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From Recent Sips of Pinot Noir

2013 Alta Maria Carbonic Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $24. A Cru Beaujolais style Pinot Noir made with 100% carbonic maceration of whole cluster grapes without crushing or pumping over the free draining juice and bottled 4 months after harvest. · Light garnet color in the glass. A little funky upon opening, cleaning up over time in the glass to reveal aromas of red berries, red cherry, spice, candied ginger and rose petal. Light and bright flavors of strawberry, cranberry and red cherry with no detectable tannins. Drinks like a substantial rosé and like a rosé, should have some chill on it. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Picayune Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 450 cases, $29. This wine is produced by Jennifer Roberts (married to Nathan Roberts from Arnot Roberts Winery) and Claire Weinkauf (married to Aron Weinkauf, the winemaker at Spottswoode Winery). The goal is to deliver exciting wines at a reasonable price point. Aged 8 months in neutral French oak. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of black cherry, blueberry and forest floor lead to a mid to fullbodied core of earthy black cherry, boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors with a riff of herbs in the background. Robust, but bright due to an energetic cut of underlying acidity. The finish is fruity and tangy, urging another sip. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Castle Rock Mendocino County Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $10-$12. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Dark fruited on the nose with significant smoky oak overlay. Fruity and pleasant, with flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and plum. Soft in the mouth with supple tannins. An unpretentious, every day style of Pinot Noir. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Olema Sonoma County Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., $20. From Amici Cellars. Olema means “coyote” in Miwok and honors the Miwok Americans who called Sonoma County home. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, spice and toast lead to middleweight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, cola and spice. Good richness on the mid palate with some finishing intensity. Modest tannins and easy drinkability. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cherry Tart California Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $20, screwcap. Vinified by Jason Woodbridge (Hundred Acre, Layer Cake and Cherry Pie). 49% Sonoma County, 43% Monterey County and 8% Santa Barbara County. Aged in 3-year-old French oak with a small portion of new oak (barrels recycled from Hundred Acre and Cherry Pie program). First vintage of this wine. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is smoky with underlying aromas of black cherry, burnt toast and black tea. The black cherry, black raspberry and black currant flavors deliver plenty of Pinot goodness. A mantle of smoky oak shadows the fruit. The tannins are well balanced and the wine finishes with some appealing black cherry fruit. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Evesham Wood La Grive Bleue Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $25. This wine pays homage to the Western Bluebird, preservation of whose habitat was a prime motivation for the winery’s decision to farm the estate Le Puits Sec Vineyard organically. Non-irrigated vines. Unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of fresh cherry pie and rose petals. Delicious core of red cherry, red raspberry fruit flavors accented with notes of spice and floral goodness. Soft, silky and suave on the palate with supple tannins and appealing harmony. Amazing phenolic ripeness and flavor at this low ABV. Very special. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Anaba Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.56, 1,576 cases, $34. A blend of select lots from Roberts Road, Dutton Ranch, Las Brisas and Tina Marie vineyards. Clones 115, Pommard, 667 and 777. Harvest Brix 22.9º-24.2º. 12% whole cluster, 4 to 6-day cold soak, native fermentation, basket pressed when dry. Aged 11 months sur lees in 40% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Pleasant aromas of cherry, pomegranate and toasty oak which gain in appeal over time in the glass. Full-bodied, rich flavors of cherry, blueberry, and raspberry underpinned with spicy oak. The balance of sinewy tannins and acidity is spot on and there is some finishing length. A solid, dependable offering year in and year out. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Fulcrum On Point Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.56, 253 cases, $36. A blend of four clones (115, 667, 777 and Pommard) from Gap’s Crown (35%) and Sangiacomo (65%) vineyards. Aged 16 months in 30% new French oak. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Ripe fruited, with aromas and flavors of blackberry jam, black currant, plum reduction sauce and dried cherry. Notes of anise and spice add interest. A fruit-dominated wine that is discreetly concentrated with soft tannins and easy drink ability. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Melville Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $36 (can be found discounted at retail). Released March 2014. 16 Pinot Noir clones. 40% whole cluster. 30 days skin and stem contact (7- day cold soak, 2+ weeks of fermentation and 1+ week of extended maceration). Aged sur lie in neutral French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black raspberry, black peppercorn, spicy oak and old cask. Modest in weight with a good attack of darker berry and cherry fruits with accents of black tea, anise and savory herbs. A kiss of oak is complimentary. Nicely balanced with appealing elegance and up front appeal. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Tin Barn Vineyards Ricci Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $36. Sourced from a family owned vineyard located in a cool and foggy setting facing San Pablo Bay. The winemaker is Michael Lancaster. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromatically alive with scents of red cherry, strawberry and red rose petal. A charming, polished and elegant wine with mid weight flavors of spiced cherry and plum. Easy to drink, with good tension, balanced tannins and a fruity finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Gundlach Bundschu Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.87, TA 0.55, 3,958 cases, $37. Estate grown, produced and bottled on the Rhinefarm Estate Vineyard located just 8 miles north of San Pablo Bay. 8 distinct blocks of Pinot Noir were harvested separately. 20% heritage selections, 80% Dijon 667 and 777. 100% destemmed, optically sorted, 5 to 7-day cold soak, indigenous and RC212 yeast strains, aged 10 months in 40% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very fresh aromas of red berries and red cherries with a hint of grassy meadow in the background. Palate-saturating flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and ripe strawberry on entry, finding every nook and cranny in the mouth, and ending with some suavity and length. The wine has a well-proportioned backbone of tannins and acidity creating the balance to age, but it is ready to enjoy now. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Anaba Las Brisas Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.525, 127 cases, $38. This vineyard is part of the Mahoney Estate and the name translates to “breezes.” The winds drive morning fog from the vineyards and cool the vines in the late afternoon. Swan and 667. Harvest Brix 23.2º-24.0º. 15% whole cluster, 5-day cold soak, native fermentation, basket pressed when dry. Aged 11 months sur lees in 33% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Pleasant aromas of cherry, strawberry and a subtle note of green herbs. Light to mid weight flavors of red cherry and cranberry fruit with a hint of cocoa and oak are marked by a brisk tug of acidity and slightly grippy tannins. A bit of heat shows up on the red fruit fueled finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $38. This wine was previously reviewed in February 2014, and I noted then that the wine would benefit from further aging. This tasting confirms my prediction and the wine is showing considerably better. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of dark cherry liquor, strawberry and spice. Mid to full-bodied and very tasty on the attack with waves of black cherry and black raspberry fruit that engage the consumer with sappy hedonism. The tannins are well matched to the generous fruit load, and there is enough acidity to add tension. The fruit really hangs on to the generous finish. This is a bigger, riper and more concentrated bottling than usual but most will embrace the Caliesque style for its glorious fruit. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Sanglier Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.61, 542 cases, $38. Aged in French oak. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Quintessential Russian River Valley character with aromas and flavors of Bing cherry, plum, cola and baking spice. Modest in weight, but plush on the palate, with welcome oak accents, smooth tannins, and a cherry-charged finish. This up front wine has typical lush Russian River Valley fruit, yet is fresh and vibrant. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Vineyards ÆOLIAN Estate Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.60, 2,390 cases, $42. This bottling is from the second generation of vines on the estate, planted in the 1990s. Harvest Brix 23.9º. Aged 11 months in 40% new French oak. Unfined. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, spice and balsam lead to a mid weight core of sappy blueberry, pomegranate and black raspberry fruits framed by modest dry tannins. A vein of racy acidity adds energetic tension, and the raspberry-driven finish is remarkably persistent and refreshing. Very accessible now, but time in the cellar will bring the aromatics to life. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Sanglier Old Camp Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.56, 49 cases, $45. The vineyard is just above the Russian River on the eastern ridge and enjoys slightly more brilliant sunshine than the valley below, but still has exposure to the Pacific fog that creeps into the Valley each summer night. Pommard and 667 clones. Aged in French oak. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is alive with scents of Bing cherries, cola and cinnamon spice. An evocative wine with a plush attack of black cherry and black raspberry fruits that alert the palate. Nicely spiced and showing a hint of oak, this wine delivers a generous charge of cherries jubilee on the expansive finish. Highly flavorful, even hedonistic, but not overweighted or sweet. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Anaba Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.56, 192 cases, $46. This vineyard is located in one of Russian River Valley’s coolest and foggiest regions. Goldridge soil. Clones 115 and Pommard. Harvest Brix 23.9º-24.2º. 12% whole cluster, 4 to 6-day cold soak, native fermentation, basket pressed when dry. Aged 11 months sur lees in 35% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is closed initially showing little more than aroma of coffee bean. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose had blossomed, offering pleasing aromas of cherry, spice and rose petal. On the palate, the wine has a welcoming softness and freshness with juicy flavors of Bing cherries, ripe strawberries, spice, cola and complimentary oak framed by fine-grain tannins. A charming wine with soaring aromatic persistence on the extended finish. Decant if you pull the cork now. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Anaba Roberts Road Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.56, 201 cases, $46. This vineyard is located at the base of Sonoma Mountain adjacent Copeland Creek and is farmed by the noted Sangiacomo family. Clone 115 and Pommard. Harvest Brix 23.5º. 12% whole cluster, 4 to 6-day cold soak, native fermentation, basket pressed when dry. Aged 11 months sur lees in 35% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. This is a spicy wine with appealing aromas and flavors of black raspberry and black cherry. Some oak is at play creating hints of cocoa, vanilla and anise. The fruit veers a bit to the ripe side but is very fresh, juicy and luscious. Still very flavorful the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with an impressively long finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Anaba Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.52, 213 cases, $46. Pisoni selection. Harvest Brix 24.1º. 12% whole cluster, 4 to 6-day cold soak, native fermentation, basket pressed when dry. Aged 11 months sur lees in 40% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with fresh aromas of cherry, cardamom spice and cocoa. A polished wine with impeccable balance, featuring a burst of spicy black cherry flavor on the mid palate. Forward drinking with juicy acidity, a silky texture and some notable finishing power. This wine brings out the best in Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Porter Creek Fiona Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $46. From a steep, hillside vineyard situated on Westside Road at the entrance to Porter Creek with a southern aspect. The hard clay top soil with fractured stone bedrock stresses the vines. Farming is Demeter Certified Biodynamic®. · Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Charming aromas of red fruits, spice, herbs and sousbois. Impeccably balanced with discreetly concentrated flavors of cherry, strawberry and pomegranate accented with a note of savory herbs. Elegant with vibrant acidity and impressive length on the dried cherry finish. This is not your typical Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and would be easily mistaken for a Coté de Beaune Burgundy. A connoisseur’s wine. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Alta Maria Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $52. First Bien Nacido bottling in 6 years. Sourced from 40-year-old, own-rooted vines which are some of the first planted in the Santa Maria Valley. 100% whole cluster fermented. Aged 17 months in French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of cherry and red berry with a hint of oak. Light to medium weight flavors of red and dark red fruits with an herbal, earthy underpinning. The tannins are well integrated, and the wine finishes with plenty of dried cherry goodness and a cut of good acidity. Oak plays a supportive role. A little reserved at this stage, needing at least another year in the cellar. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ledson Valerie’s Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.51, 110 cases, $52. Aged 12 months in 35% new French oak. Released June 13, 2014. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, wet loam and oak spice are echoed in the flavors. The robust fruit has a slight confected character. A firm tannic structure keeps the fruit in line. The wine exhibits the savoriness and earthiness common to Carneros Pinot Noir and I like it for its reflection of Carneros terroir. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Fulcrum Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.62, 117 cases, $55. Sourced from Donnelly Creek Vineyard, a vineyard planted in 1991 that is farmed by owner Mary Elke. Aged 16 months in 33% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of fresh berry jam, black cherry and sous bois. The mix of dark red and purple fruits on the palate has good mid palate presence, the oak is well integrated, and there is some persistence on the dry, slightly tannic finish. The wine seemed to lose a little appeal 24 hours later, so I would drink it in the near term. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Fulcrum Brousseau Vineyard Chalone Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.61, 148 cases, $55. This unique site has limestone soils. Third vintage from this vineyard. Aged 16 months in 33% new French oak. · Distinctly darker in color with a deep purple tone. The nose is rich with aromas of blackberry jam, ollaliberry, spice and campfire. Although rich with serious extract, the wine is beautifully balanced and caressing with husky, but not overbearing tannins. The delicious flavors of dark berries, currants, and plum are juicy and persist on the expansive finish that echoes with waves of earthbound dark fruits. This is a terroir-driven wine and clearly the best I have ever had from this vineyard. Brousseau Pinot Noir is typically black fruited with imposing tannins, but this wine is tamed and refined. Hat’s off to David! Even better the following day with a smoother presence. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Joseph Swan Vineyards Trenton Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $55. 12 Pinot Noir clones in this 13- acre vineyard (8 acres of Pinot Noir), including a DRC suitcase selection and several Dijon clones (both young and old vine fruit is included). This is the winery’s flagship offering, produced since 1973. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is pleasant but quite shy, with aromas of black cherry, dried herbs and oak. More expressive on the palate, with mid weight flavors of nicely ripened dark berries and cherries, plum, spice and a hint of vanilla. There is a rustic, savory spice character to this wine that is quite distinctive from other Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs. A complete wine with suede-like tannins (recent vintages have shown more tame tannins than older vintages) that is still young and should be cellared. Trenton Estate Pinot Noirs typically age well into their second decade. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Fulcrum Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.57, 172 cases, $59. Planted in 2002, this is one of the Sonoma Coast’s preeminent vineyards. It is located on the western hillside of Sonoma Mountain in the Petaluma Gap. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of dark red berries and cherries, blueberries and baking spices. Engaging and harmonious, with a charge of chocolate-covered cherries flooding the mouth with pleasure. The vivid fruit is perfectly ripened and accented with an array of spices. Beautifully crafted, this wine is silky in the mouth, and ends with a glorious, black cherry-laden, peacock tail finish. Still highly aromatic and flavorful the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ledson Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 230 cases, $60. Aged 20 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of cherry, pennyroyal, rose petal and sandalwood. The mid weight core of juicy strawberry, cranberry and cherry fruits is framed by supple tannins creating an appealing elegance. Oak shows up with complimentary notes of mocha and caramel. There is plenty of Pinot Noir character in this delicately styled but flavorful wine. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Gary Farrell Rochioli-Allen Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.69, 317 cases, $70. Released September 2014. Sourced from Rochioli Vineyard and Allen Vineyard which lie opposite on Westside Road. Both vineyards are farmed by the Rochioli family. Clones are Pommard from the Allen Old (planted in 1974) and New (planted in 1996) North Hill blocks, with the balance consisting of Pommard from Rochioli River Block. 10% whole cluster. 5 to 7-day cold soak, 10 to 15-day extended maceration, aged on the primary lees 14 months in 40% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Vibrant aromas of raspberry, black cherry, rose petal and baking spice are attention-grabbing. A vigorous mid palate attack of black raspberry and ollaliberry flavors is tenacious and palate soaking. There is a compliment of spice, earth, oak and savory herb notes in the background. Very smoothly textured with well-managed tannins, bright acidity, and a remarkable intensely fruited finish. Still fine the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, with the grand cru finish still in evidence. This dreamy Pinot will age gracefully. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Soliste L’Ambroisie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 60 cases, $100. Tasted from a bottle that was opened 2 days prior at a luncheon. Clone “828.” 12% whole cluster. · There is plenty of drama and personality to this wine. The nose is replete with engaging aromas of wild cherry, exotic spices, forest floor and fresh rose petals. Flavors of black cherry and spice dance on the palate, framed by elegant, suave tannins (surprisingly reserved considering the high percentage of whole cluster). A charming, silken wine with impressive fruit intensity and length on the spice-filled finish. Impeccable balance and freshness after opened for 2 days predicts longevity. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Z’ivo Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 796 cases, $36. 25% 115, 25% 777, 25% 114, 12.5% 667 and 12.5% Pommard. 5-day cold soak, aged in 25% new French oak. · Lighter reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of mixed berries, black cherry, underbrush and woody resin. Middleweight flavors of black cherry, cola, tea leaf, and tobacco. Soft in the mouth with polished tannins and reasonable intensity on the finish. An oak streak stands out. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Beerification of Pinot Noir

NV Underwood Oregon Grown Pinot Gris

13.0% alc., 375 ml can, $6. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Attractive aromas of pineapple, peach, papaya and a hint of juniper. The flavor profile is typical for Pinot Gris with tastes of white peach, pear, lemon and apple with a hint of nuttiness. The wine has good balance and acidity, held up well in the glass over time, and finished with a refreshing acidic tang. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

NV Underwood Oregon Grown Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 375 ml can, $6. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Highly aromatic upon opening with scents of cherry, raspberry and spice, but fading some over time in the glass with oak showing up. Soft in the mouth and easy to drink with delicate flavors of cherry, raspberry, cola and toast. A bit thin on the mid palate and short on the finish. An everyday, unpretentious style that achieves the producer’s goal. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Underwood Oregon Grown Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 750 ml bottle, screwcap, $12. · Moderately light reddish purple color and a tad darker than the wine from a can. Not as aromatic initially as the canned Pinot Noir, but picks up interest and intensity over time in the glass to surpass the canned version with scents of Bing cherry, mocha and baking spice. Light to mid weight cherry-driven flavor with a hint of oak in the background. Elegant, with supple tannins and easy quaff ability. A bit shallow from attack to finish, but slightly more flavor and verve than the canned version. A simple wine that would enhance grilled salmon. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recent Sips of Chardonnay

