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Reviewed Wines from the current Newsletter
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From Talisman: 2010 Pinots are a Giant Step Up from the Ordinary

2010 Talisman Spring Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 244 cases, $44. Release April 2014. The vineyard is located on a wind-blown ridge west of the town of Petaluma. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas are so appealing one wants to dive into the glass. Scents of red cherry, spice, herbs and oak in perfect harmony. The cherry core of fruit is complimented by an oak sheen. Lighter in weight with mild tannins and some finishing intensity and length, offering good lip-smacking acidity. A good example of how oak brings out the best in Pinot Noir. The most interesting wine I have had from this vineyard. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Talisman Wildcat Vineyard Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 242 cases, $44. Release April 2014. This vineyard has the highest elevation of any vineyard in the Los Carneros AVA. Red, pebbly clay loam soils born of decomposed volcanic basalt. The site is exposed to a cool air flow from San Pablo Bay. Clones are Dijon 115, 667, 777 and Swan. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose is spectacularly endowed with aromas of boysenberry, wood spice and anise. Soft in the mouth with a plethora of purple and blue berry flavors underlain with an earthy riff. Very mild fine grain tannins, perfect integration of oak, and a satisfying, intensely flavored finish. An evocative wine. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Talisman Red Dog Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 241 cases, $52. Released October 2013. This vineyard is located high above Bennett Valley at 800 feet elevation on the northwestern side of Sonoma Mountain. A very low-yielding site. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of red cherries, cinnamon and other spices, and old cask. Round and polished on the palate, featuring flavors of black cherries with a hint of tobacco and oak in the background. The most rustic, earthy and savory of the lineup. A noticeable lift of acidity on the finish is refreshing. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Talisman Adastra Vineyard Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 243 cases, $56. Release April 2014. An organically farmed and certified vineyard tended by Chris Thorpe and his son-in-law Edwin Richards. Clones are Wädenswil, Swan, 113 and Pommard. · The nose brings you to attention with deeply fragrant notes of Hoison sauce, black grapes, blackberries and cardamom spice. Very softly textured, perfectly composed with a judicious use of oak. Typical Los Carneros flavors of darker berries, black plum, mushroom and damp soil pervade. The sweet, perfectly ripened fruit attack makes an impression on the front of the palate, expands its reach across the mid palate like a silk sheet, and finishes with a flourish. A transcendent, “Oh My God” wine. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Talisman Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 243 cases, $65. Released October 2013. A unique site with very cold night time temperatures and gravelly, well-drained soils. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of cherry, raspberry, blueberry and dark chocolate. Charming essence of sweet, dark red cherries and berries with a hint of lovable spice on the palate. Seamless with integrated tannins and a long, intensely fruited finish. This wine just speaks class. Everything you like in Pinot Noir from a very special vineyard. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Pfendler Vineyards: Exceptional Wines in 2012 Honor Peter Pfendler

2012 Pfendler Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.618, 300 cases, $38. Clones 4 and Hyde-Wente. Brix at harvest 24º 100% barrel fermented and 100% malolactic fermentation. 8 months sur lees aging and 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color with a slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. An array of appealing aromas emerge over time in the glass including lemon, grilled grapefruit, fresh brioche, pastry cream and toffee. Delicious core of discreetly rich lemon, grapefruit and pineapple fruits accented with a buttery toffee note. Crisp on the palate with a slight creamy texture and a bright, refreshing finish. The wine became more appealing over time in the glass to the point that I hated to stop sipping. My wife, who is quite the Chardonnay connoisseur, loved this wine as well. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Pfendler Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.586, 350 cases, $45. Pommard clone and Swan and Calera selections. Harvest Brix 23º. 100% de-stemmed, 7-day whole berry cold soak, 8 months sur lees aging, 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring aromas of fresh red cherries, with hints of spice, mushroom and cedar. Very polished and elegant in the mouth, featuring ripe darker red cherry and berry flavors accented with spice and earthiness. Impeccably balanced with gossamer tannins and a bright, persistent, lip-smacking finish. This wine conveys a special sense of richness, roundness and brightness you don’t find everyday in Pinot Noir. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Bernardus Winery: Pinot Noir Transcends the Ordinary

