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From Spindrift Cellars: The Little Winery That Could

NV SEA 02 Sparkling Wine

13.7% alc., pH 3.33, TA 0.58, RS 0.42%, 1,018 cases, $20, bottle cap. Produced and bottled by Small Word Wine Co. LLC, McMinnville. Winemaker Matt Compton. A blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grapes. Proceeds from the sale of this wine will be contributed to the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University. Gold Medal San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. · Moderate pink color in the glass. The nose offers a combination of pink grapefruit, cherry, and botanical aromas including algae. A hearty rosé style wine featuring flavors of red cherry, red raspberry and blood orange with a mild sprinkling of herbs in the background. Bright, upbeat and refreshing, with a slight sweetness on the finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Spindrift Cellars Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.1% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.60, RS 0.07%, 252 cases, $22, screw cap. Grapes were whole cluster pressed, fermented and aged in French oak barrels, 40% new, for 4 months. Partial malolactic fermentation with weekly lees stirring. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of pear, vanilla custard and granola. Cozy in the mouth, with flavors of pineapple, pear and lemon creme with a subtle grassy note. Slightly creamy in texture and easy to like. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Spindrift Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.49, $22, screw cap. This wine was featured and was one of the top wines reviewed in the previous issue in an article devoted to Oregon Pinot Noir wines priced at $30 and below. Sourced from seven small vineyards, many of which are over 15-years-old and all are dry-farmed. Clones include Pommard, Wädenswil, 115, 777 and 667. The wine was aged in French oak barrels for over 10 months. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. I was drawn into the glass by the aromas of cherry, strawberry, rose petal, and sandalwood. Light to mid weight in style, with a generous black cherry core of fruit that shows good vigor and intensity. A solid wine with a delightful cherry-embossed finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Spindrift Cellars OSU Woodhall Vineyard Willamette Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.64, 142 cases, $25, screw cap. Clone 108 first planted in 1976. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of lemon, apple and nori. Classy and vibrant, with fresh flavors of pear, pineapple, vanilla and a hint of flint. Sensual rather than fruity, with gorgeous balance. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Spindrift Cellars BoVine Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.60, 92 cases, $28, screw cap. 5-acre vineyard planted in 2008 by Matt Compton and located in Alpine, Oregon. Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 667. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Freshness is the word for this wine. Aromas of raspberry, earthy flora and spice with a complimentary hint of oak. Striking attack of Bing cherry, raspberry and baking spice flavors with a subtle oak backwash. An exquisitely balanced wine that is ready out of the gate. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Spindrift Cellars OSU Woodhall Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $28, screw cap. This Oregon State University Vineyard consists of 26 acres located about 25 miles south of the University’s Corvallis campus. First planted in 1976, there are 6 acres of Pinot Noir planted on south-facing slopes at 450 to 700 feet elevation. Bellpine series and Dupree Series sedimentary rocks. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. An earthbound wine with considerable charm. Wholesome aromas and flavors of dark red cherry and berry in a mid weight plus style. Gentle tannins, a soothing texture and a glorious finish packed with showy ripe fruit. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Spindrift Cellars Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.,pH 3.55, TA 0.61, 148 cases, $32, screw cap. Sourced from five vineyards, most of which are over 15 years old and all are dry-farmed. Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil, 115, 777 and 667. All vineyard fruit was co-fermented in a 2.5-ton open-top wood fermenter. Aged in French oak barrels for a number of months. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Extroverted aromas of red cherry, red berry and sandalwood. Caressing and elegant in the mouth, with intense waves of dark red fruits accented with baking spices. A spirited wine with impeccable harmony and a long aftertaste. I wanted to swallow this one. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Compton Alpine Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.60, 401 cases, $38, screw cap. Sourced from multiple vineyards and includes Pommard, Wädenswil, 777 and 667 clones. from the Monroe, Oregon area. Soils are Basalt and Red Jory series volcanic soils that typical show redder fruit aromas and flavors and elegant tannins. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Assertive aromas of cherry, spice, fertile earth and rock quarry. Welcome charge of juicy black cherry fruit framed by modest tannins and a touch of toasty oak. Satiny in mouthfeel, with a pleasingly luscious cherry finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Compton Llewellyn Cuvée Old Vine Series Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.62, 223 cases, $38. Sourced from multiple vineyards averaging 35 years of age and all dry-farmed located in the southern coastal foothills of the Willamette Valley. Clones are mostly Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 115 planted in marine alluvial and sedimentary soils that typically show darker fruits, earth tones and heavier and chewier tannins.. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Subdued, but pleasant aromas of cherry, spice cake and fertile earth. Exuberant cherry dominates the fruit profile in a middleweight style with gracious tannins, cohesive acidity, and a cherry-drenched finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Failla Stakes A Claim in Oregon

2016 Failla Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.59, 2,000 cases, $28. This wine was featured in the previous issue in the article about Oregon Pinot Noir wines priced at $30 or less. Native fermentations, 30% whole cluster, aged 11 months on lees in French oak barrels, 15% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Deep and intoxicating aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and dark rose petal. Full-bodied core of black cherry and boysenberry fruits offering an intense attack and expansive mouth feel. A modest oak accent is evident as is a savory herbal thread. Fruit-forward, with healthy tannins and a long, sweet, fruit-driven and somewhat astringent finish. The aggressive tannins need time or decanting to ameliorate. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Failla Eola Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.57, 140 cases, $42. Vineyard originally planted in 1972. Pommard clone. Native fermentations, 30% whole cluster, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 15% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Beautifully crafted, with aromas and flavors of blackest cherry and toasty oak. Sleek and juicy in the mouth with comfortable tannins and a somewhat arrested finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Failla Chehalem Mountain Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noi

