the sky over time in the glass. The silky mouthfeel seduces as does the luscious mid weight essence of black cherry fruit. Very charming, with subtle oak highlights, gentle tannins and a juicy, well-fruited finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Domaine Della Terra De Promissio Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc, pH 3.46, TA 0.62, 125 cases, $70. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 55% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Captivating aromas leap from the glass including black cherry, black raspberry, caramel and wine cave. An enchanting array of black fruits greets the palate with resolve, dances lightly on the mid palate, and slides smoothly off the finish. A signature Pinot that is very seductive in all ways including the silk and satin texture. Amazingly giving at this young age. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Kanzler Estate Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $78. Release September 1, 2017. Grapes exclusively from Kanzler Vineyard in the Sebastopol Hills of Russian River Valley. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is really engaging, with bright aromas of blackberry, blueberry-pomegranate, spice and underbrush. Excellent grip and intensity in a mid weight plus, ripely fruited style. More sap, more flavor delivery, but also more apparent alcohol compared to the RRV bottling. Satiny in the mouth with ingrained tannins, satisfying acidity and a notable finish. Undoubtedly, this wine will benefit from more time in the cellar. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Hahn SLH Gabrielle Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $sold out. A barrel selection of the best of the vintage from estate vineyards. The name is a tribute to second generation Philip Hahn’s mother, Gaby, who along with father Nicholas founded Hahn Estate. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, raspberry a hint of toasty oak are followed in the mouth with a mid weight core of flavorful Bing cherry fruit. Nicely balanced and forward drinking, with easygoing tannins and a compliment of toasty oak in the background. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Fallon Place Herbitage Vineyard Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.718, 60 cases, $36. Winemaker and proprietor Cory Michal. Grapes are a single clone sustainably grown from a single vineyard in the northern Carneros AVA. Aged 18 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Aromas of black cherry, dark strawberry, earthy flora and subtle oak. Very delicate, easygoing and elegant in style, even a bit shallow on the mid palate and finish. Juicy, with flavors of red cherry, spice and dried herbs. A solid quaff that lacks initiative. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Dierberg Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $44. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Lovely nose, offering aromas of black cherry, spice, mushroom, fertile earth and subtle oak. Very charming, with mid weight flavors of blueberry and black cherry that assume intensity over time in the glass. Supportive tannins with toasty oak in the background. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Asuncion Ridge Vineyards San Louis Obispo County Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 146 cases, $45. Grown, produced and bottled by Asuncion Ridge Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA.. Dijon clones 115, 667 and 777, and Pommard 4 and 5, and HRM (Hoffman Mountain Ranch). · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Ripe fruit aromas of dusty black cherry and blackberry embellished with toasty oak. Soft, smooth and lush on the palate, featuring a middleweight core of spiced black fruits lifted by well-behaved acidity and supported by structured tannins. The finish is generous, although some oak char and tannin infuse the finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Fogline Vineyards Hillside Block Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 195 cases, pH 3.63, TA 0.603, $45. Release December 17, 2017. Estate Hillside Vineyard. Swan, Mt. Eden, Pommard and 115 clones. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose reluctantly offers hints of black cherry, underbrush and vanilla. Rather closed, with a mid weight focus on blackest cherry flavor. Well-ripened fruit profile, with expressive tannins and a slightly astringent finish. A slight bit more expressive when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle but the tannins still stick out. This could benefit from cellaring for a few years and my score may prove to be conservative. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Fogline Vineyards Starscape Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.65, 195 cases, $45. Release spring 2018. Vineyard is located in the Middle Reach sub region of the Russian River Valley. Formerly Floodgate Vineyard. Clones 667, 115, 777 and Pommard. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry partner with spice and toasty oak. Nice flow in the mouth with polished tannins, showing good vibrancy and vivid flavors of black cherry and black raspberry, underlain with a compliment of oak. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Anaba Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.62, 395 cases, $52. Produced and bottled by Anaba Wines, Sonoma, CA.. Pisoni selection. Harvest Brix 24.3º. Destemmed, 4 to 5-day cold soak, fermented in stainless steel, gentle pump over and punch downs during fermentation. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of mushrooms on the grill, earthy flora and cherry-nut cake lead off. Very elegant and cordial, with silky tannins backing a mid weight core of fresh cherry fruit. Very polished and charming, with a good spring in its step. There is an oak sidecar of note that is not intrusive, and the black cherry finish is notable. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Dierberg Drum Canyon Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $52. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Effusive aromas of black cherry and spice. Broad in the mouth with mid weight plus assortment of dark red and black stone fruit and berry flavors. Well-structured, with a good acid spine, admirable vibrancy, welcome integration of oak, and a lingering black cherry finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Kitá Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.80, TA 0.567, 217 cases, $55. Produced and bottled by Chumash Cellars, Lompoc, CA.. Harvest Brix 23.0º. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 20% new, 80% neutral. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, cranberry and marzipan lead to a light weight styled wine with flavors of cherry gum drop, red berries and savory herbs. The fruit tastes riper than the harvest Brix would indicate. Silky in the mouth, with a pleasing cherry themed finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 1,100 cases, $56, screwcap. Produced and bottled by MacRostie Winery & Vineyards, Sonoma, CA.. Vineyard is owned by Steve MacRostie and his partners Nancy and Tony Lilly. The vines are planted in sparse volcanic soils and must withstand the maritime breezes off the Pacific Ocean. Vines planted in 1998 and 2000. Dijon and Pommard clones. The grapes were gently de-stemmed into open-top fermenters, 3-day cold soak, inoculated yeast fermentation, cap management with a combination of pump overs and punch downs. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Cozy aromas of cherry, spice and worn leather. Elegant in the mouth in a middleweight style, offering an array of juicy, dark red fruit flavors accented with toasty, smoky oak. Silky and easy to cozy up to, with a finish that lingers appealingly. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., $60. The San Andreas Fault lies 2.5 miles from Hirsch Vineyards and defines the soils, topography and climate of the site. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Aromas of blueberries, under brush and oak spice lead off. Light in weight, with delicate and forward flavors of red cherry, cranberry, raspberry, red licorice and dried herbs. Nicely balanced, with modest tannins and a red-fruited finish. A very elegant offering. A little more expressive when tasted the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Asuncion Ridge Vineyards Barrel Select San Louis Obispo County Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 81 cases, $65. Grown, produced and bottled by Asuncion Ridge Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA.. 50% free run juice from Estate Vineyard. Clones 115, 667, 777, Pommard 4 and 5, and HRM blended together. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing perfume of blackberry with added notes of piney oak, earth and vanilla. Rather bombastic and broad in the mouth with good attack, length and finishing persistence. Very like able, with balanced tannins and good juiciness. Even better when sampled the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Fogline Vineyards Fogline Neighbors Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.62, 245 cases, $65. Release September 17, 2017. Sourced from Hillside Estate Vineyard and neighboring Sun Chase and Janian vineyards. Clones 667, 777, 114, 115, Swan, Mt. Eden and Pommard. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of underbrush, fertile earth and blackberry lead to a nuanced palate of flavors including black fruits, spice, oak, black tea, flower and dark chocolate. Velvety in the mouth, with harmonious tannins and a modest finish. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Fogline Vineyards Bacchus Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc, pH 3.57, TA 0.64, $75, white wax capsule, embossed bottle. Released. 50% whole cluster clone 114 from Janian Vineyard and 50% stemmed Hillside Block (Estate) Swan, Mt. Eden, Pommard and 115 clones. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Very ripe dark fruit aromas arrive over time in the glass. The good news is that the satiny texture is very seductive. The regrettable news is that the fruit has a roasted character and there is some alcoholic warmth detectable. When tasted the following day, the wine still showed extremely ripened, cooked fruit flavors. It doesn’t seem this wine has anywhere to go. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Hirsch Vineyards Block 8 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 360 cases, $85. Sourced from a western ridge with a singular personality. The site contains more iron oxide soil unique within Hirsch Vineyards. David Hirsch calls it his Grand Cru block. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The fruit in this wine is riper and this wine shows the most grace and charm. Aromas of muddled black cherry, Dr. Pepper and mocha. Mid weight, earthy flavors of purple berries are framed by defined tannins for the long term. Smooth and gracious on the palate, with impeccable balance and a thread of “minerality” that adds appeal. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Hirsch Vineyards East Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 528 cases, $85. A selection of the very best barrels from the three oldest blocks on the ridge. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Upon opening the nose is quite primary. The following day the nose remained shy but better, offering aromas of purple berries and a hint of oak. A more masculine wine, with a firm tannic backbone, and mid weight flavors of purple and black fruits. Quite sappy and intense and long in the mouth, but still withdrawn. Much more expressive when tasted the following day showing an intense attack and mid palate presence. A little green, unripe character shows in the background. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Hirsch Vineyards Raschen Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., 312 cases, $85. Henry Raschen (1854-1937) was a painter of the American West and lived on a ranch that is now Hirsch Vineyards. From the highest elevation of the vineyards with merging heat and coolness, uplifting and erosion. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Inviting aromas of dark pie cherries, underbrush and fertile earth. Plenty of attack and intensity to satisfy, with flavors of blueberry, black cherry and Damsel plum. More savory and earthy than fruity with temperate tannins and a finish of exceptional length. The long finish really stood out when the wine was tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Hirsch Vineyards Reserve Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., 768 cases, $85. A selection of the best barrels from the oldest and finest vineyard blocks at Hirsch Vineyards. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose entices with aromas of cherry and spice. Provocative flavors of cherry, purple berry and spice that are rich and expansive on the palate, finishing with purpose and persistence. This wine is more welcoming than others, yet has firm fruit tannins that need more time in bottle to assimilate. The very long finish was striking when the wine was tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Hirsch Vineyards West Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., 360 cases, $85. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Initial aromas of mulch and terra cotta lead to aromas of cherry, black raspberry and spice. Discreetly concentrated, earth-kissed flavors of blueberry and cherry with an expansive mouthfeel. There is a note of iron and green pepper as well. Inviting harmony, with firm but integrated tannins, a silky texture, and a modestly generous finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Dierberg Drum Canyon Vineyard Ty Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 62 cases, $95. This wine is made from a special block of clone 667 which showed more fullness and complexity in the barrel. This block is located in rockier soils and a perfect slope. Named after Jim and Mary Dierberg’s grandson, this wine is the pinnacle of the Drum Canyon Vineyard. Fermented with some stem inclusion. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 60% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. An array of dark fruit aromas are complimented with notes of warm spices and a bit of oak-driven notes of anise and tobacco. Embraceable core of dark cherry fruit with floral and brioche accents. Soft in the mouth, with a very long black cherry imbued finish. A big but not cumbersome wine that will need more cellaring for full oak integration. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Beresini Black Dog Ranch Carneros Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.559, 194 cases, $45. Grown, produced and bottled by Beresini Vineyards, Napa, Ca.. 81% Swan selection (27-year-old vines) and 19% Calera selection (14-year-old vines). Harvest Brix 25.2º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of well-ripened fruit include blackberry liquor, blackest cherry and Hoison sauce. Tiptoes to the edge of ripeness without crossing the line, offering luscious flavors of black cherry, blackberry and spice with attendant toasty oak in the background. There is a proper balance of acidity and tannin to accommodate the fruit load. The mouthfeel is smooth and the well-fruited finish satisfies. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Domaine De La Tech Domaine Lois Louise “Twisty Ridge” Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.596, 166 cases, $62. This very steep 35-acre vineyard sits above the fog line and is buffeted by strong maritime winds. The “Twisty Ridge” block runs along the upper ridge line at 1,700 feet and features a thin layer of topsoil over fractured rock. Dijon clones. Extended cold soak, whole cluster fermentation with native yeast, malolactic fermentation on lees and gravity transfer. The wine was aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 75% new, and bottled unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Very shy aromas of black cherry, fertile earth and nutty oak. A gorgeous core of perfectly ripened boysenberry and blackberry fruits is framed by muscular tannins that are both fruit and oak in origin. Hard to ignore the enticing and boisterous fruit, but the wine lacks vibrancy. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Clos De La Tech Santa Cruz Mountains Estates Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.565, 1,483 cases, $45. Sourced from the three estate vineyards, primarily the steep, south-facing hillsides. Extended cold soak, whole cluster fermentation with native yeast, foot crushing, malolactic fermentation on lees, and gravity transfer. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 80% new, and bottled unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. The aromas are primarily oak fueled including cocoa, toast and vanilla, and showing no change when the wine was tasted the following day. There is a mid weight plus core of sappy, very ripe dark fruits including olalliberry and blackberry flavors backed by significant tannins that return with noticeable intent on the finish. The wine is polished and luscious in the mouth, with some carryover of fruit delight on the finish. There is a significant oak imprint that is unyielding four days after opening. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Clos De La Tech Domaine Valeta “Sunny Slope” Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.55, 128 cases, $62. 3.5 acres planted on a 30 acre mountaintop site at 2,350 feet elevation in 1999. A challenging site exposed to wind, cold and occasional snow. Soils are fractured weathered sandstone and sandy loam. Clones are Dijon 113, 114, 115 and 777. Extended cold soak, whole cluster fermentation with native yeast, malolactic fermentation on lees, and gravity transfer. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 90% new, and bottled unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of dark berries and cherries lead to a mid weight plus core of blackberry and cassis flavors. Less sappy than some of the other wines in this lineup, yet the fruit really ignites the palate. The tannins are foreboding and I wonder whether they will ever resolve (unchanged from an opened bottle after 4 days). Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Domaine De La Tech Domaine Lois Louise “Cote Sud” Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.571, 191 cases, $82. The “Cote Sud” block clings to the south-facing slope on the Lois Louise Vineyard. Buffeted by strong winds from the Pacific Ocean 8 miles to the West., it features a thin layer of topsoil over fractured rock. Dijon clones. Extended cold soak, whole cluster fermentation with native yeast, foot crushing, malolactic fermentation on lees and gravity transfer. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 100% new, and bottled unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. An abundance of blackberry jam and spice aromas greet the drinker along with a bite of oak. There is an imposing attack of very ripe black fruits that have length as they expand in the mouth. The texture is quite velvety, yet the tannins are burly and astringent and imposing on the finish. The wine brings more appeal over time in the glass and shows more finishing fruit persistence the following day from an opened bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Clos De La Tech Domaine du Docteur Rodgers, Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.50, 85 cases, $102. From a 1-acre vineyard in the town of Woodside, a cool, somewhat protected site. Extended cold soak, whole cluster fermentation with native yeast, foot crushing, malolactic fermentation on lees, and gravity transfer. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 67% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. This wine has the most charm in the lineup with a mid weighted, satiny core of dark red and purple berries complimenting the nose of cherry and sous bois. A slight green herbal note from the whole cluster is evident. There are modest tannins and extraction and the wine finishes with purpose and juiciness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Transparent Pricing of Pinot Noir

