Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir, Rosé & Chardonnay
Garry Brooks left the lucrative world of technology to pursue his dream of making wine. He worked part time at
Ravenswood while earning a degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis. He made his first Pinot Noir at
Acacia Winery in 2007 and subsequently worked at Kosta Browne with Shane Finley and Michael Browne, and
Dutton-Goldfield with Dan Goldfield. It was Dan who introduced him to the unique vineyards of Marin County.
The excellent 2012 Brooks Note Weir Vineyard Pinot Noir was previously reviewed. Visit the website to join
the mailing list or to purchase wine: www.brooks-note-winery-myshopify.com.
2013 Brooks Note Marin County Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.69, 250 cases, $36.
Sourced from Chileno Valley Vineyard (46%) and Azaya Ranch Vineyard (54%), both located on
the Marin side of the Petaluma Gap. 10% whole cluster. 3-day cold soak, native yeast initiated
fermentation, aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 27% new, 27% once-filled and 46%
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Highly aromatic with effusive aromas of black
cherry, savory herbs and cardamom spice. The mid weight flavors of cherry, black plum, black tea
and star anise are inviting, and nicely accented with a touch of toasty oak. Good freshness with an
underlying savory tone, very modest tannins, and a finish fueled by cherry and raspberry aromatic goodness.
2014 Brooks Note North Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.29, TA 0.81, 50 cases, $20
(sold out in 3 days). Sourced from Chileno Valley Vineyard (30%), Azaya Ranch Vineyard (30%)
and Weir Vineyard (40%). After the fruit was sorted and de-stemmed but not crushed, about 10% of
the juice was drawn off to make the rosé. The juice was fermented cool and slow in neutral French
oak barrels where it underwent partial malolactic fermentation.
Moderate salmon color in the glass.
The aromas of strawberry, peach and floral shop pick up intensity over time in the glass. Very
harmonious, with flavors of strawberry, cherry, and watermelon, offering some length to the lipsmacking
finish. The soft texture is particularly appealing and sensual.
Year in and year out, one of my favorite Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs crafted by long time Rochioli Cellar
Master, Terry Bering, who has been making Pinot Noir since 1985. He produces a single wine that is composed
of 100% fruit from Rochioli vineyards including the River Block planted to the West Block selection, the Flak
Vineyard planted also to the West Block selection in the late 1980s on Westside Road, and clones 777, 115
and 667 from three different Rochioli farmed vineyards. Terry feels that his wines reach their prime at 4 to 7
years after release. Visit www.castaliawines.com to order.
2013 Castalia Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
370 cases, $55. Released February 1, 2015. Aged 15 months in 100%
French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in
the glass. Lovely aromas of Bing cherries, spice, vanilla and
sandalwood. Deeply flavored with luscious dark cherry fruit that shows
real brilliance. The attack is eye-opening and the cherry fruit really
grabs on to the tenacious finish. When tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was noticeably better
and the finish was flat-out amazing. If you aren’t on the Rochioli mailing
list (or even if you are), and you pine for Rochioli fruit, this is a superb
wine to buy.
Proprietor and winemaker Mark Davis crafts small amounts of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from several
vineyard sources. He graduated from UC Davis with honors and received an honorary department citation for
outstanding achievement in viticulture and enology. Mark has worked several vintages across Northern
California, Australia and South Africa, and is currently also the assistant winemaker at O’Brian Estate in the
Napa Valley. The wine is sold on the website at www.cobdenwini.com.
2013 Cobden Wini Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.57, 90 cases, $40. Sourced
from Hogan’s Run and Moore Family vineyards. Clones 667 and 777. Aged sur lie with monthly batonage for
11 months in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately dark reddish purple color
in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh Bing cherries and forest floor. The oak-kissed, mid weight plus core of
juicy black cherry and pomegranate fruit is full-flavored and pleasing. When tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was considerably more appealing with better oak integration
and more polish. The wine packs a little heat on the finish.
Cosa Obra Wines
My second vintage fling with the wines of owner Gregory Hayes who has over two decades of experience in
the wine industry. The consulting winemaker is Kent Humphrey (Eric Kent Wines). The wines are quite good
for the price, and available on the website at www.cosaobra.com.
2014 Cosa Obra Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.70, 101 cases, $18. Sourced from
Sangiacomo Vineyard in Sonoma Carneros. 100% Pommard.
This is a saignée, fermented in neutral barrels.
salmon color in the glass. Generous aromas of fresh
strawberry, cherry and garden bouquet. Soft and smooth on
the palate, with a tasty array of fruit flavors including
strawberry, watermelon and peach. Very satisfying, with perfect balance,
and an uplifting, vibrant finish.