14.1% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.57, 143 cases, $45. Oregon wine industry pioneer, Dick Erath, first planted this vineyard in 1968. Clone 115. Native fermentations, 30% whole cluster, aged 11 months on lees in French oak barrels, 15% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry, purple grape and nutty oak in a delightfully balanced, mid weight style with a silky mouthfeel and some finish purpose. I was wanting for a little more flavor impact, but found the wine appealing. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Failla Bjornson Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.62, 144 cases, $48. Vineyard planted in 2006 in a mix of Nekia and Jory soils. Clones are Pommard, 777 and Wädenswil. Native fermentations, 30% whole cluster, aged 11 months on lees in French oak barrels, 15% new. bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Beguiling scents of black cherry and turned earth. A bold charge of delicious black fruits fills the mouth with goodness, maintaining exuberance through a persistent and generous finish. The wellbehaved tannins make for harmonious drinking. This wine displays all the charm of Oregon Pinot. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Failla Seven Springs Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.58, 189 cases, $60. Vineyard established in 1984 by Al MacDonald and dry farmed biodynamically. Native fermentations, Wädenswil clone. 50% whole cluster, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 15% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. A little heavy handed on the barrel treatment with aromas of cherry, spice, marzipan and bark. Plenty of red cherry and berry fruit sprinkled with herbs and framed by redeeming tannins that keep the fruit in line. The finish is particularly notable for its length. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Coeur de Terre Vineyard: 2015 Vintage Pinot Noirs Are My Favorites

2015 Coeur de Terre Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.61, 2,588 cases, $22. Harvest Brix 22.8º-24.2º. 60% Estate Vineyard with the remaining mostly from the McMinnville AVA. Pommard, Wädenswil, 113, 114, 1215, 667, 777 and Coury clones. Both sedimentary and volcanic soils. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Spiced cherry and fertile earth aromas lead to a middleweight styled wine offering cherry, plum and spice flavors backed by spirited acidity. The lip-smacking finish has good length. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Coeur de Terre The Heritage Reserve Estate McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.68, 932 cases, $36. A barrel selection from the entire Estate Vineyard. Harvest Brix 23.6º. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass Aromas of black cherry, blackberry jam, forest and woodpile lead off. Husky and lush, offering plenty of purple and black fruit goodness back by firm but not aggressive tannins. Striking length to the finish. This wine’s profile is true to its McMinnville AVA origin. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Coeur de Terre Abby’s Block Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.67, 98 cases, $65. Clones are from a selection of vines in the Estate Vineyard and farmed organically since inception. Complex sedimentary based soils. Harvest Brix 22.9º, 2.5 tons per acre. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. A nuanced nose offers aromas of darker cherry, Asian spices, mushroom, underbrush and earth. The best nose in the 2015 lineup. A little lighter in weight with redder fruit compared to the Sarah Jane’s Block, featuring cherry and raspberry fruit flavors. This wine does not have quite the finish of the Sarah Jane’s Block, but has more elegance and charm. Different, but in a good way. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Coeur de Terre Renelle’s Block Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.64, 109 cases, $65. Original vineyard block planted in 1999, farmed organically from inception. Harvest Brix 23.8º, 2.6 tons per acre. · Dark garnet color in the glass. A solid wine with nicely expressive aromas of dark cherry, wooded path and vanilla. The mid weight plus core of blackberry and black grape fruit flavors have a touch of spice and black tea. There is a little more barrel contribution in this wine that offers a deep persistence of black raspberry and blackberry fruit on the intense finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Coeur de Terre Sarah Jane’s Block Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.67, 91 cases, $65. Six clones planted in 2000 in Willakenzie sedimentary soils and farmed organically since inception. Harvest Brix 23.7º, 2.4 tons per acre. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Tenacious aromas of blackberry, black cherry, wet soil and char. A big boy wine in a mid weight plus style, offering a flood of intense and succulent black fruits with striking presence in the mouth and with uncommon finishing generosity. The tannins are perfectly matched to the fruit load, contributing a slight astringency to the finish. I love the fruit in this wine! Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Coeur de Terre Tallulah’s Run Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.69, 114 cases, $65. Harvest Brix 23.2º, 2.6 tons per acre. A South portion consists of clone 115 planted in sedimentary soils and a North section contains mainly clones 667 and 777 in both volcanic and sedimentary soils. Planted in 2004 at 1,778 vines per acre. · A complex nose offers aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, earth, pipe smoke, old leather and oak spice. The black cherry fruit fills the mouth with overreaching intensity. Hints of earth, pine needle and citrus contribute complexity. Integrated tannins and some finishing presence complete the pleasure. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recently Tasted Willamette Valley Wines

2017 Bluebird Hill Cellars Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.8% alc., 90 cases, $32. Released August 2018. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Plenty of aromas to explore including lemon oil, pineapple, white peach, pear and buttery biscuit. Slightly creamy in the mouth, with energetic flavors of lemon, grapefruit and apple. Excellent balance and beguiling appeal. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Three Otters Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.53, $22. This wine was favorably reviewed in the previous issue in an article about Willamette Valley Pinot Noir wines priced at $30 or less. Harvest Brix 22.9º-25.1º. Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777. Aged in French oak barrels, 5% new, 95% neutral. · Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Intriguing perfume of black cherry, nut oil, grilling spices and burnt tobacco. Very silky in the mouth with a stylish core of black cherry fruit underlain with a long kiss of oak. A satisfying wine with some finishing persistence. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Franchere Havlin Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.60, 40 cases, $28. Clone 115, Harvest Brix 23.2º. Native yeast fermentation. 10% whole cluster. Aged 10 months in used French oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of smoky ash and woodshed with no fruit arriving over time. Mid weight plus in style, displaying flavors of blackberry and cassis. Husky, dense and brooding, with daunting tannins. No change when re-tasted several hours after opening. Veers to Syrah in character. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Bluebird Hill Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 110 cases, $32. Released May 2018. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Pleasing fragrance of black cherry, dark cranberry and toast. Light to mid weight in concentration, offering forward flavors of black cherry with a deft touch of toasty oak in the background. Elegant and straightforward, with minimal tannins and a cherries jubilee finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.56, 7,202 cases, $32. 98% Van Duzer Vineyard. 57% Dijon 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777, 25% Pommard, 18% Wädenswil. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Demure aromas of dark cherry, licorice and oak. A cozy, comforting wine that is cherry fruit driven. Forward drinking and easygoing, albeit a bit shallow. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Five FACES Willamette Valley Chardonnay

12.5% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.56, 300 cases, $35. A blend of five vineyards reflecting the entire Willamette Valley. Dijon 76, 95, 96, Davis 108 and Wente. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented with ambient yeast over several months at cold temperatures. Full malolactic fermentation. Aged 17 months on the lees in French oak barrels, 10% new. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Attractive aromas of pineapple, ripe pear, kiwi and buttered toast. Rich, ripe, mouth filling flavors of lemon, pineapple and pear with a shading of nutty oak. Viscous in the mouth, with adequate acidity to maintain vigor. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Van Duzer Bieze Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.3% alc., pH 3.24, TA 0.74, 283 cases, $36. This vineyard is adjacent the acclaimed Seven Springs Vineyard. Well-draining Jory soil and a temperate climate. Gentle whole cluster pressed, fermented at low temperatures in 40% concrete tank, 35% in oak barrel with batonnage, and 25% in stainless steel barrels. Aged on the lees for 8 months. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Complex nose featuring aromas of yellow apple, flinty citrus, woodland spice and nut oil. Very gracious and polished on the palate, offering flavors of fresh Honeycrisp apple, pear, pineapple and a hint of caramel. Creamy in texture, with a succulent fruit finish of uncommon length. Ostentatious for an Oregon Chardonnay, but so what. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Bluebird Hill Cellars Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 30 cases, $49. Released August 2018. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Charming aromas of cherry, red berry, rose petal and dried herbs. Righteous fruit flavors of cherry and blueberry with hints of tutti-fruity, spice and cocoa. A classy wine with balanced tannins, juicy acidity and persistence on the finish. The lovely fruit floods the mouth with goodness without weight, picking up charm and intensity over time in the glass. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Bluebird Hill Cellars Walnut Ridge Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 30 cases, $49. Released August 2018. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Cherry, spice and rose petal aromas and flavors in this middleweight offering have appealing freshness. The wine displays gossamer tannins and a modest finish. The cherry fruit has a majestic and seductive quality. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Bluebird Hill Cellars Zenith Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 30 cases, $49. Released August 2018. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose lacks fruit even over time in the glass, offering only aromas of turned earth, ash and woodpile. Discretely concentrated in a mid weight style with an assertive core of lush black cherry fruit. A little smoky, with sleek tannins and good persistence on the finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Fullerton LUX Willamette Valley Chardonnay

12.5% alc., pH 3.37, TA 0.54, 100 cases, $55. A four barrel selection of fruit from Apolloni, Andreas and Nemarski vineyards. Dijon 76, 95, 96, and Davis 108. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented with ambient yeast over several months at cold temperatures. Full malolactic fermentation and aging 17 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. A sophisticated offering with aromas of lemon peel, green apple, kiwi, and cold steel. Bright flavors of lemon, green apple and pear with a hint of vanilla. An edgy wine with submerged oak and a clean cut of acidity on the lean but quenching finish. This wine lacks the exuberant fruit of the FACES Chardonnay, but is more classy. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Lingua Franca Hopewell Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 340 cases, $60. Crafted from Dijon clones farmed to exacting standards by Mimi Castell in the hills above the village of Hopewell. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of black cherry, woodland spice, pipe smoke and toasty oak. The middleweight black cherry, boysenberry and black raspberry flavors are very satisfying. Admirable balance, with a compliment of toasty oak in the background and an extended and generous finish. Even better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with an emerging seductive nose and a memorable finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Lingua Franca Mimi’s Mind Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $90. Heritage Pommard vines. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of fertile earth, tobacco and cherry. Discreetly concentrated in a mid weight style featuring red cherry and red berry fruit flavors accented with a savory tobacco note. Backed by fine-grain tannins, the fruit holds on through a slightly astringent finish. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Franchere Havlin Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.6% alc.,pH 3.64, TA 0.59, 60 cases, $28. Vineyard is located in the Van Duzer Corridor (the Willamette Valley’s newest AVA). Soils are marine sedimentary over rare ironstone bedrock. Harvest Brix 21.9º. 60% Pommard, 40% 115. 10% whole cluster. Native yeast fermentation, aged 10 months in used oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with Diam closure. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose opens slowly to reveal aromas of blackberry, spice, bramble and damp soil. Earthbound fruit flavors of purple and black fruits are framed by gutsy, but not aggressive tannins. Good liveliness, with a boysenberry-driven finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Five FACES Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.54, 1,000 cases, $35. This wine is a blend from the winery’s best vineyard sources, showcasing the breadth of terroir in the Willamette Valley. Harvest Brix 22.8º-25.2º. Dijon 113, 114, 667 and 777, and Pommard and Wädenswil clones. 