Download 10.7 (PDF)

Reviewed Wines from the current Newsletter
PinotFile 10/7

From Tastes of World of Pinot Noir

2014 Left Coast Cellars Willamette Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir

$18. A saignée of Pinot Noir, aged in neutral French oak barrels and stainless steel. · Moderate pink color in the glass. Fresh strawberry, cranberry and cherry flavors, fueled by bracing acidity, and finishing dry and tight. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Charles Heintz Vineyards Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir

$19. I think winemaker Hugh Chappelle has a gift for producing Pinot Noir Rosé as I find his offerings at Heintz and previously at Lynmar to be California’s best examples. The wine sells out quickly. · Modest pink in color in the glass. Aromas of fresh wild strawberries, blood oranges and peaches echoed on the palate that is vivid, bracing and thirst-quenching. Maybe the most versatile wine on the planet. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Left Coast Cellars Willamette Valley White Pinot Noir

$20. A brand new release for this hugely popular white wine. Stock up for summer. Vinfiied in stainless steel from free run juice of Pommard and Wädenswil Pinot Noir grapes. · Refreshing aromas of white stone fruits, honeyed pears and floral bouquet lead to bright, crisp and refreshing flavors that echo the nose. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Burn Cottage Central Otago Pinot Noir

Ted Lemon was pouring this wine at WOPN and he told me he has been involved as a consultant with this project for 12 years. The interesting images on the label are from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s biodynamic allegory “The Green Snake & the Beautiful Lily.” · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Pretty showy, with hi-tone aromas of cherries jubilee, black raspberry and spice. The medium weight dark fruit core is sappy and plush, yet vibrant and elevating. The 2010 vintage was also offered for tasting and was lighter in weight and more savory, although still very satisfying. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Carr Single Clone 114 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Only two barrels produced of this unusual wine. Single clone 114 Pinot Noirs are rare. · An impressive wine notable for the harmony between fruit, tannin, acidity and oak. It tasted of freshly picked Pinot Noir grapes. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Cotiere Laetitia Vineyard Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

13.8% alc.. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. A cherry-driven wine with a savory streak in the background due to whole cluster inclusion. The fruit is framed by balanced tannins and driven by lively acidity, finishing with thirst-quenching tart cherry goodness. Very smooth in the mouth. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Cotiere Presqu’ile Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc.. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Fresh cherry aromas and flavors abound in this wine with a good mid palate attack, soft tannins, and a juicy, persistent finish. A savory herbal thread from whole cluster inclusion brings up the background. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Cotiere Riverbench Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc.. · Light red cherry color in the glass. Demure, but pleasing aromas of cherry, sandalwood and toast. Light to mid weight flavors of fresh cherry pie glaze and savory herbs. Supple tannins make for easy enjoyability. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 DELLA Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

A real standout and not surprising as this vineyard is the source of so many grand Pinot Noirs that it is deserving of grand cru status. This wine is very polished and appealing with mid weight flavors of iced cherries, spice and sandalwood. Still a bit tightly wound, but promises a great future. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 DELLA Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

A very solid offering reflecting the Russian River Valley propensity for luscious Bing cherry fruit, cola and spice character. Well-crafted, with good lift and finishing drive. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 DELLA Terra De Promissio Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

A vineyard in the Petaluma Gap sourced by Kosta Browne for several years. · More earthy, feral and floral than the RRV offering, with substantial tannins making it less accessible at this early juncture. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Failla Occidental Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The dreamy aromas of cherry pie and brown baking spices are intoxicating. Impressive harmony and flavor, featuring mid weight black cherry and black raspberry fruits with good tension and slightly steely acidity. Impressive finishing drive and length. I really liked this wine for its bright demeanor. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Senses Hillcrest Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Vineyard is just outside town of Occidental adjacent Charles Heintz Vineyard. Home to the original Chardonnay plantings in the Sonoma Coast, it has been replanted to Pinot Noir in 2005 to Calera, Swan, “828,” and 115. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. This wine was love at first sip, with a discreetly concentrated array of fresh fruit flavors accented with spice and oak seasoning. Silky in the mouth with suave tannins and a driving, uplifting finish flush with fruit. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Senses Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Sourced from the same vineyards as the 2012 vintage that was previously reviewed in this newsletter but 2013 was a slightly warmer year. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Strikingly soft in the mouth and very easy to like, with flavors of Bing cherries, raspberries and spice. Very forward and embracing. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Sinor-LaVallee San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir

