La Pitchoune Winery

Owner(s) Peter Joachim Nielsen, Tracy Nielsen
Web site www.lapitchounewinery.com
 
Link to this site
La Pitchoune Winery

Tracy Nielsen and Peter Joachim Nielsen were inspired by a small family property in the south of France named "la pitchoune," or "the little one." The name speaks to small production, small lots and the idea that the winery's small size is its greatest asset.

Tracy was a Registered Nurse who accepted a job managing sales for a medical equipment company and moved to California. Not long after, the idea of La Pitchoune was born, and she became the assistant winemaker. Peter is a successful entrepreneur.

The winemaker is Andrew Berge.

Vineyard sources include Chenoweth Vineyards, Devoto Vineyard, English Hill Vineyard, Holder Vineyard, Van der Kamp Vineyard and Pratt Vineyards, all in Sonoma County.

Reviewed Wines

2015 La Pitchoune Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.59, 185 cases, $48. Sourced from Pratt, Chenoweth and Dutton Sullivan vineyards. Selections of Wente, Wente-Hyde, Robert Young and Mt. Eden. Harvest Brix 23.6º-23.9º. Barrel fermented and aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 10% new, 90% twice used or older. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate golden yellow color with slight cloudiness (unfiltered) in the glass. Aromas of lemon tart, peach, cold steel, old wood and a hint of flint initially. A cozy, easy to like wine, with ripe flavors of Honeycrisp apple, white peach, lemon curd, honey and a subtle bit of matchstick in the background initially. Slightly viscous in texture, with a citrus-driven finish. Considerably more enjoyable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle when the aromas of citrus, white peach and slate were singing and all evidence of reduction had disappeared. Score: 91. Reviewed February 23, 2019 ARTICLE »

2015 La Pitchoune Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.58, 298 cases, $48. Sourced from English Hill, Holder and Morris vineyards. Dijon clones 115, 667, 777 and “838.” Average harvest Brix 24.3º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, 25% once used, and 50% four years or older. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of purple grapes, boysenberry and underbrush lead off. Dense and bold in a fruit-driven mid weight plus style, with waves of dark red and purple fruits greeting the palate. A botanical thread plies the background. Nicely composed with balanced tannins and some finishing purpose. Score: 90. Reviewed February 23, 2019 ARTICLE »

2015 La Pitchoune Van der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.55, 48 cases, $58. Dijon clones 777, “828,” and a La Tache selection. Harvest Brix 22.0º and 25.5º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, 25% once used and 50% more than three years old. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of purple berry and seasoned oak. Sleek and silky on the palate, with vigorous flavors of blackberry and blueberry-pomegranate that persist through a lengthy finish. There is a savory, earthy component to the flavor profile as well. This wine has the most tannins of the four 2015 Pinot Noirs tasted, but they are not aggressive and should serve this wine well as far as age ability. Score: 92. Reviewed February 23, 2019 ARTICLE »

2015 La Pitchoune English Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.59, 48 cases, $68. Dijon 115, 667 and a Vosne-Romanée selection. Harvest Brix 23.0º and 23.4º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, 25% once used and 50% four years or older. (This vineyard is located at the northern end of the Petaluma Gap and is always windy so the skins are super thick resulting in higher phenolic levels. The higher phenolic levels can stress the yeast and this can cause a smokey character in the wine. The Vosne-Romanée selection also contributes to that character. The vineyard was also a former cattle pasture) · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of red berry jam, tobacco and smoke. The wine is blessed with plenty of cherry and cranberry fruit in a mid weight style, but not as exuberant as the Holder bottling. There is a noticeable smoky component to the flavor profile. The wine was more amendable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, but I suspect this wine needs a few years in the cellar. Definitely a terroir-driven wine. Score: 91. Reviewed February 23, 2019 ARTICLE »

2015 La Pitchoune Holder Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.58, 48 cases, $68. Vineyard is a 1.25-acre family operated site. Dijon clones 115 and 667. Harvest Brix 24.3º and 24.6º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, 25% once used and 50% four years or older. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Brooding aromas of dark berries, grape must and nutty oak develop more appeal over time in the glass. The mid weight plus purple and black berry fruits flood the mouth with goodness. Subtle oak spice adds interest. The svelte tannins make for gracious drinking, and the bold and very long finish puts this wine in an upper category. Score: 93. Reviewed February 23, 2019 ARTICLE »