15% whole clusters. Aged in French oak barrels, 20% new with remainder second or third fill or neutral. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Leading the way are pleasant aromas of cherry, strawberry and toasty oak that gain traction over time in the glass. Light to mid weight flavors of dark red cherry, spice and toasty oak combine in charming and easy drinking fashion. A solid value priced wine with a modest, but juicy finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Fullerton Croft Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.52, 200 cases, $50. Primarily sedimentary soils. Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 115 clones. Harvest Brix 24.5º-25.0º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Forestry aromas of fir tree and underbrush. A rugged and brooding mid weight plus wine showing aggressive tannins that envelope the black fruit core. The fruit does not come to the fore even when tasted several hours after opening. The wine finishes with cotton-mouth tannins. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Fullerton Fir Crest Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.54, 400 cases, $55. Marine sedimentary Willakenzie series soils. 30+year-old Pommard and Dijon 115 clones. Harvest Brix 23.4º-24.4. 30% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, 45% second fill and 15% third fill. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of cherry, sandalwood, baking spice and a hint of smoke. Light to mid weight in extraction, with straightforward dark red cherry flavor. A little smoky oak plies the background. The modest tannins are well integrated and there is some length on the finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Fullerton Momtazi Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.60, 200 cases, $60. Sedimentary soils, biodynamically farmed vineyard close to the Van Duzer corridor. Harvest Brix 23.9º-24.6º. clones are Dijon 113, 114, 115 and 777. Fully de-stemmed, ambient fermentation, aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is not particularly appealing with oak-driven aromas of char and smoke dominating over time. Earthy and rustic, and even weedy, with a mid weight core of black cherry and black raspberry fruits underlain with mushroom flavor and an overlay of oak. The tannins are a little aggressive and the finish is mildly astringent. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Van Duzer Dijon Blocks Estate Grown Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.52, 319 cases, $60. Dijon 777, 113, 115 and 114. 7-day post fermentation maceration. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of cherry, red berry and a compliment of oak. Silky in the mouth in a cohesive and forward drinking mid weight style, that features darker cherry fruit infused with ripe tannins. Nicely balanced, deft oak management, with a redeeming cherry-driven finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Van Duzer Homestead Block Estate Grown Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.51, 243 cases, $60. 100% own-rooted Pommard clone. 10% whole cluster. 8 days of extended maceration. aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The best nose of the three Block Pinot Noirs in this vintage, offering bright aromas of fresh cherry, cola and spice. Delicious darker cherry essence that is expansive in the mouth and lingering on the finish. Silky and ephemeral, with righteous oak. Pinot royalty. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Van Duzer Norris-McKinley Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.56, 138 cases, $60. 68% Coury “clone,” 17% Dijon 115 and 15% Dijon 667. This vineyard is an estate property planted in Willakenzie soil. 8-day extended post-fermentation maceration. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Deep aromas of black cherry, balsam and toasty oak. Forceful and assertive black cherry fruit backed by firm tannins. Silky in texture with a long, opulent finish. This wine will benefit from decanting if opened now. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Van Duzer Westside Blocks Estate Grown Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.46% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.53, 337 cases, $60. Dijon 777 and 113, Wädenswil, Pommard and Flower. These blocks are exposed to winds funneling through the Van Duzer Corridor and the fruit develops thicker skins, richer color and generous tannins. A barrel selection. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 46% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of dark berries and fertile earth. Highly flavorful with waves of inviting black cherry and boysenberry fruit flavors. Impeccably balanced with integrated tannins, energetic acidity and a big-time finish of excellent length. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lingua Franca Mimi’s Mind Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $90. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of fertile earth, spice, rose petal and black cherry lead off. Very similar to the 2016 vintage, except a little more concentration in a mid weight plus style and seemingly riper dark red and black fruit flavors. More gutsy than the 2016 bottling with muscular tannins that come on with a rush on the succulent-fruited finish. Needs more time in the cellar to integrate and moderate the tannins. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Whole Cluster Inspired Sonoma Coast Wines from Kutch Wines & RAEN Winery

2017 Kutch Bohan Vineyard Graveyard Block Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 100 cases, $Not released. Sourced from a single block within the Bohan Vineyard. Soils here are the rockiest on the ranch and create a distinct wine. 100% whole cluster, native fermentation, aged 11 months without racking on the lees in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Aromas of spiced cherry, turned earth and tobacco ash. Light to mid weight in an elegant style, featuring well spiced red fruits with the slightest confected tone. The rocky soil seems to give this wine a distinctive character that defies my best efforts at description. There are noticeable, healthy tannins that provide textural interest. But the most striking feature is the impossibly long finish that is described as “fantastic” in my notes. Considerably more enjoyable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle showing demonstrative aromas of spiced cherry, potpourri and sweet pipe smoke. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Kutch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 750 cases, $39. A blend of grapes from McDougall Ranch, Bohan, Falstaff and Le Jons vineyards. Sandstone, Goldridge, Adobe clay and sandy loam soils. 100% whole cluster, native yeast fermentation, fruit crushed and punched down by foot, aged on the lees for 11 months in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Complex nose displaying aromas of cherry, exotic spices, pine sap, tobacco smoke and fertile earth. Excellent vim and vigor in a mid weight style with a gentle mouthfeel, offering flavors of dark red cherry and berry and a subtle savory thread. Sporting the most whole cluster character in the 2017 lineup, this wine is nicely balanced with submerged tannins. The fruit really sang when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A terrific value. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Kutch Signal Ridge Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

