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From Knudsen Vineyards 2016 Pinot Noir: Beguiling Wines Reflect Dundee Hills Terroir

2016 Knudsen Vineyards Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.54, 500 cases, $55, screw cap. Fruit was sourced from three vineyard blocks featuring clones 777, 667 and Pommard. Harvest Brix 23.6º. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Quintessential Dundee Hills Pinot Noir featuring waves of red cherry and red raspberry fruit aromas and flavors, complimented by tones of sandalwood, baking spices and fertile earth. I swear I could taste an “iron minerality” in this wine. Impeccably balanced, with a deft touch of oak, empowering juiciness and a long cherry-fueled finish. Intoxicating in a good way. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Knudsen Vineyards Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Reserve Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.55, 200 cases, $70, screw cap. Fruit sourced from three blocks that revealed themselves to be special and distinct. 100% clone 777. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A totally different wine from the regular Willamette Valley bottling. Darker fruited in a mid weight style with aromas and flavors of black cherry, pomegranate and black raspberry framed by a touch more oak. Compared to the regular Dundee Hills bottling, there was more extraction, a little more tannic backbone, and a longer, deeply aromatic finish. A luscious texture really enhanced the pleasure. Even better when tasted several hours after opening. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Gary Farrell Wines Continues a Consistent Record of Excellence

2016 Gary Farrell Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.34, TA 0.62, 326 cases, $55. Released September 2018. The oldest vines that make up the original historic plantings are one of the main components of this Chardonnay blend. Harvest Brix 22.5º. Gentle whole cluster pressed and aged 9 months on the primary lees in a combination of 35% new and 65% one to three-year-old neutral French oak barrels and 500-liter oak puncheons. · Light golden yellow color with the slightest lime green tone in the glass. Outrageous aromatic explosion of cut apple, poached pear, lemon butter, citrus glee and righteous oak. Glorious flavors of yellow apple, lemon, pear and a hint of pineapple in a suave style that is like drinking mothers milk. This is a wine of impeccable balance that is highly refreshing, playing on Chardonnay’s best features. Still extraordinary when re-tasted two and three days after opening. Theresa’s magnum opus that flirts with perfection. Score: 98. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Gary Farrell Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.34, TA 0.71, 915 cases, $55. Released September 18, 2018. The Toboni Oakwild Ranch Vineyard is located in the Santa Rosa Plain, just south of the winery. Clones 115, 667, 777 and Pommard planted in 2001. A small percentage of whole cluster. 4 to 7-day cold soak, 7 to 10-day extended maceration, and aging for 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Revealing perfume of cherry syrup, pomegranate, cola and a hint of pear. Intensely fruity on the mid palate and driving, succulent finish, featuring black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors. Some tannins show up on the mildly drying finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard-Dijon Clones Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.67, 937 cases, $60. Released September 18, 2018. Clones 667 and 777. A small percentage of whole cluster. 4 to 7-day cold soak, 7-10 days post fermentation extended maceration, and aging for 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of grilled dark fruits, sweet pipe smoke and wet earth. A full-bodied, big gulp of purple and black fruits, yet the wine is in balance without heaviness or flabbiness. the appealing texture is satiny and the intense boysenberry-themed finish really satisfies. I find that the dark color and rich fruit is typical for this vineyard. Theresa has been able to tame the fruit explosion as well as conceal the oak in the background. This is a terroir-driven wine that gives n exact expression of site. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Gary Farrell Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.4% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.67, 555 cases, $65. Released September 2018. This release brings together three blocks planted in 1974, 1995 and 2000, where some of the vines come from cuttings taken from the original mother block planted in 1968. Harvest Brix 22.5º. Gentle whole cluster pressed and fermented and aged 9 months on the primary lees in 35% new and 65% one to three-year-old neutral French oak barrels and 500-liter French oak puncheons. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Complex and exotic nose offering scents of lemon oil, alfalfa, crème brûlée and fragrant plants. A very indulgent and flavorful style, offering tastes of lemon creme, pineapple, applesauce and tropical fruits. The richness on the palate is balanced by bright acidity, making for an extremely special drinking experience. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Gary Farrell Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.38, TA 0.69, 719 cases, $70. Released September 2018. The winery has sourced fruit from this vineyard for more than 20 years, and is one of the fortunate few to source some of the Pommard selection from the legendary Q Block, the most prestigious Pinot Noir block on this famous site. 20% whole cluster added to the fermentation tank. 4-day cold soak, regular punch downs and an occasional pump-over. 12-days of extended maceration, followed by 15 months of aging in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of Bing cherry, baking spices, mushrooms on the grill and fertile earth. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry and dark red berry with a touch of spice and nutty oak. Very charming, with an extremely long, sweet and juicy finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Gary Farrell Fort Ross Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.72, 565 cases, $75. Release October 2018. Vineyard is located on a cool coastal ridge at 1200-1700 feet elevation and is one of the closest vineyards to the California coastline. Dijon clone 777 and Calera selection. 777 grapes de-stemmed, while the Calera grapes were delivered to tank with 50% whole cluster. 5-day cold soak, 13-day post fermentation extended maceration, and aging for 15 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Reaching aromas of dark red · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Reaching aromas of dark red cherry and berry, forest floor and tobacco. Strikingly flavorful on entry, featuring middleweight black cherry, black raspberry and spice flavors with a subtle savory earthy note. This wine flows across the palate like greased lightning, ending on a long cherry high note. Spirited, but ingratiating acidity adds freshness and vitality. Ready for prime time now. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recently Tasted Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