2013 Cosa Obra Sonoma County Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.58, $28. Sourced from
vineyards in the Russian River Valley (44%) and Carneros (56%). Yields 2.5-4.0 tons per acre.
Whole berry fermentation, 5 to 7-day cold soak, delestage and pumpovers, extended maceration of
3 to 4 weeks. Aged 12 months in 100% French oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderately dark reddish
purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of crushed black cherries and spice. Good
attack and finishing intensity that is cherry-driven. Very approachable, with modest tannins, some
oak seasoning, and a slight sense of heat on the finish.
Brothers-in-laws August Sebastiani and winemaker Kendrick Coakley launched this premium Pinot Noir label in
2014 as part of The Other Guys portfolio of wines. They explore rural wine sub-regions throughout Sonoma
County, selecting fruit from premium vineyards. Visit www.togwines.com.
2013 Gehricke Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 660 cases, $45. Fermented in small lots and
aged for 9 months in French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of Bing
cherry, spice, underbrush and marzipan. Plush on the palate, with welcoming flavors of black cherry,
pomegranate, spice and graceful oak, finishing with some persistence.
2013 Gehricke Los Carneros Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 1,600 cases, RS 2.5 g/L, $40. Aged 9 months in French
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Toasty oak enhances the aromas of cherry,
raspberry, spice and grilled beef. Bright and very sleek, with modest tannins and juicy acidity, featuring aromas
of oak-kissed red stone fruits and berries. A polished, well-crafted wine with a pleasant, but modest finish.
Kessler-Haak Vineyard & Winery
Dan and Ellen Haak Kessler offer limited production Pinot Noir, Rosé and Chardonnay from their 29-acre
vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. Dan, an escapee from the tech world, is both the winegrower and winemaker.
The vineyard is located on Highway 246, 11 miles west of Buellton in a cool portion of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.
Planted in 2005, there are seven Pinot Noir clones on three different rootstocks among 27 acres and three
clones of Chardonnay planted in 2.5-acres. Yields are extremely low: 1.2-1.5 tons per acre for Pinot Noir and
1.5-2.0 tons per acre for Chardonnay. Vineyard practices are strictly organic. The wines reviewed here are
extremely good values. Visit www.kesslerhaakwine.com.
2013 Kessler-Haak Sta. Rita Hills Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., dry, 80 cases, $23. Harvest Brix
22.0º. Clones 113, 115, 667 and 777. Grapes were de-stemmed, direct to press for 24 hours before
lightly pressing. The juice was transferred to old neutral French oak barrels and allowed to naturally
ferment for 9 months before bottling.
Moderate pinkish red color in the glass. Complex nose with
aromas of alpine strawberry, cherry, wood fern, and herbs. Crisp and refreshingly dry, with bright
flavors of strawberry, peach and cherry, and a hint of pine. The cherry fruit really hangs on to the
finish resulting in an unusually long finish for a rosé wine.
2013 Kessler-Haak Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
pH 3.24, TA 0.67, 240 cases, $29. Harvest Brix 24.0º. Clones
76 and 95. 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in
French oak barrels, 20% new.
Light golden yellow color and
clear in the glass. Engaging aromas of lemon oil, fresh
caramel apple, and brioche. Full-flavored and slightly viscous
on the palate, with inviting tastes of lemon curd, honey, apple
and subtle oak. There is a vibrant cut of underlying acidity and a
pleasing lemon-lime finish. Impressive wine at this price point.
Winemaker Greg Stach sourced 21 vineyards from Sonoma County in the North to Santa Barbara County in
the South for the 2013 vintage of Overlook Chardonnay, including Bald Mountain in Sonoma Valley, Lone Oak
in the Russian River Valley, Flocchini in the Sonoma Coast, and Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley. The
2013 Overlook Pinot Noir is the second vintage of a wine produced in the Overlook style. Both wines are widely
distributed at wine and grocery stores nationwide. Landmarks vineyards is nestled at the base of the
Mayacamas Mountains in the Sonoma Valley, and has been producing ultra-premium Chardonnay and Pinot
Noir since 1974. Visit www.landmarkvineyards.com.
2013 Landmark Vineyards Overlook California Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $25. Released February
2015. A blend of vineyard sites in Sonoma (64%), Monterey (27%) and San Benito counties. Grapes
are fermented in small, single vineyard lots and aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Strawberry aromas dominant the nose, with added notes
of raspberry, dark red rose petal and toasty oak. Soft and velvety on the palate with easy-to-like
flavors of strawberry, plum, and cherry framed by very modest tannins, and a modest tug of oak.
