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From Kutch Wines: 2013 Vintage Provided Compelling & Transparent Wines

2013 Kutch Wines Sans Soufre Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.1% alc., 45 cases, $N/A. Restaurant only release. Vinified without sulfur additions. Harvest Brix 19.5º and pH 2.95. 100% whole cluster with some carbonic ferment. Aged 11 months in neutral barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately deep cherry color in the glass. More fragrant than the regular Sonoma Coast bottling with a delightful perfume of raspberry, exotic spices and rose petal. Noticeable lift, vibrancy and freshness with copious pure fruit presence similar to a Gamay based Beaujolais wine. Easy to drink with very modest tannins and electric acidity on the finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Kutch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.3% alc., 1,500 cases, $39. 60% Campbell Ranch, 40% Sonoma Stage and 20% Le Jons vineyards. Aged in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Sumptuous aromas of black raspberry, blackberry and sous bois are tenacious over time in the glass. The mid weight flavors of blue and black berries and plum are intense and seductive on the attack, maintaining an earthy presence on the finish which offers a whisper of oak. The dry tannins are well proportioned and the wine!s overall balance is commendable. This wine could use a little more time to fully evolve. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Kutch Bohan Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.3% alc., 150 cases, $49. Vines planted in 1972 (clone unknown). Own-rooted, dry-farmed, California sprawl trellising, 10' x 8' spacing, cordon pruned. Aged in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate black cherry color in the glass. The nose is fresh and very pleasant with aromas of dark cherry pie glaze, spice, wildflowers, and conifer. The rich core of tasty black cherry, black raspberry and pomegranate fruits are embellished with a complimentary touch of oak. The tannins are fine-grain and slightly rugged, but add textural interest. The long and powerful, sweet cherry finish is beguiling. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Kutch Falstaff Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.3% alc., 350 cases, $59. Vineyard planted in 2001 in Goldridge soils. Clones are “828,” 115 and 777. 580 feet elevation, 8.5 miles inland from the coast. One of the coolest Pinot Noir vineyards in the North Coast with average mean monthly growing season temperature of 60ºF. VSP trellising, spur pruned, 8! x 5! spacing. Aged in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is mesmerizing with hi-tone aromas of cherry rock candy, raspberry coulis, spiced plum and rose petal. Sleek and seductive and seamless in every way, this wine offers juicy flavors of Bing cherry, raspberry and strawberry robed in modest, soft tannins. Highly approachable with a refreshing lift of tight, defining acidity. More demure and feminine than the McDougall bottling. Wow! Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Kutch McDougall Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.2% alc., 500 cases, $59. Vineyard planted in 1998 in Graywacke and Sandstone soils. Dijon clone 114. VSP trellising, spur pruned, 8! x 5! spacing. 935 feet elevation, 3.4 miles inland from the coast. Aged in 50% new and 50% used French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely scent of black cherry, blackberry jam, wilted rose and underbrush. Delicious mid weight plus flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and boysenberry supported by firm but balanced tannins and the slightest hint of oak. The tremendously flavorful attack of sappy fruit leads to an extraordinarily long and juicy finish. Enjoyable now, this wine will benefit from more tannin integration over time. This is a wine that brings you to your knees, makes you turn your eyes to the heavens, and give thanks. Score: 95-96. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Alexana: Prescription for Pinot with Unlimited Refills

2012 Alexana Revana Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $48. Each cluster triple hand-sorted, individual blocks fermented separately, native yeast fermentation. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Extroverted aromas of black raspberry, blackberry jam, vanilla and barrique lead to a sweet attack of middleweight fruits including black raspberry and boysenberry. The fruit is very ripe in this vintage particularly by Oregon standards, and complimented by spicy oak, and firm, but nearly imperceptible tannins. A rich and sumptuous wine with a very long, generous and chewy finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Alexana Signature Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 250 cases, $75. Favorite 10 barrels from the 2012 vintage. Aged 11 months in 38% new French oak barrels and bottle aged for 14 months before release. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The pleasing nose is relatively shy, offering aromas of dark fruits and a hint of oak vanillin. Full-bodied, lush and concentrated on the palate, with layers of dark red and purple fruits. Impeccably balanced with enough tannic bones to age and a complimentary whisper of smoky oak, this wine retains a juicy, vibrancy despite its heft and finishes with uncommon length and purpose. An impressive wine that emotes. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From En Garde: 2012 Pinots Very Promising

2012 En Garde Olivet Court Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 100 cases, $48. Release spring 2015. Martini clone. 40-year-old vines planted in gravelly, clay loam soil located across from De Loach Winery. Aged 18 months in 50% new Francois Fréres oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy aromas of cherry and raspberry. Very tasty core of black cherry and black raspberry with a hint of dark chocolate and spice. Modest in weight with muscular tannins and a very lengthy finish. The least showy wine in the lineup, but should blossom with more time in bottle. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 En Garde Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 175 cases, $48. Released September 1, 2014. Martini and Pommard clones. Aged 10 months in 28% new French oak barrels. · Moderate cherry red color in the glass. Shy aromas of dark cherry with hints of nutty oak. Middleweight flavors of black cherry, dark raspberry, plum and cola with oak and dried herbs in the background. Very approachable and easy to drink, with supple tannins and a bright cut of acidity on the dry finish. Two bottles tasted. Score: 87-88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 En Garde Starkey Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 125 cases, $54. Release summer 2015. 25% “828,” 25% Pommard, 50% 23. 35-year-old vines planted in Goldridge soil and located just outside the Green Valley AVA. This vineyard is owned by Csaba’s spouse’s best friend. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose opens slowly in the glass to reveal scents of dusty cherry and strawberry. A plentiful black cherry attack is augmented with notes of spice, cola and tea. Nicely crafted with supple tannins, a good acid underbelly and a lip-smacking, cherry-driven finish. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 En Garde Russian River Valley Reserve Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 150 cases, $60. Release summer 2015. Clones “828,” 23, Pommard and Martini. Aged 18 months in 80% new Francois Fréres oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Extroverted nose featuring scents of Bing cherry, spice, tea and sous-bois. Delicious flavors of fresh, perfectly ripened strawberry, cherry and cranberry with harmoniously integrated oak. Very juicy and charming with plenty of grace, tannins so fine as to be imperceptible, and a long, powerfully scented finish. Still hitting on all cylinders the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Black Kite Cellars: Outstanding Pinot Noir in 2012