$30, screwcap. Beginning with this vintage, all Sinor-LaVallee wines are from the winery’s estate Bassi Vineyard in Avila Beach planted to 8 clones of Pinot Noir and other varieties. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. A pleasing medley of red and black fruits blended with modest but supportive tannins, and backed by vibrant acidity, making for easy and early drinking. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Crossbarn By Paul Hobbs Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $35, screwcap. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is more savory than fruity with appealing scents of cherry, spice, forest floor and fern leaf. More elegant and transparent and less boisterous than the Sonoma Coast bottling, yet delivers plenty of vivid black cherry flavor accented by smoky oak. Soft and sleek in the mouth, and still a bit reserved, but has a promising future. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Crossbarn By Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $35, screwcap. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. An intensely dark fruited wine with contributions of spice, bramble, and oak. Full-bodied, with firm tannins and a sweet, sappy finish. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Big Basin Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 325 cases, $36. A stunning modestly priced offering sourced from the winery’s single vineyard sources in Corralitos and Bonny Doon (Lester Family and Coast Grade) 50% whole cluster, indigenous yeast fermentation, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 15% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · The whole cluster goodness makes an impression on the nose with plenty of rose petal and spice aromas enhancing the red berry fruit. The tannins are firm but tucked in, and the finish is reasonably long and satisfying. An everyday wine for the table. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Laetitia Whole Cluster Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $42. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of cherries, red rose petal, and exotic spices. Mid weight plus core of well-spiced black cherry and black raspberry fruits with a little note of Dr. Pepper and edible flower. Velvety smooth with reigned-in tannins and a satisfying finish. Extraordinary! Score: 94+. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Carr The Yard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.

14%, 195 cases, $50 (2013). An interesting vertical of the 2007 (first Carr release), 2008 and 2013 vintages was offered from this unique vineyard that was originally planted in 1988 but abandoned. The 18-acre site was rescued and rehabilitated by Ryan Carr. · Deep reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of earth-kissed black cherry. Sumptuous flavors of black cherry and blackberry with a beefy streak underneath. Well-crafted with supportive tannins and a silky, fruit-laden finish. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 EnRoute Les Pommiers Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $70. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir featuring aromas and flavors of Bing cherries. Fairly bold, with integrated tea-like tannins, generous but not intrusive oak seasoning, and a juicy finish replete with sweet black cherry and dark berry fruits. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Center of Effort Rossa Corsa Edna Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.. Winemaker Mike Sinor is a consultant for this label. 100% whole cluster, native yeast fermentation, clones 2A and Mariafeld 23. Aged 19 months in once-filled French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is somewhat brooding but welcoming with deep aromas of dark fruits, sous-bois and spice. Very luscious and satiny on the palate with a mid weight core of luscious blackberry, cassis and black plum flavors. Burly, but with good harmony in a hedonistic California style. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Maggy Hawk Afleet Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Pommard clone. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The boldest and most tannic wine in the 2012 Maggy Hawk lineup. Very ripe flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and sassafras with a modest toasty oak seasoning. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Maggy Hawk Hawkster Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Clone 2A. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of red berries and herbs. Delicious array of dark fruits dance on the palate including black cherry and black raspberry with a hint of pain grille. Modest tannins make for easy drinking now. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Maggy Hawk Jolie Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