2015 La Pitchoune Pratt Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.9% alc., pH 3.41, TA 0.61, 52 cases, $68. Robert Young and Mt Eden clones. Harvest Brix 23.7º. Barrel fermented, aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 33% new and 67% four years old. · Moderate golden yellow color with slight cloudiness (unfiltered) in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of oak-kissed lemon and pear. Very polished in the mouth with good fullness featuring flavors of lemon, pineapple and complimentary toasty oak. The wine finishes softly with a grapefruit-flavored flourish. Much more appealing when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 93. Reviewed February 23, 2019 ARTICLE »

2015 La Pitchoune Chenoweth Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.9% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.61, 48 cases, $88. Wente-Hyde selection. Harvest Brix 24.0º. Barrel fermented and aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% four years old. · Moderate golden yellow color with slight cloudiness (unfiltered) in the glass. Noticeable flinty, stinky aromas upon opening, decreasing over time in the glass. Fruit aromas and flavors of lemon, pineapple and yellow grapefruit with a hint of brioche, in a mildly austere but sophisticated style. Creamy in texture, with a satisfying lemony finish. Considerably more likable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle when all reductive aromas had resolved. Score: 92. Reviewed February 23, 2019 ARTICLE »

2014 la pitchoune Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.59, 225 cases, $48. Sourced from Pratt, Chenoweth and Dutton-Sullivan vineyards. Clones are selections of Wente, Wente-Hyde, Robert Young and Mt. Eden. Harvest Brix 23.4º-23,9º. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 10% new, 90% twice used or older. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Enticing aromas of lemon, pineapple, blond caramel, and caramelized banana. Vivacious on the palate, with flavors of lemon, pineapple and tropical fruits. Plenty of fruit to relish, yet energetic acidity brings an uplifting tone to this marvelous wine with impeccable balance. Very easy to like on its own or paired with richly sauced white fish dishes. Score: 94. Reviewed December 1, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 la pitchoune English Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.58, 98 cases, 98 cases, $58. Dijon 115, 667 and a Vosné-Romanee selection. Harvest Brix 23.2º-23.7º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, 25% once used and 50% 4 years or older. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. A relentless nose that pumps out aromas of dark red cherry, sassafras, and sandalwood over time in the glass. Juicy mid weight flavors of black cherry and black raspberry play in harmony with tannins and acidity, and persist on the finish that is immensely satisfying. My only nit is that oak chimes in a bit too much. Score: 90. Reviewed December 1, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 la pitchoune English Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.58, 98 cases, $58. Second vintage from this vineyard. Dijon clones 115 and 667 and a Vosne-Romanee selection. Harvest Brix 23.7º and 23.2º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, raspberry and fertile earth are replicated in the mid weight flavors that also add notes of black tea, dried herbs and a smoky oak. Good richness of flavor and fullness on the palate with a frame of suede tannins. The refined texture pleases as does the generous finish. Score: 91. Reviewed December 3, 2017 ARTICLE »

2014 la pitchoune Pratt Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 50 cases, $58. · Moderate golden yellow with the slightest green caste and the slightest haze in the glass. Strong and persistent aromas of lemon-lime, orchard fruits, buttery brioche and wet stone. Luscious flavors of lemon, pineapple, apple, pear and spice merge in a wondrous melange of pleasure. The wine also sports welcome viscosity, impeccable balance, submissive oak, and a flat-out great finish infused with layers of fruit goodness. This wine is all about California sunshine and the Pratt Vineyard that is fast becoming one of California’s treasured Chardonnay sites. Lovers of lean, hi-acid, mineral-driven Chardonnay should stay away ( leaving more for me). I just had to buy this wine for my cellar. Score: 97. Reviewed December 3, 2017 ARTICLE »

