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From Paul Lato: 2015 Pinot Noirs Dazzle

2015 Paul Lato “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $70. This vineyard is owned and managed by the Burk and Espinosa families. Low yielding vines grown on a sandy plateau with excellent drainage. The own-rooted vines are over 22 years old and are a Martini selection. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose offers an olfactory onslaught of cherry, exotic spice, and burnt tobacco aromas. Light to mid weight in style, with fruit flavors of cherry and cranberry. Elegantly composed, with tight acidity and modest tannins, offering a slightly tart finish. A riff of baking spice and tobacco notes add interest. The fruit is somewhat under ripe, but the wine remains highly satisfying. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Paul Lato “Atticus” John Sebastiano Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $75. A newer vineyard on the eastern side of the Sta. Rita Hills. Clone 115 and Swan selection. Ownership partners are Sebastiano Sterpa and John Wagner, and vineyard manager is Ruben Solzono. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The aromas of exotic spices, beautifully ripened dark red and purple fruits and a pine sap note are knee-weakening seductive. An ephemeral wine with impressive vibrancy, amazing harmony and silkiness. The boysenberry fruit core is enlivened by bright acidity that also energizes the finish that lasts and lasts and lasts. I found it really hard to avoid swallowing this one. The wine was still almost indescribable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Score: 98. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Paul Lato “Seabiscuit” Zotovich Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $75. This vineyard is located in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills off Hwy 246. A collaboration between Steve Zotovich, his family, and vineyard manager Ben Merz. Dijon clones 113 and 115. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Inviting aromas of black cherry, sous-bois, mushroom and spice. Vivid and vibrant in the mouth with a mid weight core of wellspiced blackberry goodness. Silky, fine-grain tannins satisfy, as does the elegant demeanor, lasting finish, and overall harmony. Even better the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Paul Lato “The Contender” Drum Canyon Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $75. This vineyard is an estate property of Dierberg Winery. Sourced from a parcel located in the western section on the steepest slope, graced by southern exposure. Planted to Swan and Calera selections. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is rather shy upon opening, delivering more sustained black fruit and spice aromas over time in the glass. Mid weight plus in style with an energetic core of gorgeous boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors accented with spice and earth. Lush in the mouth with impeccable balance, suave tannins, and a very long, fulfilling finish. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $80. The most westerly vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley appellation making it the coolest due to its proximity to the ocean. Low yielding vines of clones 115, 667 and 777. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Cozy fruit aromas of black cherry and raspberry are paired with aromas of fertile earth, spice, burnt tobacco and bark. A flood of black cherry, black raspberry and blackberry goodness greats the mid palate. Velveteen in texture with deft oak appointments. A juicy cut of acidity energizes the lengthy finish. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Paul Lato “Lancelot” Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $90. · Dark garnet color in the glass. The nose soars over time with enticing aromas of raspberry compote, rose petal, fertile earth and vanilla biscuit. Silky in the mouth, with plenty of sap yet lacking a husky character, offering flavors of earth-toned, mineral driven, blackberry, black raspberry fruit flavors along with a riff of spice. This wine kept grabbing appeal over time in the glass and was considerably more generous when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The tannins had been tamed, and the finish was of uncommon length. Decanting of this wine would be advisable if drunk now. A superb rendition of this vineyard’s terroir. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From 2014 COBB Pinot Noir: Whole Cluster Goodness Abounds

2014 Cobb Wines Emmaline Ann Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 310 cases, $75 ($160 per 1.5L magnum). This 3-acre vineyard gets the most fog of any of the vineyards Cobb works with leading to an appealing vibrancy. Located near the town of Occidental, this vineyard is planted to 2 Dijon clones in Goldridge soil. Aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Sensational aromas of burnished cherry, spice, pine sap and wilted rose lead to a middleweight core of delicious cherry fruit accented with spice and cola. Seamless, elegant and polished with a generous finish that is unusually persistent. This wine tugs at your heart strings. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Cobb Wines Rice-Spivak Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 310 cases, $75 ($160 per 1.5L magnum). Ross has worked with this vineyard since 2003 and has made a single-vineyard wine from its fruit since 2006. Ross directs all the farming and has first pick of the grapes. This is the most inland vineyard that Ross sources fruit from, yet it is only six miles from the Pacific Ocean and greatly influenced by the marine climate. Located in the Sebastopol Hills, this 6-acre vineyard is planted to Swan selection and Dijon clones grown in Goldridge soils. Aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Highly aromatic, with soaring aromas of black cherry, wilted rose, burnt tobacco, smoked game and earth. Deeply flavored with spiced cherry and cranberry fruit flavors, this mid weight wine has inviting lift, gentle tannins, and some finishing purpose. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Cobb Wines Coastlands Vineyard 1906 Block Pommard Clone Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 200 cases, $80 ($175 per 1.5L magnum). This vineyard is located near the town of Occidental on a ridge. In 1998, Cobb’s parents planted Pommard and Mt. Eden clones on a block just shy of 4 acres within their Coastlands Vineyard. They called it the 1906 Block because the original rancher who worked the land carved the date 1906 into an old oak tree overlooking the block at the time of the great San Francisco earthquake. The vines are planted on rocky, uplifted marine-terraced soils and produce wines that are the most dark and concentrated of Coastlands Vineyard. In 2014, both a Pommard clone and Mt. Eden clone bottling were produced. Aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Intoxicating perfume of pie cherry, raspberry and timber. Intense and sappy on the palate, featuring cherry, raspberry and red grape flavors with a subtle green thread in the background. Nicely balanced with suave tannins and a sweet cherry finish. While the fruit seems slightly underripe, the wine is delightful. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted California Wines

2015 Cosa Obra Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $18. · Moderate pinkish orange color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of orange rind, peach and white flowers. Noticeable attack and intensity of strawberry, red cranberry and orange peel flavors. Bright acidity, with a mouthwatering finish replete with Mandarin orange and white pepper flavors. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Cosa Obra Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $32. Release October 1, 2017. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose opens slowly over time revealing aromas of dark cherry, spice, fertile earth and mesquite. Mid weight plus flavors of black cherry, blueberry-pomegranate and cherry cola are embellished with toasty oak in the background. Wellrounded, integrated tannins and texturally appealing with a soft and sleek mouthfeel. The wine leans a little too much on oak for my personal taste, but those who favor oak-embossed Pinot Noir will love this wine. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Spell Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.63, $38. Sourced from the Dutton- Sullivan Vineyard located near Graton and planted in the 1980s to a heritage selection of Wente Chardonnay on its own rootstock. Aged in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Very shy aromas of buttery citrus. More expressive on the palate, with flavors of yellow apple, nectarine and lemon. Nicely balanced, with good acid integration and brightness, but lacks enthusiastic flavor. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Weatherborne Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.65, 350 cases, $40, screwcap. 88% John Sebastiano Vineyard and 12% La Encantada Vineyard. Harvest Brix 22.0º-23.5º. 25% whole cluster. Aged in 10% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of cherry, purple grape, pomegranate and brown spice. A forward drinking, mid weight styled wine, with a healthy core of cherry fruit lifted by juicy acidity. Nicely balanced with inviting poise, finishing with righteous black cherry, exotic spice and cola aromatics. This wine picks up intensity and appeal over time in the glass and the aromatics eventually soar. This wine is so easy going you can drink it all night long. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Spell NIchole’s Blend Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.58, 445 cases, $41. Sourced from Morris Vineyard and declassified barrels of Terra de Promissio, Umino and Alder Springs vineyards. Aged in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry, black current, prune and spice lead off. A charge of sappy black fruits saturates the palate and finish. The dry fruit tannins are well-proportioned. Easy to drink and like able, but lacks nuance and uplifting acidity. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Spell Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.59, 102 cases, $50. Grapes sourced from the 3Tiers Block located at an elevation of 1,700 feet on a southeastern facing slope. Dijon clone 459 and DRC and Calera selections. Low-vigor, sandstone-based soils. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Wellappointed aromas of dark red berries and underbrush lead off. The fruit is vivid and juicy in the mouth, displaying a full-bodied load of fresh, wellripened black cherry and blackberry fruits. Although quite sappy, the firm tannic backbone keeps the fruit in line. There is an appealing Old World rusticity to this wine. The prominent fruit tannins combined with balanced acidity predict age ability. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Spell Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.58, 150 cases, $50. Clones are Rochioli Pommard selection, DRC selection and Wädenswil 2A. Aged in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose entices with vibrant aromas of strawberry, black cherry and sweet grape. The glorious dark red cherry and berry fruits demand attention as do the muscular tannins. A supportive oak thread plies the background. The wine finishes with some astringency. Further time in bottle should mellow the tannins. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Weatherborne La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., pH 3.53, 50 cases, $50, screwcap. Harvest Brix 22.0º. 50% whole cluster. Aged 10 months in neutral French oak barrels. · There is enough whole cluster character in this wine to add another dimension. Aromas of Bing cherry, underbrush, tobacco leaf and Asian 5-spice lead to a mid weight plus charge of black cherry fruit alerting the mid palate and donating goodness to the finish. A little more extract, tannin and length of finish compared to the Sta. Rita Hills bottling. Toned and trim, this wine carries more earthy and savory notes in a good way, while the mouth coating fruit leaves an impression. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Donum Single Vineyard Estate Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.88, TA 0.55, 459 cases, $72. From Angels Camp Vineyard located in the deep end of the Anderson Valley. A barrel selection from all blocks. Pommard, Swan, Martini, David Bruce, 2A, and Dijon 115, 667, 777 and “828.” Aged in French oak barrels, 59% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of blackberry, blueberry, spice and bittersweet chocolate. Full-bodied, with a charge of blackberry and prune flavors underlain with oakdriven notes of dark chocolate and coffee. There are noticeable fruit tannins and there is a slight bit of alcoholic warmth on the finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Donum Single Vineyard Estate Carneros Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.80, TA 0.60, 575 cases, $72. From the 50-acre Donum Ranch planted to a diverse collection of clones and heritage selections. A selection from the best blocks in the vineyard and the most appealing barrels within each lot. Aged in French oak barrels, 55% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Extroverted nose, offering scents of blackest cherry, black raspberry, cardamom, clove and toasty oak. Mid weight plus in style, featuring earth-toned black cherry, blueberry-pomegranate and black tea flavors. Silky in the mouth with modest tannins and a prolonged fruit-driven finish. Oak plays a notable role in the background. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Donum Single Vineyard Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.66, 627 cases, $72. Sourced from the Winside Vineyard planted in 1997 by Anne Moller-Racke and Joe Nugent to 10 acres of Dijon 115 and 667. Some fruit from the Pommard block is also included. Aged in French oak barrels, 55% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Demure aromas of black fruits, dark rose petal and oak spice and toast. The fruit pushes the ripeness envelope with flavors of blackberry jam, plum reduction sauce and cassis. The oak is better integrated on the palate. Full-bodied and velvety in the mouth, with balanced tannins and a sweet-fruited, generous finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted Willamette Valley Wines

2016 Amalie Robert “Pinot in the Pink” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé

13.4% alc., 95 cases, $20. Lightly juiced wings of Pinot Meunier and Pommard clone Pinot Noir including the stems. Fermented to dryness in stainless steel. · Moderately dark pink color in the glass. Lovely aromas of red cherry, strawberry, watermelon, hay and dried herbs. Cheerful and welcoming, with flavors of cherry, raspberry, strawberry, blood orange and tangerine, uplifted by tight acidity. Crisp and refreshing, with a zippy finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Rain Dance Estate Nicholas Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Rosé of Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.41, TA 0.66, RS 0.05%, 81 cases, $22, screwcap. Harvest Brix 22.4º. Dijon clone 114. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermented, vinified in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate salmon color in the glass. Exuberant aromas of strawberry, watermelon, orange water, pale cherry and briar. Nicely composed in a bright, crisp style, with flavors of blood orange and strawberry, finishing with thirst quenching resolve. A superb rosé. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Broadley Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $18. 100% de-stemmed fruit. Wild yeast fermentation over 10-14 days in open-top stainless steel and plastic bins. Aged 9-10 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. A ripe fruited wine displaying aromas of blackberry, boysenberry and fertile earth, and flavors of purple and black berries with a woody, marzipan note. Mid weight in style, with juicy acidity and balanced tannins, a satin mouthfeel, and finishing with modest length and a red cherry note. A solid wine that is a bit shallow mid palate and finish, but embraceable at this price point. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Brigadoon Lylee Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.55, 500 cases, $23..This is the first bottling from the estate vineyard each year and is meant to be a fruit forward and approachable representation of the vineyard. Average vine age is 12 acres and average yield is 2.7 tons per acre. New oak is kept at a minimum (10%). Clones are Wädenswil, Pommard and Dijon 115 and 777. Aged 0.5 months in French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is pleasant but nondescript even with vigorous swirling. Mid weight plus in style, with a core of boysenberry and blackberry fruits that are tightly wound. There is a balancing firm tannic backbone and a fruit filled finish. This wine shows considerable potential but requires decanting or more time in bottle for most appreciation. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, this wine was more polished and giving than the Taproot bottling. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Broadley Estate Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $25. Composed of a variety of blocks containing newer and older vines. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasant scents of cherry, woodland spice, forest floor and a hint of vanilla. Generous extraction with a core of black cherry flavor underlain with a subtle marzipan taste. Good brightness and juiciness, with enviable harmony and some finishing length. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Dion Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $25. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Lovely perfume of red cherry, cranberry relish, sandalwood and rose petal. Forward and giving in a mid weight style with flavors of sweet red cherry and strawberry. Succulent on the mid palate, with supportive tannins and some finishing purpose. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Broadley Rocky Hill Vineyard