2012 Black Kite Cellars “Kite’s Rest” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.59, 898 cases, $48. Released November 2014. Aged 11 months in 100% new French oak barrels, 33% of which were new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Flamboyant nose of bright scents of black raspberry, blackberry, tea and expressive spice. The flavors echo the nose with added hints of black plum, cola and oak. Juicy, with admirable oak integration, modest tannins, and a generous cherry-driven finish. A welcoming wine that aims to please. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Black Kite Cellars Glass House Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.57, 145 cases, $48. Released November 2014. Aged 11 months in 100% French oak barrels, 50% of which were new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of raspberry coulis, violets and chocolate. Dark berry flavors are featured with some savory undertones of mushroom and earth. Full-bodied with balanced tannins, toasty oak, and a soft finish featuring a generous, chewy burst of black cherry fruit. The wine was noticeably better with more integration of oak when tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Black Kite Cellars “Redwoods’ Edge” Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.57, 198 cases, $60. Released November 2014. Aged 11 months in 100% French oak barrels, 66% of which were new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Elevating aromas of black cherry cordial, baking spice and vanilla. Perks up the palate upon entry with delicious flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, plum, Asian 5-spice and vanilla. Very smoothly textured with hedonistic concentration and a balanced tannic backbone. Amazingly long finish fueled by bright acidity that lasts over 30 seconds. This wine really taps the pleasure centers in the brain. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Dolin Estate: New Central Coast Pinots Offer Exceptional Value

2012 Dolin Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.35% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.57, 485 cases, $32. Sourced from select vineyards. Clones 115, Pommard 4 and Swan selection. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 18% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas really pop featuring black raspberry, plum, sandalwood and oak spice. This wine displays dreamy balance with soft tannins, bright acidity, and readily accessible flavors of very dark cherry, raspberry and plum with hints of cola and mocha. The finish is highly satisfying. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Dolin Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.58, 128 cases, $45. Clone 667. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, loamy earth, underbrush and oak lead to mid weight, tasty flavors of black raspberry, blueberry and black cherry. Juicy and refreshing with balanced tannins and a long, sleek finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Dolin Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.34% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.61, 140 cases, $45. Clone 777. Aged 19 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing scents of dark cherry cobbler, cassis and balsam. Plenty of oak-kissed dark red and purple fruits that satisfy with a noticeable attack and fullness. Silky in the mouth with modest tannins and some finishing length. This wine has more oak overlay than I prefer, but the texture is seductive. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Dolin Talley Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.56, 172 cases, $45. Clones 667 and 777. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. There is plenty of charm in this wine that offers bright scents of plum, black raspberry, sous-bois and toasty oak. The luscious, rich core of boysenberry and plum fruits is backed by firm, fine-grain tannins. This is a mouth coating wine that is hedonistic yet angelic, and offers a very long and richly fruited finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From MacRostie Winery & Vineyards: Evolving to Embrace Quality

2012 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 24,372 cases, $25, screwcap. Sourced from multiple Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Carneros and Russian River Valley vineyards. Whole cluster pressed, 100% MLF, aged 6 months on the lees in French oak barrels with occasional battonage, 18% of which were new. A few lots were fermented in stainless steel. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of lemon, jasmine and toasty oak. Welcoming flavors of apple, pear and citrus with a hint of nutty oak. Slightly creamy in the mouth with a bright, citrus-infused finish that urges the drinker to take another sip. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacRostie Russian River Valley Chardonnay

406 cases, $32, screwcap. The majority of the grapes were from Keefer Ranch and Dutton-Jewell Ranch, both in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Whole cluster pressed, partial MLF, aged on the lees for 9 months in French oak barrels, 21% of which were new. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. A solid offering featuring aromas of lemon-lime, fresh-cut apple and mango. Slightly viscous on the palate with flavors of citrus, apple, brioche and butter toffee, finishing with a wealth of apple flavor. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacRostie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 4,174 cases, $34, screwcap. Sourced from Champlain Creek and Wildcat Mountain vineyards in the Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard in Fort Ross-Seaview, and Dutton-Hallberg Ranch in the Russian River Valley. 100% de-stemmed, inoculated yeast fermentation, punch downs and pump overs, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% of which were new. · Moderately light ruby color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of cherry, plum and huckleberry with a complimentary touch of spice and oak. Soft and smooth in the mouth with balanced tannins and some finishing fruit presence. Easy to drink. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

763 cases, $38. Whole cluster pressed, 100% MLF, aged 10 months on the lees with battonage in French oak barrels, 21% of which were new. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Demure but pleasing aromas of lemon rind, honey, juniper berry and toasty oak lead to tightly wound flavors of lemon, butterscotch, vanilla and toast with a hint of sea spray in the background. Distinctively different from the other MacRostie Chardonnays, this wine challenges the senses, and offers the most lingering finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacRostie Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 486 cases, $42, screwcap. Sourced from several vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, punch downs twice a day in 5-ton fermenters, aged in French oak barrels of which 26% were new, 31% one-year-old and the remaining neutral. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose opens with appealing aromas of black cherry and dark raspberry, but oak-driven scents of char and tobacco smoke take over. More appealing on the palate where the wine is relatively light in weight with inviting elegance. Forward and easy drinking with a modest attack of Bing cherry, cola and sassafras flavors backed by lively acidity and mild tannins, the wine finishes with an array of darker stone and berry fruits. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacRostie Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay

281 cases, $44, screwcap. Whole cluster pressed, 100% MLF, aged on the lees with occasional battonage for 10 months in French oak barrels, 25% of which were new. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. A complex offering with plenty of aromatic goodness including scents of white peach, lemon rind, tangerine and floral bouquet. Very pleasing in the mouth with a slightly viscous texture, beautifully integrated oak highlights, and pleasing lemon and apple flavors. Great harmony, finishing with admirable tension and citrus infused delight. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacRostie Sangiacomo Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay

177 cases, $44, screwcap. Whole cluster pressed, 100% MLF, aged 10 months on the lees in French oak barrels. After assembling the blend, seven barrels were chosen, two of which were new. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Plenty to like in this wine with hi-tone aromas of lemon curd, honeysuckle, vanilla and toast. Plenty of acidic verve compliments and lifts the lemon, pear and biscuit flavors. Good fullness and creaminess on the palate with a tangy, lemon and pear infused finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacRostie Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 878 cases, $48, screwcap. Mostly clones 667 and 777. 100% de-stemmed, inoculated yeast fermentation, combination of punch downs and punch overs, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 28% of which were new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Alluring scents of cherry, raspberry, underbrush, spice and subtle oak. Seamless and polished, with mid weight flavors of cherry and red berries accented with a hint of spice and citrus. Very classy, with soft tannins and a dry, refined finish with impressive length. A sensual wine with nuance. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacRostie Goldrock Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 290 cases, $54, screwcap. Clones 777 and “828.” 100% de-stemmed, inoculated yeast fermentation, a combination of pump overs and punch downs. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% of which were new. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of black cherry pie glaze, blackberry jam, oak cask and pipe smoke. Crisp and vibrant, with layers of flavor including dark red and purple berries, black cherry, anise and black tea. Veers to the riper side but retains impressive Pinot character. Lively acidity drives the refreshing and very lengthy finish which is highly satisfying. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Birichino: A Mischievous Pair Craft Unique Wines at Right Price

2013 Birichino Saint Georges Central Coast Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $21. Primarily Saint Georges Vineyard with a small amount of young vine fruit from Lilo Vineyard added. 20% whole cluster, native yeast fermentation, aged in neutral French oak barrels and bottled unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is highly fragrant with aromas of cherry, raspberry jam on toast, and sous-bois. Relatively light in weight, but highly flavorful, offering plenty of well-spiced cherry and raspberry goodness. Soft and delicate in the mouth with modest tannins and a raspberry-infused finish of some note. Very forward and charming. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Birichino Lilo Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.55, $33. Aged a little more than a year in old French oak barrels and bottled unfiltered. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Darker fruits are featured in this wine which has an earthy, woodsy flora bent. Very suave and polished on the palate with flavors of boysenberry and black plum accented with spice and tea. Beautifully balanced with well-integrated tannins. Even better later in the day from a previously opened bottle. More cajones than the Saint Georges bottling. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Domaine de la Côte: Whole Cluster Goodness

2012 Domaine de la Côte Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 2,100 cases, $45. 25% of vines are own-rooted at a vine density of 4,000 vines per acre. 50% whole cluster fermentation, aged in 0% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is replete with whole cluster goodness including aromas of wilted rose, spice and wet bark. Fresh and juicy with mid weight flavors of purple berries and spice and a floral note in the background. Easy to approach now with supple but structured tannins and a tangy finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Domaine de la Côte Bloom’s Field Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 500 cases, $70. 100% whole cluster fermentation, aged in 0% new French oak barrels for 20 months. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is similar to the Sta. Rita Hills bottling with rose petal and spice playing a large role, but the aromas are more penetrating. Round, polished and discreetly concentrated with upfront flavors of blueberry and black raspberry. Nicely balanced with modest tannins and plenty of zip and zing. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Domaine de la Côte La Côte Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 300 cases, $90. From a small section of a 9-acre parcel that is planted in broken shale. The first vineyard harvested and always produces the most opulent wine. 100% whole cluster fermentation, aged in 0% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Compelling aromas of boysenberry, black raspberry, spice and purple rose. Very smooth and polished on the palate with layers of purple berry, plum, and spice flavors. Impeccably balanced with tannins hiding in the background, juicy acidity, and a remarkably intense finish. Still a little moody and will benefit from more time in bottle. This wine is the epitome of ephemeral. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Skewis Wines: Pinot from Vineyards with a Pedigree

2012 Skewis Lingenfelder Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.60, 150 cases, $50. Released September 8, 2014. From a 3-acre vineyard west of the town of Fulton. Huichica loam soil typical of this area. Vineyard planted in 1996 and grafted to the Martini clone. Harvest Brix 23.3º. Aged 18 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light ruby color in the glass. Very shy nose with demure aromas of cherry sous-bois and subtle oak. Juicy, mid weight flavors of ripe strawberries, dark cherries and black raspberries. The finish is bright and pleasingly long. Much better on the palate over time in the glass and more showy the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Skewis Salzgeber-Chan Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.85, 150 cases, $50. Released September 8, 2014. Harvest Brix 24.4º. This 3-acre vineyard was planted in 1997. Dijon clone 115. Aged 18 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light ruby color in the glass. This wine is a cherry bombast with a modest oak overlay on the nose and palate. Very flavorful with remarkable persistence on the finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, more fruit had emerged, some cola and spice showed up, and the wine was more pleasing. Best to cellar this wine a year or so. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Skewis Wiley Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.80, 185 cases, $50. This vineyard was first planted in 1972 in the deep end of the Anderson Valley. Over the years the plantings have increased to 20 acres of Pinot Noir. This wine was made from grapes planted in 1982 and 2002; Pommard and Mt. Eden clones. Harvest Brix 25.0º. Released September 8, 2014. Aged 18 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose opens gradually to reveal inviting aromas of black cherry, sous-bois and complimentary sweet oak. Very smooth in the mouth with gossamer tannins, offering a joyous mix of black cherry and black raspberry flavors that attack the mid palate with purpose and hold on through a generous finish. A whisper of oak plies the background. Delightful. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From DANCIN Vineyards: Rogue Valley Wines of Distinction

