Download 10.1 (PDF)

Reviewed Wines from the current Newsletter
PinotFile 10/1

From Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir (& Chardonnay)

2013 Small Vines Wines Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.55, 353 cases, $sold out. Sourced from the estate Barlow Homestead Vineyard planted in Sebastopol in 2009. Vineyard is farmed organically by Small Vines Viticulture, Inc.. 3,630 vines per acre in Goldridge sandy loam. Clones are Hyde, Wente and Kistler Mt. Eden Wente selections. Barrel fermented with native yeast and native MLF. Aged 10 months on fine lees in 10% new French oak, 10% stainless steel and 80% neutral French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Pleasing aromas of lemon, apple, apricot and salty minerality. Bright, with excellent grip and tension, featuring juicy flavors of lemon and green apple, with subtle oak adding interest in the background. A superb food wine. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Byron Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.56, 50,000 cases, $19, screwcap. Aged 8 months in 3% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Fragrant with aromas of cherry, rose and oak. A solid, easy drinking wine, with juicy mid weight black cherry flavor and a pretty good tug of oak. There is an earthy undertone and a hint of iron-driven minerality adding interest. The tannins are supple and the velvety mouthfeel is appealing. Amazing quality given the very large production. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 4,489 cases, $22, screwcap. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas really pop upon opening with notes of black cherry, deep raspberry and spice, but fade a bit in the glass over time. The tasty core of black cherry fruit is tasty, silky and forward, with plenty of richness to satisfy. The tannins are well-proportioned and the finish is juicy and pleasing. A solid wine that will perk up any mid week dinner. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Van der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Meunier

14.1% alc., 123 cases, $27, screwcap. · Moderately light ruby color in the glass. A lovely, nicely balanced wine, with aromas of cherry and baking spices, and flavors of black cherry, boysenberry and grape. Modest tannins and easy drink ability with the added bonus of lush finishing goodness. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Pellegrini Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $30. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, black tea and smoky oak lead to a tasty core of ripe strawberry, cherry and cola flavors accented with oak. Medium weighted with good balance and some finishing persistence. A solid everyday drinker. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Tessier Winery After Hours California Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 50 cases, $30. A tribute to the Velvet Underground and the last tract on their self-titled album, one of Kristie’s favorites: “If you close the door, the night could last forever. Leave the wineglass out and drink a toast to never.” 50% Saveria Vineyard and 50% Morelli Lane Vineyard. Aged in neutral French oak. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Uplifting aromas of cherry, cranberry and strawberry with a complimentary touch of dried herbs. Elegant and lighter in weight, but not wimpy flavor wise, with a juicy core of red fruits accented with notes of spice and a hint of red hots. A forward drinking wine, slightly chilled, perfect for the back porch after a long work day. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 2,922 cases, $32, screwcap. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromas of Bing cherry and raspberry are slow to arrive in the glass but satisfy over time. A bit of an atypical flavor profile for Russian River Valley with black raspberry, blueberry and pomegranate dominating the mid weight palate. Nevertheless, this sleek wine has admirable balance with complimentary oak and a finish of some persistence. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 2,764 cases, $32, screwcap. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very ripe scented nose with aromas of blackberry, spice and conifer. Silky and juicy on the palate with alluring flavors of boysenberry, blackberry and black currant with a substantial, but not imposing tannic backbone. The lengthy finish is especially noteworthy for an appellation blend wine. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., $38. Inaugural wine replacing the Napa Valley Chardonnay after 20 vintages. Released July 2014. Predominant sources include Zio Tony Ranch, Durell, Dutton Ranch, Parmalee Hill, Sun Chase, and Gap’s Crown vineyards. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast fermentations, aged sur lie with weekly stirring, 100% malolactic fermentation in barrel. Aged in 35% new French oak barrels. · Moderate straw color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon, yellow applesauce, lemongrass and nutty oak. Lemon flavors drive the pleasure with hints of apple and melon. Slightly creamy on the palate with nicely integrated oak and a tart lemony finish. Easy to like. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Tessier Winery Morelli Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 170 cases, $38. Aged in 30% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Nice contrast to the Santa Cruz Mountains bottling, showing the typical luscious fruit the Russian River Valley is known for. Hi-tone aromas of Bing cherry, raspberry, cola and baking spice set the stage. In the mouth, there is a striking attack of intensely flavored fruit, primarily black cherry, with a hint of sarsaparilla, mocha and vanilla. Nicely balanced tannins make for easy drinking now and the finish has impressive generosity. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Tessier Winery Saveria Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 100 cases, $38. Aged in 25% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, strawberry, and dried rose petal really draw you into the glass. Very suave and pleasurable on the palate with a juicy attack of fresh cherry and cranberry fruits wrapped in fine-grain tannins. Nicely balanced with good oak integration, finishing strong with plenty of red berry delight. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Elsbree Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 103 cases, $45, screwcap. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. This wine shows the most oak imprint of the lineup but it is not imposing. Aromas of dark cherry, cola, rose petal and espresso. Very smooth and creamy on the palate with very taste dark cherry and berry flavors accented with cola and dark chocolate notes. Very inviting with soft tannins. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 388 cases, $49. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Well-endowed with generous aromas of ripe Bing cherries, cola and loamy earth. Discreetly concentrated, cherry-driven flavor on the palate with an undertone of savory spices, smoky oak, and what the French call merde, a fecal or decaying vegetative note that some drinkers (not me) prize. I have experienced this in only one other California wine - the Russian River Valley Hansen Vineyard Pinot Noir produced by Brogan Cellars and George Wine Company. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Parson’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 389 cases, $49, screwcap. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very charming aromas of black cherry pie glaze, brioche and rose petal. Juicy and silky on the palate, with a generous essence of well-ripened cherries with a riff of purple berries mixed in. Beautifully balanced with a healthy tannic backbone, finishing with teasing, pleasing charm. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 george Sonoma Coma Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $50. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromas of cherry tart and beef brisket. Although a blend of vineyard sources, the wine seems to have a large percentage of Hansen Vineyard with its telltale fecal note. Smoky oak envelopes the modest black cherry core which is supported by substantial tannins. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Cargasacchi Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.78, 201 cases, $54. I found this to be a curious wine with a noticeable departure from Cargasacchi wines I have sampled over the years. Adam Lee told me he used 15% whole cluster, but for some reason the stems really stood out in this wine. It is the highest acid Pinot Noir for Siduri in 2013 and the reason for using stems to bring down the strength of the acid. Many wine writers and consumers have liked it, while others have not. Although I am generally a fan of whole cluster wines, I am in the not group. You can decide for yourself. · Moderate light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of raspberry, strawberry, smoke and woody stem lead to a light to mid weight core of red and black raspberry and blueberry fruits with a floral, spicy undertone. The fruit lacks intensity, but does show persistence on the soprano, sour cherry finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Clos Pepe Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 420 cases, $54, screwcap. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The explosive perfume of cherry, raspberry, brown spice and brioche is captivating. Very soft and pleasing on the palate with light to mid weight flavors of fresh cherry pie glaze, baking spice and raspberry coulis. Impeccable balance and glorious Pinot character. You can thoroughly enjoy it now, but the balance predicts a long cellar life. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 350 cases, $54, screwcap. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy initially, picking up aromatic and flavor interest over time in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry, dark berry, spice and floral bouquet lead to a mid to full-bodied rainbow of black cherry, boysenberry, purple grape and plum flavors. The fruit is flat-out gorgeous. Well-proportioned tannins and a caressing, creamy mouthfeel complete the picture. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 378 cases, $54, screwcap. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. A little riper profile in this vintage, offering an array of red and purple berry and stone fruits. Inviting attack with impressive fullness on the palate, with immersed tannins, finishing with a charge of fruit excellence. This wine also has textural interest to compliment its refined character. Always the most feminine wine of the Rosella’s-Garys’-Pisoni trilogy. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Siduri Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 450 cases, $60, screwcap. High yields but many berries in each cluster created an ideal situation. Grapes were picked over a month. A good percentage of whole clusters were used in the fermentation as the clusters had very ripe stems. 18 barrels (34% of the lot) were selected for this wine which includes barrels from the Big Block, Hermanos, and Tina’s sections of the vineyard. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Typical Pisoni with a rich load of purple and black berry fruits that balance the wine’s broad shoulders of tannins. The boldest wine in the Siduri lineup with a remarkable palate-staining, grand cru finish. The penetrating energy of the wine is striking. When I left a re-corked bottle for 4 days and re-tasted it, I was astonished by its brilliance. The tannins had thoroughly melded and the wine was all velvet, highly flavorful, and I experienced stars. This vineyard is truly the source of one of California’s greatest Pinot Noirs. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 george Buena Terra Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 148 cases, $60. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of Bing cherry, rose petal, and baking spices including nutmeg. Soft and smooth on the palate, with a giving essence of cherry flavor. Nicely balanced with supple tannins, seamless oak integration, and a cherry-laden finish. Definitely more appealing the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 george Ceremonial Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 257 cases, $60. · Moderate ruby red and slightly cloudy in the glass. Dancing aromas of red berries, red plums, pomegranate and seagrass. Light to medium in weight with flavors of strawberry, cherry, red plum and brown spice. Oak plays a significant role and needs time to integrate. More flavor intensity the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 george Hansen Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 148 cases, $60. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Distinctive aromas of black cherry, sweet manure, dark chocolate and smoky oak. A terroir-driven wine with its signature fecal character in the background. Silky on the palate and very well crafted, with balanced tannins and a delicious black cherry essence. This is a wine with personality and one unlike any you have ever tasted. The best Hansen Vineyard Pinot Noir from george to date. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 george Leras Family Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 148 cases, $60. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is generously endowed with lovely aromas of black cherry, dark rose petal, conifer forest and a hint of oak. The mid weight essence of Bing cherry really impresses on the mid palate, carrying over with lushness and length on the finish which lasts at least 30 seconds. Very juicy, with hints of black raspberry and oak vanillin. Substantial youthful, dry tannins guarantee age ability. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Small Vines Wines Estate Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.54, 383 cases, $N/A. About 56% Baranoff Vineyard, 25% Old Mill Vineyard, 12.5% MK Vineyard, and 6% Barlow Homestead Vineyard. Organically farmed by Small Vines Viticulture, Inc.. Clones are Dijon 113, 114, 115, 459, 667, 777, Swan, Calera and Pommard. Native yeast fermentation and native ML. 27% whole cluster. Aged 15 months on fine lees in 31% new French oak. 100% free run. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark berry pie and sweet oak lead to a mid weight core of flavorful cherry, raspberry, ollaliberry and spice. Admirable integration of oak and complimentary tannins make for easy drinking. A forward-drinking wine that aims to please with a soft mouthfeel and a finishing spurt of rich fruit goodness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Gloria Ferrer Estate Grown Carneros Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.55, $27. Aged 9 months in 94% French oak and 6% Hungarian oak with 25% of barrels new. A variety of Pinot Noir clones and selections planted in this 365-acre estate vineyard. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Lovely aromas of spice, black cherry and pomegranate. Forward-drinking and juicy with a luscious core of dark cherry, purple berry, cola and spice flavors. The mid palate attack is tenacious, the tannins are fine grain and supportive, there is enviable integration of oak, and a satisfying finish. A terrific wine at this reasonable price. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Carpe Diem Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $32. Crafted by Roederer Estate’s winemaker, Arnaud Weyrich. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is dominated by toasty, smoky oak with little fruit evident. Better on the palate with a flavorful core of berry and plum fruit with oakdriven notes of tobacco leaf and smoke in the background. Creamy on the palate with balanced tannins and a short finish. Unchanged the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The heavy oak overlay is too much for my taste. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Benovia Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 1,200 cases, $36. Primarily Wente clone from the estate Martaella Vineyard. 70% malolactic fermentation. Aged 16 months sur lie in <30% new French oak barrels. · Light golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of citrus and almond lead to a full-flavored wine featuring flavors of pear, lemon, and apricot with complimentary oak seasoning. Refreshing, with bright acidity and lift. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Benovia Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 1,500 cases, $38. Produced with almost 95% estate fruit. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. An array of scents including Bing cherry, spice and pipe smoke lead to a mid weight core of fresh cherry fruit with a hint of herbs, cranberry sauce, and smoky oak. A solid, elegant wine with a soft, cherry-fueled finish. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Foursight Charles Vineyard Zero Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.58, 173 cases, $38. Release November 2014. Clones are Pommard 05, 777, 115 and 114. 30% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in second-year and older barrels with no new oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Bright cherry fruit is the focus of this juicy wine which is very soft and seamless on the palate. Added accents of raspberry, brown spice and sandalwood add interest. Inviting balance and harmony and highly approachable now. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WesMar Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $39. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Deep cherry aromas with hints of sous-bois, oak spice and floral bouquet. Soft and sleek in the mouth with a pleasing mix of cherry and cranberry flavors accented with spice and cola. A top notch Russian River Valley appellation blend that begs to be enjoyed now. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WesMar Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $39. A blend of Hellenthal and Balletto vineyards. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Elevating aromas of fresh dark berries, brewed tea and (? whole cluster) spice lead to a very satisfying mid weight mix of nicely ripened cherry and berry fruits that are snug with youthful tannins. Not terribly complex, but highly enjoyable, with impeccable balance. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WesMar Oehlman Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $42. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of ripe cherry and raspberry with a hint of floral bouquet. Cherry-driven on the palate with inviting attack and finish. A touch of spice and savory herbs add interest. Considerably more enjoyable the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with brighter fruit expression and more finishing power. Decant if you must drink now, but I would wait a year or two. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WesMar Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $45. · Moderately light reddishpurple color in the glass. Shy initially, but teases over time with vibrant aromas of wild berries, potpourri, spice and conifer. Delicious mid weight flavors of mixed berries, dark cherries and black plum with an appealing conifer note in the background. Highly nuanced, with plenty to discover over time including hints of sarsaparilla, cola, earth and smoke. Softly textured with a very long and engaging finish that demands contemplation. The pick of the litter. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WesMar Salzgerber Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $45. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. A multitude of fruits are layered in this beauty, including cherries, blueberries, red grapes and strawberries. This wine has noticeably more mid palate intensity and appeal. Very juicy, with balanced tannins, bright acidity, complimentary oak management, and admirable harmony. More approachable now than other single vineyard wines in this lineup. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Foursight Charles Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.58, 224 cases, $46. Release May 2015. Crafted from all four clones grown in the estate vineyard (777, 114, 115, and Pommard 05). 30% whole cluster fermentation. Wooden basket-pressed. Aged in 40% new, 10% secondyear and 50% three-plus-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is infused with the lovely scent of Bing cherry glaze and complimentary oak in the background. Very soft and sexy, with mid weight flavors of cherry, raspberry and plum caressed by suede tannins. Oak seasoning plays a favorable role. This wine, which has a little more body and generosity than the Zero, finishes silky and full of cherry goodness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Benovia Fort Ross-Seaview Chardonnay

14.2% alc., $48. If you are a fan of Marcassin Chardonnay, note that this wine is sourced from the same 15 to 20 year-old Dijon vines on the Three Sisters Vineyard owned by the Martinelli family, and formerly used by Marcassin for years for their Three Sisters Chardonnay. The vineyard is adjacent Marcassin Vineyard on the West Sonoma Coast. 100% malolactic fermentation, aged in 40% new French oak, unfiltered. · Light golden straw color in the glass. A classy wine with aromas of lemongrass, citrus, spice, poached pear and floral goodness. A delicious wine with flavors echoing the aromas, and offering noticeable attack and finish. Oak adds a subtle note of caramel and brioche. There is good tension provided by citrus-fueled acidity, and some textural interest. A connoisseur's Chardonnay. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Benovia La Pommeraie Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 350 cases, $48. Sourced from George Martinelli Vineyard (Zio Tony) located at the edge of the Green Valley AVA. The vineyard is planted at a very high density of 2420 vines per acre to Dijon clones 548 and 95. The site was once an apple orchard, so Benovia pays homage to the Martinelli family and the history of the site by naming the wine ‘La Poommeraie’ - French for apple orchard. Indigenous yeast fermentation, 100% malolactic fermentation, and aged sur lie for 16 months in 40% new French oak barrel. · Light golden straw color in the glass. The perfume of pear, caramel and toffee leads to a rich, full, smooth palate of lemon curd, pear and spice flavors. A luscious Russian River Valley style Chardonnay that offers plenty of pleasure. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Foursight Charles Vineyard Clone 05 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.70, 130 cases, $49. Release January 1, 2015. Four favorite barrels of 100% Pommard 05. 30% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in 40% new and 40% second-year French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The hi-tone aromas of black cherry and dark raspberry fill the glass. Soft and velvety on the palate, even ephemeral, like angels dancing on a cloud. Discreetly concentrated and highly flavorful, featuring dark cherry and dark red berry fruits with oak seasoning in the background. Nicely composed with balanced tannins and a finish that sports refined acidity. This wine will get noticed. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Small Vines Wines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 169 cases, $50. Released August 5, 2014. The newest single-vineyard Pinot Noir from the estate Barlow Homestead Vineyard. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Very appealing aromatic goodness with scents of black cherry, black raspberry and sousbois. Juicy, mid weight flavors of cherry, raspberry and cranberry with a touch of spice and a note of citrus in the background. Good tension and modest tannins make for easy drinking. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Gehricke Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., RS 2.5 g/L, 1,050 cases, $50. The first entry into the premium wine market by The Other Guys known for laid back labels like Hey Mambo, Pennywise and Plungerhead. This wine resulted from a collaboration between August Sebastiani and his brother-in-law and winemaker, Kendrick Coakley. Aged 9 months in French oak. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Oak aromas and flavors dominate the lovely fruit in this otherwise appealing wine. The nose offers scents of dark chocolate coated black cherries, smoke and coffee. Silky smooth on the palate, with a mid weight core of sweet, fresh black cherry and black raspberry fruits with anise, spice and dark chocolate notes in the background. Modest tannins and some length on the fruit-laden finish. Your pleasure will depend on how big a role you want oak to play in your Pinot. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Failla Occidental Ridge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 575 cases, $55. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of mixed berries, sous-bois, and subtle oak and vanilla. A nuanced wine with considerable charm, offering flavors of boysenberry, black raspberry, black cherry, plum, spice and a woodsy conifer edge. Impeccable harmony with an impressive finish lifted by refreshing acidity. Quintessential west Sonoma Coast gem. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Patz & Hall Jenkins Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