2012 Bernardus Santa Lucia Highlands Saignée de Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 569 cases, $24. Made from fresh pressed Pinot Noir grapes. As the grapes are crushed, a small percentage of the juice is blend off before it has a chance to absorb much color from the grape skins. The barely colored juice is then cold fermented in stainless steel in the winery’s coolest cellar to dryness. A blend from multiple Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards including Pisoni, Rosella’s, Sierra Mar, Soberanes, Tondré Grapefield, Fairview, Highlands and Paraiso. · Magnetic pinkish red color and clear in the glass. Lovely nose perfumed with strawberries, red cherries, mangoes, redwood and allspice. The wine is fresh, crisp and bright on the palate with flavors of strawberry, red cherry and cotton candy with a hint of citrus. Drink this wine slightly chilled with sushi for a big smile. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Sierra Mar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 336 cases, $55. A newer vineyard planted by Gary Franscioni on a hilltop at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Pisoni “clone” and “828.” Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of black cherry pie filling, plum reduction sauce and complimentary oak. Intensely flavored with layers of black cherry, black raspberry and plum fruit with an earthy underpinning. Bright acidity, balanced tannins and modest finishing length complete the picture. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Soberanes Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 312 cases, $55. Vineyard farmed by Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni and located adjacent Garys’ Vineyard. Pisoni “clone” and Dijon 667. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. I really liked the nose on this beauty featuring bright aromas of black cherry, blackberry jam, cassis, brewed tea and oak. The delicious fruit including dark cherries and blackberries really jumps out. Nicely composed with integrated tannins, and a lengthy, intensely fruity finish. This wine has broad shoulders but is refined. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 165 cases, $65. Planted to the Pisoni “clone” by Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni. Aged 10 months in about 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. A masculine wine with a notable earthy accent. Aromas of darker red cherries and berries and some oak spice. Full-bodied, filling the mouth with layers of deep red cherry and berry fruits, yet has a pleasing soft texture and nicely integrated tannins. The most extracted and structured wine in the 2011 Bernardus Pinot Noir lineup that will benefit from more cellaring. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 429 cases, $65. This vineyard was planted by Gary Franscioni and named after his wife. Pisoni “clone” and Dijon 777. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddishpurple hue in the glass. Highly aromatic and intoxicating, with scents of cherries, dark strawberries and spice. The delicious core of cherry fruit is accented with hints of cola and oak-driven mocha. Very approachable with harmonious tannins and a lovable finish. Shows off the typical red-toned fruits and femininity characteristic of this vineyard. A dancing Pinot. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Bernardus Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 508 cases, $70. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of dark red and purple stone and berry fruits with some forest floor compliment. The fruit explodes on the palate with some fervor, yet with more delicacy in this vintage. Very polished and beautifully balanced, with superb fruit purity. A whiff of alcohol shows up on the finish. A sophisticated offering that is atypical for Pisoni Vineyard but reflective of the cool vintage: Pisoni unplugged. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted California Wines

2012 Masterpiece Vineyards Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 2,500 cases, $13.99. A second label from Windsor Oaks Vineyards. Artwork on the label is In The Woods at Giverny by Claude Monet, 1887. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of red rose petals, honeysuckle and green herbs. Lighter weight flavors of red cherries, red berries, dried herbs, and edible flowers. Easy to drink, with modest tannins and some fruit presence on the brief finish. Score: 85. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Les Voleurs Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.62, 73 cases, $22. From a vineyard located a few miles southwest of Sebastopol. 15-year-old vines. One lot fermented with native yeasts in barrel and underwent 100% MLF. The second lot was fermented using native yeasts in stainless steel without completing MLF. The wine was blended, received a light fining and was bottled unfiltered. · Very pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Shy, clean aromas of lemon zest, green apple and petrichor. Soft in the mouth with vivid lemony citrus and tropical fruit flavors and a hint of nutty oak. Demure and polished leaving a pleasing finish of lemon-lime gusto. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $23. · Moderate yellow color and clear in the glass. Scents of lemon zest, green apple, green herbs and oak lead to a light weight palate of lemon and pear flavors and well-integrated acidity. Delicate and nicely crafted, but nothing stands out. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cosa Obra Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.53, 294 cases, $27. After rigorous hand sorting, 100% de-stemmed with whole berries to tank. A 5 to 7-day cold soak was followed by fermentation managed with a combination of delestage and pumpovers. Extended maceration ranged from 3 to 4 weeks. Aged 12 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of Bing cherries, raspberry coulis and spice. The nose is literally intoxicating and persistent in volume even when sampled later in the day from a previously opened bottle. Bright, refreshing and light on its feet, with a delicious core of light to mid weight Bing cherry fruit accented with notes of tobacco, mocha, sassafras and sweet oak. The combination of balance and a light touch is hard to resist in Pinot. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kessler-Haak Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

