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2014 California Pinot Noir Second Team All-Americans

2011 Black Kite Cellars River Turn Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.55, 148 cases, $55. Aged 11 months in 66% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Be sure you are sitting down when you taste this charmer. The aromas leap out of the glass with purpose, offering scents of black cherry, black raspberry, Asian 5-spice and a hint of oak. The most sappy and forward of the three 2011 Pinots tasted here. Flat-out delicious with layers of flavor including black cherry liquor, black raspberry jam, and Hoison sauce. The fine-grain tannins are svelte, the balancing acidity is spot on, and the finish is filled with sweet-scented and saucy fruit. The finish is even more intense and persistence the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Log on to for a good time. 94

2012 Castalia Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $53. Another in a long string of impressive wines by Terry Bering, the long time cellar master at Rochioli Vineyards. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A beautifully composed wine with enticing aromas of Bing cherry and spice echoed on the palate with added notes of blackberry, cola and loamy earth. Well-structured, but not imposing tannins, generous, layered concentration and an endlessly long finish. Still very young (Castalia Pinot Noirs typically need a year in bottle for full expression), but a quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. 94

2012 Dutton-Goldfield Angel Camp Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.59, 306 cases, $58. This vineyard is owned by Dan Goldfield’s good friend Brian Zalaznick, who planted this 11.5-acre vineyard in memory of his brother and family. It is located west of Philo on a knoll above the Navarro River, overlooking the valley. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, co-fermentation of clones (Pommard, “828,” and 667), 50% of press wine added back to enhance aromatics, aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple robe in the glass. This is one of those wines that you know is special from the get-go. Enormous aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, spice and sweet oak. Medium to full bodied and lush, it is crammed with zesty black cherry and black raspberry fruit with an undertone of cola, Asian 5-spice and dark chocolate. The tannins are modest and fine-grained, the lip smacking acidity adds juiciness, and the supple finish is remarkably long and focused. The wine holds up beautifully after an hour in the glass. Like biting into a just picked, perfectly ripe black raspberry. An absolute knockout! 94

2012 Kosta-Browne 4-Barrel California Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 98 cases, $84. · Darkest wine in the 2012 lineup. The aromas are clean, pure and elevating, featuring notes of ripe cherry, raspberry and blueberry with a hint of nutmeg. My notes say, “Wow!” Delicious array of perfectly ripened Bing cherry, raspberry and ollaliberry fruit with riffs of oak-driven mocha and tea. Very suave in the mouth with impeccable balance and a long, multifaceted finish. This wine is always special. In Pinot veritas. 95.

2012 Littorai Platt Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $65. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Vivid aromas of alpine strawberry, raspberry coulis, briar and vanillin oak. Delicious fruit charge featuring raspberry, strawberry and cherry with stylish spice. Crisp and clean with modest tannins and a cherry and raspberry fueled finish of notable length and vibrancy. Still young and will take on more complexity with aging. Even better later in the day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. You will like this one. 94

2012 Lynmar Estate Old Vines Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.60, 301 cases, $70. SF. Swan selection from a 1971-1972 planting of 2+ acres. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. I loved this wine! Enticing aromas of cherry, raspberry, spice and cola lead to a full-bodied entourage of fruit flavors including black cherry, dark berry, plum, cola and rhubarb. Layers of pleasure with nuances showing up with each sip. The tannins are still a little firm and grippy in this young wine which will benefit from cellaring. The finish is spectacular, with a velvety array of fruits fanning out in peacock fashion. A glorious old vine offering. 94-95

2012 Rocking K Vineyard Single Vineyard Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $55. 50% whole cluster. Aged in 40% new French oak. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, spice, s’mores and espresso. Brilliant Bing cherry flavor with a delicious finishing kick of fruit. Plenty of cola and oak-driven notes are evident. The tannins are suave and the mouth feel is dreamy. Could turn out to be the best and most age worthy of the three vintages sampled here. Tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine showed more whole cluster driven spice and much better integration of oak. Yummy. 95

2012 Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $65. Sourced from the original 1971 plantings at Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Very engaging nose that is whole cluster inspired with aromas of rose petal, spicy cola, cherry and spiced pear. Soft and silky on the palate with succulent flavors of red cherry and red berries with a hint of dried leaf and rose water in the background. More brightness and more savory than the Rinconada bottling. Plenty of bones for aging, with a nice interplay of juicy acidity and suede tannins on the finish. A sommelier’s wine built for food. Considerable better and more expressive the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with plenty of spice, cola and fruit flavors dancing on the palate. 94

2012 Sanglier Cellars Old Camp Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.56, 49 cases, $45. The vineyard is just above the Russian River on the eastern ridge and enjoys slightly more brilliant sunshine than the valley below, but still has exposure to the Pacific fog that creeps into the Valley each summer night. Pommard and 667 clones. Aged in French oak. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is alive with scents of Bing cherries, cola and cinnamon spice. An evocative wine with a plush attack of black cherry and black raspberry fruits that alert the palate. Nicely spiced and showing a hint of oak, this wine delivers a generous charge of cherries jubilee on the expansive finish. Highly flavorful, even hedonistic, but not over weighted or sweet. 94

2012 Wayfarer “Mother Rock” Fort Ross-Seaview Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.59, 400 cases, $N/A. Clone 37 (Mount Eden) and Dijon 777 co-fermented. 24% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 15 months in 56% new French oak. This wine is named for Wayfarer’s sandstone substrate. · Moderately deep reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is highly expressive, picking up interest and intensity over time in the glass. Aromas of fresh raspberries, cherries and strawberries are glass filling, accented with very subtle spice and vanilla. The mid palate attack is rich and satisfying with mid weight flavors of red berries and plum carrying the charge through a generous finish. This wine has very complimentary integration of oak, the balance is spot on, and the texture is soft and luxurious. I was completely seduced by the mouthfeel which sets this wine apart from all the Wayfarer wines in this tasting. Still delightful the next day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. 94

2012 Woodenhead Wiley Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.55, 296 cases, $60. 28-year-old vines (Pommard 5 and Romanee-Conti 37). Unfined and unfiltered. · This wine really caught my attention at the Grand Tasting at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival. Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Definitely some Pennyroyal on the nose with added scents of blackberries, tea, and spice. Very dark fruited, this wine is flush with black raspberry, black cherry and black tea notes that envelope the palate. The dreamy tannins offer a fine-grain texture and the oak hits all the right notes. This wine has the stuffing to age beautifully, but is very hard to resist now. A magnificent wine from one of Anderson Valley’s most esteemed vineyards. 94

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