312 cases. Clone 115. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A harmonious, highly enjoyable wine that offers scents of black cherry and sous-bois and a deeply flavored cherry core. The tannins are suave, the mouthfeel is satiny, and the finish returns for many encores over a minute. Score: 94+. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Maggy Hawk Unforgettable Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Clone 667. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is a walk in the forest with aromas of sous bois, wild berries and mushrooms. Delicious flavors of dark stone and berry fruits with a note of iron and spice. Finishes juicy with explosive drive. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Saxon-Brown Sangiacomo Roberts Road Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of dark red berries and a touch of bramble. Mid weight plus deeply flavored berry and cherry fruits with a savory oak note in the background. Velvety in the mouth with some finishing drive. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ten Acre Jenkins Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Effusive aromas of black raspberry and spice. Mid weight flavors of black raspberry and blackberry fruits with some earthiness and oak seasoning. Structured, with slightly grippy tannins on the persistent finish. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ten Acre Ramona’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep perfume of black cherry, spice and sous-bois. Rich and luscious on the palate with a charge of robust, sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit. The tannins are tucked in, and the mouthfeel is soft and caressing. A hedonistic style of Pinot Noir. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Schug Schug Estate Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $30. · Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of oak-dusted cherry and strawberry with a savory streak in the background. Juicy, refreshing finish. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Alma Rosa Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.97% alc., 918 cases, $35, screwcap. The best value priced Pinot Noir offering I tasted at this year’s WOPN. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of Damsel plum, raspberry and spice with medium weight flavors of sappy black cherry and raspberry fruits with a note of grilled mushrooms, framed by modest tannins. Very easy approachability. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Seagrape “Jump Up” Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

$36. Clones 667 and 777 from two vineyards. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Nice finesse and balance in a red fruit driven wine with pleasing spice and supple tannins. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Brooks Janus Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

$38. The winery’s flagship wine that is the richest and most intense blend offered. · In a vintage like 2012, this wine really shines. Abundant waves of dark cherry fruit attack the mid palate, holding court through a long and expansive finish. Beautifully balanced, with juicy, refreshing acidity and modest tannins. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 2,923 cases, $38. 2012 was a remarkable vintage for Pinot Noir in the Anderson Valley and this wine reflects it beautifully. Aged 14 months in 100% French oak barrels, 44% of which were new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty to like about this wine which offers luscious cherry and pomegranate flavors enhanced with notes of herbs and anise. Bright and juicy, and very welcoming, with an elegant demeanor. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $38. Extended maceration and 16 months of barrel aging. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Bright cherry aromas with generous oak overlay. Generous and forward, with a charge of ripe cherry fruit on the mid palate, holding on through a fruitdriven finish. Better oak integration on the palate. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Seagrape Rancho La Vina Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $40. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of crushed wild berries, spice and loam. Very appealing flavors of red berries, cherries and savory herbs with a spicy note showing up on the generous finish. The tannins are tucked in, and the wine delivers an easy-going, velvety and elegant drinking experience. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Big Basin Vineyards Coastview Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 240 cases, $44. 20% whole cluster, indigenous yeast, aged 15 months in French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Tighter and more tannic than the other wines tasted on this day, but still offering impressive flavor and nuance. The aromas are quite floral with hints of cherry and herbs. Modest in weight, but flavorful, with notes of spiced cherry, anise and pain grille, building in intensity to a lavish and long-lived finish. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Big Basin Vineyards Lester Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 220 cases, $44. 42% whole cluster, indigenous fermentation, aged 15 months in French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Aromatically inviting with scents of rose petal, exotic spices, anise and dark raspberries. Generous on the attack and finish, with fresh flavors of dark cherry and berry that expand in the mouth. Very suave in the mouth with beautifully integrated tannins. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Hilliard Bruce Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

600 cases, $45. Clones 76 and 96. Barrel fermented (30% new French oak), full malolactic fermentation. · Light golden straw color in the glass. My favorite Chardonnay tasted at WOPN. Invigorating aromas of lemon-lime, apple and subtle nutty oak lead to a highly flavorful core of white stone fruits, lemon oil and caramel flavors. Slightly creamy, with a lasting finish fueled by mineral-driven acidity. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Left Coast Cellars Suzanne’s Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 850 btls, $45. Aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 75% new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers a pleasing combination of cherry, strawberry, herbs, and wood spice aromas. Very soft and supple in the mouth with a delicious mid weight core of black cherry and black raspberry fruits supported by a lively acid spine. The large amount of new oak is beautifully integrated. Very refreshing and uplifting. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Trombetta Family Wines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 500 cases, $45. Sourced from Petersen Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap region. Clones 115 and 667 planted in 1996. Harvest Brix 26.5º. Native yeast fermentation and native MLF, extended cold soak and maceration, aged 9 months in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Admirable transparency in the mid weight wine with fresh, up front red fruits underpinned by silky tannins. There are appealing notes of spice and, herbs and oak vanillin. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Baxter Valenti Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