2013 Landmark Vineyards Overlook Sonoma County Chardonnay
14.2% alc., $25, Released
February 2015. Whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented in French oak using ambient yeasts with
twice monthly lees stirring.
Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. A solid, understated
offering featuring aromas of lemon, banana and dried mango and bright flavors of lemon curd, apple
and honey. Slightly creamy and polished with a suave, dry and uplifting finish.
Last Light Wine Company
Partners David Sartain and Jared Lee produce a Derbyshire Vineyard Pinot Noir from the San Luis Obispo
appellation. The wine is available on the website at www.lastlightwine.com.
2012 Last Light Wine Company Derbyshire Vineyard San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., pH
3.59, TA 0,78, 296 cases, $34. The vineyard is located in San Simeon. Harvest Brix 24.5º. Clones 667, 115
and 777. 20% whole cluster. Aged 10.5 months in 100% French oak barrels, 17% new.
Dark reddish purple
color in the glass. The brooding nose offers aromas of very ripe blackberries and cassis with a subtle, savory
green note. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, plush and velvety, featuring an array of earthy dark fruits and
a green, even vegetal thread, in the background. A perplexing wine that offers very ripe tasting fruit, yet a low
ABV and a greenness that presumably is due either to the whole cluster inclusion or some unripe fruit. When
tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the vegetal overlay was even more
2012 Martinelli “Bella Vigna” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 738 cases, $40.
reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, red plum and sweet oak lead to a mid weight core of red
and black cherry fruit. Very polished, with an aggressive oak overlay that dominates the finish. The fruit is
vibrant and well-ripened and the wine is blessed with soft tannins that make it very approachable.
2011 Martinelli Bella Vigna Sonoma County Chardonnay
14.4% alc., 384 cases, $40. One of the coolest
growing years on record in the last 30 years resulting in a late harvest.
Light golden yellow color in the glass.
Pleasing aromas of fresh-squeezed lemon, honey, briar and petrol. Somewhat creamy on the palate, with
catching flavors of lemon, poached pear, green apple, toast, burnt caramel and butterscotch.
Patz & Hall
Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz founded this winery nearly 30 years ago and have
turned it into one of California’s most highly regarded sources for single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays
from primarily Sonoma County. Many of their vineyard sources are legendary, such as Chenoweth Ranch,
Dutton Ranch, Hyde Vineyard, Jenkins Ranch, and Pisoni Vineyard. The have opened a new tasting room in
Sonoma called the Sonoma House with several tasting options by appointment. The 2012 releases represent
the winery’s 25th vintage. Visit www.patzhall.com.
2012 Patz & Hall Chenoweth Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 925 cases, $60. This
vineyard is farmed exclusively for Patz & Hall who have produced a vineyard-designated Pinot Noir since 2004.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Heavenly aromas of dark stone and berry fruits with a hint of spice,
mocha and vanillin. Intensely flavored with a sappy core of sweet boysenberry, blackberry and pomegranate
fruits framed by muscular tannins. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle, the tannins had noticeably softened. Cellar this beauty for a celebration down the line.
2012 Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
1,100 cases, $70. Patz & Hall has made wine from this vineyard since
1996. Several sections of the vineyard were planted exclusively for Patz
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. This is a top
performer, with glorious aromas of black cherry, raspberry, cowhide and
floral shop. A burly wine with a hedonistic load of earthy black cherry,
boysenberry and cassis flavors that really sparkle. The velvety texture is
seductive, oak seasoning is spot on, and the sweet cherry finish leaves a
big impression. There are substantial ripe tannins that should mellow
with some cellaring. When tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle, the fruit intensity bowled me over!
2012 Patz & Hall Burnside Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 425 cases, $75. This
vineyard is farmed by the Martinelli’s and Patz & Hall has produced Pinot Noir from this source since 2001.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with hi-tone scents of crushed dark red
berries, black cherry and brioche. The mid weight flavors echo the nose with an added hint of smoke and
herbs. The engaging fruit comes to the front over time in the glass. A bit rustic and rugged upon opening, with
a rush of tannins, but showing much better harmony and refinement the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle. Decant now or cellar before enjoying.
2012 Patz & Hall Zio Tony Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.2% alc., 350 cases, $65. Patz &
Hall has made Chardonnay from this vineyard since 2003.
Light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of
citrus, apple, marzipan and buttered toast. Soft and pleasing in the mouth, with moderately rich layers of apple
and citrus flavors integrated nicely with oak. A beautifully crafted wine that finishes with a zippy cut of acidity
and a charge of lemon and apple flavors that leave a good impression.
