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Reviewed Wines from the current Newsletter
PinotFile 10/13

From Cohn Vineyard

2013 Benovia Cohn Vineyard Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., unreleased. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Lovely perfume of cherries, cake spice, sandalwood and smoky oak. Modestly light in weight in this vintage with a core of red cherry fruit accented with cola, spice, and oak seasoning. Soft and silky on the palate, with modest tannins and some finishing length. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose had really come alive with vibrant cherry and spice aromas. There is noticeable smoky oak on the finish which may or may not appeal depending on your preferences. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Benovia Tilton Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., unreleased. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Darker red and purple fruits are featured on the nose and palate, with hints of sage and other dried herbs, spice, and noticeable oak overlay. Modest in weight in this vintage, with suave tannins and some intensity on the mineral-laden finish. Again, your enjoyment of this wine will be predicated on your preference for oak infusion. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Benovia Cohn Vineyard Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $62. Previously reviewed very favorably July 23, 2011, and January 11, 2012. · The wine is aging nicely, offering mid weight, sappy flavors of earthy dark plum and dark berry fruit with exotic spices, melded tannins, and a persistent finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Bacigalupi Paris Tasting Block

2012 Edge Hill Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., 414 cases, $115. Allocated to mailing list members. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. This is a sensual wine with a perfume of cut yellow apple, honey, lemon oil and toasty oak. Round and polished on the palate, the uplifting flavors of lemon, white peach, apple are embellished with oak seasoning. Impeccably balanced, and thoroughly satisfying, previously hidden nuances seem to appear with each sip. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. I believe this is easily a 15-year wine. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Rochioli Vineyards & Winery West Block

2014 Rochioli Estate Russian River Valley Rosé

$28. 100% Pinot Noir. · This is a substantial rosé with plenty of strawberry, cranberry, cherry and peach fruit to satisfy. It is crisp and bright but has enough fruit and structure to pair with substantial foods. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Rochioli Estate Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

14.5% alc, 1,380 cases, $28. Original 1959 planting accounts for 44 percent of this wine. · This gorgeous wine offers an explosion of fruit on the nose and palate including lemon and white peach with accents of verbena and herbs. Very little, if any, grassiness. Fresh and satisfying with uncommon length on the finish. An Old Vine Sauvignon Blanc is also offered produced solely from plantings established in 1959. ($48). Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Rochioli Estate Russian River Valley Chardonnay

$42. · Barrel fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation. This wine sports a good tug of oak in a lush style featuring tropical and citrus fruits. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Rochioli Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

$56. · Elegant and lighter in this vintage, with juicy flavors of red cherries and berries and spice, framed by modest tannins. Forward drinking and easy to like. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 J. Rochioli West Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $125. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is highly seductive, with bright aromas of Bing cherry, purple grape, cola nut and cake spice. Stunning entry and mid palate exuberance with plenty of intense black cherry fruit flavor that really perks up the senses. Luscious, but not the least bit jammy, with balanced fine-grain tannins, a very appealing smooth texture, and notable old vine persistence on the finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine still had plenty of showy, intense cherry fruit with a hint of sassafras and cola. A well-bred, special wine with a pedigree. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Rochioli Russian River Valley Blanc de Noir

12.5% alc., $60. Inaugural bottling. 100% Pinot Noir. · A superb sparkling wine with a fine bead, a thoroughly dry and refreshing palate, and a clean, refreshing finish that mixes citrus and berry notes. This unique wine is sold through the tasting room currently. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2001 J. Rochioli West Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 400 cases, $65. Brought to the tasting from my cellar. · Slight bricking of rim. The wine has aged nicely, offering notes of leather, fig and burnished cherry on the nose. The tannins have softened, the wine is silky in texture, and offers a savory herb, spice and black cherry profile. Best to drink up but will hold a few years. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Lynmar Estate Quail Hill Vineyard

2013 Lynmar Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 2,359 cases, $40. Sourced from six vineyards including the Quail Hill Vineyard and Susanna’s Vineyard. Aged 10 months in 42% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Still young and a bit shy on the nose with scents of black cherry and cake spices. Middleweight flavors of cherry pie glaze, strawberries, cola and spice are framed by modest tannins. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Lynmar Estate Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 843 cases, $35. A blend of Quail Hill Estaate and Sweeney Vineyard with a small amount of Zio Tony Vineyard. Aged 15 months in 32% new French oak barrels. Previously reviewed July 19, 2014. · Light gold color in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, butterscotch, pineapple, green apple, baked pear and spice are echoed on the silky palate. Easy to like, with refreshing acidity, and complimentary oak highlights. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Lynmar Estate Quail Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 2,360 cases, $60. A blend of 14 clones from the estate vineyard. Aged 10 months in 37% new French oak barrels. Previously reviewed July 19, 2014. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of fresh Bing cherry and baking spice. Mid weight flavors of dark cherry, cola and sarsasparilla with a touch of oak in the background. The tannins are suave and noble, and the finish is outfitted nicely with generous black cherry and black raspberry fruits. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Lynmar Estate Quail Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $55. Primarily Rued clone. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. A step up from the solid Russian River Valley bottling with more flesh, intensity and finish. Aromas of lemon oil and white peach lead to a very smooth palate of baked apple, peach and pear fruits accented with honey and caramel. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Patz & Hall Sonoma House Visit & Tasting with James Hall

2013 Patz & Hall Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 375 cases, $55. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Very appealing aromas of yellow peach, almond spread, and lemon curd. A little more richness and softness that the Hudson bottling, and more Russian River Valley in character, The flavors of yellow peach are accented with a hint of smoke, toast, and saline. The wine finishes with a lemony, saline theme that persists. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Patz & Hall Hudson Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 375 cases, $55. James Hall calls Udson a “phenomenal farmer.” His father is the CEO of Exxon but he chose a different life path. His wines are sold primarily in Texas. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. A stunning wine that satisfies in every way. Bright aromas of lemon, pear and brioche lead to a potpourri of apple, pear and citrus flavors that arrive with aplomb. Refined, vibrant and serious, this classy juice leaves behind a vivid honeyed citrus note on the uplifting finish. Very special. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Patz & Hall Rued Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

350 cases, $55. Barrel fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation, aged in 35% new French oak barrels. · Nicely composed, with a core of citrus and apple fruits, a touch of honey and floral, slightly viscous on the palate, with a compliment of nutty oak, bright acidity and some finishing length. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Patz & Hall Brown Ranch Carneros Pinot Noir

400 cases, $70. Second of three year contract. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Rich and ripe, with flavors of black cherry and blackberry, framed by firm tannins and spicy oak, ending with an intensely fruity and generous finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Hyde Vineyard

2012 Hyde Hyde Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., $65. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of dark fruits, underbrush and seasoned oak. Full-bodied, fruit-centric, and quite ripe, with rich flavors of black plum, blackberry and cassis with an earthy, mushroom riff in the background. The texture is quite silky, the tannins are balanced, and there is some lingering and generous fruit on the finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was even more expressive on the nose and palate. Score: 91. 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.