2013 California Pinot Noir Second Team All-Americans
2010 Donum Estate 10th Anniversary Black Label Carneros Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 100 cases, $120. A best barrel blend from Donum Ranch crus. Aged in 25% new French oak
barrels. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of fresh black cherries, strawberries,
spice and complimentary oak vanillin. A little richer and more structured than the 2010 Estate Gold Label
bottling. The wine offers layers of flavor including very ripe black cherry, black currant, dark chocolate, grilled
meat, and tantalizing oak. Much better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle showing
better integration of oak, effusive aromas that jumped out of the glass, and a finish to die for. Exceptional.
2009 Joseph Swan Vineyards Trenton Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 287 cases, $55. 40th anniversary of Joseph Swan Vineyards and the 30th anniversary of Rod
Berglund’s first year of making wine. Aged in 66% new French oak. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the
glass. The most expressive nose in the lineup showing vibrant aromas of black cherries, dark plums,
mushroom, cardamom spice and a hint of vanilla. Delicious earth-kissed core of dark cherries, raspberries and
plums. Rich and full-bodied, with balanced tannins and acidity making the wine quite approachable now. Great
the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Could drink now because the tannins are not
aggressive, but best to hold for at least another five years.
2011 Kosta Browne Kanzler Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.59, 211 cases, $78. Vineyard is located in the Sebastopol Hills, an area featuring
morning and evening fog, breezy afternoons, and bright, mild afternoon sun. Cooler temperatures lead to a
longer hang time and this vineyard is usually the last to be harvested. Clones 115, 667 and Pommard. Yields
2.1 tons per acre. 100% de-stemmed. Aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Tighten your seat belt
when you open this one. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. With a nose you could drink, and a
core of liquid magic that you can drink, this is one great wine. Aromas of dark red berries sprinkled with vanilla
cream lead to sumptuous flavors of black cherries, blue and dark red berries, spice and dark chocolate. Power
without weight, juicy without being cloying, this beautifully balanced wine is soft in the mouth and finishes with
length and opulence. The pick of the litter.
2011 Lucienne Smith Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.66, 438 cases, $50. Released June 2013. One of the first vineyards in the Santa
Lucia Highlands and one of the original vineyards of Hahn Estate. It is the southernmost of the vineyards of
Lucienne and located at the highest elevation, with the least influence from marine fog. Clones are Mt. Eden,
Jardini, Pommard 5 and 2A. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, proprietary yeast, aged 13 months in 42%
new and 58% neutral French oak barrels. Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Intoxicating
aromas of fresh black cherries, dark red berries, cardamom spice and a hint of toasty oak. Discreetly
concentrated flavors of dark cherries and berries with a complimentary riff of spice and oak. Outstanding
harmony, very smooth and sensual, with an appealing cherry tang on the juicy and lengthy finish. The wine
continues to pick up charm over time in the glass. Very easy to drink now, but should get even better with
another year in bottle. Very impressive, even extraordinary.
2011 Masút Estate Vineyard Block 1 Mendocino County Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 115 cases, $55. From a 1.86-acre block of 1690 vines of clone 115 planted in 1997 on 104-14
rootstock. Aged 11 months in 100% new Cadus French oak. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass.
Aromas of earthy dark red fruits with a touch of red rose floral scent in the background. Impressive attack of
mouth coating, silky and well-spiced cherry fruit complimented by perfect oak integration and supple tannins. A
dreamy wine of great flavor that displays impeccable balance. Clone 115 is one of the few Dijon clones that can
make a great stand-alone wine.
2010 Rocking K Vineyard Single Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 128 cases, $55. Pommard clone. 100% de-stemmed and aged in 33% new French oak.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh Bing cherries, ripe strawberries and
cardamom spice which maintain over time. Delicious middleweight core of dark cherry flavor with accents of
cola, anise and spice. Enticing finesse and supple, well-balanced tannins. Ready to drink now but the balance
will keep this wine fresh for years. Like cherry pie day at cooking school: cherries, baking spices and very
interesting results. Will work beautifully at the table, complementing rather than fighting with food.
2010 Salamandre Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $36. Sourced from Meadowridge Vineyard in Corralitos blended with a small amount of 2010 Pinot
Noir from another Santa Cruz Mountain vineyard. Dijon clones. Harvested before early autumn rains. Flavor
ripeness was achieved at modest sugar levels. Extended barrel time. Moderately deep purple color in the
glass. Lovely perfume of dark berries, fresh picked plums and spice. The aromas are captivating. My notes say
WOW on entry. Really delicious, moderately intense flavors of dark berries, black cherries and plum with a hint
of spice. The fruit reaches every nook and cranny in the mouth, expanding to finish with unbelievable length
and aromatic focus. A complete, harmonious wine of exceptional quality from a little known but experienced
garagiste producer in Aptos.
2011 Sinor-LaVallee Aubaine Vineyard San Louis Obispo County Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 143 cases, $40. This 12-acre vineyard is south of Laetitia Winery on the eastern side of Highway
101. Primarily 667 with a small amount of 777. 33% whole cluster. 50% inoculated and 50% native
fermentation. Aged 17 months in 50% new Francois Frères French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Dark purple color
in the glass. Scent of loganberry jam, raw beef, and roasted plum. Deep plum flavor with a subtle sidecar of
spice, dark chocolate and citrus. Very seductive velvety mouth feel with a robust, long, long finish. Beautiful
integration of oak. This wine can be a ball buster, but it is a chiseled ballerina in this vintage that is oozing
charm. Always a terroir-driven wine of distinction, but more giving in this vintage.
2011 Sojourn Cellars Ridgetop Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.55, 275 cases, $59. Release fall 2013. This vineyard is owned and managed by
Thomas Rivers Brown and Fred Schrader and farmed by Ulises Valdez. Located in the remote coastal
mountains near Annapolis, it is surrounded by redwoods at 1100 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Yields are
minuscule with concentrated flavors. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. Medium
reddish-purple hue in the glass. The perfume draws you into the glass with aromas of darker plum and berry
with notes of balsam and salt air. Delicious middleweight core of vibrant plum, black cherry, berry and cola
flavors clothed in soft, lacy tannins, finishing with a lingering memory of cherry liquor. Very smooth in the mouth
and discreetly sappy, this wine displays impeccable balance. Memorable.
2011 Twomey Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.56, $46 (Magnums too, $90). Released April 27, 2013. Sourced from the estate
Monument Tree Vineyard and Ferrington Vineyard. Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Glorious
aromas of fresh black raspberry jam, potpourri and spice. I just love that smell. Really delicious marriage of
dark berries and cherries with a subtle mocha note. The ripe fruit really pops, reaching every corner of the
mouth, and finishing strong and satisfying. There is an appealing tension and focus to this wine and the satiny
texture is captivating. An incredible effort in a difficult vintage and my kudos to winemaker Ben Cane. Still great
the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle when my family polished it off.
2010 Williams Selyem Burt Williams’ Morning Dew Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot
13.5% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.66, $75. Released Fall 2012. 13 acres of Pinot Noir planted in 2000 by iconic
Russian River Valley winemaker Burt Williams. Aged 17 months in 59% new and 41% 1-year-old French oak
barrels. Moderately light in color with a reddish tinge. Generous aromas of dark red fruits, bark and maple
syrup. Light and elegant in style, but not wimpy in pleasure, infused with rocket-powered flavors of red cherries
and berries, blueberries, and tantalizing baking spices. The fruit is invigorated by lively acidity, framed by fine-grain
tannins and full of vibrancy on the refreshing finish. I can’t say enough good things about this gorgeous