2012 DANCIN Vineyards “Chastinelle Reserve” Southern Oregon Chardonnay

13.7% alc., 100 cases, $30. A blend of five clones (Robert Young, Espiguette 352, Dijon 76, Wente and Draper) grown on the estate and neighboring Panner-Hanson Vineyard. Indigenous yeast fermentation, aged sur lie in a blend of neutral French oak barrels and stainless steel barrels. Weekly battonage. Aged 7 months. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. The nose is fresh and bright, with inviting aromas of lemon, peach and tropical fruits. Slightly creamy on the palate with vibrant flavors of lemon, pear and peach and a subtle accent of tropical fruits and oak in the background. A superb wine with excellent harmony, a gentle demeanor, and a good cut of refreshing acidity on the smooth, lemon drop-driven finish. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 DANCIN Vineyards “Élevé” Barrel Select Southern Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 99 cases, $34. Named after a ballet movement in which you rise up high on to the balls of your feet relates to the grapes for this wine sourced from the estate’s highest elevation vineyard at nearly 2,000 feet. A blend of 777, Pommard and 115. 100% destemmed, fermented in small bins with indigenous yeast, aged 15 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black raspberry, black cherry and cigar box evolve slowly over time in the glass. Ripe-fruited and robust on the palate with sappy flavors of black cherry and black raspberry framed by firm but felty tannins and juicy acidity. Some of the black cherry fragrance returns to haunt the lengthy finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 DANCIN Vineyards “Trata” Southern Oregon Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 150 cases, $34. Clones Wädenswil 2A, 114, 667 and “828.” 100% de-stemmed, indigenous yeast fermentation, aged 15 months in 44.44% new French oak barrels. · Moderate light black cherry color in the glass. A bit shy, but pleasing marriage of underbrush, red cherry, spice and oak aromas. Mid weight flavors of red cherries and berries with a subtle savory herb note in the background. Unobtrusive tannins, refreshing acidity and some finishing goodness. Two bottles tasted with consistent results. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Waxwing: Engaging Pinot from an Urban Winery

2013 Waxwing Lester Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 123 cases, $39. Vines planted in 1998 on a sandy loam hillside bordered by redwoods. Sustainable viticultural practices, careful canopy management, minimal late season deficit irrigation. A mix of Dijon and heritage clones including Mt. Eden, Wädenswil and Mariafeld. 50% of fruit de-stemmed as whole berries and 50% foot-stomped whole cluster. 5-day cold soak, native fermentation, aged 11 months in once-used French oak barrels. · Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Plenty of lovely whole cluster spice on the nose along with aromas of cherry, rose petal and sandalwood. Delicious middleweight flavors of red cherry, red raspberry, spice and crystallized rose. Bright with good tension and balanced tannins, finishing clean and uplifting. I could drink this all day. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Waxwing Spring Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 208 cases, $39. Released late 2014. 75% de-stemmed as whole berries with 25% foot-stomped whole cluster in the fermenter. 5-day cold soak, punch downs 2 to 3 times a day, and pressed to barrel at end of fermentation. The wine was aged 11 months in once-used French oak barrels and bottled with no filtration. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers demure aromas of cherry and dried herbs. In the mouth, tannins and oak currently overwhelm the mid weight core of black cherry fruit which offers promise. The finish is dry and slightly astringent and laced with oak. This wine needs at least a year or two in bottle for the ruddy tannins to soften and the oak to integrate. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From MacPhail Proudly Releases First Estate Pinot Noir

2012 MacPhail Mardikian Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.56, 283 cases, $85. Limited release November 2014. Harvest Brix 26.5º-26.7º. Pommard, Martini, Wädenswil 2A and 114 clones. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, native malolactic fermentation in barrels, battonage weekly for 3 months, aged 16 months sur lie in French oak barrels, 50% of which were new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose shows off a commendable balance between darker cherry and berry fruits and oak. Delicious mid weight core of black cherry goodness with hints of spice, cola and mocha and a whisper of oak. Satiny smooth in the mouth with complimentary tannins and a finish that saturates the senses. This wine really hits the mark with emphasis. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted Pinot Noir