13.5% alc., $30. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose is rather primary even with time in the glass. The earthy black cherry core initially lacked charm and expression and was even somewhat gruff. More giving when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with pleasant aromas of cherry, fertile earth and spice, a charmingly soft mouthfeel, and enough cherry fruit to satisfy. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Trisaetum Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 4,000 cases, $36. Released June 2017. A blend of fruit from Trisaetum’s three estate vineyards. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, pomegranate and toast lead to a forward-drinking, juicy mid weight styled wine of welcome harmony. Flavors of black cherry and blackberry are enhanced with a touch of oak, and the wine finishes with a burst of black raspberry goodness. An delightful everyday table wine. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Brigadoon Taproot Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.54, 200 cases, $40. A winemaker’s barrel selection, usually ones from the vineyard’s oldest vines, a block of Dijon 115 and Wädenswil clone Pinot Noir planted in 1997. Clones are Wädenswil, Pommmard and Dijon 115. Average yield 2.7 tons per acre. Average vine age is 16 years. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 37% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. The wine is intended for cellar aging. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is rather shy and primary at this early stage. Aromas of black cherry, cardamom, clove and splintered oak. Full and lush on the palate in a mid weight plus style featuring flavors of blackest cherry and blackberry. Still tight, with balanced tannins, a fortuitous acid backbone, a deft touch of oak, and a modest finish. This sappy wine will appeal to bold fruit lovers. Decanting or more time in bottle is suggested. Still a bit foreboding when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Rain Dance Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.52, 125 cases, $40. Sourced from the estate Rain Dance Vineyard, established in 2009, and planted to 15 acres of Pinot Noir on Jory soil. Harvest Brix 25.5º. 60% Pommard, 20% Wädenswil, 20% Dijon 667. Triple hand sorted, 4-day cold soak, 10-day fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 40% new, 40% once filled and 20% neutral. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Highly aromatic, sporting hi-tone aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, wine cave, toast and white pepper. Mid weight in style, with a somewhat lush array of black raspberry, and blueberry-pomegranate fruit flavors overlain with complimentary toasty oak. Silky and sleek in texture, with admirable balance and a pleasing finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Trisaetum Coast Range Estate Yamhill Carlton Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 459 cases, $49. Released March 2017. A single vineyard bottling from Trisaetum’s 22-acre Coast Range Estate Vineyard. A mix of volcanic and sedimentary soils. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of cherry and underbrush lead to a mouth filling array of cherry and berry flavors alongside a rocky minerality. Nicely balanced, with fine-grain tannins, a soothing, luxurious mouthfeel, and a cherry driven finish. Enters a little better than it finishes. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Trisaetum Ribbon Ridge Estate Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 432 cases, $49. Released March 2017. A single vineyard bottling from Trisaetum’s 17-acre Ribbon Ridge Estate Vineyard. This site has rare high quartz sandstone soils. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Love the soaring aromas of black cherry, spice and sandalwood that build in intensity over time in the glass. Impressive attack of black cherry, black raspberry and sarsaparilla flavors framed by complimentary fine-grain tannins. Smooth and silky in the mouth with impeccable balance, finishing with purpose and generosity. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Trisaetum Wichmann Dundee Estate Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 302 cases, $49. Released March 2017. A single vineyard bottling from Trisaetum’s 8-acre Wichmann Dundee Estate Vineyard. Old vines planted in red volcanic soils. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of muddled black cherry, wilted rose and brown spice arrive over time in the glass. Elegant in character, and light to mid weight in extraction, featuring a core of fresh red cherry fruit and a sidecar of subtle herbs. The wine offers soft, comforting tannins and a bright cherry cola finish. More enjoyable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Broadley Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $50. Clones 777 and Wädenswil. Wild yeast fermentation in 3-ton open-top Taransaud wood fermenter for 14-21 days. Starting with pump overs in the early stage and switching to 3 punch downs a day. Aged in French oak barrels, 30% new and 70% neutral for 12 months. · Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Rather shy and primary but pleasant aromas of cherry, raspberry and rose petal. Further bottle aging should release the aromatics (the wine was more aromatic when tasted from a previously opened bottle the next day). Prominent tannins frame the middleweight core of black cherry and black raspberry fruits that impress the mid palate. Silky in the mouth, with a rather long, fruit-filled finish offering slight astringency. This wine definitely requires decanting or further cellaring. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lingua Franca Joshua, Junichi and Siri Ribbon Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $50. Named after three individuals who volunteered to work the first harvest. The crew cut the ends off the clusters for this whole berry cuvée. A portion of fruit fermented via carbonic maceration (grapes ferment inside their own skins in the absence of oxygen rather than being crushed first). This produces a notably fruity and juicy wine. It was then blended with traditionally fermented Pinot Noir that has more serious extraction and tannin. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Upon opening, the nose is rather primary, offering demure aromas of red cherry, spice and sous-bois. Tasted two days later from a previously opened bottle, the nose was more aromatic with fresh scents of red cherry and strawberry fruits and burnt tobacco. Like the nose, the palate was much more expressive two days later. Silky and elegant on the palate with a mid weight array of red fruits including cherry, cranberry, raspberry and dark strawberry accented by spice. Fresh and lithe, with modest tannins, complimentary oak, and an explosion of red cherry on the finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lingua Franca Ryan’s Plow Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $60. Named after Ryan Hannaford who is an Aussie transplant to the Willamette Valley and has a talent for biodynamic farming. The sources for this cuvée are tended by Ryan and come from two Jory soil vineyards near Lingua Franca (Seven Springs and Black Walnut vineyards). · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. My notes reflect my impressions of the wine when tasted two days after opening. Seductive aromas of cherry, strawberry and spice lead to an elegantly composed wine with vibrant flavors of cherry and strawberry. Suave tannins, noticeable mid palate intensity, and a remarkable finish filled with sweet cherry and strawberry aromatic goodness. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lingua Franca Tongue ‘n Cheek Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $60. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. My notes reflect my impressions of the wine from a previously opened bottle two days prior. Initially the nose and palate were quite primary. Penetrating aromas of dark red cherry and berry, dark red rose and anise. Mid weight plus in style, offering the vivid essence of fresh dark red cherries. Somewhat earthbound, with an attractive note of iron minerality. Expansive in the mouth, impeccably balanced, and sporting a remarkable finish replete with dark cherry fruit that is tenacious for what seems like a minute. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Nicolas-Jay Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.56, 2,400 cases, $65 ($150 magnum). Released April 2017. Fruit sourced from every AVA in the Willamette Valley, almost exclusively biodynamic, organic and LIVE certified vineyards.Harvest Brix 22.6º. Aged in French oak barrels, 33% new, 67% neutral. · A very interesting wine that does not make an impression upon opening but evolves beautifully over time. When I tasted this wine at 10 a.m. and then again at 5 p.m. from the same bottle, the wine had transformed dramatically. I drank a glass with dinner and can attest to its superb food compatibility. Moderate dark garnet color in the glass. Highly pleasing aromas of black cherry, blackberry, spice and sous-bois. Mid weight plus in style, with charming flavors of blueberry, dark cherry and earthy delight. Soft in the mouth, with a structure for aging, and a sleek, rewarding finish that is fruit-filled and refreshing. Still terrific when tasted the following day. If you want to drink now, decant and leave in the decanter for several hours prior to drinking. This will allow the wine to become noticeably more cordial. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Penner-Ash Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Oregon Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 430 cases, $65. Pommard, Wädenswil, and Dijon 777 and 114. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 31% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of cherry, spice and sous-bois. Soft, even creamy in the mouth, with a discreet concentration of dark berry and black cherry fruits. Seamless, with a deft touch of oak, and enticing blackberry fueled finish. Still shows impeccable balance when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Trisaetum Estates Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 358 cases, $69. Released June 2017. A combination of Trisaetum’s three estate vineyards. A selection of the most prized barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is grand, with gloriously fresh aromas of blackberry, black grape, spice and fertile earth. A flavor explosion greets the palate with layers of purple and black fruit accented with notes of spice, savory herbs and toasty oak. Well-structured with suede tannins and a remarkably long finish. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Big Table Farm Earth Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 107 cases, $105. Released April 11, 2017. A barrel selection by Brian and Clare in collaboration. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry reduction sauce, root vegetables, dark chocolate syrup, rose petal and a slight pungent note. Prodigiously concentrated flavors of black cherry syrup, black raspberry compote and blackberry fruit with a bit of floral perfume, brown spice and chocolate oak in the background. Structured, with firm, svelte fruit tannins and a generous, very long finish. The wine picks up appeal over time in the glass and will benefit from decanting or more time in the cellar. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 iOTA Not One iOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 658 cases, $28. A blend of barrels not used in the flagship or whole cluster bottlings. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 7% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, Asian 5-spice and smoky timber. Rich and fully flavored, with a satisfying core of cherry fruit and welcome t n’a balance. A smoky, barnyard character is noted upon pouring the wine, but this tends to largely resolve over time in the glass. This rustic barnyard note is typical of Pinot Noir from this vineyard. A very good value. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Walnut City Wineworks Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.69, 333 cases, $30. Harvest Brix 23.5º-25.2º. 50% La Cantera Vineyard (Chehalem Mountains AVA), 30% Carlton Hill Vineyard (Yamhill-Carlton AVA), and 20% Folie Hill Vineyard (Dundee Hills AVA). 100% de-stemmed. 3 to 5-day cold soak. Combination of native and inoculated yeast fermentation. Aged 12 months with light lees contact, then racked clean to barrels for another 5 months before bottling. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of cherry, strawberry, toast and green bean. Noticeable vibrancy on the mid weight palate, displaying flavors of black cherry, raspberry and cranberry with a green note in the background. Integrated firm tannins, finishing slightly tart with good length. When tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was more savory in character with notable vegetal notes and less appeal. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $32, screwcap. San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Gold Medal. Sourced from Van Duzer Estate, Kalita, Saffron Fields and Dukes Family vineyards. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose opens slowly in the glass to reveal delicate aromas of raspberry, dried red cherry, mocha and bark. Light to mid weight in style, with darker fruit flavors on the palate including black cherry, black raspberry and Damsel plum. Matching tannins, a light touch of oak, and a modest finish complete the picture. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Flâneur Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 250 cases, $40. 60% estate Flanerie Vineyard and 40% X-Novo Vineyard. Fermented with feral yeast, aged 18 months in French oak barrels (40% new) and bottled unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Heady aromas of black cherry, spice and floral bouquet captivate. Opens slowly in the glass, offering a core of sappy black cherry and black raspberry goodness accented with welcome spice and framed by muscular tannins. The finish is particularly impressive, leaving a trail of spiced dark fruits in its wake. Even better when tasted later in the day from a previously opened bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Walnut City Wineworks La Cantera Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.63, 110 cases, $40. Wädenswil clone planted in Laurelwood soil at a 30-year-old vineyard. A combination of de-stemmed (75%) and whole cluster fermentation (25%). 2-day cold soak, daily pumpovers. Uninoculated fermentation with twice daily foot treading on the whole cluster lots and punchdowns on the destemmed lots. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 15% new. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Shy aromas of red cherry, dark red cranberry, red rose and sandalwood. An easy drinking mid weight style, offering an array of red fruit flavors embellished with subtle oak highlights. Infused with bright acidity, the wine finishes modestly. When tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was unchanged. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 iOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 486 cases, $40. The winery’s flagship bottling. A selection of barrels including all four of the clones in the Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard: Pommard, Wädenswil, Dijon 777 and 667. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherry, blackberry, and pipe smoke. Plush in the mouth with a serious extract of fresh black cherry and black raspberry fruit flavors accented with spice and a subtle smoky signature. Plenty to discover in this wine with many nuances, commendable harmony and an inspiring finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 iOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Whole Cluster Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 94 cases, $44. Four barrels of 100% whole cluster Pinot Noir. 25% each of Pommard, Wädenswil, 777 and 667 clones. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Bottled unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Exotically perfumed with aromas of dark berries, spice, sweet smoke and oil can. More intensely flavored with a more profound attack than the flagship bottling, offering flavors of purple and black berries, spice, mushroom, smoke and earth. Velveteen in texture, with snappy acidity and a very long, sweet cherry finish. Much more rounded and inviting when tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Broadley Jessica Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $50. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Very ripe fruited aromas including Bing cherry are accompanied by notes of woodpile and smokehouse maple spice. Lush and endowed on the palate, with a rush of deep black cherry, boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors that explode in the mouth. Soft and succulent, with favorable balance, finishing with remarkable intensity of smoky dark fruits. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the amazing fruit explosion on the palate and the incredibly intense finish persisted. A hedonistic wine. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Dion Old Vines Limited Release Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $50. Vineyard block planted in 1976 on 10 acres. Self-rooted, non-irrigated Pommard clone. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Pleasurable scents of red and purple fruits and spice. Expansive, polished and refined in the mouth in a middleweight style. The very ripe cherry core of fruit is underlain with flavors of brown spice, nutmeg and raisin. Smooth in texture, with svelte tannins and envious balance, finishing with intensity and lasting goodness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Van Duzer Bieze Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.57, 127 cases, $60. Wine Club members exclusive. 62% Dijon 777 and 28% Dijon 667. Red volcanic soils. Aged in French oak barrels, 45% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark red cherry, earthy flora and peppery herbs lead to a light to mid weight styled palate of nicely spiced black cherry and raspberry fruit flavors. The tannins are noticeably silky and there is admirable vibrancy, creating a harmonious impression. The finish is particularly noteworthy, offering uplifting and persistent Montmorency cherry goodness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Van Duzer Dijon Blocks Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.52, 297 cases, $60. Four Dijon clones from the Van Duzer Estate Vineyard contribute to this blend: 777, 113, 115 and 114. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A well composed and balanced wine with aromas of black cherry, floral bouquet and nutty oak, and mid weight plus flavors of sappy, dark red and purple fruits including boysenberry, blueberry and pomegranate. Texturally pleasing with satin and polish, finishing with good purpose and juiciness. More integration and approachability when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Van Duzer Homestead Block Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $60. 100% Pommard clone from the Van Duzer Estate Vineyard. 30-year-old, own-rooted vines planted at the site of the original homestead. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of red berries, red cherry, mushroom and oak spice arrive slowly in the glass. More expressive on the pleasing palate, with juicy flavors of dark red raspberry and cherry accented with a bit of oak spice. Noticeable mid palate presence, inviting balance, bright acidity and a cherry fueled finish. Still fine when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Van Duzer Westside Blocks Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.53, 429 cases, $60. Cole Danehower Memorial Award Winner. Best Oregon Wine of Cascadia Wine Competition. Dijon 777, 113, Wädenswil, and Pommard clones. A limited selection of the best lots. · Delicate aromas of cherry, vanilla and toast lead off. Deep cherry flavor supported by integrated fine-grain tannins. Satiny smooth in texture, with noticeable length on the finish, leaving behind plenty of cherry goodness in its wake. Considerable more flavor expression when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Trisaetum Family Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 142 cases, $100. Release August 2017. A combination of Trisaetum’s three estate vineyards. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Heady scents of black pie cherries, grilled beef and brioche. Intense attack and mid palate presence of black cherry and black raspberry fruits with added tastes of dark chocolate and Asian-5-spice. The cashmere texture is quite seductive, the sap is mouth coating, and the finish is grand cru in spirit. An age worthy, connoisseur's wine. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Amalie Robert Dijon Clones Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

12.3% alc., 890 cases, $40. 100% estate grown Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir clones 60, 113, 114, 115, 667, 777 and “828.” · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of cherry, red berry, dusty rose, pipe smoke and a subtle green note. Mid weight in style and silky in texture, with flavors of black cherry, raspberry, exotic spice and tobacco. Nicely balanced with a complimentary whole cluster character. The fruit is on the under ripe side, but the wine delivers. Still fine when tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Amalie Robert Pommard Clone Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 45 cases, $65. A two barrel selection of the most compelling barrels of Pommard clone Pinot Noir in the cellar. A blend from a new and neutral barrel. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of BBQ spice, toasty oak, tobacco and mulch. Mid weight flavors of black cherry, marionberry, cola, smoke and char. Satiny in texture, with balanced t ‘n a and some length on the finish. Reminds of standing next to a barbecue grill and smelling meat spices, smoke and ash. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Amalie Robert Wädenswil Clone Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

12.2% alc., 45 cases, $65. A selection of two barrels of the most compelling barrels of Wädenswil clone Pinot Noir in the cellar. A blend from a new and a neutral barrel. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark red berry, black cherry, earthy flora, campfire and a slight pungency. Lighter in weight, with flavors of deep red cherry and cranberry accented with an oak spice and a wood char note. Soft tannins and lively acidity, with a red fruited, acid-driven finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Amalie Robert The Uncarved Block Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 1,000 cases, $30. An introduction to the winery’s style of whole cluster and indigenous yeast fermentation. Represents a combination of all the clones and rootstock combinations of Pinot Noir grown throughout the property. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The whole cluster inspired nose offers aromas of burnt tobacco, wilted rose and charred oak. Succulent black raspberry and purple grape fruit flavors arrive in the mouth with purpose. Accents of smoke and black tea add interest. The tannins are silky and the finish has pedigree. Even better when tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more soaring aromatics and displaying the balance to age successfully. This wine will appeal most to those who favor whole cluster embossed Pinot Noir. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted Oregon Chardonnay and another White