2013 Vinium Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.7% alc., $35. Vinium™ is an innovative, eco-senstiive, alternative packaging of wine that keeps wine fresh for up to 6 weeks after opening. Founded by industry veterans Richard Cardoza, Richard Catania and winemaker George Bursick, the wines are available through retail partner Whole Foods Market or direct to your door. The wines are available in a 3.0 L cardboard box holding roughly the equivalent of 4 regular 750 ml bottles or 20 glasses of wine, and priced at the cost of two bottles. The packaging replaces bottles, labels, capsules and corks reducing the carbon footprint and landfill waste by up to 8.5%. The package is BPA free and 100% recyclable. · Pale yellow and clear in the glass. The nose is fruit shy with only a hint of lemon and is dominated by oak-driven notes of roasted nuts and dark caramel. Soft, lush and slightly creamy on the palate, yet crisp on the finish with delicate flavors of citrus, apple, banana, roasted marshmallow and toasted oak. The internal bag does preserve the wine which tasted the same at 1 and 2 weeks after opening. This wine is said to be one of the better box wines, but I cannot make that claim since I do not taste box wines usually. What I can say is that regardless of how eco friendly and convenient the packaging is, the wine inside needs to deliver its producer’s claim of “ultrapremium” quality and the fact is, it just isn’t very good. Score: 85. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Anaba Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.9% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.60, 790 cases, $28. Sourced from estate McK, Denmark, and Dutton Ranch vineyards. Clones are Wente and Dijon 95. Harvest Brix 22.8-23.9º. Whole cluster pressed, 60% barrel fermented, 40% stainless steel fermented, aged 11 months sur lees in 45% new French oak. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, pastry cream, croissant and nutty oak. A solid wine with a flavorful core of citrus, peach, pear and honey. Silky on the palate with an uplifting cut of acidity on the finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Anaba Denmark Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.9% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.59, 216 cases, $34. This vineyard is in the southeastern foothills of the Sonoma Coast AVA. The soils are rich with minerals. Wente clone. Harvest Brix 23.5º. Whole cluster pressed, cold settled for 2 days, 60% fermented in stainless vats, 40% in neutral French oak barrels. 40% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. Aged sur lees for 11 months in 12% new French oak. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. This was a striking way in every way. Aromas of lemon curd, butter brickle, poached pear and apple draw you into the glass. Delicious flavors of citrus, Granny Smith apple, peach and pear with a slight buttery tone. Very harmonious and bright, with perfectly engaged acidity. There is some stony minerality in this wine for want of a better description. The finish is silky and pleasing with a lasting impression of lemon creme. This wine reminds me of a very fine Meursault. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Anaba Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.9% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.66, 248 cases, $36. Sourced from Dutton Ranch Mills Station and Dutton House Block vineyards in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA. Harvest Brix 23.5º. Whole cluster pressed, 100% barrel fermented. Aged 11 months sur lees in 48% new French oak. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Very stylish throughout with aromas of lemon, golden apple, white flowers and toast and vivid, full-bodied flavors of lemon creme, apple, pear and vanilla. The slightly creamy mouthfeel is appealing, as is the complimentary touch of oak which adds depth and interest. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Gary Farrell Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.0$ alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.58, 482 cases, $45. Released September 2014. Harvest Brix 22.5º. Whole cluster pressed, inoculated with Montrachet yeast, transferred to 40% new French oak barrels for fermentation and 8 months of barrel aging. Barrels included standard size and 500-L puncheons. The wines were racked off the primary lees once just before bottling. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Enticing aromas arrive over time in the glass, revealing notes of lemon creme, yellow apple, nuts and vanilla malt. Very flavorful with noticeable brightness, offering flavors of yellow stone fruits, lemon, grapefruit, and struck match flint. The oak is nicely integrated, the texture is slightly creamy, and the bright acidity brings the wine to life. An appealing food wine. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Gary Farrell Rochioli Vineyard-Old River Block Single Oak Puncheon Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.4% alc., pH 3.26, TA 0.77, 44 cases, $60. Released September 2014. This limited production wine comes from Rochioli River Block, clone 5, planted in 1989. Harvest Brix 22.5º. Vinified in a new 500-L French oak puncheon. A puncheon adds subtle structure and aromatics, and polishes the finished wine without dominating its expression of terroir. Because this wine had such an exotic aromatic profile of the finished wine, it was decided to bottle it by itself under the winery’s special Inspiration Series, designated by a black label. The wine was racked off primary lees once before bottling. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Slightly reduced upon opening. The nose is slow to open, taking upwards of 45 minutes to satisfy with aromas of lemon, apple, Nutella, and toasty oak. Tight initially, the wine gradually reveals its charms which are substantial. There is a citrus-driven attack and finish with a grapefruit peel, steely character to the brisk, electric finish. Slightly creamy in texture with nuances of white peach, peach pit, vanilla and spice showing up. A contemplative wine that should benefit from further cellaring. The “exotic” aromas that were experienced in barrel have not yet reappeared in the wine. This is a distinctive offering that veers from many popular Russian River Valley Chardonnays that are harvested later and display a typical lush tropical fruit core and noticeable buttery oak imprint. Score: 91-93. 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.