2013 Trader Joe’s Grand Reserve Lot #23 Carneros Pinot Noir

14% alc., $13. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of black cherry, strawberry glaze and toasty oak. Light to mid weight flavors of juicy cherry with a hint of anise and cola. A bit shallow on the attack but finishes with a burst of cherry flavor backed by slightly astringent tannins. This wine delivers what you would expect for Pinot Noir at this price point. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Ransom Jigsaw Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.58, 3,136 cases, $19. Multiple clones from multiple vineyards in three AVAs. 100% de-stemmed, high percentage of whole berries sent to 1.5-ton open-top fermenters. 4-day cold soak, wild and inoculated yeast fermentation, hand punch downs two to three times a day. Aged 10 months, blended, filtered and bottled. · Moderately light red cherry color in the glass. Demure aromas of cherry, tea leaf and subtle oak. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry and raspberry with supportive oak. Juicy, with decent tension, a silky texture, and mild tannins. An easy drinking wine that lacks flash or finish, but will perform nicely at the dinner table. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Briceland Vineyards Humboldt County Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 212 cases, $31. A blend from four southern Humboldt County vineyards: Lost Coast, Espey, Elk Prarie and Phelps. Aged 1 year in a combination of mostly older Virginia and French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose has a prominent oak overlay with clove and vanilla scents dominating the black cherry fruit. Much better on the palate with a mid weight charge of cherry and raspberry fruit that fills the mouth with plenty of sweet sap. A mellow wine with plenty of Pinot charm sporting modest tannins and crisp acidity. Considerably more appealing the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with plenty of black cherry and spice presence supported by oak. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Turtle Vines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alcohol, pH 3.79, TA 0.58, 30 cases, $34. 80% Pommard, 20% 667. Harvest Brix 24º. 5-day cold soak, 100% destemmed, not crushed. 5% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in Flextanks with 20% French oak. · Moderate light cherry color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, spice, and Herbs de Provence. Light in weight, but flavorful, with a good mid palate attack of cherry and raspberry fruits complimented by a hint of oak. Light on its feet and easy to cozy up to, with a refreshing cut of acidity on the finish. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Briceland Vineyards Phelps Vineyard Humboldt County Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 148 cases, $35. Aged 1 year in a combination of Virginia and French oak barrels of which about 20% were new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. A cherry-fueled wine with notes of conifer and oak adding a notable contribution. Discreetly concentrated with juicy acidity and a long, cherry-fueled finish. Much better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with better integration of oak. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Sante Arcangeli Split Rail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.59, 370 cases, $36. This vineyard is located at 1,700 feet elevation on a Corralitos mountaintop. Clones include Martini, Wädenswil, Mt. Eden, Swan, 32 and Pommard 4. Harvest Brix 22.5º-24.5º. 100% de-stemmed, aged sur lie with battonage for 10 months in 95% French and 5% Hungarian oak barrels of which 30% were new and 70% were used. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Lovely nose with alluring aromas of Bing cherry, sandalwood and spice cabinet. A delightful wine that is deep on the palate with an impressive attack of fleshy dark cherry, black raspberry and spice flavors complimented by a subtle vein of savory herbs in the background. The fine-grain, slightly weighty tannins provide good structure, and the persistent finish brings waves of vivid, flamboyant fruit. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Sonoma-Loeb Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.59, $39. Winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus uses Pinot Noir clones 667, 777 and 115 to produce this wine. Harvest Brix 25.6º-26.8º. Wild yeast and proprietary Burgundian strains were used in the fermentation. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The elevating aromas of spiced black raspberry and black cherry are very inviting. A bold expression of Pinot Noir with luscious flavors of black raspberry, black cherry, spice, mocha and coffee-scented oak. Very satisfying with a notably intense finish and admirable balance. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Ken Wright Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $45. Vines planted in Willakenzie soil in 1989. · Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Perfumed with scents of cherry, raspberry, dusty earth and underbrush. Light in weight, even a bit shallow, with flavors of red cherry, cranberry and red raspberry with a hint of spice. A delicate wine with soft tannins and a short, somewhat empty finish. Could pick up intensity and interest over time but the wine was unchanged two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Privé Vineyard le nord Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., $59. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Complex aromatic profile that reveals itself slowly in the glass including scents of Bing cherry, spice, rose petal and conifer. The core of cherry fruit is tight but promising with subtle notes of mocha, cola and oak in the background. Velvety in the mouth with a reserved finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the aromatics were much more alive with more spice, rose and cherry, but the fruit was still reluctant to show its stuff. Decant if you must drink now, but preferably wait at least a year. Score: 90-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Privé le sud Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $69. · Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Enticing aromas of cherry, leaf, spice and balsam lead to a mid weight core of fresh and juicy cherry flavor with a whisper of oak in the background. Very elegant and more giving than the le nord, with suave tannins and a deeply aromatic, cherry-fueled finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle, the nose was more expressive. Two days later, the wine was still hitting on all cylinders. Patience will be rewarded. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ransom Selection Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.65, 781 cases, $29. Harvest Brix 23.2º (average). Sourced from JMD, Temperance Hill, Zielinski, and Johan vineyards. Dijon, Pommard and Wädenswil clones. 100% de-stemmed with a high percentage of whole berries sent to 1.5-ton fermenters. 6-day cold soak, wild and inoculated yeast fermentation. Aged 16 months in mixed French oak cooperage one to two-years-old. 100% free-run juice with no fining or filtration. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Scents of black cherry, forest floor, conifer and seasoned oak lead to mid weight flavors of bright cherry, raspberry and Damson plum fruits that coat the mouth and persist through a citrus and cranberry imbued finish that has some persistence. Silky smooth on the palate with the balance weighted toward vibrant acidity. Tasted twice with consistent findings. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Conarium Madeline’s Cuvée Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.60, 100 cases, $35. Harvest Brix 25º. A barrel selection of various vineyard origins. 25% whole cluster fermentation, crushed by foot before a 7-day cold soak. Aged sur lie for 16 months in French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lively aromas of black cherry, sous-bois and toasty oak. Discreetly weighted and quite flavorful, with tastes of black cherry, ollaliberry, and oak that attack with purpose, but fade a bit on the finish. The tannins are nicely balanced and the mouth feel is very silky. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Lange Estate Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $35, screwcap. Estate grown. A barrel selection. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Restrained aromas of blackberry and black raspberry. More expressive on the palate with luscious blueberry, pomegranate, plum, black raspberry and spice flavors with a compliment of oak in the background. Round and polished with a soft, smooth mouth feel and a memorable fruit-driven finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Lange Three Hills Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $38, screwcap. Sourced from Lange Estate, Freedom Hill and Yamhill vineyards. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of black raspberry, plum and espresso oak. Modest in weight, but packed with flavor, offering tastes of black raspberry, black cherry, and pomegranate with a touch of oak and dark chocolate. Welcoming softness in the mouth with admirable balance and good tannic bones for the long term. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Dutton Estate Karmen Isabella-Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.55, 1805 cases, $40. Dutton Ranch farms over 80 unique vineyards in the cooler areas of the Russian River Valley, primarily in the Green Valley AVA. This wine resulted from a selection of 3 favorite vineyards (Thomas Road, Marty’s and Manzana) representing the Duttons’ vision of a signature Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Clones “828,” 777 and 115 planted in Goldridge soil. 100% destemmed, 5-day cold soak, three punch downs daily, aged 10 months in 33% new French oak barrels. The final blend is a barrel selection of reserve quality. Winemaker is Terry Adams. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Bright perfume of fresh Bing cherries, raspberries and toasty oak. Upon entry, the wine fills the mouth with pure cherry pleasure and hints of cola and oak spice. A sophisticated offering that is forward and easy to like, with supple tannins, vibrancy, a silky mouth feel, and a luscious cherry-themed finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Wonderment Campbell’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