2016 Broadley Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $20. Sourced from several vineyards along with added estate fruit and vinified as a forward drinking, value priced wine. I tasted this wine with winemaker Morgan Broadley while visiting the Willamette Valley in late July 2017. 100% destemmed fruit. Wild yeast fermentation and aged 10 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Giving aromas of dark cherry and rose petal. Light to mid weight cherry and red berry fruit core with seamless oak backup, easy going tannins, and a juicy finish. Lively, fresh and open. Ideal for summer drinking. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Jigsaw Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., pH 3.80, TA 0.50, 4,149 cases, $19.99, screwcap. Produced and bottled by Ransom Wine Company, Sheridan, OR.. Grapes sourced from seven vineyards, primarily in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Harvest Brix 23.2º. Grapes 100% de-stemmed, into 1.5-ton open-top and large close-top fermenters. Average cold soak 4 days, inoculated and wild yeast fermentation for seven days with hand punchdowns. Aged 11 months, filtered and bottled. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Very little aromatic interest, with only subtle notes of fertile earth, candy corn, vanilla and floridity. Slightly confected mid weight black cherry and cranberry flavors framed by noticeable tannins, finishing somewhat astringent. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Alit Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $27.45. Inaugural release from an organically farmed vineyard planted in volcanic soil. Wild yeast and whole cluster fermentation. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Leading off are aromas of red cherry and dried herbs. Black cherry and raspberry flavors are embellished with flower and herbal notes. Lightly fruited and forward drinking, with fine-grain tannins that create textural interest but stick out a bit at this young age. More enjoyable when tasted the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Machine Breaker We The People Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.65, 1,829 cases, $29.99, screwcap. Produced and bottled by Machine Breaker, Sheridan, OR., a side project of Tad Seestedt, the mastermind of Ransom Wines and Spirits. Sourced from ungrafted vines on their own roots that were dry farmed. Six different vineyard sources, multiple clones. 100% de-stemmed into 1.5-ton fermenters. 2 to 4-day cold soak, inoculated and wild yeast fermentation, hand punchdowns, aged 11 to 18 months in 2-year-old French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, underbrush and nutty oak lead off. Light to mid weight in style, with a flavorful fruit core of cherry and raspberry with a thread of dry herbs in the background. Nicely balanced, with modest tannins and a short finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Ransom Selection Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.62, 1,200 cases, $27.99. Produced and bottled by Ransom Wine Company, Sheridan, OR.. Low yields, own-rooted and nonirrigated mature vines, all free run juice. Sourced from four vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills. Harvest Brix 22.4º. 100% de-stemmed, 4-day cold soak, inoculated and wild yeast fermentation for average of 7 days with hand punchdowns. Aged 12 to 16 months in two-year-old French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose offers primarily stemmy, woody, and vegetal aromas with only a hint of cherry fruit. Light to mid weight flavors of red and purple berries with what can be described only as a grape popsicle taste. Also earthy and woody. The tannins are tame, the texture is appealing silky and there is some persistence on the finish. I just could not embrace the flavor of this wine. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted Domestic Chardonnay

