More Sips of California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
2011 Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $44. Released October 2012. Own-rooted
Martini clone planted in 1972. Aged 9 months in French oak barrels.
Dark violet color in the glass. 100% de-stemmed, extended cold soak,
aged 9 months in 60% new French oak barrels.
Plenty to like on the
nose with hi-tone aromas of spicy black plums, fresh blackberries and
vanilla cream. A big gulp of exotically spiced plum and dark berry fruit
is front and center, very seductive, expanding in the mouth, permeating every
nook and cranny, and finishing with power, length and a velvety appeal. The
creme soda-laced oak and cinnamon and clove spice flavors are complimentary.
Similar to the 2010 version which was an “All-American.” This wine has something unique and recognizable to
me. Not even close to classic or Old World traditional Pinot Noir, but it tastes great and drinks seamlessly.
Cool package too.
Gloria Ferrer was the first sparkling wine house in Carneros. After five years of specializing only in sparkling
wine and inspired by the character of the estate fruit, the winery began crafting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir still
wines in 1991. The winemaking team has dozens of interesting clones to draw on including Colmar 538,
Martini (UCD 13), Wente, Wädenswil (2A), Dijon 115 and Pommard 4 from the 335 acres of estate vines. The
clones have been carefully matched to soil types. Visit the tasting room open daily at 23555 Hwy. 121 in
Sonoma or the website at www.gloriaferrer.com.
2010 Gloria Ferrer Estate Grown and Bottled Carneros Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.61, $18. Nineteenth Carneros Pinot Noir
produced. 100% de-stemmed, partially crushed, exclusively free run
juice, barrel aged 9 months in 33% new French oak barrels and
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass.
Inviting aromas of oak-infused black cherries and a hint of dried
herbs. Mid weight core of dark red cherry fruit with complimentary
oak. A real cherry bomb that makes an impression on the mid palate and
finishes intense and long. A very soothing, easy drinking wine and an incredible
value. Very good.
2008 Gloria Ferrer Estate Jose S. Ferrer Selection Carneros Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.83, TA 0.58, 538
cases, $40. A barrel selection from the most exceptional blocks in the estate vineyard. Primarily Dijon 115,
Colmar 538, Trefethan/Wente, and Martini. 100% de-stemmed, aged for 9 months in 38% new French oak
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Approach this wine with patience as it needs time
to open in the glass, gradually becoming more expressive. Aromas of dark berries and cherries, spice and old
wine cellar. Dense and dark, featuring earthbound flavors of black cherries, blackberries, black plum,
mushroom and tar. Firm, balanced tannins and a very long finish. A brooding wine on day one, but two days
later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was transformed, becoming alive aromatically
and more giving on the palate. Suggest decanting if you open this wine now. Very good.
2007 Hanzell Vineyards Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $80. 200-
acre estate with 42 acres of vineyards planted to heritage clones.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Fresh aromas of dark berry tart, cassis, dark
chocolate, and anise-laced oak. Very earthy and somewhat brooding with
bruising tannins. Moderately richly flavored with dark berries, black cherries and
anise. Much better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle and especially good with beef that counteracts the tannins. This wine
needs more time to integrate and soften the tannins but has a special rugged
mountain character that is appealing. Very good.
2010 James Family Cellars Estate Grown Stony Point Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
$36. Best of Class and Double Gold 2012 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
Medium reddish-purple color in the
glass. Appealing aromas of ripe Bing cherry pie glaze, cola and spice with oak that becomes more noticeable
over time. Middleweight core of ripe cherries with hints of nutmeg and cherry cola, framed by silky, balanced
tannins. A cherry bombast that has a little more oak topcoat than I prefer, but as indicated by the exalted
competition award, this wine will definitely find fans. Good.
Kessler-Haak Vineyard is located on Highway 246, 11 miles west of Buellton in the cool northwestern section
of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Planted in 2005 by winegrower and winemaker Dan Kessler and his wife Ellen Haak
(“hawk”) Kessler, the 30-acre vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A few select wineries also
source grapes from the vineyard. The website is www.kesslerhaakwine.com.
Pali Wine Co. launched a series of appellation Pinot Noirs beginning with the 2007 vintage that are moderately
priced ($21 to $29). Five wines are offered in the 2011 vintage. The winemakers are Aaron Walker and
consultant Kenneth Juhasz. The winery is located in Lompoc, but a tasting room opened in downtown Santa
Barbara in the fall of 2012. The website is www.paliwineco.com.
Tuck Beckstoffer is well known for the many notable Napa Valley vineyards that bear his family name. Tuck is
a lover of Burgundy and makes a small amount of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast under
the Semper label. The consulting winemaker is Kenneth Juhasz (Auteur). Honestly, these wines are not my
preferred style of Pinot Noir. They have oodles of flashy fruit, and are unabashedly macho, akin to Syrah
without the tannins. That said, they will find fans among those who like big-fruited wines that have “Made in
California” stamped all over them.