2014 la pitchoune VDK Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.54, 48 cases, $58. Sourced from Van der Kamp Vineyard. Dijon 777 and “828,” and a La Tache selection. Harvest Brix 22.0º-24.8º. Aged 24 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% once used. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. You will want to go on sniffing this wine that offers very pleasing aromas of cherry and earthy flora. Beautifully composed, with a succulent core of cherry fruit enhanced with notes of cola, spice and earth. Fresh and juicy, with pedigreed fruit flavors, an age worthy tannic backbone, impeccable oak integration, and a satisfying finish. Score: 93. Reviewed December 1, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 la pitchoune Holder Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.58, 98 cases, $68. Second vintage from this family operated, 1.25-acre vineyard. Dijon 115 and 667. Harvest Brix 23.4º and 24.4º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose arrives slowly over time in the glass, opening to aromas of dark fruits, briar and earth. The mid weight plus flavors of black raspberry, cassis, blackberry and black tea are virile and alive. Very silky, polished and refined with recessed tannins and an impressive finish. This wine has the balance to age beautifully. Still impressive when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 93. Reviewed December 3, 2017 ARTICLE »

2013 la pitchoune Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 385 cases, $48. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Quite savory on the nose, with aromas of damp loam, earthy flora and herbal oak. More fruity on the palate with a ripe but not over ripe core of black cherry, dark strawberry and black raspberry flavors enhanced with notes of spice, herbs, black tea and dark chocolate. The overall sense is one of vibrancy and the modest finish pleases. An impressive appellation wine. Score: 90. Reviewed June 18, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 La Pitchoune English Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.57, 99 cases, $58. Released November 2015. Harvest Brix 24º-25º. Dijon 115, 667 and a Vosne Romanee selection. Aged 11 months in 100% French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very appealing scent of black cherry and sous-bois. The light to mid weight flavors of black cherry and blackberry are vibrant and classy and embellished with the right touch of oak and spice. Impressive harmony with noticeable length on the aromatic finish. Score: 92. Reviewed November 5, 2015 ARTICLE »

2013 la pitchoune Pratt Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 52 cases, $58. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Fruit aromas of lemon and ripe apple are combined with notes of toasty oak and a briny hint of the sea. Slightly creamy on the palate, with flavors of salted apple and lemon creme backed by well-toasted oak. The wine is blessed with cleansing acidity and some lingering fruit on the modest finish. Score: 89. Reviewed June 19, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 la pitchoune Van Der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 100 cases, $58. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Muddled cherry and forest path aromas lead to a mid weighted forceful attack of pleasing black cherry and blackberry flavors that show length and persistence through the mid palate and grand finish. Very tasty, with impressive balance. Score: 92. Reviewed June 18, 2016 ARTICLE »

2013 La Pitchoune Holder Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc.,pH 3.63, TA 0.57, 120 cases, $68. Released November 2015. This 1.25-acre site, a neglected former apple orchard looking down on the town of Occidental, was planted in 2000 by Bruce Holder and Mary Ann Wheeler. Harvest Brix 22.7º and 24º. Dijon 115 and 667. Aged 11 months in 100% French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. An enchanting wine with soaring aromas of fresh Bing cherries, forest floor, brioche and a kiss of oak. Striking entry and mid palate presence of Bing cherry and blueberry fruits framed by refined tannins and integrated acidity. The finish is remarkably long, lasting well over 30 seconds. Score: 92. Reviewed November 5, 2015 ARTICLE »

2013 la pitchoune Chenoweth Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 40 cases, $88. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Very complex nose displaying a range of aromas including lemon curd, honey, nectarine, caramel and vanillin. A somewhat richer styled wine with bright flavors of citrus, kiwi, pear and caramel. Crisp and inviting, with a cleansing and lengthy finish combining Meyer lemon and nutty oak flavors. Score: 92. Reviewed June 19, 2016 ARTICLE »

2012 La Pitchoune Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 279 cases, $56. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Nicely ripened black cherry fruit is featured in this mid weight wine which is dominated on the nose and palate with heavy-handed smoky, tarry oak. The tannins are nicely balanced, and the juicy finish appeals although lacks a bit of intensity. This wine will appeal to fans of lavishly oaked Pinot Noir. Score: 88. Reviewed November 5, 2015 ARTICLE »



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