$48. Vineyard is high upon Greenwood Ridge above the fog line and bathed in sunshine while moderation from the nearby ocean keeps grape maturation slow and steady. 30% whole cluster. · Moderately light red cherry color in the glass. Aromas of cherries, strawberries, spice and herbal tea. Flavors of black stone fruits and pomegranate with a riff of savory herbal notes in the background. The fine-grain, lithe tannins and juicy acidity make for easy drinking. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Big Basin Vineyards Alfaro Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 145 cases, $48. 43% whole cluster, indigenous yeast fermentation, aged 15 months in French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · A savory wine of great interest with plenty of spice and floral nuances supplementing the core of red and black berry and cherry fruits. Impressive phenolic ripeness at this alcohol level with enough sappy fruit to satisfy any Pinot drinker. The stem tannins are firm and slightly astringent and need time to integrate. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Navarro Vineyards Deep End Blend Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $49. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, alpine strawberry, spice cabinet and red rose petal leap from the glass, holding court over an extended time in the glass. Very showy and glorious mid weight plus core of black cherry, black raspberry and spice flavors. Impeccable harmony, with an extended, expansive finish that puts a smile on your face. Extraordinary! Score: 94+. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Phelps Creek Cuvee Alexandrine Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir

$49 · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Sexy and alluring in the glass, with a panoply of spicy cherry fruit, crafted with admirable tannin support and juicy acidity. This is one of those Pinot Noirs that grabs your attention and your heart. Score: 94+. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 RN Estate Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 195 cases, $55. 113, 115 and 667. 35% whole cluster. Aged 11 months in French oak, 100% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Extravagant aromas of cherry, strawberry, red rose petal and sandalwood. Uplifting and vibrant with bright red fruit flavors enhanced by exotic spices from whole cluster inclusion. The tannins are well managed and the refreshing finish has good length. Still young but hard to resist now. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Papapietro Perry Peter’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $56. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, strawberry and spice lead to a generous attack of cherry fruit that coats the mouth and hangs on through a big finish. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Merry Edwards Coopersmith Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. $57. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Ripely fruited, with scents of dark berries, Bing cherries and sandalwood. Full-bodied flavors of black cherry with hints of anise and tea, finishing with some generosity and a touch of warmth. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Merry Edwards Meredith Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $57. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Toasty black cherry aromas and rich black cherry, plum and pomegranate flavors. Very fruity with balanced tannins and fruit-driven finish. A luscious, rich California style. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Phelps Creek “Corduroy” Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir Blanc

$59. You might balk at the price of this wine but it is a wine with serious intentions that is one of the most stunning examples of this little-produced style of Pinot Noir. · Strawberry, white peach, pear and spice aromas and flavors are vibrant and clean. Moderately rich with good structure and finishing goodness. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Baxter Oppenlander Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir

$60. 100% whole cluster. Aged in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing whole cluster accents of spice and rose petal goodness on the nose and palate. Bold flavors of earth-kissed darker fruits unencumbered by oak with a freshness and vivaciousness that appeals. Somewhat brooding and in need of decanting. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Beauregard Coast Grade Vineyard ‘828’ Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