2016 Decoy Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 61,000 cases, $20, screwcap. Cellared and Bottled by Decoy, Ho[land, CA.. Part of the Duckhorn Wine Co. portfolio. A blend of fruit from warmer Sonoma County appellations with fruit from cooler areas. Vinified in 10% French oak, 90% stainless steel. · Light golden yellow color with a slight spritz in the glass. Pleasant aromas of lemon-lime, applesauce and vanilla creme. Vibrant on the palate, with flavors of lemon, pear, butterscotch and caramel, as well as a subtle petrol note in the background. Nicely balanced with just a whiff of oak. An unpretentious daily drinker. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Sonoma-Loeb Sangiacomo Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.62, $27. The relationship with the Sangiacomo family dates to 1990 and today sources have been expanded to include several of Sangiacomo’s best blocks. Harvest Brix 23.7º. Fermented and aged on its lees for 8 months in French oak barrels, with full malolactic fermentation. · Light golden color in the glass. Complex nose offering aromas of citrus peel, apple, butter and lees. Somewhat steely on the palate, with refreshing flavors of grilled lemon, melon and pear. Very slight reductive note of flint is evident. Nicely composed with a good cut on the finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Kitá Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

12.8% alc., pH 3.15, TA 0.0.645, 165 cases, $30. Release fall 2017. Produced and bottled by Chumash Cellars, Lompoc, CA.. Dijon clones 76 and 96. Harvest Brix 22.0º. Lees stirring with no malolactic fermentation. Aged 6 months in French oak barrels, 14% new, 86% neutral. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of pear, green apple, lime zest and nuts lead to a reserved style most noted for its acid-driven minerality. Flavors of citrus and green apple carry through to a finish offering a tight cut of acidity. A bare fruit style that will appeal to aficionados of non-MLF and minimally oaked Chardonnay. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Migration Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14,2% alc., $32. 75% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new and 60% neutral along with 20% stainless steel. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Nicely appointed aromas of lemon pie, yellow stone fruits and caramel. Somewhat light and austere and straightforward, with flavors of lemon-lime dominating. Flavor notes of straw and green herb are found. The wine is softly textured and bolstered by a good acid spine. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 954 cases, $34, screwcap. Grapes sourced from Kent Ritchie, Martinelli, Mirabelle, Charles Heintz, Mill Station and Braughton vineyards. Gently whole cluster pressed, fermented and aged on the lees with occasional stirring for 9 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Enticing aromas of lemon-lime, pink grapefruit and ripe pear. Straightforward, but offering crisp citrus and white stone fruit flavors that are energized by good acidity.The wine finishes with a mineral oil taste. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Duckhorn Napa Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 13,500 cases, $35. Cellared and bottled by Duckhorn Vineyards, Hopland, CA.. Vinified by Renée Ary, only the fourth winemaker in the four-decade history of Duckhorn Vineyards. 90% French oak barrel fermentation with lees stirring for 10 months and 10% in stainless steel. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Clean aromas of pear, cut apple, tropical fruits and spice that fade some over time in the glass. The flavors echo the aromas in a fruit-driven style with some richness. There is a hint of salinity and the wine ends on a lemon-lime note. Somewhat shallow and less appealing over time in the glass. It seemed to me there may be some RS in this wine. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Frank Family Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.64, $35. The foundation for this wine is the Frank Family’s Lewis Vineyard located in Napa Carneros near the shores of San Pablo Bay. 68 acres planted to Chardonnay and 10 acres planted to Pinot Noir. Other sources include Beckstoffer Vineyards and Hudson Vineyards in Napa Carneros, and Sangiacomo Vineyards in Sonoma Carneros. Barrel fermented and aged on the lees with hand stirring in French oak barrels, 34% new, 33% once-filled and 33% twice-filled. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Leading off are aromas of buttery brioche, lemon curd, poached pear, banana and burnt caramel. A rich and well-ripened style, yet easy going, with flavors of pear, yellow nectarine and cantaloupe embellished with meticulous integration of oak on the palate. Silky in the mouth with a modest, but juicy finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Presqu’ile Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.68, $35. Produced and bottled by Presqu’ile Winery, Santa Maria, CA.. 100% estate grapes. Clones 124, 76, 4 (Wente), 131, 95 and 96. Native yeast fermentation, native malolactic conversion and aging on the lees. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 15% new and 85% neutral, and 6 months in stainless steel. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Shy but intriguing, with steely, stony aromas accompanying apple notes. A somewhat understated, citrus-driven style with bracing acidity leading to a soprano finish. Slightly creamy in the mouth with a hint of lemony sea salt. No oak character at all. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Fallon Place La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.9% alc, pH 3.29, TA 0.69, 51 cases, $38. Produced and bottled by Fallon Place Wines, San Francisco, Ca.. Aged 12 months in neutral French oak barrels. (A second bottle tasted had aromas of cooked tropical fruits and off notes. The wine was a bit flat on the palate and probably was corked although not evident to me aromatically) · Bright golden yellow color in the glass. Bright aromas of lemon, yellow apple, creme brulee and warm brioche lead to a nicely appointed core of lemon, pineapple, pear, and caramel apple flavors. The texture is slightly creamy and there is a briny hint of the sea. A richer, riper style that seems oak appointed even though only neutral oak was used. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Sonoma-Loeb Envoy Carneros Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.54, $38. A limited production wine made from Wente, Hyde and Robert Young selections of Chardonnay from Sangiacomo Vineyard. Barrel fermented and aged 8 months on its lees in French oak barrels. The wine underwent partial malolactic fermentation. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Very fragrant with aromas of lemon custard, yellow apple, tropical fruits, and vanilla. Citrus-driven flavors of lemon and pineapple reflect plenty of California sunshine kissed goodness. Silky in the mouth, with enviable balance and some finishing intensity. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lucienne Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.61, 155 cases, $40. Release May 2017. Grown, produced and bottled by Lucienne Vineyards, Soledad, Ca.. Harvest Brix 24.8º. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new, 50% neutral. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Reserved aromas of lemon, pineapple and toasty brioche. Flavors of poached pear, cooked apple, yellow raisin and caramel offered in a rich and ripe style. Slightly viscous in the mouth, with an oak-infused finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lucienne Smith Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.56, 170 6- pack cases, $40. Harvest Brix 24.5º. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% neutral. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. The aromas of lemon curd, pear, white peach, buttery brioche and righteous oak maintain over time in the glass. Plush and velvety on the palate, with full weighted flavors of citrus, pineapple, cooked apple, white stone fruits and poached pear. Ripe fruited and almost syrupy in density, with embossed notes of caramelized oak. Well done in this flamboyant, Caliesque style. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lombardi Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.3% alc.,pH 3.29, TA 0.68, 200 cases, $42. Bottled by Lombardi Wines, Santa Rosa, CA.. Sourced from 3 Starrs Vineyard. Wente clone. Fermented and aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 18% new. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Slowly evolving aromas of lemon, petrichor and buttered waffle appear over time in the glass. More expressive on the palate, with flavors of lemon, poached pear and apple paired with a pleasing texture. An unpretentious, every day style. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Sonoma-Loeb El Novillero Carneros Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.56, $42. El Novillero is a special cool, windswept section at Sangiacomo Vineyard with unusual for Carneros gravelly, rocky bench land soils. Robert Young clone planted in 1993. Harvest Bris 23.1º. Barrel fermented and aged on its lees for 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new, with 100% malolactic fermentation. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Lovely aromas of lemon, banana and other tropical fruits, creme brulee, and subtle toasty oak. Somewhat lush, seamless and seductive due its clean and fresh character, offering flavors of lemon, Golden Delicious apple, and golden pear. There is deft oak management and a long lemon-infused finish. A connoisseur's Chardonnay. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Three Sticks One Sky Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.63, 241 cases, $50. Released February 7, 2017. Old Wente selection grown at 900 to 1,100 feet elevation in red iron volcanic soil over calcareous strata. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 60% new with 100% malolactic fermentation. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Compared to Origin, this wine is softer and more mellow. Aromas of lemon oil, toasty brioche and creme brulee transition to a rounded core of baked lemon, pie crust and blond caramel in the mouth. Slightly viscous with generous fullness and a righteous finish. The acidity is fully integrated such that the wine is soft like worn Ugh boots. Oak checks in but enhances rather than leads. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Three Sticks Origin Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.4% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.62, 398 cases, $50. Released February 7, 2017. Old Wente 5 block and V9 Hyde block. Fermented in concrete eggs with inhibited malolactic fermentation. Aged 11 months in stainless steel. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, pineapple, green apple, vanilla, straw and wet clay are quite endearing. Exceptional spirit and brightness, with flavors of lemon, white peach, pineapple and apple unplugged from oak. The slightest tannins are evident in this edgy and mildly steely wine that has some finish persistence. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Migration Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $55. 75% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in 90% French oak barrels, 30% new and 60% neutral, along with 10% stainless steel. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. More reductive on the nose, with aromas of flint, oil slick, lemon oil and white peach, becoming more appealing with swirling over time. Citrus-driven in a rather austere style, featuring earthy lemon-lime flavors set off by notes of white stone fruits and nutty oak. The slightly creamy texture has appeal as does the wine's mature grape quality. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Migration Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $55. 75% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in 90% French oak barrels, 30% new and 60% neutral along with 10% stainless steel. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Shy aromas of lemon oil, mango, banana and rain water. Full charged on the palate, with a vigorous show of grilled lemon, yellow peach, pineapple and creme caramel flavors. A denser, riper offering that has appeal but lacks vibrancy. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Migration Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $55. 75% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in 90% French oak barrels, 30% new and 60% neutral, along with 10% stainless steel. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Fresh, clean aromas of ocean air, lemon, and vanilla creme. Very friendly, with noticeable vibrancy and finish, offering a bracing acidity that lifts and energizes the palate, leading the drinker to want more. The flavors of lemon-lime and white stone fruits are sustained and satisfying through a palate-cleansing finish. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Migration Running Creek Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $55. 75% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new and 60% neutral along with 10% stainless steel. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Highly aromatic, with hi-tone scents of pear, white stone fruits, white flowers and lemon blossom. Bright and satisfying in the mouth with vivid flavors of lemon custard, pear, white nectarine and lime. Sleek and balanced, with only a whisper of oak, and a cleansing finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Kanzler Family Vineyards Walker Station Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.30, 98 cases, $56 - Sold out. Produced and bottled by Kanzler Vineyards, Sebastopol, CA.. Inaugural vintage for this new vineyard-designated wine. 3-acre vineyard located in Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Aged over 14 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, and finished 2 months in stainless steel. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Reserved aromas of lemon, lime and ocean breeze. Very pleasant in a mineral-inflected style with austere flavors of lemon, peach and yellow apple. Nicely balanced and easygoing, with complimentary oak, and a quenching finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Domaine Della Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.27, TA 0.62, 125 cases, $60. Produced & bottled by Domaine Della Dale, Santa Rosa, CA.. Sourced from three vineyards including Ritchie Vineyard. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of lemon rind, slate and caramel. A slightly reductive (matchstick) style, with appealing richness of lemon curd and pineapple flavors. Slightly viscous, endowed with bright with a sumptuous citrus-driven finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Hirsch Vineyards Estate Ft Ross-Seaview Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

