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Reviewed Wines from the current Newsletter
PinotFile 10/15

From Furthermore Pinot Noir Impresses

2013 Furthermore Eden Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.72, 125 cases, $50. 100% Mount Eden clone (thus the name of the vineyard). Harvest Brix 24.6º. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Striking aromas of fresh strawberry, cherry and sandalwood lead to a light to mid weight core of intensely flavored oak-kissed cherries. Very forward and immensely satisfying with a silky mouthfeel, the wine finishes with plenty of cherry goodness. When tasted later in the day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine had further blossomed and offered a delightful charge of cherry and spice. Plenty of Pinot singing. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Furthermore La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 100 cases, $50. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of strawberry, raspberry and woodshed. Darker fruited on the palate featuring flavors of black raspberry and pomegranate. Forward and enjoyable now, with supple tannins and a lovely velvety mouthfeel that is quite seductive. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Furthermore Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 151 cases, $50. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Reserved aromas of cherry, rose hips tea and baking spices. This wine is packed with stunning spiced cherry cola flavor that attacks with a vengeance and persists through a long, refined finish. The tannins are balanced, the texture is rich and lush, and a mild tug of oak plays in the background. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Furthermore ALCHEMY Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 88 cases, $85. A new bottling that is a special cuvée blended from a subset of the winery’s single vineyard designates. This barrel selection is meant to reflect the vintage and the terroir of the Sonoma Coast and to age well. This wine will be made only in great vintages when the magic happens. · Moderately dark violet red color in the glass. There is noticeable oak overlay in this mid weight plus wine which offers a luscious array of darker red and black fruits accented with spice, cola and dark chocolate. The mid palate attack is intense and the finish is rich and satisfying. Lay this one down for a few years to allow the oak to settle in and the aromatics to fully arrive. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From 2012 Talisman 20th Vintage Pinot Noir

NV Talisman Cuvée No. 4 North Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 242 cases, $38. Released August 1, 2015. Composed of wines from multiple vineyards and vintages. 25% whole cluster. Wild yeast fermentation. Aged in 100% French oak barrels, 60% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose leads with hi-tone black cherry and toasty oak aromas. The light to mid weight core of cherry fruit is deep and persistent, backed by significant oak overlay. A satiny texture, modest tannins and a cherry-fueled finish complete the picture. The oak tends to integrate over time in the glass and is more compatible the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine should show more balance with additional time in the cellar. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Talisman Spring Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.59, 262 cases, $44. Released June 1, 2015. This vineyard was planted in 2001, 2002 and 2003 at 600 foot elevation in far western Petaluma. Clones are 777, Pommard, and Calera. Yield 2.5 tons per acre. 30% whole cluster, native fermentation, extended maceration. Aged 21 months in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of black cherry pie glaze and complimentary toasty oak. The dark cherry core is fresh and rewarding and accented with notes of mocha and savory herbs. The tannins are modest, the wine is accordingly quite approachable now but was much better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle when the nose became much more expressive, the texture was notably soft and mellow, the tannins suave, and the bright cherry fruit nicely complimented by nutty oak. A bit of alcoholic warmth shows up on the finish. Score: 90-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Talisman Wildcat Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.60, 173 cases, $52. Released June 1, 2015. This vineyard is the highest in the area, situated at 750 feet elevation on the southern flank of the mountain range straddling both Los Carneros and Sonoma Coast appellations. It is exposed to cold and foggy air that arrives through the Petaluma Gap and from San Pablo Bay. Planted in 1998 by Nancy and Tony Lilly and their partner, Steve MacRostie in decomposed volcanic basalt to clones 115, 777 and Pommard. 25% whole cluster. Yield 2.6 tons per acre. Native yeast fermentation, extended postfermentation maceration. Aged 21 months in 100% French oak barrels, 57% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of wild berries and macerated cherries with just a hint of oak. Silky smooth on the palate with a mid weight array of dark raspberry, pomegranate and cherry flavors framed by refined tannins. There is modest oak seasoning and a healthy tannic backbone that predicts age ability. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose was still bright and pleasing and that silky smooth texture still captivated. My only nit is that a hint of alcoholic warmth creeps in slightly on the finish. Score: 91-92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Talisman Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.65, 268 cases, $65. Released June 1, 2015.This 15- acre vineyard was planted in 1992 in loamy clay and gravelly, welldrained soils at 850 to 1000 foot elevation. Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil, and selections are from Rochioli and Romanee-Conti vineyards. 25% whole cluster, native yeast fermentation, and extended post-fermentation maceration. Aged 201months in 100% French oak barrels, 64% new. · Moderately light crimson color in the glass. This wine showed a remarkable transition over night when re-tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The nose is très Pinot with scents of cherry, rose petal and spice. Light to moderate in weight, but packed with flavors of red cherry, raspberry, and spice. The tannins are silky, the oak is perfectly integrated, and the overall impression of this charming wine is elegance. This wine has more zippy acidity than the other Talisman wines reviewed on this date. Decant if you drink now, or cellar a few years for a special experience. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Talisman Badger Black Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.63, 96 cases, $75. Released July 1, 2015. This vineyard is located on a wind-blown ridge west of the town of Petaluma. Planted to a suitcase clone in 2001 at 600 feet elevation in Steinbeck loam soil. UCD clone 90. Yield 2.1 tons per acre. 30% whole cluster. Native fermentation, and extended post-fermentation maceration. Aged 21 months in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is very reserved but with coaxing, aromas of dried herbs, stem and mushrooms on the grill appear. The flavors are similarly savory with notes of herbs and earth highlighting the black cherry and black raspberry fruit. The tannins are muscular but not imposing and more integrated the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This rustic wine has very little fruit personality now, and time will be needed for full fruit expression and reduction of the tannic edge. Score: 88-89. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir

2013 Wait Cellars Devoto Garden Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., 350 cases, $N/A. Release in fall 2015. This site is on a windy ridge west of Sebastopol, renowned for its cool temperatures and fog, and well-drained Goldridge soil. Harvest Brix 22º-23º. Clones “828,” 667 and 115.25% whole cluster. Wild yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months on primary lees in 20% new French and Hungarian oak barrels, with lees stirring throughout the winter. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light crimson color in the glass. Lovely aromas of strawberry, raspberry, clove and sage. The flavors echo the nose, in an elegant style that is also crisp, with mild tannins and impeccable balance. This light and bright wine reflects its Green Valley origins and would be a perfect partner at the dinner table. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Wait Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 75 cases, $N/A. Release in fall 2015. Sourced from the cool Devoto Garden Vineyard west of Sebastopol (clones 667 and 115), and the warmer Skikos Vineyard west of Santa Rosa (clones 77 and Swan). 25% whole cluster, 5-day cold maceration. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderately light crimson color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of cherry and earthy flora. Discreetly concentrated and very juicy, with appealing flavors of black cherry, boysenberry, cola and spice. Elegantly crafted and easy to drink, with balanced tannins, vibrant acidity and a gloriously fruity finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 LUMEN Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 800 cases, $29. Sourced from several vineyards (mainly Sierra Madre Vineyard) and picked early for added vibrancy. Clones 77, 115 and Pommard 5. Harvest Brix 23.4º. 100% de-stemmed. Aged in 15% new and 85% neutral French/ Hungarian oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of Maraschino cherry and dried rose petal. Welcome attack of fresh black cherry fruit framed by complimentary oak. The tannins are nicely balanced, the fruit is lifted by tangy acidity, and the finish is uplifting and refreshing. This elegant wine is very well crafted. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 J. Lohr Fog’s Reach Arroyo Seco Monterey County Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.59, 3,321 cases, $35. Estate grown clones including Dijon 115, 667 and 777, and Pommard 4. Harvest Brix 25.8º. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 60% new. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of ripe black cherry and blackberry with a tug of vanilla. Full-bodied, but light on its feet and not overwrought, with a plush core of assorted dark berry flavors accented with highlights of oak-driven dark chocolate and espresso. The wine is velvety in the mouth with appealing balance, and although not particularly complex, the fruit and texture are seductive. A crowd pleaser for those who prefer the riper, bolder style of Pinot Noir typical of J. Lohr Pinot Noir offerings. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Manzoni Home Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 708 cases, $35. Released summer 2015. Dijon clones 115 and 777. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of strawberry, cherry and sandalwood that draw you into the glass. Very tasty, with a discreetly concentrated core of cherry fruit accented with notes of cola, spice and anise in the background. This highly approachable wine has a well-balanced tannic backbone and good finishing length, and will appeal to those who enjoy a respectable contribution of oak in their Pinot. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Belden Barns Estate Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.80, TA 0.52, 325 cases, $38. Aged 16 months in 100% French oak barrels, 42% new. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose lacks fruit expression, with oak-driven espresso the overwhelming scent. The luscious black cherry and black raspberry core of fruit is buried in oak and overwhelmed by flavors of coffee and dark chocolate, but does rise up on the lengthy finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine still smelled and tasted of coffee. This wine will appeal to those who prefer lavishly-oaked Pinot Noir. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Migration Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 19,722 cases, $38. A blend of fruit from the cooler Green Valley of Russian River Valley and slightly warmer parts of the Russian River Valley. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty of interest here with aromas of strawberry, red cherry, baking spice and toasty oak. The light to mid weight flavors of cherry, black raspberry, rhubarb and cola are quite enjoyable, albeit with a slightly confected tone. A solid, forward drinker with supple tannins, a silky texture, and a sweet cherry finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Rally Point Wines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 147 cases, $38. Released March 2015. A portion of revenues from this wine are donated to organizations that support veterans or share the winemaker’s values. Aged 8 months on the lees in French oak barrels and then racked into barrels for 3 months before bottling. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. A lighter-weight wine, even slightly dilute, with pleasant aromas and flavors of fresh cherries, dried herbs and oak. Easy to drink, with silky, supple tannins, finishing on a cherry note. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 POE Van Der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $45. This iconic vineyard, located at 1,400 feet elevation at the top of Sonoma Mountain, was planted in the late 1950s. · Moderately light crimson color in the glass. Seductive aromas of fresh cherry pie glaze, cranberries and a touch of oak. The bright black cherry core lifts the senses and the vibrancy is thirst-quenching. Nicely spiced, with modest tannins, as well as welcome elegance and balance. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle showing more flavor intensity on the palate. Impressive wine from a celebrated vineyard! Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Belden Barns Serendipity Block Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.57, 71 cases, $48. Sourced from the best pocket of the Steiner Vineyard that was inter-planted with 9 Pinot Noir clones. 100% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in 100% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A polished, light to mid weight style, with a mix of purple and black fruits framed by firm, but not terribly imposing tannins. Oak plays an insignificant role and the finish exhibits a generous burst of both sweet and citrus-imbued purple fruits. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Mansfield-Dunne Peterson Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.59, 340 cases, $48. Winemaker Ed Kurtzman. Clones “828,” 667, Pommard 5, 115 and 777. Aged 13 months in French oak barrels, 67% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas of black raspberry preserves, plum, spice and rose petal are inviting. Very charming and polished, with a mid weight core of black cherry and raspberry fruit accented with spice and a tug of oak. Easy to like, with supple tannins and a finish that has length and juicy intensity. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine is certainly enjoyable now, but further aging will allow more expression and better oak integration. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 LUMEN Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 99 cases, $49. A barrel selection. Harvest average Brix 23.7º. Clones 667 and Pommard 5. Aged in 84% neutral French oak and 16% new Hungarian oak. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. The aromas of fresh boysenberry, plum, spice and toasty oak draw you into the glass. Beautifully balanced and polished on the palate, with flavors of black raspberry, boysenberry and plum with a slight earthy undertone. The oak seasoning is complimentary, the tannins are proportional and the wine’s juicy acidity makes for refreshing drinking. The intensely aromatic spiced plum on the very long finish is especially impressive. This wine truly reflects Santa Maria Valley terroir and is the best Pinot Noir I have ever had from this vineyard. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.44, TA 0.67, 1,290 cases, $55. Released January 21, 2015. The 100-acre Hallberg Vineyard is located in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation. Mostly de-stemmed with a small portion of whole cluster. 5 to 7-day cold soak, 10 to 15-day extended maceration. Aged 14 months on the primary lees in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. This wine aims to please with aromas and flavors of red berries, blueberries, and cherries with a modicum of oak contribution. Light to mid weight in size, with appealing tension and an uplifting cut of acidity typical of Gary Farrell wines. Quite charming. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Woodenhead Kent Berry Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $N/A. · Moderately light crimson color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of red cherry, strawberry and oak spice. Light to mid weight flavors of red cherry, blueberry and pomegranate are propelled by bright acidity and framed by fine grain tannins. Easy to drink but with a bit of alcoholic heat on the finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Calista The Coast Range California Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.56, 17,000 cases, $24.99. A blend of Anderson Valley, Russian River Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands fruit. 100% de-stemmed, several day cold soak, fermentation in small, open-top fermenters, twice daily punch downs. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The inviting aromas of dark red cherries and berries lead to a middleweight, appealingly-flavored wine offering dark red and purple fruits that display some persistence on the finish. The fine grain tannins rise up on the finish and oak peeks out over time in the glass. A bit of alcoholic warmth shows up on the finish as well. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Woodenhead Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 538 cases, $45. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate light crimson color in the glass. Gorgeous nose with extravagant aromas of crush Bing cherries. Quintessential Russian River Valley flavor profile with mid weight tastes of Bing cherry, cola and spice. On the elegant side in this vintage, with good vibrancy, balanced soft tannins and complimentary oak in the background. Ready now, but impeccable balance predicts a long life ahead. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Woodenhead Buena Tierra Vineyard E Block Clone 115 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 149 cases, $75 (2 bottle limit). · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Complex aromatic profile with scents of black cherry, black raspberry, clove, cardamom, and toasty oak jumping from the glass. Delicious mid weight core of black cherry, raspberry, vanilla, and Moroccan spice goodness. Impressive polish and harmony with a satiny mouthfeel and a very long finish that returns waves of luscious oak-infused fruit flavor. Still pumping out aromatic and flavor highlights the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Littorai The Haven Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $80. This site is northwest of Occidental on the southern shoulder of a 1200-foot ridge. The soils are very diverse including sandstone, shale and gravel. Planted in 2001, this is usually the latest ripening site in the Littorai vineyard family. There is about 40 different rootstock and clonal combinations within a very small 4-acre vineyard. It is farmed using agroecological and biodynamic methods but is not certified. Yields are tiny. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Delightful perfume of ripe berry mash. Delicious mid weight plus core of perfectly ripened dark red berry and black cherry fruits. A bit earthy and savory with a hint of cola. The suede-like texture is very appealing and there is a well-proportioned tannic backbone. Beautifully balanced, this classy wine is just now showing some appeal, but will certainly be more complex and purposeful with further cellaring. Score: 93-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Calera Selleck Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 214 cases, $71. This 4.8-acre vineyard was planted in 1975. Yield 0.64 tons per acre. Native yeast fermentation. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Unfiltered. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. This wine speaks of the earth, with aromas of loamy soil, iron and oak and flavors of earth-kissed black cherry, dark raspberry, edible flower, and spice. Light to mid weight in style, with mildly firm tannins and complimentary oak in the background. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was still enticing and impressive for its balance, but the fruit aromas had still not shown up on the nose. Score: 91-92. 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.