120 cases, $60. Vineyard is located in Bonny Doon (Ben Lomond subregion) and is owned and farmed by Jim Beauregard. This 17-acre vineyard was planted in 2008 at 1,238’ to 1,350’ elevation and is heavily influenced by nearby Monterey Bay. 50% whole cluster. Aged in 50% new American oak. It’s rare if ever you meet a Pinot Noir aged in a significant amount of American Oak, much less one made with a single ‘828’ clone. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. A pleasant surprise with aromas and flavors of fresh blackberry, cassis and pomegranate. Discreetly concentrated with a likable touch of whole cluster spice complimenting the fruit. A saline-driven minerality plays in the background. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 FEL Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 645 cases, $65. Inaugural release. 7-day cold soak and 7-day extended post-fermentation maceration. Aged 14 months in 100% French oak barrels, 56% of which were new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Bold aromas of black cherry, toast and spice echoed on the discreetly concentrated palate that sports firm, ripe tannins. The wine really grabs your attention now, but will develop further over time. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Trombetta Family Wines Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 872 cases, $65. Clones 777, ‘828,” and Swan selection. Yield 2.3 tons per acre. Harvest Brix 27.8º-29.8º. Native yeast fermentation and native MLF, extended cold soak and maceration, aged 9 months in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very ripe fruited with aromas and flavors of sweet black cherry, black raspberry and pomegranate framed by imposing, sinewy tannins. Highly extracted and sappy with a compliment of oak and fruit-dominated length. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Reuling Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $70. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Impressive harmony in this mid weight plus wine with gorgeous black cherry and pomegranate fruits backed by fine-grain tannins. Velvety in the mouth, with a really expansive finish that delivers a lasting impression. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Brewer-Clifton Machado Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 675 cases, $74. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Highly nuanced nose with scents of dark strawberry, plum, black raspberry, spice and rose petal. Darker fruits are featured on the palate which features some allspice and stem. The suave tannins are well integrated and the wine finishes with admirable fruit drive, although a hint of alcoholic warmth peaks out. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Brewer-Clifton 3-D Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $80. · Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Wonderful aromas of whole cluster spice, pine and dried rose petal. The mid weight cherry and strawberry core is bright and tasty, framed by firm but supportive tannins. A mix of red and blue berries and spice drives the pleasing, dry finish. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Brewer-Clifton Hapgood Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., $84. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of whole cluster driven spice and rose petal with a hint of redwood. Middleweight attack of ripe black cherry fruit with a subtle earthy, oaky bent and a hint of chocolate, finishing with expansive fruit flavors. Everything is in balance. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 BARDEN Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., $85. Zotovich Family, La Encantada and John Sebastiano vineyards. 30% whole cluster, ambient yeast fermentation, aged 9 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Unfined and unfiltedred. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty of oak overlay in this wine which has an appealing core of bright cherry fruit. Vivid and vibrant with zippy acidity. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Brewer-Clifton 459 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $90. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The scent of rose, spice, raspberry and cherry is appealing but the wine is a bit linear and disjointed on the palate. The mid weight black cherry, blackberry and dark chocolate brooding flavors are framed by leathery tannins and their is a sense of alcohol warmth on the finish. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Brooks Temperance Hill Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.2% alc., 200 cases, $48. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Reflecting the very cool 2011 vintage, this is a very elegant and demure offering of red fruits, spice and herbs. Bright, with lithe tannins and sparkling acidity. This wine will appeal to connoisseurs more than hedonists. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Panthea Londer Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 200 cases, $38. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Well-balanced, with aromas and flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and sandalwood. Modest in weight with mild tannins and a short but pleasing finish. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Phelps Creek Cuvee Alexandrine Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir

French vigneron Alexandrine Roy leaves her estate in Gevrey-Chambertin to craft this special wine made from hand-selected rows, using native yeast and foot punch downs. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Delicate and demure, but enough fresh fruit flavor to hold your interest, and nicely reflecting this very cool vintage. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2000 Arcadian Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

This is not a misprint! · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. A fine aged wine with aromas of black cherry liquor, tobacco, dried herbs and dark chocolate. Secondary characters of leather and herbs accent the sweet, dried cherry core. Juicy acidity, melded tannins and some finishing drive. (2001, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008 Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir are still for sale on the winery’s website - $75-$100) Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Father John Pinot Noir Flusters Burgundians

2012 Father John Oehlman Vineyard Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $55. Partially de-stemmed. Aged 11 months sur lie in French oak barrels. Fined but not filtered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Effusive and persistent aromas of cherry, cranberry, raspberry and spice. Silky and satisfying on the palate with mid weight flavors of cherry, cranberry and pomegranate underlain with a subtle savory herb, oak and citrus note in the background. Admirable freshness, with juicy acidity, suave tannins, and a long cherry-driven finish. A relatively demure interpretation of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir that oozes pinotosity. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recent Sips of Pinot Noir & A Few Whites

2014 Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Gris

13.2% alc., pH 4.2, RS 0.57, 17,000 cases, $17, screwcap. Ponzi was one of the pioneers of this varietal, with first plantings in 1978. The wine is produced from certified sustainable Ponzi Aurora, Avellana and Estate Vineyards, as well as multiple other vineyards. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, malolactic fermentation prohibited. · Very light platinum gold and clear in the glass. Invigorating aromas of fresh apple, lychee, pear, marzipan and wet chalkboard. Clean, crisp and refreshing, with flavors of lemon oil, mango, pear and apple, finishing with a bright cut of acidity. A versatile wine that will enliven a variety of foods or satisfy on its own. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Ponzi Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé

13.2% alc., pH 3.25, RS 0.34, 1,500 cases, $20, screwcap. A blend of fruit from Merten and Dion vineyards, and saignée from Ponzi’s finest Pinot Noir lots. 100% de-stemmed, stainless steel tank fermentation, malolactic fermentation inhibited. · Moderately deep pink salmon color in the glass. Perfume of fresh strawberries, crushed cranberries and rose petal lead to pleasing flavors of strawberry, cherry and white stone fruits. The experience is like biting into a fresh, ripe strawberry. Clean and vivid, with balanced acidity and a dry finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Underwood Oregon Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $10. From Union Wine Co.. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry and potpourri hold up over time in the glass. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry, black raspberry, black tea and red licorice. An easy drinker with soft tannins that displays more than an ideal amount of oak overlay. Hard to complain at this price. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Pali Wine Co. Bluffs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 1,977 cases, $22.50, screwcap. Sourced from Windsor Oaks and Rockin’ B vineyards. Small lot fermentation. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 30% new. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. Brooding aromas of Bing cherry and dark red rose petal. The generous core of crushed cherry flavor is complimented by hints of Coca-Cola and spice. Somewhat jammy, with muscular fine-grain tannins that overwhelm the fruit. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Pali Wine Co. Huntington Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 3,861 cases, $22.50, screwcap. Sourced from Lucas & Lewellyn, Bent Rock, Radian and Pence Ranch vineyards. Aged 12 months in 100% French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. A cherry-driven wine with added notes of raspberry and cola in a middleweight style with well-integrated tannins. The fruit is luscious and very satisfying, finishing with some intensity. Oak shows up in the background over time in the glass. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Farmstead Long Meadow Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $29. Grapes were sourced from vineyards in Freestone. Primary fermentation in stainless steel followed by malolactic fermentation in neutral oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting perfume of crushed berries, cherries, brown spices, herbs and sandalwood. Soft in the mouth, with a pleasing attack of cherry and raspberry fruits accented with notes of cola, sarsaparilla, and savory herbs. Commendable finesse and harmony, and easy to cozy up to. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Pali Wine Co. Summit Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