12.0% alc., 150 cases, $52 The highest planted vineyard in all of Sonoma and Mendocino County at 2,800 feet. Located just north of the Sonoma Coast AVA and south of the Anderson Valley AVA (essentially an extension of the true Sonoma Coast). 100% whole cluster, native yeast fermentation, fruit crushed and punched down by foot, aged on the lees for 11 months in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Love this nose. The aromas are fresh and invigorating like a morning shower. Woodsy, with notes of fresh crushed grapes, darker red fruits and spice. On the palate, the wine has plenty of charming energy, offering flavors of dark red and blue fruits framed by ripe fine-grain tannins that are evident but not drying. Well-crafted with a notably persistent finish. Still gorgeous, perfumed and easy to approach when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Kutch Bohan Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.0% alc., 300 cases, $54. George Bohan farms original vines planted in 1972. The original vines are on their own rootstock and have been always dry farmed. Located at 925 feet elevation, 3.1 miles from the Pacific Ocean on the second ridge inland. Sandstone soil. 100% whole cluster, native fermentation, fruit crushed and punched down by foot, aged on the lees for 11 months in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Captivating aromatic display including pie cherry, strawberry, underbrush, and a hint of burnt tobacco and root beer. Light to mid weight in concentration, offering spirited flavors of cherry, strawberry and spice framed by noticeable, but engaging tannins. This wine is more aciddriven with a modestly high strung, very lengthy finish. A little more lean and savory than the other Pinots in the 2017 lineup, but equally desirable. Even better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle, and probably will be deserving of a higher score after a couple of years in bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Kutch McDougall Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 550 cases, $59. This vineyard is located 3.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean at 935 feet elevation. Farm management is by Ulises Valdez (RIP). Planted in 1998 to clone 114. Soils are Graywacke, sandstone. 100% whole cluster, native fermentation, fruit crushed and punched down by foot, aged on the lees without racking for 11 months in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The aromas of dark cherry, burnt tobacco, woodland spice and bark really draw you into the glass. Seamless in a mid weight style, with flavors of spiced dark red and purple fruits that dance on the palate. More demure in this vintage, with cohesive tannins and an awesome finish displaying echos of aromatic goodness. Superb in every way, and even a little more demonstrative when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 RAEN Royal St. George Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., $60. Named in honor of Dante and Carlo Mondavi’s grandfather. A selection of the finest barrels giving a window into the cool westerly hills of the true Sonoma Coast. Clones are Pommard, “828,” 667, Calera and rVR1. Goldridge soils. Whole cluster, native fermentation. Aged in neutral French oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. A whole cluster-driven nose featuring aromas of cherry, pine sap and burnt tobacco. Very sleek, seamless and sexy, with a mid weight core of black cherry fruit, accented with exotic spices. Good vibrancy and mellow tannins, finishing intense and long with a dark cherry aromatic theme. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Kutch Falstaff Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 350 cases, $64. The coldest site in the Kutch vineyard lineup. Dijon “828,” 777 and 115 were planted in 2001 in marine quartz sandstone and Goldridge soil. Vineyard is located at 550 feet elevation, 8.4 miles from the Pacific Ocean on the second ridge inland. The berries are often the size of peas and yields are below 1 ton-per-acre. 100% whole cluster, native fermentation, fruit crushed and punched down by foot, aged 17 months on the lees with out racking in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The aromas of black cherry, blueberry, spice and sweet mulch really soar over time in the glass. This is the kind of perfume you could dab behind the ears for a pheromone effect. A wine of substance that engages and caresses the palate with flavors of black cherry, blueberry, savory herbs and tobacco. Modest, matching tannins and a really long and juicy finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose was dreamy and the overall impression was harmony. I have been to the mountain top and it is good. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 RAEN Home Field Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $80. The winery’s most westerly site, 4.8 acres located just under two miles from the Pacific Ocean. Whole cluster, native fermentation. Aged in neutral French oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of cherry and dark red berries. Elegantly composed, with broad flavors of dark red and purple berries with just the right oak and spice seasoning. Honed tannins and defining acidity fuel the harmony. The finish is gracious and quenching. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 RAEN Bodega Vineyard Freestone Occidental Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., 200 cases, $90. This vineyard sits just 4 miles from the coast. Surrounded by redwoods, pines, wildflowers and coastal oaks. Whole cluster, native barrel fermentation. Aged in neutral French oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Soaring aromas of fresh cherry, bramble and rose petal. Long in the mouth with a bevy of black cherry, boysenberry, earth and botanical flavors. Impeccably balanced with a seductive finish that seems eternal. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

2017 Larkspur Dundee Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $14.27. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The flavors supersede the aromas of wooded path, forest and reserved red cherry. Light to mid weight in style, featuring oak-kissed flavors of cherry, red raspberry, and cranberry with a sidecar of tobacco. Well-balanced tannins and zippy acidity with a decent fruity finish. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Say When SŌNĀ VINO Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 50 cases, $35, screw cap. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of buttered toast, crème brûlée, pineapple and a hint of matchstick. More appealing on the palate, with flavors of lemon, pineapple, apple and pear. Rich and robust, with fully-ripened flavors, and a viscous mouthfeel. Caliesque in style. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Sojourn Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.64, 625 cases, $38. Release spring 2019. Old Wente clone and 95 clone from several vineyard sites. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented with lees stirring during the first three months of fermentation and aging. Malolactic fermentation complete. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. and blended to create a winemaker’s cuvée. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Fragrant with aromas of citrus, white peach, crème brûlée and white flower blossoms. Moderately rich, with ripe flavors of yellow peach and pear. There is enough of a spark of acidity to offset the boisterous fruit, and oak blends in nicely. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Say When Wine When Spanish Springs Vineyard Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 200 cases, $40, screw cap. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Shy aromas of crushed red cherries and toasty oak. Light in weight, even shallow, with demure flavors of red cherry and red raspberry. Delicate tannins and redeeming balance with a modest finish. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Samuel Louis Smith Albatross Ridge Vineyard Monterey Pinot Noir