12.5% alc., 245 cases, $60. Grown, produced and bottled by Hirsch Vineyards, Cazedero, CA.. Low yields in 2015 produced only 1.3 tons per acre. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Very shy aromas of lemon oil, pineapple and ripe apple lead to a moderately rich palate of lemon, pear and green apple flavors, infused with a steely bite of acidity. A bit too austere and hi-strung for my taste and a deviation from the style of this Chardonnay in the past. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Frank Family Vineyards Lewis Vineyard Reserve Carneros Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.64, 1,000 cases, $65. The Lewis Vineyard was bought by Rich Frank in 2000 and named for Paul Frank’s son, Lewis. 58 acres are planted to Chardonnay in shallow and dense clay loam soils. Dijon clones. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 100% new. · Very light golden yellow color in the glass. A more mineral driven nose and palate compared to the regular Carneros bottling. Aromas of lemon-lime, pear and apple are replicated in the flavors with added notes of green apple and a hint of smoky oak on the palate. Very polished and classy, with a glorious finish filled with robust apple goodness. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Dutton-Goldfield Wines are Consistently Top Shelf

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Devil’s Gulch Vineyard Marin County Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 80 cases, $N/A. This wine is to be offered to wine club members first in the fall 2017, but check with the winery for availability. A very limited bottling from vines planted in 1980. Aged on the lees in stainless steel. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. A very special, beautifully composed Chardonnay that is crisp, bright and juicy, even when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle that sat out on my desk. More pleasing pear and other orchard fruit flavors than citrus backed by an invigorating cut of acidity. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

(Tech data not yet available) · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of wild strawberries and cherries soar from the glass. Mid to full bodied explosion of fruit flavors that attack with length and purpose, finishing with a grand generosity. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Angel Camp Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.67, 240 cases, $58. This 10-acre vineyard is owned by Dan Goldfield’s good friend, Brian Zalaznick, who planted this vineyard in memory of his brother and family. It is located west of Philo on a scenic knoll overlooking the valley. An assortment of Dijon and heritage clones are planted - Pommard, ‘828,’ and 667 are in this wine. Destemmed, 5-day cold soak in small open-top fermenters, clones co-fermented. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. I loved the aromas of cherry and warm spices. The mid weight flavors of blueberry, pomegranate, cherry and spice are enticing. The tannins are very fine grained and gentle, a woodsy oak note plies the background, and the wine ends with a slightly tart, well-spiced red fruit array. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Azaya Ranch Vineyard Marin County Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.59, TA .63, 184 cases, $62. Vineyard planted by Mark Pasternak for the McEvoy family in Hicks Valley. 18-acres are planted to clones 667, ‘828,’ 115, 777 and 2A. This wine contains ‘828,’ 667 and 115. De-stemmed, 7-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, no sulfur dioxide at crusher to preserve delicacy. Initially aged in 45% new French oak, then blended in early spring. Total aging 15 months. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, graham and vanilla set the stage. Impressive cherry sap lifted by bright acidity and framed by tightly would tannins. Impressive attack, mid palate presence and finishing power with length. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Deviate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., Ph 3.49, TA 0.68, 406 cases, $72. A followup of the first deviation from single-vineyard bottlings in 2013. This wine is a blend if two far flung Sonoma Coast vineyards: Jentoft Vineyard in Green Valley (Calera clone) and Putnam Vineyard near Annapolis. De-stemmed, 5-day cold soak in small open-top fermenters, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 55% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Earth, floral and foliage aromas compete with an array of dark berry scents that is intoxicating. Very smooth and sexy on the palate with vibrant blackberry flavor framed by ripe fruit tannins. Remarkable follow through on the intense finish that seems to last a minute. Still very young, but blessed with unbridled potential. You can plan a special dinner around this wine. Score: 95-96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Dutton Goldfield Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.60, 646 cases, $62. Vineyard planted in 2001 by Steve Dutton in Goldridge sandy loam soil to several Pinot Noir clonal blocks. This offering contains Pommard, 2A, 667 and ‘828.’ De-stemmed, 5-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A complex wine with an array of aromas including wild dark berries, cardamom spice, forest and floral bouquet. Mid weight styled juicy flavors of blueberry, dark raspberry and plum. Supportive oak with soft tannins and a quenching finish. This wine will benefit from more time in bottle. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Dutton-Goldfield Redwood Ridge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.61, 278 cases, $62. Inaugural bottling from William Wesley Vineyard located in the Annapolis area of the Sonoma Coast. Only 5 miles from the coast but at an elevation above the fog line allowing for enough gentle warming throughout the day for adequate grape maturation. Gravely soil, close-spaced vines lead to low yields, thickskinned fruit, small berries and concentrated fruit. De-stemmed, layered into open-top fermenters where a 5- day cold soak ensued. The wine was racked in March and barreled an additional 5 months before bottling. Total aging in French oak barrels was 15 months in 55% new barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Pleasing perfume of black cherry, dark red berries and baking spices. An impeccably balanced wine with delightful flavors of black raspberry and blueberry-pomegranate underlain with a riff of nutty oak and savory spice. Rather elegant, but with firm fruit tannins providing support. The finish is remarkable for its intensity and persistence. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Talisman Wines: An In-Depth Tasting of 2014 Vintage & Older Vintage Pinot Noir