14.6% alc., pH 3.41, TA 0.61, dry. 65 cases, $29. Estate grown fruit. Yield 1.7 tons per acre. Clones 95, 96, 76. Barrel fermented and barrel aged sur lie for 8 months in 15% new French oak barrels. · Mild golden yellow color and clear in the glass. The pleasing fruit aromas of lemon and golden apple are somewhat obscured by a toasty, nutty oak topcoat. Discreetly rich on the palate with flavors of baked apple, poached pear and citrus peel, finishing with a burst of refreshing citrus. Slightly creamy in texture. Oak is less intrusive on the palate than on the nose. Improves over time in the glass. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Balverne Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 300 cases, $30. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Lovely aromas of ripe cherries, dried stone fruits, cola and vanilla. The bright cherry core is accented with notes of spice, vanilla and cola, with supporting dry tannins. Admirable balance with some finishing persistence. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Windsor Oaks Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 280 cases, $30. Clones 777, 667, 115, 114 and 459. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The appealing nose leads with aromas of raspberries, cherries and damp forest floor. The middleweight flavors of black cherry and cola are juicy and vivid. Very well crafted with a seamless presence of oak, acidity and tannins, finishing with plenty of cherry goodness. The potentially lush Russian River Valley fruit is held in check, making this wine particularly appealing. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Les Voleurs Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.63, 76 cases, $32. A blend of several vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, native yeast fermentation, aged in neutral French oak barrels with regular lees stirring. · Very fragrant array of aromas including strawberries, cherries, leather and spice. Delicate, but pleasing flavors of strawberry, red cherry, and cranberry caressed by gossamer tannins and finishing with palate cleansing acidity. An elegant offering that lacks mid palate and finishing intensity but has some charm. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Windsor Oaks Vineyards Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 230 cases, $33.75. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass (slightly deeper in color than the regular RRV bottling). Shy, but pleasant aromas of dark Bing cherries and spice. Very polished and refined on the palate, with flavors of dark cherries, fraise du bois, cola and spice pulled into line with fine acidity. The complimentary oak is not intrusive, and the tannins are suave and integrated. A graceful interpretation of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that is quite evocative. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 The Calling Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., TA 0.65, $37. From the Mill Station Vineyard, one of the coolest sites in the Russian River Valley. Aged 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is highly expressive with bright aromas of Bing cherry, spice, cinnamon stick, graham, sassafras and oak. Luxurious cherry core with accents of cola, anise, spice and oak. Nicely balanced with great verve and grace, finishing with respectable length. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kessler-Haak Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 425 cases, $38. Estate grown fruit. Vineyard owned by Dan Kessler and his spouse Ellen Haak Kessler. Winemaker is Dan Kessler. Yield 0.96 tons per acre. Clones 114, 115, 777 and 2A. Aged 9 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Uplifting aromas of dark berry preserves, cardamom spice and briar. Light in weight but flavorful, with notes of blackberry, cassis and plum infused with bright, juicy acidity. A vein of savory, dried herbs and oak is in the background. The tannins are well integrated and the wine is quite open now. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Balverne Estate Grown Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 240 cases, $40. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of Bing cherries and baking spice arrive over time in the glass. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry, raspberry, spice and cola, finishing with graceful length. Very polished, elegant and refined with modest tannins. Quite accessible for a reserve wine. Definitely deserving of the designation “reserve,” although it is not a big, oaky version of the regular Russian River Valley bottling which is so often the case with reserve wines. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cutruzulla Vineyards Gloria San Louis Obispo County Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.59, 290 cases, $40. “Koo-troot-ZOL-a.” The Riven Rock Vineyard responded to the ideal 2012 growing season by producing its largest crop to date, but still less than 1 ton-per-acre! The vineyard is located in a coastal valley just outside the town of Cambria on California’s Central Coast. 