15.3% alc., pH 3.66, 232 cases, $40. Campbell’s Vineyard is a Dutton Ranch property first planted in the mid 1990s. This 14-acre vineyard lies in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley and is planted to Pommard 4 and 777 clones. This wine is 100% Pommard 4. · Moderately dark black cherry color in the glass. Initially, the aromas of Bing cherry, cola, and clove are appealing. Over time, the fruit trends to display a roasted quality. Full-bodied core of very ripe black cherry, black raspberry, cola and baking spice flavors with a hint of complimentary oak. Vigorous and deep on the palate with balanced tannins. Well-crafted in this very ripe style. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Willowbrook Estate Grown Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $42. From a 3-acre vineyard located in the southwestern corner of the Russian River Valley. A mix of Dijon and Pommard clones and Swan and Calera selections. · Light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, cranberry, sandalwood and rose petal rise from the glass. Light and elegant, with a charge of cherry fruit on the attack and finish. Silky in the mouth with a whisper of smoky oak in the background. Demure but satisfying. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Willowbrook Kaufmann Sunnyslope Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $42. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very pleasant array of scents including Bing cherry, black raspberry coulis and conifer. Light to mid weight flavors of black cherry, plum and cassis. Soft and caressing on the palate with impressive mid palate presence and finishing length. Forward drinking with modest tannins and well integrated acidity. Still very appealing the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Screen Door Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 100 cases, $45. Inaugural vintage from winemakers Bobby and Shannon Donnell. Sourced from one unnamed vineyard. Primarily Pommard clone with a small portion of "828" and 115 picked over the top of the bins and co-fermented. Aged 11 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate dark cherry color in the glass. The nose is really inviting, bursting with aromas of ripe Bing cherries, strawberries, sarsaparilla and spice. The wine is very giving with plenty of deep cherry flavor accented with a hint of cola. Very luscious, yet nimble, with modest tannins and deft balance. Quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Wonderment Dr. Stan’s Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.61, 23 cases, $50 (sold out). From a vineyard of less than 1 acre of 30+ year-old Pinot Noir vines planted to Dijon 115. · Moderate ruby color in the glass. Oak-kissed cherry perfume leads to a mid weight earthy wine featuring flavors of cherry, dried herbs, cola and noticeable oak overlay. Well-structured with dry tannins and enough acidity to bring the fruit to life. The wine finishes with a modicum of juicy cherry fruit. When tasted later in the day from a previously opened and re-corked wine, the oak was more integrated and the wine was noticeably more pleasing. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Rhys Family Farm Vineyard San Mateo County Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., $59. From a 6.16- acre vineyard planted to Rhys selection, Swan, 115 and Pommard. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is quite inviting, with aromas of black cherry, exotic spices, anise and sarsaparilla. Bright, juicy and very approachable, with flavors of cherry, raspberry, cola, and oakdriven toast and spice. Very elegant and charming, with mild tannins and a silky texture. Finishes easy, but a little short. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Bryter Estates Tre Sette Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