2014 Talisman Adastra Vineyard Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 291 cases. This vineyard is organically farmed and certified CCOF by owner Chris Thorpe and son-in-law Edwin Richards. Talisman is the only winery to source fruit from this vineyard. Planted in clay loam soils in 1994 to 113, 115, 777, Pommard, 2A, and two unnamed suitcase selections. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 67% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Scents of spiced dark berry, fertile earth, rose petal and pine lead off. A husky, full-bodied style with concentrated flavors of earthy blackberry, yet not jammy with added notes of dark chocolate and floral goodness. Bold, yet juicy with an intensely black raspberry fruited finish. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Adastra Vineyard Méthode Ancienne Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 46 cases. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Very ripely fruited impression on the nose and palate. Mid weight plus in style, with bright dark fruit flavors engaged with an exotic spice and floral note. Noticeable tannins, inviting oak integration, and an amazing finish that lingers with black cherry and black raspberry goodness. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Huckleberry’s Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 140 cases. A 1-acre vineyard farmed by Bill and Lauren Hipp. Planted in 2004 at an elevation of 70 feet in Goldridge sandy loam soil. Clones 115, 667, 777 and ‘828.’ Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is engaging and special with aromas of cherry, exotic spices and underbrush. Light to mid weight in style, with well spiced cherry and blueberry flavors that are framed by quenching acidity. Well structured for aging. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Rancho Estrella Vineyard Napa Valley Pinot Noir