5 acres are planted to Pinot Noir and 2 acres ro Riesling. Many of vineyard blocks contain limestone soils. The winemaker is Stephen Dooley of Stephen Ross Wine Cellars. Pommard 5, 115, 667, “828,” and 23. Aged 10 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of black cherry, sarsaparilla, and baking spices including nutmeg and cola. The medium to full bodied and fully ripened cherry, dark berry and plum fruits fill the mouth with pleasure. A dash of oak-driven toast and vanilla adds interest. The soft demeanor on the palate is particularly appealing and the finish is long and pleasurable. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ryan Cochrane Wines Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 134 cases, $43. 75% clone 115, 25% Pommard 5. 30% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 10 months in 1 new and 4 neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color and slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Demure aromas of dark red berries and leafy herbs build in intensity over time in the glass. Mid weight core of dark red berry fruits with a riff of savory herbs in the background and a touch of citrus on the finish. Bright acidity, managed firm tannins and a graceful presence. Better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Tasted twice. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ryan Cochrane Wines Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 143 cases, $43. 50% clone 115, 50% Pommard 5. 30% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 10 months in 1 new and 5 neutral French oak barrels. Ryan Cochrane trained under Roger Nicolas of RN Estate for four years before launching his own label. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Upon opening, the shy nose offers aromas of cherry, raspberry and sandalwood. Over time in the glass, more oak-driven notes emerge including coffee. Light to mid weight array of red fruit flavors including strawberry and cherry with a shadow of oak in the background. Charming and elegant with juicy acidity and balanced tannins. Tasted twice. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Les Voleurs Hurst Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.65, 46 cases, $45. The vineyard is southwest of Sebastopol. Clones 115 and 777 planted in Goldridge soil. 5-day cold soak, fermented with 30% whole clusters using native yeasts. Aged in neutral French oak barrels with regular lees stirring. · Light garnet in color in the glass. Enticing aromas of cherry, baking spices, sandalwood and flinty minerality. Aims to please with a seamless presence on the palate, featuring flavors of strawberry, cherry, Moroccan spices and sandalwood. The tannins are very suave and the acidity elevates the refreshment level. Even better later in the day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Les Voleurs Rodgers Creek Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.71, 37 cases, $45. Dijon 667 and 777 planted in volcanic ash soils. 5-day cold soak, fermented with 30% whole clusters using native yeasts over 2 weeks. Aged in neutral French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Deeply perfumed with scents of raspberry, strawberry, rose petal and vanilla. Delicious ripe strawberry, cherry and plum flavors in a mid weight style with modest tannins, very bright acidity, and a long finish featuring citrus-infused strawberries. Strawberry lovers will cherish this wine. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Kessler-Haak Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

13.4% alc., , RS 0.96, 50 cases, $29. Estate grown fruit. Yield 0.46 tons per acre. Clones 95, 76. Barrel fermented and barrel aged 8 months sur lie in 50% new French oak, 100% MLF. · Pale golden yellow and clear in the glass. The nose exhibits aromas of lemon rind, ripe apple, buttered brioche and pavement after rain. Bright flavors of lemon, poached pear, blonde caramel and vanilla infused with a spark of nervy minerality, complimented by nutty oak in the background. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Lula Mendocino Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 700 cases, $42. 65% Pommard, 30% 115 and 5% 777. Aged 14 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of old wood, mushroom, fire pit and peat lead to lighter weight flavors of dark cherry and black raspberry with an earthy undertone. Generous dry tannins arrive with a rush on the crisp, short finish. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.62, 6,062 cases, $45. Released October 2013. A blend of 8 vineyards in the Russian River Valley. 100% destemmed, 5-day cold soak, aged 8 months in 40% new French oak barrels. The wine was racked and returned just once out of barrel before final blending and bottling. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Highly aromatic, with bright scents of Bing cherries, baking spice, sassafras and oak. Mid weight flavors of dark cherries are framed by oak in a crisp, juicy style with pleasing acidity. Easy to drink, and food friendly, although showing a little more cloak of oak than I like. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Pillow Rd. Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $50. Proprietors are Pat and Anne Stotesbery, the creators of Ladera Vineyards on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. The winemaker is Jade Barrett and consulting winemaker is Karen Culler, both of whom have experience in working in notable Napa Valley wineries. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, straw and toasty oak lead to a light to mid weight core of bright cherry, cranberry and pomegranate flavors accented by savory dried herbs and spice. The fruit is backed by vibrant acidity and supple, dry tannins, and the soprano finish is flush with citrus-infused cherries. The wine displays a lack of ripeness reflective of this cool vintage. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Gary Farrell Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.62, 143 cases, $60. Release June 2014. Sourced from one of the newer Bacigalupi vineyards, Frost Ranch bought by the Bacigalupi family in 1993 and Block 9 is planted entirely to a Wente selection of Pinot Noir. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, aged 13 months in 40% new French oak barrels. Racked and returned once out of barrel before final blending and bottling. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherry, forest floor, spice and rose petal emerge over time in the glass. The exuberant black cherry and raspberry core provides good richness on the mid palate, carrying over to a generous and sleek finish replete with notes of dried herbs and tea leaves. The fine-grain tannins and forward fruit make for easy drinking now. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Lula Mendocino Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 400 cases, $42 (sold out). Lula is the winemaker’s maternal grandmother. Grapes are grown near Comptche 16 miles south east of the coastal village of Mendocino. Vineyard planted in 1998. 60% Pommard, 35% 115, and 5% 777. Aged 12 months in 50% new French oak. Aged an additional 6 months in barrel after final blending. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Oak dominates the nose with appealing ancillary notes of black cherry, blackberry, cola, earthy flora, and spice. Tasty black cherry and boysenberry fruit offers dramatic mid palate intensity and finish. Mid to full bodied with balanced tannins and a long finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Wines

2012 Harper Voit Surlie Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc

13.6% alc., 225 cases, $20. Crannell and Meredith Mitchell vineyards. Barrel fermented and age sur lie. · Very light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic with effusive aromas of baked apple, Limoncello, pear, pastry cream and lees. Delicious flavors of apple, pear and citrus, finishing long with a bright green apple note and palate cleansing acidity. Pinot Blanc can be watery and uninspired, but this wine is everything but, possessing nuance, body and flair. One of the best Pinot Blancs I have experienced from Oregon. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Plowbuster (Carabella) Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $20. Second label of Carabella sourced from several AVAs in Oregon including the Chehalem Mountains. A fruit forward style that is a popular by-the-glass pour at restaurants in New York, New Jersey and Florida. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromas of vanilla-infused plum sauce, blackberries and hard cherry candy. Intense blackberry, ollaliberry and black plum fruit flavors that bring your palate to attention. Amazing phenolic ripeness with balanced tannins and a lingering finish. Will have many fans. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Broadley Vineyards Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $28. · Dark violet color in the glass. Brooding aromas of dark cherries and berries with a faint note of anise and vanilla. Rich, deep and concentrated with a hedonistic core of sweet black raspberry, cassis, and spiced plum flavors with a shadow of oak in the background. Matching tannins and a generous fruit-filled finish complete the picture. Still very young and slightly awkward, becoming more expressive and refined with time in the glass. Cellar this wine for a few years. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.55, 12,224 cases, $30. A blend of fruit from ten different vineyards including the sub-AVAs of McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills and Dundee Hills. 8 different clones (667, 777, 23, Pommard, 2A, 113, 114, 115) and a variety of climatic and soil profiles. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak. Aged 9 months in 25% new French oak barrels with medium to medium-plus toast. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Classy aromas of black cherry, forest floor, rose petal and spice hold up nicely over time in the glass. Generous and forward in character with a lip-smacking core of dark cherry, raspberry and pomegranate fruits accented with a hint of mocha and savory dried herbs. Very accommodating, with mild tannins and a juicy, fruity finish. I sampled this wine against several premium Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs and it held its own. A solid everyday Pinot that is in wide retail distribution at the right price. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 de Lancellotti Famiglia Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 75 cases, $35. A blend of estate fruit and sourced fruit all farmed Biodynamic. This wine is the least expensive in the de Lancellotti lineup, but I thought it was terrific. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Delicate aromas of cherry, spice and oak vanillin. Very smooth and likable on the palate, with an impressively intense mid palate attack of dark red cherry and black raspberry flavors with a compliment of cinnamon spice and oak in the background. Very crisp with a generous and persistent cherry-driven finish that is mouth watering. An impressive offering that was still pumping out the pleasure the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. No need to wait on this beauty. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Owen Roe The Kilmore Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $42. Winemaker David O’Reilly is one of the few Irish-born winemakers in the United States. This wine is named after the Kilmore Doorway which is displayed on the label in a photo. This Romanesque doorway was a sculpted entrance to the ancient Trinity Island Abbey in County Cavan, Ireland. Here the great patriot Owen Roe O’Neill sought solace during his quest for Irish independence. Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon clones from vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton District. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers an array of enticing aromas including raspberry, dried cherry, sassafras, leather saddle and sandalwood. Modest in weight, but highly flavorful, the wine offers notes of black cherry, black raspberry, spice, dark chocolate and coffee. Very gracious and easy to drink now, this beauty has the balance and tannic backbone to age effortlessly in the cellar for 5 to 10 years. I loved the 2010 vintage of this wine, and this vintage is a hair better. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Bergström Gregory Ranch Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc.,$47.50. From an estate-farmed vineyard owned by Wine Club members Dr. Kenton and Cindy Gregory. The vineyard was planted in 2007 to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 21 acres with 15 different clonal blocks on a steep hillside. Soils are sandstonebased marine. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Highly aromatic and alluring with bright aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, plum reduction sauce and spice. Exuberant and luscious on the palate with waves of black cherry, boysenberry and black raspberry fruits accented with spice. Velvety in texture with suave tannins and beautifully integrated oak. Highly pleasurable, this wine shows up the ripe, forward fruit of Oregon’s 2012 vintage. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was even more aromatic and flavorful. Wow! Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Fire + Flood (Chapter 24) The Fire Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $60. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherry, cranberry and spice. Middleweight flavors of black cherries, raspberries and baking spice with an earthy undertone. Slightly muscular tannins balanced with vibrant acidity make for a very seamless, polished impression. Much more aromatic and flavorful the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle suggesting good age ability. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Fire + Flood (Chapter 24) The Flood Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $60. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Penetrating aromas of darker stone and berry fruits flow from the glass and hold up over time. Full-bodied and boisterous flavors of Bing cherries, boysenberries and cassis caress the palate and persist with uncommon intensity on the very long finish. The wine still has an oak sheen which will integrate over time in the cellar. The soft texture is particularly appealing. A very special wine. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Ancient Cellars One Toe Duck Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., $N/A. · Light garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of black cherry hard candy and black raspberry jam with a vinegary note (? acescence) showing up over time. More pleasant on the palate with light weight fruit flavors of candied cherry, strawberry and red raspberry with a complimentary hint of cinnamon. The tannins are supple and the acid is vibrant. Similar to the 2010 vintage, but lighter in weight with redder fruit. Score: 85. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Harper Voit Strandline Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 250 cases, $35. Old School Vineyard in the far southwest corner of the Willamette Valley and Bieze Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills. Bieze Vineyard shares its eastern fence with the famed Seven Springs Vineyard. Planted in 2008 in Nekia, Jory and Ritner volcanic soils, the vineyard is situated at 600 t0 680 feet above sea level. Possibly the best new vineyard in the AVA. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose shows off aromas of blackberry, black plum reduction sauce, vanilla and smoky oak. Mid to full bodied with a pleasing core of black cherry, boysenberry and black plum flavors accented by oak vanillin. Impressive fruit ripeness in this vintage with wellintegrated tannins and some finishing length. Needs more time to shed some oak influence. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Phelps Creek Vineyards Cuvée Alexandrine Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $50. Fourth generation Burgundian winemaker Alexandrine Roy joins Phelps Creek in Hood River, Oregon, each fall after placing her Gevrey-Chambertain wines in barrel. This wine is made from a selection of estate fruit. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Elusive aromas upon opening that emerge over time in the glass to reveal scents of cherry, raspberry and vanilla. Intensely flavored on the mid palate and finish exhibiting ripe cherry and raspberry fruits with a little dash of herbs and earth. A striking wine that has the tannins in the forefront at this young age, but is uniquely interesting. The finish is particularly noteworthy for its persistence and charm. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine has obvious French breeding and will require patience. Over time, there will be plenty to discover. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Carabella Inchinnan Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 150 cases, $54. A blend of “darker” clones from Carabella Vineyard which was originally part of the Inchinnan Farm, a hazelnut orchard owned by the McDonald family. This special cuvée honors their support. The stony soils are lie on a protected southeastern flank of the Chehalem Mountains. Seven blocks are fermented separately. Clones 115, 114, Wädenswil, and 777 (first time). 