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From Charles Heintz Vineyards: Getting to Know Winegrower Charlie Heintz and the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from His Very Special Vineyard

2012 Charles Heintz Vineyards Sonoma Coast Syrah

13.8% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.59, 200 cases, $46. Aged 11 months on lees in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of purple and black berry compote with a subtle pine forest and floral scent. Very soft, smooth and elegant on the palate, with driving flavors of blue and purple berries, plum and peppery spice. Mid weight plus in heft with soft tannins, juicy acidity and a lengthy finish of impressive intensity. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Migration Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 510 cases, $55. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of dried papaya, guava, apple and oak. Soft and slightly viscous on the palate with flavors of citrus and pear. Elegant and gentle, even a bit shy in fruit intensity. Easy to drink, but lacks a spark of acidity. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.9% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.70, $55. Aged 14 months in 25% new French oak. · Moderately deep yellow corn color and clear in the glass. The nose offers aromas of buttered brioche, nectarine, baked apple and grilled pineapple. The wine already has a somewhat aged character, with flavors of lemon, banana, grilled yellow peach and nutty caramel. Smooth and somewhat rich in the mouth, with modest acidic vibrancy. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Littorai Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc.. · Pale golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Complex nose offering scents of lemon, poppyseed, oak and petroleum. Soft, smooth and seamless on the palate with flavors of lemon, burnt marshmallow and a flinty minerality. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.4% alc.. · Moderate golden yellow and clear in the glass. Intriguing nose featuring a bouquet of cashew butter, caramel brittle, peach and walnuts. Soft on the palate with a smooth finish offering a vibrant flavor attack of yellow peach, baked pear, nuts and honey. Very enjoyable and impressive freshness for a ten-year-old Chardonnay. Can easily go another five years. Much better than a bottle tasted in April 2014. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Lucienne: Very Special Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands

2012 Lucienne Doctor’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.63, 640 cases, $50. This vineyard consistently produces the most robust fruit that translates into wines that show intense dark fruit flavors and significant tannins. Clones are Jack 16, 777 and 667. Aged 13 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately deep purple color in the glass. The initially shy nose becomes more exuberant over time offering aromas of dark berry compote, black cherry, black currant and oak-driven toast and vanilla. The wine offers the most intensely sappy fruit in the 2012 lineup, with pleasing flavors of blackberry, black cherry and black currant. The tannins are well matched and supportive, and the mouthfeel is smooth and accommodating. The wine becomes more expressive over time in the glass. When tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was still aromatic with plenty of slightly spicy and smoky berry and cherry fruit, and a silken smooth texture. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Lucienne Hook Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.85, TA 0.60, $50. The first Hook Vineyard designate.The farthest south of Hahn’s four SLH vineyards. Clone 115. Aged 14 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of black cherry, strawberry, cardamom spice, and subtle smoky oak. Mid weight flavors of red and black cherry, raspberry, plum and red licorice really explode over time in the glass. A riff of smoky oak adds support, the tannins are nicely balanced, and the mouthfeel is silky. Plenty of sweet fruit surfaces on the generous finish. Still flavorful and soft on the palate the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Lucienne Lone Oak Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.60, 588 cases, $50. Clones are 667, 115 and Pommard 5. Harvest Brix 27.5º. Aged 13 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Comforting aromas of cherry, strawberry, red currant, wilted rose petal and sandalwood. A bit lighter in weight, featuring redder fruits including strawberry, cranberry and cherry. Smooth in the mouth and on the finish, with plenty of oak at play in the background. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Lucienne Smith Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.80, TA 0.63, 1,149 cases, $50. This vineyard is south of Doctor’s Vineyard and at a higher elevation is less affected by early morning fog than any of Hahn’s vineyards. Clones are Calera, Jardini and Mt. Eden. Harvest Brix 26.2º. Aged 12 months in 42% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very appealing scent of dark red strawberries, blackberries, black currant and spice are echoed on the palate which is very polished. This wine is silky smooth and seductive, with impeccable oak integration. The finish is the most generous and lengthy of all the four 2012 Lucienne Pinot Noirs. I would rate it even higher, except for a slight sense of heat on the finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Formaglini Vineyards

2012 Formaglini Vineyards La Quercia Block Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 100 cases, $42. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately deep Bing cherry color in the glass. This medium weight wine has plenty of concentration to satisfy, with both a fruity (black raspberry, boysenberry) and savory (herbs, bramble) component. The nose draw you in with bright aromas of dark berry compote, forest floor and spicy herbs. The wine is elegant, with a silky texture, supple tannins, and enough juicy acidity to make you want to take another sip. It holds up nicely over time in the glass, and finishes with good exuberance. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted Wines

2013 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc

13.8% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.59, 85,000+ cases, $14, screwcap. A signature wine from Ferrari-Carano that is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley. Whole cluster crushed and pressed into stainless steel tanks for 48 hours of cold settling. The juice is either transferred to stainless steel tanks or older French oak barrels for fermentation. The wine in barrels is sur lie aged and stirred every week for 1 month. · Pale yellow-gold color and clear in the glass. Inviting aromas of peach, kiwi and lemon lead to crisp flavors of white peach, pear and lemon drop. A nicely balanced wine with good staying power on the palate, and a sleek finish that offers notes of peach, apple, tropical fruits and subtle nutty oak. Very easy to like with no imposing grassy character found in some Sauvignon Blanc wines. I put the opened, unused wine in the refrigerator and it was still singing several days later. Widely distributed. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Panther Creek Willamette Valley Pinot Gris

