Download 10.9 (PDF)

Reviewed Wines from the current Newsletter
PinotFile 10/9

From On the Pinot Trail: Hartford Family Winery

2014 Hartford Court Pinot Noir Rosé

pH 3.25, 240 cases, $28. Released March 15, 2015. Harvested from Fog Dance Vineyard as a rosé, tank fermented, finished in neutral oak. · Light pink color in the glass. Aromas of strawberry, cherry and rose petal echoed on the palate with an added hint of spice. Fresh and vibrant, with good acidity, finishing dry. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Hartford Court Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

$38. Released January 2015. A blend of grapes from single vineyard properties and three grower vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 32% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Cherry is the featured fruit in this light to mid weight wine, with added notes of cranberry, cola and oak seasoning. Forward and easy to drink with a good cut of acid on the bright finish. Score: 87-88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Land’s Edge Vineyards Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.55, 2,295 cases, $50. 2013 vintage released January 2015. Sourced from vineyards (75% Far Coast Vineyard and 25% Seascape Vineyard) located in the far western edge of the Sonoma Coast that are driven by maritime influence. Clones 667, 777, 115, Pommard and Swan. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 28% new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. An intensely flavored mid weight plus macho wine featuring aromas and flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, mocha, and savory herbs. Polished tannins make for very forward drink ability. A “ribeye wine.” Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Fog Dance Estate Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.54, 315 cases, $65. Released January 2015. Grapes are from an organically farmed, estate vineyard planted in 1996 to Dijon 667, 777 and 115. The bottling is named for the dance performed by the Pacific fog which drifts through the vineyard and back again to the sea each day. Aged 17 months in 100% French oak barrels, 38% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. Very slight reduction. Riper fruit aromas featuring spiced plum, boysenberry and black cherry. Welcome charge of black cherry and purple berry fruits on entry with an underlying riff of baking spices and citrus. Nicely integrated acidity, but the slightly grainy tannins need more time to moderate. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Hailey’s Block Estate Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.55, $65. Released January 2015. Sourced from a block within Arrendell Vineyard that is named after Don and Jennifer Hartford’s daughter, Hailey. The block was planted in 1996 to Dijon 114 and 777 when Hailey was six years old. The site is probably the coldest spot in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Aged 17 months in 100% French oak barrels, 44% new. · Moderate dark reddish purple color in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of ripe strawberries, black cherries and black raspberries with hints of spice and violet. Mid weight plus flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and cassis with a well-proportioned backbone of acid and tannin. A highly enjoyable wine of great character. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court MacLean’s Block Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.54, 337 cases, $65. Released January 2015. Named after Don and Jennifer Hartford’s son, MacLean. The 20-acre vineyard is nestled near redwood groves near the town of Occidental. Organically and biodynamically farmed Dijon 667 and 777 clones planted in Goldridge sandy loam soil. Afted 16 months in 100% French oak barrels, 44% new. · A very curious and interesting wine. Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of pine and forest floor lead to a delicious mid weight core of black cherry and black raspberry fruits accented with notes of conifer, spice and mocha. The tannins are very fine, and there is a lively grip of acid on the finish. As Jeff points out, in this wine you get a real sense of the forest that surrounds this vineyard. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Sevens Bench Vineyard Estate Carneros Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.57, 163 cases, $65. Release September 2015. The name Sevens Bench comes from the two clones planted on the winery’s block: 37 (Mt Eden) and Dijon 777. First release from this vineyard since 2009. Some whole cluster. Aged 17 months in 100% French oak barrels, 25% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of peppery cherry, dark rose and earthy loam. The mid weight black cherry core is framed by firm tannins and accented with a compliment of oak. Earthy and savory, with soft acidity, and a remarkably intense and long finish. Will benefit from more time in bottle. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Velvet Sisters Estate Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.56, 397 cases, $65. Released January 2015. The “Velvet Sisters” are local historical figures who in Boontling lore became known for wearing plush velvet dresses. The grapes are sourced from blocks within Falk Vineyard planted to Dijon 115, 667 and 777, and Pommard selections. Native and cultured yeasts. Aged 17 months in 100% French oak barrels, 32% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very enticing aromas of alpine strawberry, cherry, wood spice and sous-bois. Highly satisfying, “pretty” core of cherry fruit with a flowery underpinning. The oak is well-integrated, the fine-grain tannins provide support, and the wine finishes with a burst of juicy, black cherry fruit which hangs on for dear life. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Jennifer’s Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.57, 341 cases, $70. Released January 2015. Named in honor of coproprietor Jennifer Hartford. Sourced from a vineyard in a windy and very cool site in the Sebastopol Hills planted primarily to clone 23 that is known for very small berries, low yields and a high skin-to-pulp ratio. Aged 16 months in 100% French oak barrels, 46% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Highly expressive nose that leads with aromas of dark berries, tea and anise. Highly structured and robust, with flavors of blackberry, ollaliberry and English tea. Concentrated, but elevated with juicy acidity, and offering a suave finish of noticeable intensity. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Marin County Pinot Noir

alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.55, 373 cases, $70. Released January 2015. Aged 17 months in 100% French oak barrels, 32% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of forest and spice lead to a lighter weight wine featuring purple berry flavors with a hint of citrus in the background. Fresh, with supple tannins, and a high-strung finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Seascape Vineyard Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.59, 327 cases, $70. Released January 2015. A 6-acre vineyard on a ridge top west of the town of Occidental, bordering the well-known Coastlands Vineyard. A very cold site, with grapes picked often in November. Primarily Dijon 777, 114 and 115. Average yields 1 ton-per-acre. Aged 16 months in 100% French oak barrels, 28% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very savory on the nose with scents of conifer, sous-bois, black cherry and a hint of oak. Striking attack of vivid cherry fruit with many added nuances including spices particularly clove, earth and conifer. The tannins are very silky, and the wine finishes with good brightness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hartford Court Arrendell Vineyard Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.59, 298 cases, $90. Released January 2015. This low-lying vineyard sits in a very cold meso-climate that allows full expression of the terroir. The old vines were planted in 1975 and struggle to ripen a 1 ton-per-acre fruit load of heirloom selections. Aged 14 months in 100% new French oak barrels, 45% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. A wonderful array of fresh scents greet the drinker including black cherry, kirsch, cassis, sousbois and violets. Sappy and robust, with intense layers of flavor that unfold on the palate in stages to reveal notes of boysenberry, cassis, plum reduction sauce, and earthy herbs. Very smoothly textured with balanced tannins and a lingering finish. A special wine of uncommon personality and breeding. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From On the Pinot Trail: Papapietro Perry

2014 Papapietro Perry Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

200 cases, $32. Juice from incline sorting tray. Several Russian River Valley vineyards. Barrel fermented. · Light salmon red color in the glass. A crisp wine with plentiful aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and cherries, finishing with a brisk, refreshing cut of acidity. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 1,370 cases, $51. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, ! new and " once and twice used barrels. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The nose leads with oak-kissed cherry aromas. Soft and smooth, even slightly creamy on the palate with forward flavors of cherry and raspberry accented with notes of vanilla and baking spice. Very supple tannins and balanced acidity make for armchair drinking. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 700 cases, $51. · Light cherry color in the glass. Expressive nose offering scents of cherry pie glaze, spice and forest floor. A little more concentration and tannic backbone than the Russian River Valley bottling, with a burst of blue and red berry flavors on entry, persisting through a satisfying finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Campbell Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 825 cases, $56. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of cherry tart and sandalwood. Acid-driven, and a bit austere, with flavors of tart cherry and citrus. Refreshingly crisp, but modest in attack and finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Charles Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 995 cases, $56. · Light cherry red hue in the glass. Very fragrant cherry and kirsch aromas on the nose. Beautifully composed, with layers of cherry flavor that coat the palate and pick up intensity on the gorgeous, long-lived finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Leras Family Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 1,245 cases, $56. Vineyard is located on River Road behind Martinelli’s tasting room. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. This wine shows an inviting interplay between cherry and berry fruits and oak. Discreetly concentrated, with a good attack, chewy tannins, and a welcome touch of oak spice on the finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Nunes Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 773 cases, $56. This vineyard is located at a relatively warm site just off the 101 Freeway east of the Santa Rosa airport. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Effusive aromas of fresh cherry, raspberry and spice. The cherry flavor really pops on the palate with endearing spice notes. Tastes of blueberry and raspberry add interest. Very suave in the mouth, with fine grain tannins, and a huge, fruit-driven finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Peters Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 1,070 cases, $56. This vineyard is located south of Sebastopol. · Moderate light cherry red color in the glass. A very savory nose featuring aromas of forest floor, conifer and herbs with a hint of strawberries and spice. More fruity on the palate, with mid weight, attacking flavors of cherry and red berries with a subtle savory thread in the background. The wine has great purity of cherry flavor that really clings to the palate. Easy to like, with suave tannins and good finishing length. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry 777 Clones Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 625 cases, $72. Ben calls this his “Vegas wine,” because of the triple 7 designation. Sourced from five Russian River Valley vineyards. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. A very harmonious wine with aromas and flavors of cherry, cranberry, raspberry and sandalwood. Well-crafted, with juicy acidity, balanced supple tannins, and generous length on the lingering finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Pommard Clones Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 625 cases, $72. 100% Pommard clone from several Russian River Valley vineyards. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Perfectly seasoned with spice and oak, this charming wine is a delight. Mid weight flavors of Bing cherry and cola fill the mouth with goodness, holding court through an expansive finish. Impressive composure draws you back for another sip. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From On the Pinot Trail: FEL Wines