The Chardonnay program began rather “undercover” and the wine was given to supportive customers initially.
It proved so popular, that it became available to all customers. The Chardonnay is made exclusively from Sea
Smoke Estate Vineyard, including four clones: Wente and Dijon 76, 95 and 96. The vines are planted in 8
acres of sandy soiled, stream side land at one of the lowest elevations on the vineyard. 80% of the wine is
made from Wente clone.
2012 Sea Smoke ‘Streamside’ Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
14.9% alc., pH
3.47, TA 0.598, $60. Release October 2015. Fermented in French oak barrels (55% new), stainless steel (10%)
and demi-muids (10-15%), with periodic lees stirring. Aged 16 months before bottling. The stylistic sibling to
the ‘Southing’ Pinot Noir.
Light golden yellow color in the glass. Fragrant with scents of fresh peach, lemon,
biscuit and nutty oak. Silky on the palate with resourceful flavors of lemon-lime, quince and toasty oak. Very
refined with a subtle flinty minerality and some finishing presence.
Although there are many physicians who have become winery owners, winegrowers and winemakers in
California, Dr. Tony Truchard was one of the first. He bought his first 20 acres on the Napa side of Carneros in
1973 while still practicing internal medicine in Reno, Nevada. He continued to acquire neighboring parcels until
the winery now farms 270 acres of primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. All Truchard wines are 100% estate
grown and vinified by winemaker Sal De Ianni who has been at Truchard since 1998. Truchard is a
magnificent and historical estate to visit and tours and tastings are available by appointment. Visit
2013 Truchard Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.60, 7,159 cases, $35.
Released March 1, 2015. Seven clones grown on the Truchard Estate including two “Martini” clones,
Pommard, Swan, and Dijon 114, 115, 667 and 777. The vines range in age from 17 to 39 years in
age. 100% de-stemmed, crushed into open top fermenters with about 20% whole berries.
Inoculated with Assmannhausen yeast after a cold soak of up to 5 days. Punch downs were carried
out three times a day during 12 days of maceration. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels,
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of cherry pie glaze and sous-bois
lead to a light to mid weight core of flavorful black cherry and black raspberry fruits, underscored with notes of
earth and mushroom. Very charming, with well-proportioned soft tannins, and a very long, juicy, cherry-fueled
finish that really satisfies. Forward and easy to like now.
Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery
As readers of the PinotFile know, I am a big fan of the wines from Windy Oaks Estate and an admirer of
winemaker and proprietor Jim Schultze. Along with spouse Judy, the couple farm 26 acres of Pinot Noir and 1
acre of Chardonnay on a windy ridge in Corralitos, at 1,000 feet elevation, at the southern end of the Santa
Cruz Mountains, overlooking Monterey Bay. Their first vintage was 1999 and the following year they built a
winery which they continue to use today. Their son, Spencer, joined Windy Oaks as an assistant winemaker in
2011, and Lucas Orme joined the crew to assist in winemaking and vineyard management. The Schultze’s
other son, James, helps out in the tasting room on Saturdays. The winery has a large following and most of
the wine is sold through a mailing list and the Wine Group wine club. Visit www.windyoaksestate.com. The
2013 wines are elegantly styled with very modest tannins.
2012 Windy Oaks Estate Schultze Family Vineyard 1-Acre Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
alc., $45. Barrel fermented, aged in French oak barrels for 15 months. Unfined and unfiltered.
golden straw color and clear in the glass. This is a pristine Chardonnay with aromas of citrus, nut oils, char and
flint and flavors of lemon zest and yellow apple. Crisp and clean and slightly creamy on the palate with an
appealing flinty minerality and good finishing intensity.
2012 Windy Oaks Estate Schultze Family Vineyard Proprietor’s Reserve Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., $60. Primarily from the 1.5-acre Bay Block of the original 3-acre vineyard. Unfined and
unfiltered. Available only to Wine Group members and at the tasting room.
Moderately light reddish purple
color in the glass. Enticing aromas of blueberry, cherry, Damsel plum, and nutty oak, picking up more cherry
goodness over time in the glass. On entry, the attack of mid weight black cherry, plum, raspberry and spice
flavors are tantalizing and persistent. The wine’s juicy acidity and modest tannins bring out the best of the fruit
in this well-rounded and beautifully composed wine that finishes on a high note with plenty of well-spiced fruit.
2012 Windy Oaks Estate Schultze Family Vineyard Henry’s Block Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $55. From a 1-acre block
in the oldest part of the original 3-acre estate vineyard planted to
Wädenswil 2A clone. Unfined and unfiltered. Available only through Wine
Group or tasting room.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass.