2015 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Blanc

13.48% alc., $25, screwcap. Barrel fermented and aged on the lees. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Delicate nose offering demure aromas of apple, lime and poached pear. More giving on the palate, with flavors of apple pie, peach and pear backed by bright acidity. Crisp and juicy with a soft mouthfeel and a good cut on the finish. The tender fruit flavor is typical of this varietal. A good food wine. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Rain Dance Estate Nicholas Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Oregon Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.58, 204 6-pack cases, $30. Inaugural Chardonnay.Sourced from Nicholas Vineyard, a 40-acre vineyard planted in 2001, 2008 and 2015 in Jory and Laurelwood soils at an elevation of 544 feet. Harvest Brix 22.3º. Dijon 95. Double hand sorted, whole cluster pressed, aged in French oak barrels, 25% new, 25% once filled and 50% neutral. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Deep well of aromas including lemon, pineapple, white peach, honeysuckle, spice and buttery brioche. Slightly creamy on the palate, with vibrant flavors of citrus, banana, and vanilla cream with a riff of stony minerality. Well endowed with spirited acidity making for refreshing drinking. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lingua Franca AVNI Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay

13.0% alc., $40. Avni means “of stone” or “rock” and is a signature of Eola-Amity Hills geology. Fruit is from Jory soils found in Salem’s Bunker Hill Vineyard, Dundee Hills Durand Vineyard, and a Yamhill-Carlton site with a contribution of fruit from Laubejac vineyard with Willakenzie soil. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Soaring aromas of lemon curd, spiced apple, pineapple and ocean breeze. Highly satisfying in a crisp and bright style, featuring flavors of citrus, pear and green apple embellished with notes of slate, steel and subtle buttery oak. The finish is notable for its tight grip of acidity and length. A lovely wine. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Van Duzer Bieze Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.24, TA 0.64, 243 cases, $40. Wine Club exclusive. First Chardonnay since 2001. 100% clone 76. Fermented in small lots in 40% concrete tank, 10% new oak, 20% neutral oak and 30% stainless steel . · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Invigorating aromas of green apple, hay, fresh sea air and steel. Polished and harmonious on the palate, with flavors of yellow pear and nectarine. Very slight tannins and a long, juicy finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Big Table Farm The Elusive Queen Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay

13.3% alc., $85. Released April 11, 2017. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of lemon curd, green apple, and toasty oak. Full flavored and soft on the palate, featuring tastes of lemon, lime, white peach, pear and apple. Seamless, with vanillin oak in the background, and a lasting, uplifting finish. This wine leans more on refinement and delicacy than an explosion of fruit. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Walnut City Wineworks Reserve Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.19, 104 cases, $30. 50% Bunker Hill Vineyard and 50% Robinson Vineyard. Harvest Brix 21.8º-22.4º. Whole cluster pressed to tank, inoculated in barrel. Primary fermentation over 3-5 weeks and secondary fermentation another 2-3 months. Batonnage monthly while the wine spent 10 months on the lees. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Fresh aromas of green apple, lemon, pomelo and nutty oak. Nicely composed, with appealing flavors of citrus, green apple, and pear, finishing with a quenching burst of lemon-lime fruit. Bright in character with good tension. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Alloro Vineyard Estate Chehalem Mountains Oregon Chardonnay

13.4% alc., 250 cases, $34. 100% estate grown and bottled. 50% Dijon 76 and 50% Dijon 96.Barrel fermented, full malolactic fermentation with batonnage, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of grilled pineapple, orange bitters, butter sauce and nori. Lemon, pineapple and white peach fruits form the core of this unpretentious wine. Slightly creamy in the mouth, with some acid-driven minerality and a lingering, citrus themed finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Amalie Robert Heirloom Cameo Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 60 cases, $50. From a single block of estate Chardonnay planted to Dijon clones 76 and 95. Whole cluster pressed and vinified in a single 500-liter French oak puncheon without batonnage. Full malolactic conversion. Aged 14 months on the lees. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Engaging aromas of lemon curd, cut apple, pineapple, honeysuckle and stainless steel. Delicious flavors of yellow apple, blonde caramel, poached pear and pineapple. Ripely fruited in this vintage producing a buxom wine that is yet toned and trim. Very satisfying, with a slightly creamy texture and a noticeably heady finish. 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.