2014 FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Gris

14.2% alc., 1, 437 cases, RS 0.35%, $25. Released May 1, 2015. A blend of fruit from Wiley Vineyard, Filigreen Vineyard and Donnelly Creek Vineyard. Harvest Brix 23.6º. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in a 900 gallon French oak oval, small neutral French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. · Light golden yellow with a faint pink caste in the glass. Don’t underestimate Pinot Gris - there is plenty to like in this wine. Aromas of nectarine, peach, melon, pine, herbs and floral bouquet. Bright, crisp, clean and refreshing with flavors of apple, stone fruits, melon, lychee and herbs. The flavors really cling to the palate. A very complex wine that changes over time in the glass, and will perform beautifully at the dinner table. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 FEL Anderson Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 1,201 cases, $28. Released October 1, 2014. A blend of multiple clones sourced from Ferrington and Savoy vineyards. Harvest Brix averaged 23.0º. Whole cluster pressed to tank, fermented in neutral French oak barrels with limited malolactic fermentation. Aged sur lie 9 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light straw yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of citrus, tropical fruits and apple hold up nicely over time in the glass. Richly fruited, yet crisp and vibrant, with a vigorous mid palate attack of citrus. Very satisfying, with subtle notes of pear and roasted nuts, finish with a bright charge of lemon-lime spirit. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 2,347 cases, $38. Released May 1, 2015. A blend of several clones and selections including Dijon, Pommard, Mt. Eden and Martini from Donnelly Creek, Savoy, Wiley and Ferrington vineyards. Harvest average Brix 24.7º. 5 to 7 day cold soak, 9-day uninoculated primary fermentation, and 3 to 7 day extended maceration. Aged 14 months in 100% French oak barrels, 38% new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Hi-tone scents of black cherry, red currant and spice lead to a mid weight plus charge of black cherry, black raspberry fruits accented with a pleasing spice note. The wine has balanced tannins, integrated acidity, and some length. This is a terrific AVA blend that is primed for current drinking. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 FEL Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 138 cases, $48. Released December 2014. A blend of clones including Wente and Martini selections. Harvest Brix 23.6º. Whole cluster pressed to tank, barrel fermented in 50% new French oak, aged sur lie for 15 months. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of fig, lychee, citrus, flower basket and buttery brioche. Some California fruit exuberance, with flavors of pear, lemon, white peach, and a deft touch of oak. Smooth and slightly viscous on the palate, with tight acidity lifting the finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 FEL Hirsch Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 382 cases, $65. Released February 1, 2015. A blend of Dijon 777 and Pommard clones. Harvest Brix average 24.3º. 7-day cold soak, 6-day extended maceration. Aged 14 months in 100% French oak barrels, 62% new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The complex nose offers an array of scents including dark red berries and cherries, balsam, spice, meadow and a hint of vanilla. The bright black cherry and raspberry fruits offer good lift and energy. Discreetly concentrated, the wine sports balanced tannins and deft integration of oak. Much better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, with more expressive fruit aromas and flavors and more length on the finish. Like the Savoy bottling, this wine should easily age for 10 years. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 FEL Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 645 cases, $65. Released December 1, 2014. A blend of clones including Dijon and Pommard, as well as Martini and Calera selections. Harvest Brix average 24.6º. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of fresh black cherry, rose petal and spice, with some cedary oak chiming in over time. Layer upon layer of gorgeous black cherry, kirsch and black raspberry goodness envelope the palate. A sexy, suave wine that is plush and velvety in the mouth, yet there is enough acidity to keep the experience fresh and vibrant. Nothing is out of place in this magnificent wine that finishes with a flourish of perfectly ripened black stone fruits. I ran out of superlatives with this one, but WOW sums it up. Still terrific the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating good age ability. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From A Delightful Pinot Aura Pervades the Pinot Noirs of LaRue

2012 LaRue Rice-Spivak Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.6% alc., 125 cases, $70. Clones are 115, 667 and Swan. Less than 5% whole cluster. Aged 17 months in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very exotic aromatic profile brimming with alluring scents of black cherry, spice, rose petal and a hint of sweet oak. The nose reminds of one that reflects whole cluster fermentation. This is a special wine of charm and character, offering juicy cherry fruit that dances across the palate. Accents of spice and flower bouquet add interest. The experience is bright and energetic with great harmony and elegance. The wine offers a refreshing cut of acidity on the long finish that seduces with spiced cherry and red berry fruits. Very difficult to keep from drinking the whole bottle. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 LaRue Coastlands Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 50 cases, $75. First planted in 1989 by the Cobb family, the vines are among the oldest on the Sonoma Coast. Clones are Pommard, Martini and Wädenswil. 15% whole cluster. Aged 17 months in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The nose is somewhat subdued but very pleasing, offering aromas of darker red fruits, balsam, vanilla and sous-bois. Very intense and saturating on the palate with an explosion of fresh cherry and raspberry fruits that are flat out delicious. A little more structured, sappy and masculine with a touch more oak overlay than the Rice- Spivak bottling. The finish is remarkable for its persistence, generosity and juicy acidity. This wine was even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, displaying the fat, silken richness that only Pinot Noir can achieve. Score: 96. 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.