15.1% alc., 110 cases, $68. “Tre Sette” means “Three Sevens” in Italian and refers to the single clone of 777 used in making this wine. Gap’s Crown Vineyard is in proximity to the Petaluma Gap. Planted in 2002 and 2005, the soils are clay loam with significant rock. 30% whole cluster fermented. Aged 14 months in 90% neutral French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately deep red cherry color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of Bing cherry, spice and sandalwood. Mid weight plus core of spiced cherry fruit with hints of anise, mocha and red berries. Plenty of sappy fruit, yet light on its feet. Flavors are not over ripe and nicely framed by complimentary oak. Finishes with a burst of cherry goodness. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Twomey Cellars Monument Tree Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 142 cases, $68. The first single vineyard wine from this estate vineyard. For years, this vineyard has been the backbone for the Anderson Valley bottling. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of strawberry, cherry, spice box and smoky oak become more effusive over time. Juicy flavors of black cherry and ripe strawberry with a hint of spice are easy to like. Appealing finesse and harmony, with fine tannins, refreshing acidity and a bright finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., $69. From an 11-acre vineyard planted to Rhys selection and heritage clones. 12-24” topsoil over soft shale at 1230’ to 1400’ elevation. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very complex nose with scents of alpine strawberry, raspberry, black cherry, conifer, sous-bois, spice and rose petal dancing in and out over time. Softly textured, harmonious and very approachable, with a tasty black cherry core framed by modest tannins and juicy acidity. Still showing a blanket of oak that will integrate over time. Finishes with impressive length and generosity. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 COBB Rice-Spivak Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 225 cases, $70. From a 6-acre vineyard located near Sebastopol. Dijon clones and Swan selection planted in Goldridge soils. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, spice, rose petal and espresso. Silky and polished in the mouth, with an attack of fresh cherry and raspberry fruit with a hint of spice and cranberry. Impeccably balanced with a good acid backbone, soft tannins, and finishing lift. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Lange Yamhill-Carlton Assemblage Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 200 cases, $70, screwcap. Sourced from vineyards with Willakenzie soils. · Dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Shy, but pleasant scents of ripe dark fruits. Full-bodied attack of dark berries with length and soothing flavor. The tannins are well matched and there is a good cut of underlying acidity. The finish is plush with boysenberry fruit. The nose was still shy the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle indicating this wine needs more time in bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Pisoni Estate Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2%, $75. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas leap from the glass including blackberry, cardamom spice and oak vanillin. Juicy and full-bodied, but not jammy, with a gorgeous fruit core of blackberries, boysenberries and plums framed by generous, but balanced tannins. Some earth-based goodness chimes in as well. The fruit clings to every nook and cranny and refuses to go away, displaying a sweet, tenacious finish of uncommon length. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very approachable now, but has the stuff to last 20 years. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I tasted this beauty. Score: 98. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Rhys Home Vineyard San Mateo County Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $79. From a small, 1.57- acre vineyard containing a mixed field blend of selections. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose is closed for business initially, opening more the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Darker cherry and raspberry flavors are featured. Very tasty, and soft and smooth in the mouth. Finishes with showy oak and slightly astringent tannins. Lacks some excitement now, and should be cellared for at least a year. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 COBB Coastlands Vineyard Old Firs Block Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 300 cases, $80. This 14-acre vineyard sits on a ridge in Occidental in the far western Sonoma Coast. A variety of selections including Martini and Wädenswil were planted in this block in 1989, some of the oldest vines on the West Sonoma Coast. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. This is an extraordinary wine that is still cloaked in a significant oak overlay. Aromas of dark cherries, conifer, espresso and toast lead to a delicious cherry core of fruit that is dominated by oak. Juicy acidity adds tension, and contributes to the vibrant finish which is exceptional for its generosity and persistence. This wine needs at least a year in the cellar to better integrate the oak. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Beaux Frères The Beaux Frères Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $90. 100% estate vineyard Pommard and Wädenswil clones on their own roots. 23- acre vineyard planted with tight spacing from 1987 to 1991 (average vine age 22 years). Biodynamically farmed. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very sexy aromas of fresh cherry pie glaze, exotic spices, ripe raspberries, sous-bois and sweet oak, becoming more exuberant over time in the glass. Intense mid palate attack of ripe cherry and black raspberry fruits with a whisper of oak in the background. Elegant and harmonious with juicy acidity and a grand finish. A very young wine with excellent long term prospects. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Soliste Barrique 9 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 23 cases, $100. Single vineyard, single clone, one barrel. From the Guidici Vineyard (the source of Soliste's Forêt bottling), this barrel stood out from the others that went into the Forêt. Hand bottled into unique Burgundy bottles, then hand waxed. · Moderately light red cherry color in the glass. Plenty to like about this wine with hi-tone aromas of cherry, spice box, sous-bois and buttery oak. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry and strawberry with elegance to spare. Seamless and demure with supple tannins and harmonious acidity. Very Chambolle-Musigny in character with a charming delicacy that seduces rather than imposes its will. This wine will be fascinating to follow over the ensuing years. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 119 cases, $60. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is reluctant to offer its charms, showing primarily aromas of wine cave and oak. More expressive the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with blackberry and black currant fruit aromas showing up. Rich and sappy, rugged but not harsh, with mouth coating black raspberry and black cherry fruit backed by muscular tannins. The palate was also more appealing the following day. Cellar this wine for at least three years. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Lower Block Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 48 cases, $65. From the coolest microclimate of the Home Vineyard. Vines planted in 1999. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The fruit never shows up on the nose, even the next day, offering only aromas of underbrush, cardamom spice and iron. More expressive on the palate with a very tasty core of blueberry and boysenberry fruits backed by proportional dry tannins and lively acidity. The finish is particularly notable for its persistence compared to the other 2012 Home Vineyard Pinot Noirs. More sweet boysenberry fruit showed up the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Still tight and needs a few years in the cellar. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Old Block Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

$75. From the oldest .5-acre section of the Home Vineyard. Own-rooted vines planted in 1980. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Generous aromas of black cherry, cassis and sous-bois. Very refined and balanced with mouth filling flavors of black cherry and black raspberry. Powerful, but sleek, with cleansing acidity and a very appealing, long and sweet cherry finish. Considerably more giving and interesting the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 82 cases. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of blackberry, black currant, Prada leather coat and oak vanillin rise from the glass. Generously fruited with sappy flavors of black raspberry, and blackberry. Firm, but balanced tannins, and a big finish plush with fruit goodness. I really liked this wine best among the older vintages tasted together on this day. Still compelling the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Drink or hold for up to 10 years. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 78 cases. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, forest floor, wet loam and a hint of smoky oak. Impressive freshness with flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and black plum. Pleasing integration of tannins and a very long and satisfying finish. Drink within the next five years. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Clos Saron Home Vineyard Sierra Foothills Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 40 cases. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The nose has taken on secondary characteristics of iron, ash, decayed earthy flora and iodine. The medium weighted black cherry, black raspberry, ripe strawberry black tea and oak flavors are fresh and concentrated. The wine is not tired or fading, and still bright and flavorful. Some may find the muscular tannins too daunting. Drink up or can hold another few years. This wine that will appeal to fans of aged Pinot Noir. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted White Wines

NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros Sparkling Wine

12.5% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.75, dosage 13.3 g/L, $22. Exclusively Chardonnay. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel, proprietary yeast for secondary fermentation in bottle. Final blend contains 6 different base wines. 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Sweepstakes Award for sparkling wines. Aged 16 months en tirage before disgorgement. · Pale straw yellow color with a fine bead in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of fresh apple and pear. The flavors of green apple, pear, Meyer lemon and white peach are satisfyingly bright. Slightly creamy on the palate, with a crisp, dry, mineral-imbued, soprano finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Carneros Sparkling Wine

12.2% alc., pH 3.07, TA 0.73, $22. Predominantly Pinot Noir (92%) with a small amount of Chardonnay (8%) and a small addition of Vin Gris blended into the base cuvée. Many different clones and selections. Whole cluster pressed, proprietary yeast used for secondary fermentation. The wine is a blend of 18 different base wines fermented in stainless steel. 5% to 7% coldsoaked Pinot Noir juice (Vin Gris) is blended into the base wine for color and texture. The wine was aged en tirage for 18 months. · Light salmon color in the glass. Inviting aromas and flavors of strawberry, cherry and red currant. Plenty of fruit intensity and zip to satisfy, with a creamy mouth feel and a tight, dry, mouthwatering finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