12.7% alc., pH 3.62, 146 cases, $44. Albatross Ridge is perched at the top of Laureles Grade at an elevation of 1,250 feet and seven miles from Monterey Bay. The site pushes the limit for winegrowing: windy is constant from the Carmel coast, degree days are minimal, and resulting yields are usually less than two tons-per-acre. 35% whole cluster. Native primary and secondary fermentation. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherry and raspberry that sustain over time in the glass. The friendly mid weight core of black cherry and raspberry fruit flavors have impressive mouth filling intensity. A captivating wine full of good cheer, with superb balance and a lengthy finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Say When Wine RASI Rancho La Viña Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 200 cases, $45, screw cap. Aged 10 months in 1 to 4-year-old French oak barrels. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, sandalwood and burnt tobacco lead to a mid weight styled wine with flavors of red cherry and red berry. Elegant in demeanor with flavors of grape, black cherry and tobacco framed by gracious tannins. A hint of nutty oak plies the background. The wine displayed a little more fruit intensity when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Sojourn Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.67, 400 cases, $45. Release spring 2019. Clone 95 from Sangiacomo Roberts Road vineyard and Old Wente clone from Sangiacomo Vella Ranch and Green Acres. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented, native yeast fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 30% new. Bottled unfined. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. The aromas of lemon oil, pineapple, apple and pastry creme draw you into the glass. The lovely flavors of lemon and pineapple are engaging. This sophisticated wine has a soothing texture, a foxy crispness, and a persistent, lip-smacking finish. A spirited, gorgeous wine! Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Sojourn Rodgers Creek Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.60, 800 cases, $48. Release spring 2019. This vineyard is located high on a ridge in the heart of the Petaluma Gap. Pommard is the foundation and some of it was fermented whole cluster. Some 777 clone as well. Native yeast fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of plum, black cherry, purple grape, blueberry and toast. Mid weight in extraction, with benevolent flavors of blue and purple fruits with an infusion of spice. The tannins are reserved, the oak is well integrated, and the fruit-driven finish has legs. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Sojourn Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.60, 850 cases, $59. Release spring 2019. This vineyard is located on Roberts Road at the western base of Sonoma Mountain. Clones 115, 777 , and a Swan selection. Native yeast fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Agreeable aromas of black cherry, spice, dark red rose petal and toast. Light to mid weight in style, with appealing elegance. Flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and spice are overshadowed at this early stage by lavish, toasty oak. Silky in the mouth, with a modest but satisfying finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Sojourn Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.62, 1,025 cases, $69. Release spring 2019. Clones “828,” 115 and 667. A portion of clone “828” was fermented with stems and blended in, for an overall rate of 10% whole cluster. Native yeast fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is quite earthbound, offering scents of clay, compost, dusty earth and iron along with blackberry fruit. Flavors of very ripe blueberry and blackberry with a hint of allspice, framed by modest tannins. Nicely composed with a generous finish, but doesn’t emote like Gap’s bottling usually does. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Sojourn Walala Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.57, 575 cases, $69. Release spring 2019. This vineyard is situated at 1,200 feet elevation just inland from the Pacific Ocean near the coastal town of Annapolis. The maritime climate here creates an extreme growing microclimate that requires precise viticulture. Clones 113, 115 and “828.” Native yeast fermentation, 100% malolactic fermentation, and aged in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The aromas arrive instantly and persist in the glass, including dark red cherry and berry and fertile earth. As typical with this vineyard, the wine sports a bold core of succulent black raspberry and plummy fruit. There is an appealing earthiness as well and the oak is well integrated. The tannins are reserved, making for easy up front drinking. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Poppy Monterey County Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $14.27. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of old barrique and smoldering campfire. Mid weight flavors of black cherry and oak-driven tobacco and toast. A simple quaff, with mild tannins and a modest cherry-driven finish. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 The Winery SF North Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 300 cases, $29.99. Winemaker Bryan Kane. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of dark red fruits and nutty oak. Discretely concentrated black cherry and blueberry flavors with moderately firm tannins, a hint of oak and a sweet-fruited finish. The oak rises up over time and quite noticeable when the wine was tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Replica Goldenrod Flower Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $35. Clean Label Project Certified. The Clean Label Project is an unbiased, science-based nonprofit educating consumers about quality in consumer products on the market today. · Moderate light garnet color in the glass. A savory nose offers scents of earthy flora and seasoned oak barrel. The wine is more appealing on the palate with tasty mid weight fruit flavors of purple grape and boysenberry. Silken in texture, with matching, supportive tannins, and a modest but sufficient finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 VIE North Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.71, 200 cases, $35. Winemaker Bryan Kane sources grapes from a selection of vineyards throughout the North Coast that utilize organic and sustainable farming practices. Clones 151, 667, 777 and “828.” Indigenous yeast fermentation. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. This wine has a ripe, roasted fruit profile. Aromas of dark red, purple and black fruits, prune, marzipan and tobacco lead to a middleweight styled wine with flavors that echo the aromas. Plush in the mouth with noticeable nutty oak, modest tannins and a sweetfruited finish with a noticeable cut (? acidified). Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 The Winery SF Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 100 cases, $40. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of earth-kissed black cherry and walnut lead to a mid weight plus styled wine driven by black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors. The fruit is well-ripened but not overripe. Creamy in texture, with a sweet-fruited finish of good generosity and length. Even more appealing when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Kukeri Lakeville Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.62, 175 cases, $42, screw cap. Double Gold 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. 100% Martini clone. 100% destemmed. 3-day cold soak, fermented with ‘prise de mousse’ yeast. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of well-ripened black fruits along with notes of fertile earth, spice, boysenberry and raisin. Creamy in the mouth in a mid weight style with discretely concentrated fully-ripened purple and black fruit flavors with a dark cocoa and dark milk chocolate tone typical of the Martini clone. Subtle, oak-driven marzipan flavor plies the background..The wine’s balance is spot on and the finish is long and generous. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Screen Door Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 100 cases, $50. Released December 1, 2018. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Reserved, but pleasant aromas of dark, very ripe fruits and cola. The dark cherry, blackberry and pomegranate fruit has a roasted quality and a bit of prune chimes in. The tannin and acid balance is spot on and the wine offers some lingering fruit on the finish, but toasty oak plays a significant role in the ultra ripe flavor profile. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 VIE Canihan Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.74, 100 cases, $50. Canihan Vineyard was first planted in 1998 and field grafted to Dijon clones 115, 667, 777 and “828.” Vineyard is farmed organically and dry-farmed. Yields are seldom more than 2 tons per acre. Indigenous yeast fermentation, aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Ultra ripe aromas and flavors of the darkest fruits with oak-driven marzipan in the background. Plush in the mouth, with modest fine-grain backing tannins and a very sweet-fruited finish of good length. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The fruit is too ripe for my taste. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.3% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.63, 675 cases, $55. Released August 14, 2018. Old Wente, Hyde, Mt. Eden and Dijon 76. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Complex nose with assorted aromas including lemon, white peach, petrichor, crushed seashells and the slightest matchstick. Lovely, rich flavors of lemon, pineapple and pear with a spryness in the mouth that is appealing. Commendable oak management and balance, with a welcome sleek, satiny texture. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Screen Door Cellars Leras Family Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 50 cases, $65. Release February 1, 2019. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Lovely perfume of black cherry, dark strawberry and botanical aromas. Delicious essence of fresh black cherry with a hint of spice and toasty oak in the background. Sleek and seamless in the mouth, with a stellar finish that harkens another sip. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Screen Door Cellars Roan Family Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 50 cases, $65. Release February 1, 2019. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Engaging aromas of red cherry, red cranberry, baking spice and sandalwood lead to a lighter weighted wine fashioned in an elegant style, displaying red cherry and red berry fruit flavors. The gossamer tannins make for a sleek texture. The oak regimen sticks out a bit. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.61, 430 cases, $70. Released August 14, 2018. Soil is volcanic, rocky loam. Clones 667, 115, 777, 943 and Swan selection. 25% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 57% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose offers a pleasing marriage of black cherry fruit and oak-driven toast aromas. A tide of vivid black cherry, blueberry and blackberry fruits roll over the palate and end with relish. Mid weight in style, with lavish oak -driven flavors of toast, spice and dark chocolate. I am not a big fan of noticeable oak, but somehow it works in this wine. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Three Sticks Gaps Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.38, TA 0.70, 485 cases, $70. Released August 14, 2018. An estate vineyard owned and farmed by Price Family vineyards & Estates, acquired in 20123. 138.6 planted acres, 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. Vineyard is located on the western slope of Sonoma Mountain at an elevation of 300 to 800 feet. The soil is well-drained loam and clay loam. Clones in this wine are “828,” 115, a Swan selection and a Rochioli selection of Pommard clone. 24% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 52% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Reserved aromas of black fruits, fertile earth and mulch. A flood of eye-popping, dark purple and blackberry fruits greets the palate. Oak is evident upon opening, but integrates nicely when the wine was tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The tannins are gracious, the texture is plush and seamless, and the finish is fruit-saturated. Not quite as big as the Walala Vineyard bottling, but still desirable. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Three Sticks Walala Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.67% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.63, 188 cases, $70. Released August 14, 2018. A Price Family Vineyards & Estates Estate vineyard, acquired in 2015. 17.2 acres of Pinot Noir perched atop a ridge near Annapolis, only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Clones “828,” 777 and 115. 25% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 61% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy, but agreeable aromas of black fruits, toast and a hint of floral perfume. Initially, this wine is very tight and closed becoming considerably more approachable after opened several hours and spectacular the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Great harmony in a mid weight plus style, featuring hedonistic black current and black grape flavors that are quite ripe but not too ripe. The texture is soothing, the oak is honorable and the preposterous finish goes on and on. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Three Sticks Alana Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.25, TA 0.73, 110 cases, $75. Alana is an estate 5-acre vineyard nestled amongst the old redwoods of the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Vineyard planted in 2010 in Goldridge fine sandy loam. Wente clone. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 27% new. · Moderate golden yellow color with some spritz initially in the glass. Shy citrus and yellow apple fruit aromas are embellished with notes of caramel and ginger. Weighty, ripe, lemon and pineapple flavors with oak-driven notes of toast and coconut. Expansive in the mouth and slightly viscous in texture, with an assertive sweet-fruited finish that exudes ripeness. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Three Sticks Cuvée Eva Marie Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.60, 220 cases, $90. Released August 14, 2018.One Sky Vineyard is an estate vineyard planted, owned and farmed by Price Family Vineyards & Estates. 1,400 feet elevation. Soils are Goulding cobbly clay loam with excellent drainage. Mix of heritage and Dijon clones including Calera selection, Swan selection, Dijon 943, 777 and 115. 21% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 57% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is oak-dominated with added aromas of black cherry and black raspberry. Mid weight plus in style, with a charming core of dark red and black cherry fruit flavors with lavish oak in the background. The most elegantly styled of the 2016 Three Sticks Pinots, but the one with the most appealing energy. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Chardonnay

12.9% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.59, 235 cases, $N/A. 50% sourced from Starscape Vineyard Wente clone and 50% from Shiloh Hill Vineyard clone 4. Harvest Brix 22.2º-24.2º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of lemon, pineapple, kiwi and banana. Silky in the mouth with discrete richness, offering a core of citrus fruit, integrated acidity and a subtle touch of woody oak in the background. Nothing to criticize but nothing to excite. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Chalone Vineyard Heritage Vines Estate Grown Chalone Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 1,500 cases, $35. Vineyard is located at 1,800 feet near the Pinnacles National Park within Monterey County. Soils are sparse and underlain with limestone. Aged in French oak barrels. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Brooding aromas aromas of blackberry jam, raisin, and cola. There is some apple core aroma initially (volatile acidity) that blows off in the glass. More agreeable on the palate, with full-bodied flavors of blackberry, black current and boysenberry with a hint of flower blossom. The texture is wholesome, the tannins are modest, oak is well integrated, and the wine flows nicely. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Neely Spring Ridge Vineyard Hidden Block Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $38. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Inviting perfume of black cherry, cassis, boysenberry and rose petal. The flavors echo the aromas in a mid weight plus style with a dusting of earth and oak. Very polished and seamless, with tannins that are almost imperceptible. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.58, 675 cases, $40. 25% Hallberg Vineyard 777 and Pommard, 50% Starscape Vineyard 777, “828,” and Martini, an 25% Bucher Vineyard swan and Pommard. Harvest Brix 23.5º-25.9. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Terrific nose offering aromas of vivid cherry, raspberry, spice and subtle toast. Thoroughly satisfying in a mid weight style featuring flavors of black cherry, blackberry and spice with a deft touch of oak in the background. Notable mid palate and finishing intensity, with gracious tannins. A charming AVA wine. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Joseph Jewell Starscape Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.61, 100 cases, $42. Clones are Wente and 15. Harvest Brix 22.2º. Barrel fermented and aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. More appealing overall than the RRV AVA bottling with inviting aromas of lemon, apple and a hint of flint. More weight on the palate than the RRV AVA Chardonnay, but not the exuberant fruitiness associated with many RRV Chardonnays. Sleek in texture, with good acidity and a slight saltiness married to the citrus fruits. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Neely Spring Ridge Vineyard Picnic Block Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $42. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, underbrush and tobacco lead to a savory midweight wine offering fruit flavors of black cherry and black raspberry with a flourish of oak in the background. Very botanical, with matched tannins and juicy acidity. More appealing fruit came to the forefront when tasted several hours later from a previously opened bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Neely Spring Ridge Vineyard Upper Picnic Block Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $42. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of fertile earth and toasty oak. Considerably more fruity on the palate in a mid weight plus style with vivid flavors of cherry and raspberry. Oak plays a supporting role and gracious tannins make for easy drinking. When tasted several hours later from a previously opened bottle, the fruit was more giving and the finish had gained pedigree. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Joseph Jewell Starscape Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.61, 200 cases, $48. Clone 777 planted in 2000. Harvest Brix 24.1º. 15% whole cluster. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. Unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Brooding aromas of black fruits, molasses and toasty oak. Dense, bold and slightly withdrawn in a mid weight plus style featuring well ripened fruit flavors of blackberry and blueberry-pomegranate. Big but not too big with plenty of vigor and a sleek mouthfeel. Typical of Martini clone. When tasted several hours after opening, the nose had come alive with more fruit appeal and the wine showed more polish, class and concentration. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Screen Door Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 200 cases, $50. Released December 1, 2017. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A wave of perky aromas from the get-go include dark red cherry, dark red raspberry, baking spices and mocha. Tasty core of dark red Bing cherry with added notes of spice and cola. Satiny in the mouth, with a cherry-driven finish. Oak stands out in the background. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Joseph Jewell Starscape Vineyard Old Girls-Martini Clone Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.63, 75 cases, $65. Vines planted in 1971. 0.9 tons per acre. Harvest Brix 24.1º. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. Unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of ripe, sweet black fruits in a full-bodied, rustic style with noticeable but not aggressive tannins. Luscious and creamy on the palate , with good harmony, integrated oak and good finishing purpose. When tasted several hours later from a previously opened bottle, the aromatics were more giving of black cherry and spice, the flavors of purple and black fruits had come to the front and the wine was considerably more appealing. 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.