The aromas of fresh mashed berries and cherries draw you into the
glass. The core of oak-kissed dark red cherry fruit is mouthwatering and
expansive, holding more concentration that the Proprietor’s Reserve. A
slick texture and balanced tannins enhance the experience. Quite
forward and pleasing now.
2012 Atsina Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 190 cases, $36.
Light reddish purple color in the
glass. Aromas of ripe Damsel plum, strawberry, cherry and sandalwood. Light to mid weight flavors of black
cherry, cassis, anise and toasty oak. The fruit veers to the very ripe side, but the wine is elegant, silky on the
palate with supple tannins, and vibrant.
2013 Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., TA 0.47, $22. Sourced primarily from the
estate Panorama Vineyard planted to high-density vines of Pinot Noir. The vineyard is SIP
(Sustainability in Practice) certified. Clones 667, 777, 115, 2A and 23. Aged 8 months in 95%
French oak barrels. Winemaker is Kris Kato.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Nicely
scented, with aromas of cherry, spice, balsam and sandalwood. Soft in the mouth, with pleasing
balance, offering a middleweight core of cherry fruit complimented by a touch of oak, finishing with a
charge of maraschino cherry fruit. A solid, value-priced wine that is widely distributed.
2013 Cotillion California Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $10. A featured wine at Trader Joe’s markets. 60%
Monterey County, 24% Sonoma County and 16% Santa Barbara County. Vinted and bottled by Ashford Court
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, smoky oak and
bacon are replicated on the palate. A umami-driven wine with a soft and smooth texture and some finishing
intensity. Not a special wine by any stretch, but drinkable at a wallet sparing price.
2012 Foggy Bottom by Easkoot Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $21. Clones 115, 777, 667
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose starts out with complimentary cherry
and oak aromas, becoming more oak-dominated over time in the glass. Soft, supple and easy to drink, with
flavors of black cherry, ollaliberry, root beer and oak. The wine snuggles in nicely on the mid palate, finishing
slightly shallow, but with a good cut of acidity and a tug of aromatic candied cherry. There is more oak at play
in this wine than I prefer.
2013 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.53, $25. Fruit for this wine came from
cool estate and grower vineyard sites within 30 miles of the Pacific Ocean. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold
soak, basket pressed, fermentation in open-top tanks, punch downs three times a day during fermentation,
minimal post-fermentation maceration. Aged 7.5 months in 100% French oak barrels, 21% new.
light reddish purple color in the glass. A rather savory nose with aromas of spiced plum, black cherry and
forest floor. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry, and oak-driven black tea and anise, framed by suave tannins.
Pleasant, but rather shallow in this vintage with a thin finish.
2012 the gardener Carneros Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.57, $26. Produced from organic
grapes. Clone 667. Harvest Brix 23.3º.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. An array
of scents arise from the glass including black raspberry, spice, rose petal and herb garden. Modest
in weight, but flavorful, with a charge of black cherry, purple grape, black raspberry and sassafras on
the attack. Hints of earth, savory herbs and oak play in the background. The finish is bold, juicy and
2011 the HILT The Vanguard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
980 cases, $45. Aged in 45% new and 55% neutral French oak barrels.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy nose which
reveals little over extended time in the glass. When checked the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine
was much more aromatic with scents of cherry, spice, tobacco and
savory herbs. The wine’s enjoyable entry features black cherry,
raspberry, boysenberry, spice, petrol and oak char flavors, all persisting
through a finish that displays good intensity and acidic verve. Again, the
flavors are more generous and appealing the following day. Decant or
cellar at this time.
2012 Vin Ver’Ray Conzelman Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 250 cases, $23.
A Nicholson Jones Selection wine vinified by winemaker Julien Fayard.
Moderately dark reddish
purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, mocha and new oak lead to a full-bodied charge of
sappy black cherry and black raspberry fruits that are nicely tempered by a velvety tannic structure.
The alcohol load is in balance as well. This wine really delivers a mouthful of flavor, but avoids a
jammy course, retains a suavity and really satisfies.
2012 Wild Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $37. Sourced from a Kendall-Jackson property in
Annapolis on the West Sonoma Coast.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The aromatic profile is
similar to an amarone with raisined fruit and oak-driven notes of bark, nuts and vanilla cream. Very ripe fruited
flavor profile featuring purple and black berries and a burnt raisin and savory herb note. Balanced tannins
make for easy drinking, but the finish throws a bit of alcoholic heat. Not nearly as good as the 2011 vintage that I