NV Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut Carneros Sparkling Wine

12.5% alc., pH 3.21, TA 0.68, dosage 13 g/L, $22. This wine is dominated by Pinot Noir with added Chardonnay. Whole cluster pressed, 20% to 25% of first press used, proprietary yeast drive the second fermentation. A blend of 20 different base wines fermented in stainless steel. The wine spent 18 months en tirage. · Very pale pink diamond color in the glass. Lovely aromas of black cherry, Granny Smith apple and croissant. Vivid and lively on the palate with flavors of cherry, cranberry and citrus fruits. Completely dry, with inviting fruit goodness and length on the upbeat finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

NV Gloria Ferrer VA DE VI Carneros Sparkling Wine

12.0% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.75, dosage 25 G/L, $22. A blend of Pinot Noir (89%) and Chardonnay (8%) with a trace of Muscat (3%). Whole cluster pressed with use of 20% to 25% of the first press. Proprietary yeast used for the secondary bottle fermentation. Fermented in stainless steel tanks. Aged 18 months en tirage. · Pale pink salmon color in the glass. Shy aromas of apple, peach and lemongrass. Slightly sweet on the palate with juicy flavors of peach, berries and tropical fruits. The Muscat definitely peaks out. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

NV Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Riesling

12.6% alc., 1,288 cases, $27. From 5.5 acres of dry-farmed estate grapes. Cool mountain temperatures, rocky volcanic soil. · Inviting scents of lemon-lime, pine, grass and petrol. Juicy lemon-lime, green apple, pear and tropical flavors in a crisp style with a slightly creamy textural tone. Impressive finishing length and palate-cleansing acidity. A perfect match with oysters or southern fried chicken. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Briceland Vineyards Spirit Canyon Vineyard Mendocino County Arneis

13.6% alc., $21. An unusual California bottling of a white Italian grape known as “white Nebbiolo.” Planted by Glenn McGourty. Less than 100 acres in California. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Shy aromas of lemon tart and wildflowers. Pleasant and smooth on the palate with flavors of lemon, dried herbs and floral note. With its lip-smacking acidity, this wine is a good foil for shellfish. Not as good as previous vintages of this wine. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Briceland Vineyards Humboldt County Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $26. No oak or malolactic fermentation. · Moderately light golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, apple tart and mountain air. Driven by crisp and steely acidity, this wine features flavors of lemon and yellow apple. Slightly viscous in the mouth with a juicy finish. Fine, but doesn’t hold my interest over time. Tasted twice. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Truchard Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 4,955 cases, pH 3.34, TA 0.66, $30. Harvest Brix 24.0º. Vines range from 17 to 39-years-old and benefit from the various marine soils, gently slopped terrain and cooler temperatures. Whole cluster pressed, 100% barrel fermented sur lie with battonage in 100% French oak, 33% of which was new for 10 months. 30% malolactic fermentation. · Very light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Pleasant aromas of lemon curd, pear, apple pan dowdy and apple blossom. Light and refined on the palate and very refreshing, with lemon, pear, apple and nutty toffee flavors backed by bright acidity. The wine picks up flavor intensity and interest over time in the glass, offering a finishing kick of lemon-driven acidity. I continue to be very impressed by the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from this iconic Carneros winery. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Big Table Farm Wirtz Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Gris

11.2% alc., 145 cases, $32. This is an orange wine that defies description. This white grape was left on its skins to add color and texture to the wine, then pressed and fermented to dryness in neutral French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light copper salmon color in the glass. The aromas are primarily floral including gardenia while the flavors are fruity including poached pear and hints of strawberry, cherry and vanilla. Lighter in weight, soft in texture and easy to drink. Should be chilled and paired with shellfish. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Sonoma-Loeb Envoy Carneros Chardonnay

14.9% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.64, $38. Sourced from low-yielding Wente, Hyde and Robert Young clone fruit from the best blocks at Sangiacomo Vineyard. Harvest Brix 23.5º-24.9º. Barrel fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation, aged 8 months sur lie. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Welcoming scents of lemon curd, buttery brioche, peach and chalk dust. Delicious and decadent with waves of citrus fruits including pineapple and lemon, with notes of Asian pear, nectarine, buttery popcorn, and toast. A take no prisoners, barrel fermented charmer made in an opulent and well oaked California style. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.68, $25. Barrel fermented in French oak. · Moderately light gold straw color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of lemon-lime, Asian pear and Fuji apple with a hint of tropical fruits and toasty oak. Solid, with a good grip of acidity on the juicy finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 779 cases, pH 3.32, TA 0.69, 779 cases, $32. Average age of dry-farmed vines is 39 years. 100% barrel fermented in 100% new French oak barrels for 8 months. Winemakers and winegrowers Charles and Stuart Smith. · Bright golden straw color and clear in the glass. Scents of lemon curd, poached pears and green apples lead to a soft and creamy core of citrus, pear and banana flavors with a hint of smoky oak and iron-driven minerality. Somewhat reserved in a French style that is well-crafted. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Press Cellars Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

15.3% alc., 100 cases, $38. Partial whole cluster with native yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 50% new American oak and 50% neutral French oak. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Bold aromas of lemon-lime and toasted oak. A bit unusual in flavor, with notes of cut apple, poached pear, grilled pineapple, toast and burnt toffee. Creamy in the mouth, with noticeable fruit ripeness and fullness, made for the California palate. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 1,692 cases,$60. · Light golden straw color in the glass. Appealing array of aromas including white peach, Asian pear, lychee, buttery oak, chalk and flint. Tight, with good tension, offering defined flavors of lemon, poached pear and very subtle oak. Beautifully configured and sophisticated with impeccable balance and a refreshing cut of acidity. A connoisseur’s wine with many nuances made in a French style that will benefit from more time in bottle. Score: 93. 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.