15.4% alc., 957 cases, $55. Released March 2014. This 18-acre vineyard is located two miles west of Sebastopol on Pleasant Hill Road (Sebastopol Hills). Goldridge sandy loam soil planted to Dijon 667 and 777. Vineyard planted by Charlie Chenoweth in 2001. Wild and cultured yeast fermentations. 15% whole cluster. Aged in 66% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. A very appealing nose filled with savory goodness including mushroom and sous-bois complimented by aromas of dark raspberry, blackberry and spice. Mid to full-bodied with a tenacious palate of purple and black berries complimented by oak. There is plenty of balancing structure to match the sappy fruit, and the finish is powerful and lasting. Clearly a special wine somewhat defined by the richness and depth bestowed on the wine by the alcohol which is well integrated. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Sandhi Rinconada Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $55. 100% whole cluster fermentation. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Exhilarating nose offering aromas of dark cherry, rose petal, exotic spices and a little sous-bois at play. Seductive elegance upon entry with layers of dark red and purple berry fruits backed by youthful, muscular tannins. A wine to contemplate with nuances arriving over time including a floral riff. Silky in the mouth with a good spark of acidity to buffer the tannins. Still very enjoyable the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine needs cellaring for the tannins to meld. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Benovia La Pommeraie Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 375 cases, $56. Sourced from George Martinelli Vineyard (Zio Tony). This dry-farmed vineyard is planted to Dijon 777 and “828.” · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, blackberry, forest floor and a touch of rose petal. Full-bodied charge of boysenberry, black raspberry and black cherry fruit awakens the palate and expands through a decadent finish where the fruit hangs on tenaciously. Despite its richness, the wine is sleek and polished, with excellent integration of oak. Well-done in this “New World style.” Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Benovia Martaella Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 425 cases, $56. The first single vineyard Pinot Noir from this estate vineyard named in honor of the mothers of owners Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane. A blend of Calera, Pommard, Mt. Eden and Swan selections. 30% whole cluster fermentation. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose opens slowly to reveal appealing aromas of black cherry, dark raspberry preserves, exotic spices, sous-bois, and floral goodness. The flavors of purple berries and black cherry are bright and juicy, accented with spice and cola. Softly textured and balanced with modest tannins and a bright, cherry-driven finish. Perfect interplay of tannin and acidity. The long finish is particularly impressive. Still superb two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Benovia Tilton Hill Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 325 cases, $56. Vineyard is located at the Russian River Valley-Sonoma Coast border. Shallow and well-drained Goldridge soils. High-density planting. Clones are “828,” Calera, 777 and 943. Aged in 30%-40% new French oak barrels. · Dark violet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of blackberry, black currant, loamy earth and complimentary oak. Full-flavored with a sappy core of black fruits offering a boatload of pleasure. The concentrated fruit veers to the very ripe side and a little raisin peeks out the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. An underlying forest floor and conifer note adds interest. There is both more tannin and acidity evident in this wine compared to the other two vineyard-designates. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Williams Selyem Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $58. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry, spice, bark, expensive dark chocolate and smoky oak. Velvety on the palate, offering a burst of blackberry, black currant and boysenberry fruits backed by supple tannins. Tremendous polish with a crazy long finish featuring spicy and very juicy plum fruit. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 LaRue Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 220 cases, $60. A blend of Rice-Spivak and Emmaline Ann vineyards. Dijon clones and Swan selection. Goldridge sandy loam soils at both sites. Aged 17 months in 35% new French oak. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty of whole cluster goodness in this wine with aromas of cherry, raspberry, cola, rose and spice. An elegant wine. but packs plenty of flavorful spiced cherry and raspberry fruits with a note of pomegranate, cranberry and rose water in the background. High grade tension, nicely accented with oak, finishing with crisp, tart cherry goodness. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Carneros Napa Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 1,303 cases, $60. Released October 2014. Hyde-Wente selection. 24th growing season working with this fruit. Whole cluster pressed. Indigenous fermentations, aged sur lie with weekly stirring, 100% malolactic fermentation in barrel. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Moderate straw color and clear in the glass. Lovely perfume of fresh lemon, white rose, and brioche. Hi-tone flavors of lemon, nectarine, apple, lemongrass and nutty oak working in harmony. Bright, with excellent grip and follow through on the crisp finish. A stylish wine with excellent breeding. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Sea Smoke Southing Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.58% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.65, $60 (1.5 ml $125). The name refers to the south-facing hillside block of the estate vineyard. Grapes spent an evening in the cold room after picking and sorting and then 100% de-stemmed. Musts were cold soaked for 1 to 4 days, then inoculated with cultured yeasts. Manual punchdowns were carried out three times a day, with a total maceration time of 14 to 18 days. Free-run juice was transferred to tank for settling. Pressing was carried out at very low pressure. After settling, both free-run and press wines were racked to 55% new French oak barrels for 16 months aging. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Gorgeous nose featuring spiced berries, violets, sous-bois and a hint of vanilla. The flamboyantly flavored core of black raspberry and plum is accented with spice and an undertone of earthy flora. Amazing fruit flavor, yet angelic, with a very soft and seamless demeanor, with oak adding complimentary seasoning. The fine-grain tannins are beautifully integrated and the typically bright Sta. Rita Hills acidity adds vibrancy. The finish is long and pleasing, filled with spicy plum goodness. This wine demands your attention from the get-go. Still stunning the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, when I drained the bottle. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $65. Sourced from the original 1971 plantings at Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Very engaging nose that is whole cluster inspired with aromas of rose petal, spicy cola, cherry and spiced pear. Soft and silky on the palate with succulent flavors of red cherry and red berries with a hint of dried leaf and rose water in the background. More brightness and more savory than the Rinconada bottling. Plenty of bones for aging, with a nice interplay of juicy acidity and suede tannins on the finish. A sommelier’s wine built for food. Considerable better and more expressive the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with plenty of spice, cola and fruit flavors dancing on the palate. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Small Vines Wines Baranoff Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.57, 93 cases, $65. Released August 5, 2014. Vineyard planted in 2001 at top of ridge above the Laguna de Santa Rosa, Sebastopol. Sustainably farmed by Small Vines Viticulture, Inc.. Mostly Calera clone with some 115 and 777. Native yeast fermentation and native MLF. 35% whole cluster. Aged 15 months on fine lees in 25% new French oak. 100% free run. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Glorious nose over time, sporting aromas of black cherry, balsam, baking spice and Christmas kitchen. Amazing presence on the palate with numbing fruit intensity rarely seen in Pinot Noir. The dark berry and cherry fruit sap grabs on tenaciously through a very long finish. The firm, youthful tannic backbone holds the fruit in check and there is enough acidity to brighten the wine. This is a powerhouse wine that will need a few years for the tannins to soften. Don’t even think about drinking this wine now unless you decant for several hours. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Small Vines Wines MK Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.52, 143 cases, $65. Released August 5, 2014. Vineyard planted in 1999 by Small Vines on an eastern-facing ridge above Occidental. Farmed organically using biodynamic practices. Clones 114, 115, 667 and 777. Native yeast fermentation and native MLF. 25% whole cluster. Aged 15 months on fine lees in 45% new French oak. 100% free run. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. A well-endowed wine offering bright scents of cherry, black raspberry, earthy flora and a hint of bark, and very tasty flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, cola and spice. Very polished and beautifully balanced with a healthy structure for aging. The wine finishes with a charge of deep black raspberry goodness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Benovia Cohn Vineyard Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 350 cases, $70. Sourced from Benovia’s historic Cohn Vineyard planted in 1970. This dry-farmed, 18-acre vineyard is planted to a massale selection of Pinot Noir (likely Martini and Pommard). Organically farmed for 6 years. Low yields of 1.25 tons per acre. 100% de-stemmed. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Vibrant, even exhilarating aromas of fresh cherries, spice and bark that hold up remarkably over time in the glass. Delicious layers of flavor featuring black cherry, black raspberry, brown spice, cherry licorice and toasty oak. Seamless, seductive and classy, with a finish of uncommon persistence. Lighter and more refined in this vintage, with more suavity and Pinot character. Still great two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 LaRue Emmaline Anne Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.4% alc., 50 cases, $70 (two bottlesper person). From a 3-acre vineyard near the town of Freestone. Dijon clones are planted in Goldridge sandy loam soils. Aged 17 months in 50% new French oak. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Similar to the Sonoma Coast bottling, but a step up in nuance and sophistication. Wondrous aromas of wilted rose, red cherry and spice led to a delicious palate of crisp, juicy red plum, cherry and red raspberry fruits. A faint note of oak and floral bouquet lurks in the background. Refined and classy, with a mouthwatering finish. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Littorai B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $75. · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Engaging aromas of fresh berries, black cherries, mushroom, conifer and subtle oak. A very refined and classy wine that offers an intense attack and length. Mid weight dark red cherry and berry, and blueberry flavors are featured with a touch of savory dried herbs in the background. The dark red raspberry finish is delightful. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating a promising future. This is always my favorite Littorai bottling. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Littorai One Acre Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $75. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A very young wine that will need patience for full enjoyment. Aromas of black raspberry, pipe smoke and sous-bois lead to a mid weight palate of dark red cherry, red raspberry and red plum flavors with a leafy, dried herb note playing in the background. The fruit is embedded in young tannins and oak at this point. The wine is much more expressive over time in the glass, and significantly more appealing the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more overt fruit expression and decreased savory input. Cellar this special wine for a few years. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Williams Selyem Burt Williams Morning Dew Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $78. This vineyard is located in the northern end or “deep end” of the Anderson Valley. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Effusive aromas of black cherry cola, blackberry jam, underbrush and oak-driven vanilla and anise. Mouth numbing flavors of black cherry, baking spice, dark chocolate, tea and anise with sequestered tannins and a huge, long, and I mean long, finish. Very soft and suave on the palate making for easy drinking now, but this wine can go the distance. A glorious wine that has many nuances to offer. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Sea Smoke Sea Spray Blanc De Noirs Sta. Rita Hills Sparkling Wine

11.9% alc., pH 3.15, TA 0.90, $80. A methode champenoise wine with limited production. A long, cool fermentation began in stainless tanks, and was completed in once-used and neutral French oak barrels. After 6 months of sur lie aging in barrel, the was bottle aged an additional 16 months en tirage before disgorging, and finished with no dosage to preserve its finesse. · Delicate light salmon color in the glass with an effusive bead. Aromas of brioche, lily bouquet and sandy beach lead to discreetly intense flavors of cherry, strawberry, blood orange, apricot and rose water. A bone dry sparkler that is expansive in the mouth, finishing with mouthwatering, steely, orange-infused acidity. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $82. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The knockout nose is orgasmic, featuring spicy black cherry, berry wonderland and dark chocolate aromas. Soft, smooth and polished on the palate, the dark red cherries and berries attack with intent, and the epic flavor circus finishes with a grand cru level of bombastic cherry goodness. The texture is very seductive and the fruit is vibrant and pure. Superlatives don’t do this spectacular wine justice. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Windy Oaks Estate Special Release Les Deux Grands Cru Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., one barrel (24 cases), $85 (futures). Offered to Wine Group members only. A co-fermentation of the estate vineyard special Burgundy clone and a little half-acre of the newly certified Chambertin clone. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very pleasing aromas of cherry and red berry with a compliment of toasty brioche. Light to medium weight flavors of red berry preserves with a seasoning of oak. Softly textured with admirable balance, and a long red cherry and red berry fueled finish. This wine grows on you over time in the glass, picking up intensity and nuances. A cellar-worthy wine of considerable promise. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Williams Selyem Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $105. Primarily Swan, Mt. Eden selections and Pommard clone. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Intriguing aromas of black cherry liqueur, raspberry, spice, humus, herbs and toast. Impressive fruit intensity and finishing generosity. Mid weight flavors of Bing cherries, red raspberries, baking spices and cola are wrapped in well proportioned young tannins. Seamless, with inviting composure and potential. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recent Sips of Oregon Wines: Pinot Amore´

2013 Kramer Vineyards “Celebrate!” Müller-Thurgau Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley sparkling wine

12.5% alc., pH 2.99, TA 0.82, RS 0.6%, 99 cases, $22. Sourced from vines planted in 1986-1988 in Peavine and Willakenzie silty clay loam soils. Harvest Brix 19.1º. Whole cluster pressed, fermentation in stainless tank, racked and aged on lees in stainless for 5 months. To sparkle, the wine was transferred to a high-pressure tank, chilled, and carbon dioxide bubbled in through a diffusion stone until the ideal level of pressure was achieved. · Faint golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of lemongrass, pear, melon and wilted rose. Dry and crisp on the palate, with flavors that echo the aromas. A refreshing drink with a good bead and a citrus-driven aftertaste. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Kramer Vineyards “Celebrate!” Pinot Gris Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley sparkling wine