25% whole cluster. Aged 18 months in 40% new French oak barrels. Mike Hallock, winemaker. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, herb garden and bay leaf lead to a light to mid weight core of herbinfused red cherry and purple grape fruit flavors accented with spice. Elegant and very enjoyable now with modest tannins and bright acidity. Impressive wine in this challenging vintage. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Harper Voit Old School Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 50 cases, $55. Old School Vineyard is situated at 800 feet elevation and the vines are planted in well-drained and nutrient deficient Bellpine soil. Dry-farmed using draft horses, compost and natural weed suppression, the vineyard is treated as a holistic organism. Dijon, Wädenswil and Pommard clones. · This wine drinks more Old World so the name fits. Shy aromas of dark red berries and cherries with a dash of smoky oak. Middleweight flavors of darker cherries and cranberries with a juicy, acid-driven finish of noticeable length. Should improve over time in the cellar but hard to resist now. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Beaux Frères The Beaux Frères Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 1,900 cases, $72. Grown, produced and bottled by Beaux Frères. From estate fruit planted from 1987 to 1991 primarily to Pommard and Wädenswil clones on their own roots. The vineyard has been farmed following the principals of biodynamics since 2002. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of red cherries, rose petals and other floral notes, and lacquered wood. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry and cranberry with a hint of oak. Very pleasant to drinking and charming in character, with modest tannins and very bright acidity, but a bit shallow on the mid palate and finish. Clearly the wine suffers from ripeness challenges, but is a commendable effort in a very difficult vintge. About the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Ancient Cellars One Toe Duck Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $30. The inspiration for the name came from a Mallard duck struck by a car who recovered and thrived with an obvious scar and namesake. A portion of the sales of the wine go to Benefit Wildlife Rehab. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas emerge slowly over time in the glass revealing notes of red cherry, baking spice, sandalwood and nutty oak. Darker fruits are evident on the palate including black cherry and black raspberry accented with spice. Good mid palate intensity, balanced tannins, bright acidity and a hi voltage finish featuring tangy and slightly tart cherry and raspberry fruits. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Siltstone Guadalupe Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $32. Joel and Louise Myers & Sons of Vinetenders manage this vineyard for owners Jim Stonebridge and Kathleen Boere. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Haunting aromas of black cherry, wilted rose, wine cave and wet stones. Plenty of fruit sap, boasting concentrated flavors of black cherry and black raspberry with an earthy underpinning. Much bigger than the previous two vintages, filling the mouth with pleasure and departing with a generous amount of fruit goodness and some dry tannin residue. A bold wine that dances on its toes. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Amalie Robert Pommard Clone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 45 cases, $44. Fermented with whole clusters and indigenous yeast. Aged a minimum of 12 months in French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light garnet color in the glass. Uplifting aromas of red cherry pie glaze, baking spices, sandalwood and damp earthy flora. Light in weight and very delicate, with red cherry and raspberry flavors backed by soft fine-grain tannins and nervy acidity. A hint of dried herbs and spice add interest. An elegant and charming wine that forces the drinker to search for nuance. Very delicate for a Pommard based wine. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Amalie Robert Wädenswil Clone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., 45 cases, $44. Estate grown, produced and bottled in Dallas, Oregon. Fermented with whole clusters and indigenous yeast. Aged a minimum of 12 months in French oak barrels. · Light garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of berry jam, sassafras, nutmeg, perfumed leather glove and a hint of smoky oak. Delicious light to mid weight core of red cherries and berries with accents of dried herbs, toasted oak and sassafras. Very delicate but flavorful and juicy with a good cut of acidity on the finish. May pick up heft over time in the cellar. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 1789 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 185 cases, $48. French winemaker Isabelle Dutartre’s own label. 1789 marks the year of the French revolution and the name is a symbol of Dutartre’s family’s revoultion when they moved from the south of France to Oregon wine country. She is currently the winemaker for De Ponte Cellars in the Dundee Hills. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Intriguing nose with aromas of cherry liquor, spice and a hint of fresh oak. Demure but flavorful on the palate with tastes of cherry, spice, citrus and oak. Crafted with modest tannins with bright acidity. Pinotosity at work here. Score: 92. 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.