15.3% alc., 2,460 cases, $29, screwcap. Bent Rock, Radian, Rancho La Vina and Huber vineyards. Small lot fermentations. Aged 12 months in 100% French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, spice, potpourri, smoke and toast. Tasty mid weight flavors of spiced black cherry with noticeable oak overlay. Intensely fruity, but still nimble and easy to drink. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Owen Roe The Kilmore Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $37. Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The scents of black cherry, spice box, cardamom and wine cave are alluring. Very attractive flavors of red and black cherries and a hint of strawberries. Juicy, with balanced and supple tannins and a cherry force that lingers on the finish. A superb forward-drinking wine that always delivers in every vintage. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Cutruzzola Gloria San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.59, 441 cases, $40. 10% whole cluster, inoculated fermentation with Assmannhausen and RC212 yeasts. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Welcoming nose alive with scents of boysenberry, raspberry and a hint of herbs. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry, raspberry and boysenberry with a touch of spice and oak seasoning. Very pleasant on the palate, with a suede texture, good acid tension, finishing dry with a slight grip of tannin. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Masút Vineyards & Winery Estate Vineyard Eagle Peak Mendocino County Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 1,500 cases, $40. Higher alcohol do to a heat spike in September. 94% clone 115 and 6% clone 23. Whole berry de-stemmed into open-top fermenters for a 16 to 20-day fermentation. Aged 15 months sur lie in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of black cherries and cedary oak. Intense attack of mid weight black raspberry, ollaliberry and blackest cherry fruits back by a subtle tug of oak. Incredibly gorgeous fruit back by firm tannins that are tucked in. Soft and smooth in the mouth, finishing with impressive drive and length. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 The Withers Peters Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 13.3% alc., $42. This vineyard was planted in 1991 and 1996 on land that was previously an apple orchard. It is located southwest of Sebastopol. Clones are Pommard, 115 and 777. Fermented with 35% whole cluster and ambient yeasts at cool temperatures after a cold soak. Aged in 20% new French oak barrels. Racked once before bottling, unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate cherry red hue in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, cranberry and earth are echoed on the palate with an additional hint of cola and citrus. The tannins are well-matched and the finish is thirst-quenching. When tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose had become more earthy and herbal and the wine was soft and pleasant in the mouth with a cherry theme. A solid, but not exceptional wine. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 The Withers Charles Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 300 cases, $44. Clones include Pommard, 115 and 667. Fermented with 35% whole cluster and ambient yeasts at cool temperature after a cold soak. About 15% new French oak barrels. Racked once before bottling, unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. This wine was rather brooding and bland with aggressive tannins upon opening, improving some in the glass, but really achieved expression two days after opened when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Fresh aromas of blackberry, black cherry and spice were followed on the palate with a ripe array of red cherry and berry flavors accented with spice and herbs, and framed by supportive fruit tannins. A remarkable transformation that proves again that Pinot Noir is an elusive challenge to evaluate. Decant this wine if you must pull the cork now. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Black Kite Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.64, 236 cases, $45. · Very light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Compared to the Soberanes Chardonnay, this wine is more mineral-driven with scents of salt air, green apple, and lemon meringue pie, reaching more intensity over time in the glass. Refined, crisp and refreshing, with plenty of apple, lemon and tangerine fruit flavors to satisfy. Very polished with admirable oak seasoning showing up as a touch of caramel. An excellent food wine that can also satisfy on its own. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Black Kite Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.74, 195 cases, $45. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. A delightful, oak-infused, bold, full malolactic style of Chardonnay that offers an array of aromas including yellow apple, pear, lemon oil, spice, and toasty oak, and heady flavors of lemon, pineapple, apple, and toasty brioche. Slightly creamy, with discreet richness, finishing dry with oak-kissed, lemon drop goodness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 The Withers English Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., 145 cases, $46. This vineyard in Occidental was planted in 2005. Clones include Vosne Romanee, 115 and 667. Fermented with 35% whole cluster and ambient yeasts at cool temperatures after a cold soak. Aged in about 15% new French oak barrels. Racked once before bottling, unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate cherry red color in the glass. Lovely perfume of whole cluster-inspired spice, bark and rose petal enhancing the fresh cherry fruit. Mid weight flavors of spiced cherry and sandalwood, with modest backing tannins and a juicy finish. Admirable smoothness on the palate and very harmonious. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.4% alc., 5,750 cases, $55. Estate grown from Freestone Vineyards. 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged 13 months in 100% French oak barrels and puncheons, 35% new and 65% 2-to-3-year-old. Unfiltered. · Light golden yellow color and slightly cloudy in the glass. Appealing aromas of lemon, petrichor, apple and a hint of buttery oak. Crisp flavors of green apple, lemon curd and complimentary oak seasoning framed by thirst-quenching acidity, finishing slightly tart and thoroughly dry with a lemon drop note. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Masút Vineyards & Winery Two Barrel Eagle Peak Mendocino County Pinot Noir

15.1% alc., 50 cases, $60. Favorite two barrels of the vintage. 100% clone 115. Whole berry de-stemmed into open-top fermenters for a 20-day fermentation. Aged 15 months in 100% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of fruit basket, spice and bramble. On entry, the charge of blackest cherry, blackberry, and black raspberry is delicious. Bombastic, but still nimble and balanced with well-integrated fruit tannins, and a huge finish that takes intensity up a notch. More brooding than the Estate bottling at this stage, but exhibiting more potential. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Black Kite Angel Hawk Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 190 cases, pH 3.56, TA 0.58, $85. Clones 114, 115 and Pommard. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Gorgeous label. The aromas leap from the glass, penetrating the olfactory senses with black cherry, blackberry, peat, citrus, cardamom and redwood timber scents. Luscious, but angelic on the palate, with mid weight plus flavors of black cherry and black raspberry fruits. A very sexy wine with a velvety mouthfeel, silky tannins, complimentary oak, and enough acid to energize the luscious fruit load. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, offering an incredible attack and finish and a just plain delicious drinking experience. A serious wine with intentions. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Husch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $18. Small lot fermentation. Aged 9 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry pie glaze, dried herbs and tobacco lead to mid weight flavors of black cherry and boysenberry with modest oak seasoning. Soft tannins, and a juicy, tart cherry finish with decent cut. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cutruzzola Riven Rock Vineyard San Luis Obispo County Riesling