14,7% alc, 46 cases. Known as Star Ranch, this vineyard is located in a farming community in an obscure valley in Napa County. Planted in 2006 at 600 feet elevation in weathered thyolite soils. Clones are Pommard and Dijon ‘828.’ Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of redder fruits, earthy flora and green leaf. Light to mid weight in style, with flavors that echo the aromas. Dry, but not bitter tannins are quite noticeable. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Honey’s Cuvée Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 46 cases. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Clones 115 and 777, 100% whole cluster fermented - méthode ancienne. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. More primary than the regular Red Dog bottling, but with deeper flavored darker fruits, a silky mouthfeel, and a delightful dark berry infused finish. A bit more rustic and savory at this stage, and more tannin, but with a generous finish. The wine needs considerable foreplay as reflected in the vivid fruit flavors assuming considerably more intensity over time in the glass. Best to cellar a few years. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 366 cases. This vineyard is located above Bennett Valley on the northwestern side of Sonoma Mountain. A low yielding site exposed to the full brunt of cold air flowing off the Pacific Ocean. 800 feet elevation, planted in 2000 in loamy clay. Clones 115, 777 and Pommard 5. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 60% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Teasing aromas of black cherry and blueberry fruit with integrated oak, timber and spice notes. The lovely core of dark fruits including very ripe cherry and raspberry are accented with hints of clove and other warm spices that alert the senses. The suede tannins and plenty of finishing power leave an impression. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Starscape Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 338 cases. Vineyard is located in the Middle Reach sub region of the Russian River Valley. Clones 777 and ‘828.’ Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 57% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Enticing scents of cherry, green tea, and floral blossoms. Noteworthy attack of mid weight black raspberry and black cherry flavors that really cling to the palate through the finish. Gentle tannins make for easy drinking. The most fruit forward wine in the lineup with the most striking finish replete with vivid fruit that hangs on for what seems like a minute. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 140 cases. Vineyard is located on the southern flank of Sonoma Mountain on the western edge of Sonoma Valley. Soils are volcanic - red, pebbly clay loam. Planted in 1998 at 750 feet elevation to clones 115, 777 and Pommard. Very cool site, exposed to foggy cold airflow from San Pablo Bay and the Petaluma Gap. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The noise is rather primary initially with delicate aromas of cherry, picking up intensity over time in the glass. The cherry essence is integrated with feral, game and floral notes making for an interesting drink. A little more tannin is evident in this wine. There is deft oak management and the finish has good persistence. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Sadie’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 342 cases, $45. Vineyard is located along Bodega Highway west of Sebastopol. Planted in 2009 in Goldridge sand loam soil. Pommard and Dijon 115. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, sage, warm spices and sous-bois. Mid weight flavors of red cherry and berry with a vegetal thread in the background. Bright acidity and balanced tannins with some persistence on the dried cherry fused finish. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Gunsalus Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 392 cases, $54. Vineyard farmed by retired research scientists Glen and Pamela Gunsalus. Vineyard was planted in 2001 in the Goldridge soils of the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Clones 114, 115, 667 and 777. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 44% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, savory herbs and spice. Deep cherry flavor with a savory herbs note in the background. Middleweight styled, with modest tannins, a bit of spice accent, welcome touch of oak, a soft texture and some finish. The slightest hint of alcoholic warmth is evident. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Jamison Valley Vineyard Destein Estate Bennett Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 59 cases, $55. This vineyard receives the brunt of cool air thru the Petaluma Gap. Planted in 1996 at an elevation of 565-625 feet in gravelly, volcanic mudflow. Clone 777. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Embracing aromas of red cherry, dark cranberry, spice and floral bouquet. Plush on the palate, yet lifted with juicy acidity. Forward flavors of cherry and red berry with a spice back note and a refreshing finish. Still lovely when tasted four days after opening. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 241 cases, $65. This vineyard has the coldest nighttime temperature of all vineyards Talisman works with. Gravelly, well-drained loamy clay soils. 1,000 foot elevation. Clones 2A, Pommard, Romanée-Conti and Rochioli selections. Aged 21 months in French Oak barrels, 60% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Engaging aromas of black cherry and blueberry lead to a mid weight styled wine with a core of sweet and juicy dark red and blue fruits accompanied by a thread of herbal oak. Quite suave in the mouth with a glorious finish. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Gunsalus Vineyard Dijon Clone 114 - Méthode Ancienne Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 46 cases, $75. Dijon clone 114, 100% whole cluster fermented. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass (slightly darker than the regular Gunsalus bottling). Inviting blend of dark muddled cherry fruit and savory notes of stem and mulch. Definitely different than the regular Gunsalus bottling, with a little deeper black cherry flavor, more mid palate presence, more lifted fruit, a little more structured backbone and more finish. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Talisman Weir Vineyard Méthode Ancienne Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 47 cases, $85. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Sensual aromas of lurking dark red fruits. The bright and seductive dark red cherry core is underlain with a firm but not intrusive tannic backbone. The whole cluster seems to fill out this wine with goodness. There are accents of exotic spices, pine sap and burnt tobacco contributed by the whole cluster. The finish seems to go on and on. Hard to resist now, but this beauty will benefit from more time in the cellar as it is built for aging. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Talisman Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of cherry, cranberry, and dried herbs in an elegantly styled and polished wine with a juicy, cherry-fueled finish. Drink now to 2022. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Talisman Adastra Vineyard Los Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir

Moderate garnet color in the glass. Soaring aromas of dark raspberry, black cherry, warm spices and marzipan. Flavors of black raspberry, tar and tobacco backed by residual tannins. Holding nicely and can be drunk now to 2022. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Talisman Huckleberry’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Exuberant aromas of blackberry, cola, rhubarb, prune, marzipan and spice. Flavors of black cherry and marzipan with melted tannins and a moderate finish. Drink up. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Dijon Clones Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Very vivid aromas of cherry, spice rhubarb and brioche. The core of oak-kissed cherry flavors is accented with baking spices. The tannins are refined and the finish is juicy. Holding nicely. Drink now to 2022. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Pommard Clone Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

Moderate garnet color in the glass. Moderate garnet color in the glass. Fresh aromas of Bing cherry, spice and woodshed. Vivid black cherry fruit is embellished with oak flavors of toast and tobacco. This wine leans too much on oak that will never integrate. Drink up. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Talisman Hawk Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. This wine has developed tertiary characters. Aromas of leather, potpourri, burnt tobacco and timber lead to faded fruit flavors with a bit of oak and olive flavor. The tannins are still notable but the wine is enjoyable. Drink up. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2003 Talisman Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aged aromas of old leather and wood pile with dried fruit. More evident dried fruit on the palate with notes of brown spice and fruit leather. Still hanging in there but showing its age. Drink up. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

1996 Talisman Los Carneros Pinot Noir

Grapes sourced primarily from Truchard Vineyard. · Slight orange tinge in the glass. Aromas of orange peel, crusty bread and pickling spices. Still some black cherry fruit but it is dried out and fades rather quickly in the glass. The tannins have disappeared. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

1995 Talisman Los Carneros Pinot Noir

Grapes sourced from Madonna Vineyard and Mueller-Mckenzie Vineyard. · Yellow-brown caste in the glass. Aromas of marzipan and eucalyptus. Faded fruit trying to give its best, with a spice and leather accent, finishing with some grip. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »


Robert Parker’s 100 point wine scoring system, which became popular in 1983 and adopted by the Wine Spectator in 1988, has been a homing beacon for consumers seeking to buy good wine. Currently, a majority of United States based wine critics and magazines use the 100 point scale.

The reality is that the 100 point scale is actually a 10 point scale. MORE»
A Note About Prices

Price shown in a tasting note is either the winery-direct price or the retail price paid by the Prince.