11.0% alc., pH 3.18, TA 0.49, RS 1.5%, 325 cases, $22. Harvest Brix 17.7º. Whole cluster pressed, racked to stainless tank for primary fermentation. When fermentation complete, racked and aged on lees in stainless for 5 months. To sparkle, the wine was transferred to a high-pressure tank, chilled, and carbon dioxide bubbled in through a diffusion stone, until the ideal level of pressure was achieved. · Steely white color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of tropical fruits, Muscat, apricot and peach. Fruity, off dry, with a good bead, offering flavors of banana, peach, pear and vanilla. Winemaker recommends toasting with this wine on its own, or using it for mimosas and as a part of creative mixtures with cranberry, pomegranate or guava juices. Have some fun with it! Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Kramer Vineyards Reserve Dijon Clones Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.7% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.59, 125 cases, $28. Estate grown. Harvest Brix 19.7º. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented sur lie for 10 months in 60% neutral French oak barrels adn 40% stainless steel barrels. Full malolactic fermentation with minimal lees stirring. · Light yellow gold color and clear in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of tropical fruits, pear, floral bouquet and a hint of Muscat. Relatively light in weight but pleasing with crisp flavors of apple, pear, nectarine and honeydew melon. Nicely balanced with a silky mouthfeel and the slightest hint of tannin on the dry finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Ken Wright Abbott Claim Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., $50. Vineyard owners Antony and Angela Beck and vineyard manager Mark Gould. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Shy initially, but explodes with time in the glass, strutting hi-tone aromas ob cherry, baking spice, rose petal and a hint of smoke. A cherry-driven wine with a hint of raspberry and spice, lively on the palate and really hanging on to the finish. This wine is crisp, juicy and has enough structure to age. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Ken Wright Meredith Mitchell Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., $50. This vineyard is planted to own-rooted Pommard first established in 1988. Soil is Yamhill - shallow silty loam over basaltic bedrock. The vineyard is owned and managed by Susan Meredith and Franck Mitchell. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Scents of cherry, forest floor and oak char are somewhat shy, but the fruit explodes on the palate. Rich raspberry and cherry flavor that attacks the mid palate with a vengeance. Accents of baking spice, earth and conifer add interest. Uncommon fruit energy that fuels an intensely flavorful finish. Rare to find a wine with such palate saturating fruit. The nose has not arrived, so give this wine at least a year in bottle. Score: 93-95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Coeur de Terre Vineyard Estate Abby’s Block Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.54, 68 cases, $N/A. Release November 2014. This block is mid slope in the vineyard. Clones are a selection of vines from the estate vineyard (Pommard, 667, 777, 113, 114 and 115) and grafted in the estate nursery. 4- day cold soak, indigenous and commercial yeast fermentation, aged 13 months in 30% new, 35% once-filled and 35% twice-filled French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is to die for, with bright aromas of fresh black cherries and spice. The most elegant and refined and most appealing of the block-designated wines. The fruit is dark red rather than black in profile and more juicy and uplifting. The balance is spot-on, the tannins are less daunting, and the dark red cherry finish is alluring. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Coeur de Terre Vineyard Estate Renelle’s Block Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.56, 79 cases, $N/A. Release November 2014. Sourced from the original estate plantings (1999) which are a mixture of 9 clones (Pommard and two Wädenswil and several Dijon clones) and several rootstocks. This is the mother block for the rest of the estate vineyard plantings. 4-day cold soak, indigenous and commercial yeast fermentation. Aged 13 months in 45% new, 30% once-filled, and 25% twice-filled French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Restrained aromas of blackberry and black plum with a tug of charred oak. Very generous on the palate with a sappy, even sweet, charge of purple and black fruits. Substantial tannins match the fruit load. Oak plays a large role in the experience at present. Hard to find any terroir here, but the magnificent fruit is luscious. Needs time to integrate the oak and tannins. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Coeur de Terre Vineyard Estate Sarah Jane’s Block Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.54, 87 cases, $N/A. Release November 2014. Sarah Jane’s Block was the second estate block planted. Traditional Willakenzie soils. Clones are Pommard, 667, 777, 113, 114, and 115. 4-day cold soak, indigenous and commercial yeast fermentation, aged 13 months in 40% new, 30% oncefilled and 30% twice-filled French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Inky dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry jam, fennel, and conifer. A full-bodied, very savory, earthy wine featuring black fruit and black tea flavors. Juicy and trim with the savory component adding interest. The daunting tannins tend to swallow up the luscious fruit. More like Syrah than Pinot. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Coeur de Terre Vineyard Estate Tallulah’s Run Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.55, 67 cases, $N/A. Clones 115, 667 and 777. 4-day cold soak, indigenous and commercial yeast fermentation, aged 13 months in 40% new, 30% once-filled and 30% twicefilled French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Inky dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry, black currant and ollaliberry syrup. Sappy purple fruits coat the tongue with layers of flavor. Bold tannins match the hedonistic fruit in a balanced recipe. The huge fruit-filled finish leaves a stunning impression. Closer to Syrah than Pinot, but a voluptuous wine that is hard to ignore. Nicely crafted in this style. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Coeur de Terre Vineyard Estate The Heritage Reserve McMinnville Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.575, 466 cases, $N/A. Harvest Brix 24.2º. Release November 2014. A selection from all four blocks of the estte vineyard. Both younger and mature vines. Aged sur lie for 12 months in 35% new, 30% once-filled, 25% twice-filled and 10% neutral French oak. · Inky dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very ripe fruited with aromas of blackberry, black currant, raisin and vanilla. Rich and full-bodied, with a charge of very ripe purple and black fruits and a touch of strawberry and spice mixed in. The charge of tannins on the finish overwhelms the fruit now and needs time to soften. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kramer Vineyards Estate Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.61, 300 cases, $24. Harvest Brix 23.5º. 75% de-stemmed. 5-day cold soak, pump over and punch downs twice daily until dry. Aged 10 months in 25% new French oak barrels. Composed of various clones from several of the estate vineyard blocks. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Engaging perfume of black cherry, blackberry, spice and vanilla. A forward drinking wine with plenty of cherry, berry and spice flavor to satisfy. Admirable intensity on the attack with some power on the finish that ends with a rush of young tannins. This wine will benefit from more bottle age but hard to resist now. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WildAire Timothy Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.55, 260 cases, $25, screwcap. This wine is dedicated to Matt Driscoll’s father, who loved to hike in the Appalachian Mountains and return to the homestead to share a glass of wine with family and friends. Sourced from Shea, Kiff, Illahe and Zenith vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, proprietary yeast. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very fragrant initially with aromas of raspberry, cherry, rose petal and dried herbs, losing interest over time in the glass as the fruit aromas faded. Middleweight flavors of cherry and raspberry with a hint of spice and noticeable oak presence. A forward drinking, back porch wine. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Coeur de Terre Vineyard Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.61, 2,480 cases, $26. Released May 15, 2014. Average harvest Brix 24.3º. 50% estate vineyard fruit with the rest from other vineyards in the McMinnville AVA and one vineyard that borders the AVA. Multiple clones including Pommard, Wädenswil, 113, 114, 115, 667, 777 and Coury selection. Indigenous and commercial yeast fermentation, aged 11 months sur lie in 20% new, 40% once-filled, 30% twice-filled and 10% neutral French oak barrels. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of black cherry, dried herbs and oak spice. Mid weight + flavors of dark plum and boysenberry. Highly flavorful with complimentary tannins and juicy acidity. Easy to like. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Evehsam Wood Illahe Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $27. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of dark berry jam and wine cave. A ripe profile of blackberry, black currant and plum fruits backed by firm, structured tannins. Noticeable grab and hold finishing intensity. Very true to the character of this vineyard that features darker fruits, substantial tannins and more finishing power. Cellaring should mollify the tannins. A hint of alcohol heat shows up on the finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Evehsam Wood Terra Mahonia Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $27. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Very savory aromas of dark cherry and raspberry, spice and underbrush with a hint of floral perfume. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry and raspberry in an elegant style with balanced tannins and good finishing fruit goodness. A bit shallow on the attack but bright and refreshing. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Evesham Wood Temperance Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $27. Produced from organic grapes. · Woodsy aromas of black cherry and cranberry lead to a light to mid weight, savory wine that is elegant and polished. Flavors of cherry and red berry predominant with a woodsy, sous-bois tone. Rather rustic, with balanced tannins and some gratifying finish. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WildAire Reserve Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 250 cases, $35 (sold out). Crafted from select barrels from several legendary Oregon vineyards (Kiff clone 777, Shea Wädenswill clone, Zenith clone 115 and Wädenswil, and Illahe Pommard clone). 100% destemmed, Native and proprietary yeast fermentations. 23 days on the skins. Aged 10 months in 33% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherries, loganberries and loamy earth. Relatively approachable for a reserve wine, with tasteful notes of black cherry, boysenberry, plum and spice. The tannins are balanced and the wine finishes with a moderately intense charge of cherry fruit. The wine improves over time in the glass indicate age worthiness. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Evehsam Wood Cuvée J Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $42. Produced from organic grapes. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A noticeable step up in quality with an expressive nose of dried rose petal, boysenberry, and Middle Eastern spices. The flavors echo the nose with a remarkable complex and intriguing spice component. A classy wine with complimentary oak seasoning, a good tannic backbone for aging, and a lengthy finish that soars with a purple berry scent. Has shoulders but is still refined. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kramer Vineyards Cardiac Hill Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.64, 100 cases, $42. Crafted from LIVE-certified grapes. Sourced from the steepest hillside vines on the estate vineyard. Clones are Pommard and Dijon 11. Harvest Brix 23.3º. Willakenzie soil with a high clay content which stresses the vines and leads to small yields. 100% de-stemmed. 5-day cold soak, pumped over and punched down twice daily until dry, then pressed. Aged 17 months in 25% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. I am crazy about this nose which features aromas of black cherries, complex floral notes, complimentary spice and a hint of smoky oak. On the palate, the mid weight flavors of black cherry, ripe strawberry, raspberry and spice are enticing. The bright acidity gives the vibrant apple fruit flavor a lift. There are plenty of tannins to go the distance. A delightful wine with charm and sophistication. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kramer Vineyards Heritage Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.62, 100 cases, $42. Sourced from the oldest block of Pinot Noir in the estate vineyard first planted in 1984. 100% own-rooted Pommard clone. Harvest Brix 23.2º. 75% de-stemmed, 8-day cold soak, pumped over and punched down twice daily until dry. Aged 18 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of dark fruits and sous-bois. Charming flavors of boysenberry, blackberry and spice, building in intensity over time in the glass. Remarkable appeal and length, with substantial tannins. Still opulent the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kramer Vineyards Rebecca’s Reserve Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.62, 75 cases, $42. From an estate vineyard block planted in 1992 to 4’ x 4’ spacing. Pommard and Dijon 115 clones. Harvest Brix 23.0º. 100% de-stemmed. 6-day cold soak, pumped over and punched down twice daily until dry. Aged 18 months in 25% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry and underbrush lead to intense flavors of blackberry and black plum. Reasonably good attack and finish, with enough structure to satisfy. Only hints at its ultimate promise at this time and should elevate with more time in the bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 IOTA Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 577 cases, $42. Pommard, Wädenswil, 777 and 667 clones. Aged 10 months in 3-year-air-dried French oak barrels and an additional 12 months in bottle. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Amazingly fragrant with aromas of dark berry, cassis, plum, black cherry and espresso leaping from the glass upon opening. Mid weight + core of well ripened dark berry fruit with some smoky oak in the background. Soft tannins and a fruitfilled finish ramp up the pleasure. The wine has plenty of oak overlay, but an equal amount of luscious fruit. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WildAire Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.55, 72 cases, $45. Harvest Brix 24.5º. 100% Wädenswil clone from Block 25. 100% de-stemmed, 7-day cold soak, inoculated fermentation. Aged 10 months in 33% new French Oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Very engaging aromas of dark cherry pie glaze, spice, violets and smoky oak. Delicious core of nicely ripened black cherry fruit with a hint of mocha and spice. The fruit really attracts attention as it is vivid and juicy. There is a good amount of fine-grain tannins for structural integrity and noticeably intense finishing presence. I am not usually a fan of single clone Wädenswil Pinot Noir, but this beauty bursts my bubble. A standout. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 WildAire Zenith Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.55, 72 cases, $45. Harvest Brix 24º. 66% Wädenswil, 34% Dijon clone 115. 100% de-stemmed, 7-day cold soak, inoculated with yeast. Aged 10 months in 33% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, sarsaparilla, and forest floor are inviting. Juicy and easy to like mid weight core of fresh cherry goodness with a hint of boysenberry. Nicely integrated oak, mild tannins and good finishing power. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Estate Vineyard Southeast Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 150 cases, $50. From a small section of the estate vineyard planted in 1979. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A complex nose offers nuances of cherry, raspberry, potpourri, rose petal and smoky oak. Impressive mouth filling richness, yet suave and refined with flavors of dark cherry and raspberry clothed in youthful tannins and complimentary oak. Amazingly intense grand cru finish that seems to build in intensity over a lengthy time. This wine has the structure and balance to age beautifully. Very special. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Estate West Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 100 cases, $50. From a small section of the estate vineyard planted in 1977 to own rooted Wädenswil clone. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of sweet cherry, violets, and spicy oak. Soft, elegant and seamless, with a core of cherry, raspberry and cranberry fruits accented with spice. Very juicy with supple tannins and a silky finish. Lacks a bit of intensity on the attack, but a very pleasurable drinking wine. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Iliahe Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 125 cases, $50. This vineyard is located in the foothills of Oregon’s coast range of mountains. The name, Illahe, is a local Chinook word for soil or earth. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty of savory blueberry and blackberry fruit with spice, underbrush and earthy accents on the nose. This unique terroir-driven wine features layers of flavors of boysenberry, blackberry, black currant, anise, iron and earth. The youthful tannins are well integrated and the finish is bold and lengthy. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more composed and expressive fruit. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Bethel Heights Estate Vineyard Flat Block Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 250 cases, $58. From a block in the estate vineyard characterized by shallow, gravelly soil planted in 1979 on its own roots. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is remarkably fragrant with aromas of cherry pie, spice and rose petal. Very soft and elegant on the palate with a mid weight core of tasty cherry, raspberry and cranberry fruits backed by a hint of oak seasoning. Juicy and crisp, with a lengthy finish. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with more intense fruit expression. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cristom Eileen Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $58. Typically the most precocious of the four estate vineyard wines and often the first wine released to the market. This vineyard extends to the crest of the property exposing the vines to the last rays of sun and the first cooling breezes from the Pacific Ocean. Volcanic soils. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The seductive scents of dark berries, black cherries, rose petal and cardamon spice really get the juices flowing. It is challenging to adequately describe this nose since the aromas saturate the olfactory senses with so much whole cluster goodness. “Wow” might be the best descriptor. On entry, this wine delivers a charge of black raspberry fruit and exotic spices that really brings the palate to alert. This is a stunning wine with a silky texture, healthy young tannins, and a peacock finish that hangs on for at least a minute. There is some umami at work in this wine as well. Scary to think that this wine will be even better with more bottle age. Score: 96-97. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cristom Jessie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $58. One of the steepest vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley. This wine is typically deep, dark and displays a tension between the fruit and structure. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Vibrant aromas of black cherry and Marionberry elevate over time in the glass. A wine that astonishes with a charge of cherry fruit that is pure and deeply flavored. The amazing spiced cherry essence caresses the palate and expands in the mouth, finishing with impressive length and a pleasing snap of acidity. This wine’s impeccable balance insures long term age ability. An exquisite wine that is fresh and vivid, and aims to please even at this young age. Score: 94-95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cristom Louise Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $58. This vineyard was the first established by Cristom. It is densely planted at 2300 vines per acre on the lower slopes of the property. Typically the last single vineyard to be released. More concentrated and dark fruited than other estate Pinot Noirs. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy nose initially, offering more pleasure over time in the glass with aromas of cherry, rose petal, underbrush and vanilla. Gorgeous core of well-spiced black cherry fruit clothed in muscular tannins. There is amazing length on the generous finish which sports a refreshing spark of acidity. Still very young and tight, lacking Pinot delicacy, but suggesting a tremendous upside potential. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cristom Marjorie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $58. The only original vineyard kept intact after the property was bought in 1992. The “prettiest” vineyard wine in the Cristom lineup that is usually elegant and spicy. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry pie filling, marzipan, brandied raisin and baker’s yeast. Elegant flavors of black cherry, spice and floral nuance with a firm backing of tannin. Modest and seductive, very smooth on the palate, finishing with good persistence. Needs at least a year or two in bottle for full enjoyment. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Angela Estate Abbott Claim Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $60. The 16-acre Abbot Claim vineyard was planted in 2001 to Pommard, 777 and 115 clones. It is part of the original John F. Abbott Donation Land Claim. Soils are marine sedimentary. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, spice and wood lead to a discreetly concentrated core of red cherries and red berries with a touch of baking spices. Exquisite balance, a tad shallow on the attack but a good sweet cherry finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Antica Terra Botanica Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 630 cases, $75. · Moderate dark reddish purple color in the glass. A noticeable step up from the Ceras bottling. Very aromatic. When the cork was pulled, aromas emerged like caged monkeys. Lovely scents of black cherry, spice, brioche and vanilla. Tasty and expressive, with flavors of black cherry, ollaliberry and plum with complimentary oak seasoning. Exquisite balance and generosity at this young age. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Antica Terra Ceras Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 600 cases, $75. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark raspberry and espresso lead to oak-kissed flavors of boysenberry and black raspberry. Very silky with soft tannins and a juicy finish. Still young and awkward with a hint of popcorn oak and a touch of heat on the finish, but has considerable potential. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Stoller Family Estate Reserve Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 1,300 cases, $45. A selection of best vineyard blocks and barrels in the cellar. Pommard, Wädenswil, Dijon 114, 115, 667 and 777 planted in Jory soil. Aged 10 months in 40% new and 60% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. A very appealing nose offering aromas of cherry, spice, rose hips tea, dried herbs and a hint of oak. Very tasty core of mid weight cherry, raspberry and tea berry flavor with judicious oak in the background. Juicy and bright, with impeccable balance, finishing with a blast of iced cherry fruit that you can almost chew on. A highly enjoyable offering from a challenging vintage. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Tasting Sonoma County Harvest Fair Best of Class & Double Gold Pinot Noirs

2013 Thirty-Seven Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 420 cases, $26. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A little volatile acidity initially blows off over time. Hi flying aromas of boysenberry, black raspberry and spice. A forward drinking and expressive middleweight wine featuring a core of purple berries and spice with complimentary toasty oak in the background. Very soft on the palate with balanced tannins and some finishing verve. A flashy wine that would show well in competition. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Balletto Sexton Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 625 cases, $42. Sourced from an estate vineyard southwest of Sebastopol. Grower is John Balletto and winemaker is Anthony Beckman. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely, exuberant aromas of Bing cherries and baking spices. Juicy mid weight flavors of Bing cherries, raspberries and boysenberries. Ideal balance with plenty of finishing fruit goodness and length on the dry finish. A forward-drinking crowd pleaser. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 D&L Carinalli Vineyards Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., $25. Family owned vineyard and winery. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, strawberry, oak spice and a hint of wintergreen. A very serviceable wine with mid weight flavors of black cherry and ripe strawberry with a compliment of toasty oak in the background. The fine grain tannins are modest in proportion and the finish has a little length. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 MacMurray Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $28 ($20 at some retailers). · Moderately dark ruby hue in the glass. The rather shy and dull nose offers hints of cherry and oak. A gentle, shallow wine that is pleasant but not exciting, featuring a discreet weighted core of cherry fruit with a touch of floral and oak accents and well-endowed backing tannins. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 DRNK Cavers Cuvée Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 196 cases, $32. Saralee’s, Hallberg Ranch and Sweetwater Ranch vineyards. Ryan R. Kunde is the winemaker. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Inviting aromas of cherry, raspberry and sandalwood. Easy to like with thirst-quenching flavors of cherry syrup and raspberry coulis with a hint of spice. Nicely balanced with good oak management. Score: 89. 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.