12.5% alc., pH 3.05, TA 0.62, 440 cases, $22. A long, cool fermentation was stopped at 2.3% residual sugar to balance the pH. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Drinks like a dry wine with aromas and flavors of lemonlime (7-Up), blood orange, vanillin, petrol and rum cake. Moderately viscous with good supporting acidity. A California-styled Riesling. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Premonition Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 123 cases, $29. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of timber, floral garden and vanilla cream lead to a modest core of sweet dark cherry liquor and blackberry jam flavors. Hints of green tea and cola are in the background. Very forward, with easy tannins, and a dry, cherry-driven finish which has some alcoholic warmth. Score: 85. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Stephen Goff Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 147 cases, $42. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of cherry, raspberry and sous-bois. Intense attack of fruit with layers of very ripe black cherry and black raspberry flavors that really attract your attention. A healthy tannic backbone provides support for the fruit load. Prodigious fruit for Oregon, and more like California Pinot Noir in character and origin. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 CIRQ Treehouse Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.60, $100. Winemaker and proprietor Michael Browne’s great grandfather, Reuban Warren Simonds, graces this label. He helped put on many circus shows across the U.S. during the 1930s and 1940s. Clones 23, Swan, 37, Pommard and Calera. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely, effusive aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, vanilla and spice. The wine offers a pleasant marriage of fruit oak and an enticing texture. Very soft and approachable, with mid weight layered flavors of black cherry, raspberry, Damsel plum, and boysenberry fruits. Excellent harmony with a lasting, berry-driven finish with a kiss of oak. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Clos De La Tech Domaine Lois Louise Cote Sud Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 190 cases, $62. Sourced from the Cote Sud block at Domaine Lois Louise Vineyard. The site is fully exposed and buffeted by strong maritime winds off the Pacific Ocean 8 miles to the West. Whole cluster fermentation, native yeast, foot crushed, unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Savory aromas of earth, tobacco leaf, bramble, and wine cave with a hint of black cherry. Full-bodied flavors of black raspberry, blackberry and black current with a touch of spice. Very ripe, but gorgeous fruit that is dense and somewhat brooding at this stage, backed by firm, well-proportioned tannins. The wine finishes with plenty of fruit goodness and slight astringency. Like Burgundy wines after it is fashioned, this wine should benefit from more time in the cellar. Score: 90-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Clos De La Tech Domaine Valeta Sunny Slope Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 190 cases, $62. Vineyard site is cold and windy situated at 2,350 feet above Silicon Valley. 30 acres with 3 acres planted to vines. Whole cluster fermentation, native yeast, foot crushed, unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Somewhat vegetal on the nose reflecting the 100% whole cluster, with added notes of toasty oak and mulch. Mid weight dark red cherry and strawberry fruits with a touch of spice and sandalwood. More approachable than the Cote Sud with less fruit intensity and sap, more vibrant acidity, and showing somewhat aggressive tannins and generous sweet oak in the background. Again, this wine will benefit from further bottle aging. Score: 89-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Clos De La Tech Domaine Du Docteur Rodgers San Francisco Bay Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 102 cases, $102. Sourced from a 1-acre hilltop vineyard in the town of Woodside at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very savory nose with aromas of bramble, conifer herbal oak, spearmint, and vanilla. Oak and tannins dominate this wine at present, which offers mid weight flavors of blackberry, black cherry and pomegranate fruits. The intense, long finish is the most striking feature of this wine. Hopefully, the wine will outgrow the green thread in the background resulting from the 100% whole cluster inclusion. When tasting the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the tannins had ameliorated, but the oak still overwhelmed the fruit. Check back in five years. Score: 88-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


Robert Parker’s 100 point wine scoring system, which became popular in 1983 and adopted by the Wine Spectator in 1988, has been a homing beacon for consumers seeking to buy good wine. Currently, a majority of United States based wine critics and magazines use the 100 point scale.

The reality is that the 100 point scale is actually a 10 point scale. MORE»
A Note About Prices

Price shown in a tasting note is either the winery-direct price or the retail price paid by the Prince.