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Founded in 2004, Cima Collina produces artisan wines from small Monterey vineyards. Three acres owned (Hilltop Ranch Estate Vineyard), 20 acres leased or controlled (Chula Vina Vineyard, Lucia Highlands Vineyard). The Hilltop Ranch Estate vineyard is situated on a south-facing slope just east of Carmel Valley Village. Mostly planted to Pinot Noir with a little Pinot Gris, it is farmed organically. The soils are rocky and calcerous and the wines struggle to grow resulting in low yields.
Annette Hoff Danzer is the winemaker (pictured) and general manager who has shown a nice touch with Pinot Noir. Annette originally set out to be a veterinarian, but while at UC Davis, she became intrigued with wine and decided to pursue a career crafting wine. Shed served winemaking stints at Sterling Vineyards, Saintsbury, Estancia. New Zealand. Her first love is Pinot Noir and released the first Cima Collina Pinot Noir in 2005.
The Pinot Noir lineup: Hilltop Ranch, Chula Vina, Tondre's Grapefield (Santa Lucia Highlands), a favorite of mine, Hilltop Estate, Chalone, and and a Monterey County appellation blend. Production of 4,000 cases also includes Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet blends.
A tasting room is located in Carmel-by-the-Sea on San Carlos between Ocean and 7th and is open Thursday through Monday from 11:00 to 6:00.
2007 Cima Collina Tondre Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., 216 cases, $48, released May 2009. Clones are a blend of onethird each Pommard, Dijon 115 and 667. Fermented in small, open-top bins that were punched down two to three times daily. Pressed off into oak barrels of which 40% were new and aged 11 months before bottling. · Very dark reddish-purple color. The nose is penetrating and intoxicating. Haunting scents of ripe black raspberries and blackberries, exotic woods and musk. Luscious dark fruits are plush and deeply flavored with a floral undertone that I find very appealing. Harmonious in every way with bright acidity, ripe, soft tannins and a vibrant and refreshing finish. A memorable wine that gets its hooks into you and won’t let go. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 Cima Collina Monterey County Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 1,249 cases, $26. This wine is a blend of various growing regions in Monterey County. · Very ripe dark red fruits that are cooked and jammy trending toward raisin and prune flavors. Silky texture, fine tannins, lively acidity and a dry finish. Well-crafted and easy to drink, but the fruit is a bit shallow and too overripe for my taste. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Cima Collina Tondre Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 158 cases, $48. This vineyard sits in the southern reaches of the Santa Lucia Highlands above the fog line. Clones 115, 667 and Pommard. Minimalist winemaking by Annette Hoff. Aged 11 months in 40% new oak barrels. · Complex and demure scents of oak, herbs and spearmint coat the lovely dark red cherries, red current and raspberry fruit. The palate is rich yet smooth and soft as an angel’s hair with great persistence. Thoroughly satisfying. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Cima Collina Chula Viña Monterey County Pinot Noir
13.85% alc., $28. This vineyard lies in the foothills of the Gavilan Mountains and is exposed to warm afternoons, cooling breezes and fog. · Very ripe fruit aromas tending toward mixed fruit jam and raisin. Similar ripe fruit flavors on the palate including raisin and root beer. Soft in the mouth with fine-grained tannins, admirable elegance and balance. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Cima Collina Chula Vina Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir
$28. · This is the debut release of this single vineyard Pinot Noir. A really beautiful wine with gossamer tannins, roses, and spice and everything nice. It wraps you in silk pajamas. Reviewed March 5, 2007 ARTICLE »