13.5% alc., 1,500 cases, $18. 100% stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation. Olsen, Wildewood and Kramer vineyards. · Light golden yellow color with a slight orange rim tinge in the glass. Shy aromas of yellow apple, pear and nuts. A pleasing food wine with modestly weighted flavors of pear, apple, and white peach. Smooth on the palate with a good cut of acidity. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Panther Creek Winemaker’s Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 1,290 cases, $30. A vineyard blend from Van Duzer and Amity vineyards. Aged 9 months in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak. · Moderately deep reddish purple color in the glass. Riper fruited with aromas of dark red cherries and berries, a little earthy flora, and even a touch of prune. Impressive attack and finish of dark red cherry, pomegranate and plum flavors. Well-structured with a suave presence and adept oak management. Finishes with a good charge of black cherry fruit. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Woodenhead Dolinsek Ranch Russian River Valley Syrah

15.0% alc., 75 cases, $40. I don’t review many Syrahs but two very good ones showed up in this issue. · Dark, dense purple color in the glass. Explosive aromas arrive over time including blackberries, boysenberries, spice, smoke and vanilla. Plush, velvety and fruity on the palate with a delicious sap load of purple berries accented with spice. Full-bodied and hedonistic, but balanced, with complimentary oak in the background and a smash mouth finish of great intensity. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Paul Lato “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $65. Unfiltered. · Moderate deep red color in the glass. Initially very smoky on the nose and palate, fading over time in the glass. The aromas of black raspberry, cherry and strawberry are accented with a hint of Moroccan spice and smoke. Light to mid weight flavors of dark cherries and raspberries with a slight smoky undertone. The tannins are very suave, the wine is easy to drink, and there is an appealing cherry note on the moderately long finish. The following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was somewhat stemmy and herbal. I tried to like this wine, and revisited it several times, but it did not offer as much pleasure as I would like. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Paul Lato “Atticus” John Sebastiano Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $70. Unfiltered. · Moderate Bing cherry color in the glass. The scent of fresh berries is long and persistent and the slightest oak adds a compliment. Soft as an angel’s hair and very plush on the palate with mid weight plus flavors of spiced dark raspberry and blueberry. Oak provides just the right amount of seasoning, and the finish has some respectable length. The texture really stands out in this wine. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Paul Lato “Happiness” Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $70. Unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color with a garnet rim in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of dark stone and berry fruits. Mid+ weight fruit core of blackberry, black grape and black currant flavors. A bit rustic, beefy and earthy, with modest tannins and some finishing length. The most robust and darkest fruited of the Paul Lato wines tasted on this day. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Paul Lato “Seabiscuit” Zotovich Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $75. Unfiltered. · Moderately dark purple color in the glass. This wine is blessed with effusive aromas of cherry, plum, and a lash of oak vanillin. The charge of fruit is delicious with flavors of dark cherry pie glaze, Hoison sauce, and clove. Noticeable polish and balance with dry, sandy tannins creating textural interest. The amazing burst of fruit on the finish lasts and lasts and sealed the deal for me. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Paul Lato Pisoni Vineyard “Lancelot” Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $85. Unfiltered. · Moderate red color with purple highlights in the glass. Wines from this vineyard are usually broad shouldered but this offering is suave and modest in weight with aromas and flavors of cherry, raspberry and pomegranate. The wine is well-crafted with balanced tannins, a dreamy texture and some finishing burst of cherry fruit. My only nit is that the finish is slightly hot. After a day, the wine was much more expressive indicating it has a way to go to fully reveal itself. Give this wine another year or two in the cellar. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Panther Creek Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 749 cases, $50. A barrel selection consisting of 72% Lazy River Vineyard and 28% Freedom Hill Vineyard fruit. Aged 18 months in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of red pie cherries, strawberries and spicy oak lead to an elegant, even delicate wine, offering flavors of red fruits, spice and oak. Reflects the vintage, with a paucity of fruit stuffing and ripeness. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Panther Creek Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 197 cases, $50. Aged 16 months in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of black cherry, spice and a touch of caramelized oak. The tasteful core of black cherry, black currant and black raspberry fruit is burdened by a heavy oak overlay with prominent flavors of smoke and tobacco. Discreetly concentrated with some finishing intensity. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Cobb Coastlands Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 175 cases, $75. From a 14-acre vineyard near Occidental. A variety of selections and rootstocks. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of dark cherry reduction sauce and sandalwood. On the lighter side, this cherrydriven wine is very elegant and charming. There is some cedary oak overlay and a slightly confected cherry theme on the finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2000 Kalin Cellars Livermore Valley Semillon

13.8% alc., $30. Current release. Sourced from old vines planted in the 1880s from Chateau d’Yquem cuttings at the Wente Estate Vineyard in Livermore. 75% Semillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels. · Golden yellow color in the glass. Appealing aromas of pear, butterscotch and vanilla custard, with equally inviting flavors of ripe tropical fruits, apricots, roasted nuts and honey. The mouth feel is viscous and sensuous. Fully mature, and drinking at its apogee, this dry wine can easily age another 10 years. Pair with spicy food or richer sauced fish and shellfish dishes. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


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

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

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