NV Noble Vines Collection 667 Monterey Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $7.99 (Trader Joe’s). Produced and bottled by Noble Wines, Napa and Manteca. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, spice and a heavy dose of vanilla. The mid weight core of black cherry fruit is framed by oak-driven toast and tobacco flavors. Very simple, with a silky texture, and a hint of astringency and alcoholic warmth on the finish. Score: 85. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Averaen Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.60, $19.95. Produced and bottled by Averaen Wines, Dundee, Oregon. Volcanic and marine sedimentary soils. Aged 10 months in oak. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, mulch and turned earth build in intensity over time in the glass. Light to mid weight in style, featuring flavors of black cherry and blackberry with some oak in the background. Simple, with a somewhat shallow followthrough that exhibits some tannin. The wine finishes with a tart cherry theme. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 BÖEN Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $27. Produced and bottled by BÖEN Wines, Napa, CA. Winemaker is Joseph Wagner. · Dark garnet color in the glass. The aromatics are not particularly appealing, offering scents of dark fruits, fertile earth, weathered oak and oak vanillin. A full-bodied style that is plush, soft and velvety on the palate, displaying purple and black fruit flavors with a heavy dose of dark chocolate and vanilla. A fruity wine in the Meiomi style, lacking vibrancy, and finishing slightly hot. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Etude Grace Benoist Ranch Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $36. Produced and bottled by Etude Wines, Napa, CA. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of ripe dark cherry, cola and spice pick up interest over time in the glass. Silky and suave on the palate in a mid weight style with engaging flavors of black cherry, plum and spice and demure toasty oak in the background. Still fine when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Ryan Cochrane Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

12.5% alc., 192 cases, $36. 100% Dijon 96. Barrel fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation, aged 10 months with lees stirring in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of pineapple, lemon, brown butter and warm brioche lead off. Silky in the mouth with very bright acidity featuring edgy flavors of lemon, pineapple and pear underlain with a touch of toasty oak. This wine is for fans of crisp, acid-driven Chardonnay. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Ryan Cochrane Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 122 cases, $46. 60% 115, 20% 113, 20% 667. 15% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of red and black cherry, dark chocolate and nutty oak. Vivid black raspberry and black cherry fruit flavors fill the mouth with goodness. A slightly savory earthy tone adds to the appeal. Tame tannins, with a satiny mouthfeel and a deft touch of oak in the background. Tasted twice with consistent results. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $35. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Shy aromas of red cherry, dusty rose petal and terra cotta brick. Light weighted, with flavors of red cherry and red berry with noticeable oak in the background. Good quenching acidity on the finish, yet the tannins stand out. The fruit and oak are out of balance in this wine. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Picpoul: An Offbeat Wine Grape Variety That Grabbed My Attention

2017 Gramercy Cellars Walla Walla Washington Picpoul

12.2% alc., $15.98. Fermented and aged in stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation. · Practically clear in the glass. Engaging aromas of pear, white peach, spice and tropical flora. Light in weight, but highly flavorful, offering tastes of pear and white peach and a lemon-lime driven finish. Adequate, but not ostentatious acidity, slightest drying tannins, and a very dry finish. This wine combines the attributes of Pinot Blanc and Malvasia Bianca with a tropical Viognier attitude. A superb option for “ABC” wine drinkers. Score: 90. 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.