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Despite very large production (80,000 cases), this Santa Cruz Mountains winery continues to craft very attractive Pinot Noirs. David Bruce, M.D. was a true Pinot Noir pioneer of the modern premium wine revolution in California, and although not heavily involved in the winery now, his family has carried on admirably.
While practicing dermatology in Santa Clara, Bruce planted his vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains by hand in 1961. His winery was bonded in 1964. For 25 years, he carried on two careers simultaneously. Eventually, he decided to concentrate on wine, which was garnering widespread recognition. He was one of twelve Californians to participate in the famous 1976 "Judgment of Paris."
Bruce was an innovator and his many "firsts" include a Blanc de Noir, a white wine from Zinfandel grapes, late harvest wines, malolactic fermentation for white wines, use of whole berry fermentation for red wines, and the use of imported French oak barrels. He also was among the first advocates of foot crushing, extensive skin contact, small barrel fermentation and rotary tanks.
Today, the estate vineyard in Los Gatos has 9 acres planted to Pinot Noir at 2,200 feet. Grapes are sourced from all over California and multiple appellation Pinot Noirs are produced in addition to the estate Pinot Noir (sold only at the winery). The winemaker since 2004 is Mitri Faravashi.
A tasting room is located at the original winery at 21439 Bear Creek Rd, Los Gatos in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
2010 David Bruce Appellation Series Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $40. · Moderately light reddishpurple color in the glass. Raisin-toned fruit aromas with notes of dark chocolate and oak. Very ripe black cherry and black raspberry flavor with svelte tannins and a good cut of acidity on the finish. A mainstream Pinot that became less attractive over time in the glass. Decent. Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »
2009 David Bruce Appellation Series Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $40. · Dark reddishpurple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, black currants, cola and bark. Very ripe and sweet flavors of dark fruits with a hint of cola. Dense and plush with balanced tannins and acidity, leaving a touch of heat behind on the finish. Decent. Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »
2007 David Bruce Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $27. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, leaf and oak lead to flavors of strawberries, black raspberries and cherries. Earthy with sweet tasting fruit that is veering toward an overripe profile. Well oaked with firm tannins and sharp acidity on the finish. Decent. (This winery, which at one time produced stellar Pinot Noir under the hand of David Bruce, is now a commercial high-output factory of mostly generic appellation-based Pinot Noir. Bruce’s advancing age prevents him from being significantly involved in the winery) Reviewed November 2, 2011 ARTICLE »
2007 David Bruce Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $55. Estate vineyard. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of black cherries, berries and oak. Mid weight red fruit core with good intensity. Soft in the mouth and firmly structured with muscular dry tannins, finishing powerfully but with a little heat. The tannins tend to overpower the fruit. Good. Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »
2006 David Bruce Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
10,854 cases, $42. This historic winery now turns out 60,000 cases of wine a year but still manages to produce consistently fine Pinot Noir sourced from multiple appellations throughout California. Bonded in 1964, the winery uses a unique collaborative approach to winemaking involving David Bruce, a team of winemakers headed by Mitri Faravashi, vineyard manager Greg Stokes and the sales and marketing director. The wines are widely distributed. · A very tasty wine that is black cherry-driven with nicely appointed new oak spice running through. The tannins are fine-grained, the mouth feel is satiny and the lengthy finish is embellished with lively acidity. Reviewed April 18, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 David Bruce Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $44. · Ripe, dark fruits, straw, oak and a whiff of alcohol on the nose. Rich, generous and slightly sweet flavors of black cherries, plum and blackberries. Very smoothly textured with mild dry tannins and a brisk grip of acidity. Fine, but not exciting. Decent (+). Reviewed November 13, 2009 ARTICLE »
2005 David Bruce Winery Reserve Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
$42. A very popular wine with both the judging panel and attendees of the Pinot Summit. Winery (call) and retail availability. · Enticing aromas of dark stone fruits nicely accented by spice and cola. Saucy red fruits saturate the mid-palate and dry tannins provide a good backbone. The fruity finish teases but ends a bit short. Reviewed April 18, 2009 ARTICLE »
2004 David Bruce Tondre’s Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot
14.8% alc.,55 cases, $45 Despite very large production (60,000 cases), this Santa Cruz Mountains winery continues to craft very attractive Pinot Noirs. David Bruce was a true Pinot Noir pioneer in California, and although not heavily involved in the winery now, his family has carried on admirably. The winery was bonded in 1964 and the estate vineyard in Los Gatos has 9 acres planted to Pinot Noir at 2,200 feet. Grapes are sourced from all over California. The winemaker since 2004 is Mitri Faravashi. · Enticing aromatics of black cherry and cola with a hint of farmyard. Spiced cherry compote lingers on the palate for an eternity. Velvety texture and perfect balance. A queen bee. Reviewed December 16, 2007 ARTICLE »
2004 David Bruce Winery Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
1412 cases, $55. Despite very large production, this Santa Cruz Mountain winery continues to craft very attractive Pinot Noirs. The 2004 David Bruce Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (4996 cases, $40) was also tasted and decent. The wines enjoy widespread retail distribution and are available on the winery’s website at www.davidbrucewinery.com. · This wine has it all: a deep, fruity nose, sweet and juicy Pinot fruits, velvety texture, and a crisp finish. Reviewed January 22, 2007 ARTICLE »
2002 David Bruce Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $55. Estate vineyard. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish-purple with slight bricking of the rim in the glass. Lovely bouquet of an aged wine including old book, vitamin, tobacco and old wood. Satisfying flavors of black cherries and sassafras backed by firm, grainy tannins. The fruit is still alive and vivid. Drink up. Very good. Reviewed June 4, 2013 ARTICLE »
2000 David Bruce Commemorative Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 70 cases, $50. This wine was produced to commemorate the 70th birthday of David Bruce. The label features the work of San Francisco artist, Henry Jackson, who created an original painting, ‘Gather,’ for the label. Packaged in a very special tall and extremely heavy bottle with a wax seal. The wine was decanted. · Intense ruby color. Brooding aromas of dark berry jam, plum, barnyard, forest floor, oak and minerals. A substantial core of dark berry fruit is accented by hints of clove and citric peel. A big-boned, chewy and fruit-driven wine that lacks focus. The balance is admirable and the texture is quite smooth, but the wine just doesn’t deliver much nuance or excitement. It is crafted in the Burgundian mold of a Pommard. Pair with hearty food. Reviewed March 15, 2009 ARTICLE »