California Dreamin’: New Releases
Sales of premium wines continue to grow, especially in the $15-$19.99 and $40 to $69 price range. The 2016
Silicon Valley Bank 2017 Annual State of the Wine Industry Report offered these reported sales and case
growth by price segment in 2016:
The growth in the $40-$69 range continues to be dominated by Boomers (ages 51-68) and Gen X (ages
Here is a number of California releases, some of which are dreamy, and most of which fall into the $40-$69
Ancient Oak Cellars, Sebastopol, CA
Founded in 2006 by Ken and Melissa Moholt-Siebert, Ancient Oak Cellars has partnered with veteran
winemaker Greg La Follette since 2014 to produce primarily vineyard-designated and reserve Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay. The Estate Siebert Ranch Vineyard is 15 acres of Pommard 4 clone planted by Ken’s
grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth. A big ancient oak marks the center of the 31-acre former sheep ranch and
is the inspiration for the name of the winery. Wines are produced from the Siebert Ranch and several
vineyards, most of which Ken farms. Visit www.ancientoakcellars.com. Private tasting is available in the cellar
2014 Ancient Oak Cellars Siebert Ranch Single Vineyard Series Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
alc., 400 cases, pH 3.50, TA 0.62. $44. Pommard 4 clone from hillside block 5 planted by Henry Siebert when
he was 80-years-old. Mostly native fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
light reddish purple color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and smoky oak. The
wine makes a good impression on entry, the mid palate and finish, offering mid weight flavors of black cherry,
black raspberry and cola with a supportive riff of toasty oak. Offering good harmony, this wine finishes with
length and purpose.
2014 Ancient Oak Cellars Alcman Siebert Ranch Reserve Series Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
alc., $58. Wine named after Alcman, the earliest of nine great Greek lyric poets known for clarity of tone and
rich visual description.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very sensual perfume of dark fruits, rose
petal, peppery spices and oak. Impeccably balanced, with plenty of black cherry and black raspberry goodness
accented with spice and cola. Sleek in texture and very charming, with enough structure to age. A classy wine.
2015 Ancient Oak Cellars Appellation Series Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.4% alc., pH
3.40, TA 0.69, 900 cases, $29. Produced primarily from Nurmi and Flyway vineyards. Native primary
and secondary fermentations, sur lie aging with battonage.
Light golden yellow color in the glass.
Complex perfume of lemon oil, grilled pineapple, warm brioche, vanilla and chalk dust. Slightly
creamy in the mouth, displaying very tasty flavors of lemon, pineapple, pear, and salted caramel.
Nicely composed, with a lasting finish redolent of creme caramel. Rather ostentatious oak highlights,
but no complaints from me.
2015 Ancient Oak Cellars Single Vineyard Series Flyway Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.4% alc., pH 2.9, TA 0.57, RS <0.1 g/L, 1,500 cases, $56. Old vines. Barrel fermented with native yeasts
and sur lie aging with battonage.
Medium golden yellow color in the glass. Shy aromas of citrus, kumquat,
petrichor and vegemite. Moderately rich, with flavors of lemon, pineapple, orchard fruits and subtle toast.
Slightly creamy and nicely appointed with a lingering finish replete with righteous tangy lemon. A distinctive
wine that intrigues and meshes the acidity well. Tasted twice.
2015 Ancient Oak Cellars Single Vineyard Series Nurmi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.4% alc., pH
2.9, TA 0.57, RS <0.1 g/L, 1,500 cases, $56. Wente clone
planted and farmed by Paul and Gail Nurmi. Barrel fermented
with native yeast and aged sur lie with battonage.
yellow color in the glass. Shy, but very pleasing aromas of
citrus, lychee, brioche and a steely note. The wine is blessed
with delicious flavors of lemon, yellow apple and the slightest barrel
toast. Excellent vibrancy with juicy lemon goodness returning in waves
on the finish. A serious offering that becomes more affectionate in the
glass over time.
2015 Ancient Oak Cellars Reserve Series Kent Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.4% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.66, RS <0.1 g/L, 96 cases, $60. Greg La Follette made his first vineyard designated
wines twenty years ago from the Kent Ritchie Vineyard. This wine contains grapes from a selection of specific
rows. Barrel fermented with native yeast and aged sur lie for 20 months with battonage.
yellow color in the glass. Complex nose offering a perfume of crystallized lemon, prickly pear, white flower
bouquet, earthy flora and sea breeze. The onslaught of lemon goodness wakes up the palate on entry and
expands through the mid palate. Very harmonious, with a pleasingly viscous texture, offering nuances of spice,
nutmeg, vanilla wafer, and buttery caramel. A praiseworthy wine that finishes with uncommon richness for a
Chardonnay and literally slides off the back of the palate as it exits.
Boisset Collection, Santa Rosa, CA
Boisset Collection is France’s third largest wine group and includes multiple California wineries: Amberhill
Wines, Buena Vista Winery, DeLoach Vineyards, Frenchie Winery, JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset, Lockwood
Winery, Lyeth Estate, Raymond Vineyards and Wattle Creek Winery. The collection of historic and unique
wineries is family owned, uniting Old World and New World of wine. The parents of Jean-Charles, Jean-Claude
and Claudine, founded the family winery in 1961, and today the wineries stretch from Burgundy to the South of
France to California’s Napa Valley and Russian River Valley. Visit www.boissetcollection.com. Listen to Jean-
Charles on Grape Radio at http://www.graperadio.com/archives/2013/06/07/go-west-young-man-with-jeancharles-
All wines reviewed here are pre-releases except for the 2014 DeLoach Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot
Noir that was released in 2016, the 2013 No. 7 that was released in late 2016, and the JCB No. 3 that was
released in December 2016. All JCB wines are 50 to 80 cases.
2014 Buena Vista Carneros Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.54, 2,995 cases, $25. Cellared and bottled
by Buena Vista Winery, Santa Rosa and St. Helena. 100% de-stemmed, fermented in small open-top
fermenters, and aged for 10 months in French and Hungarian oak barrels, 20% new.
Moderate reddish purple
color in the glass. The nose is dominated by oak, revealing aromas of fresh ground coffee beans and toast.
Smooth in the mouth with a mid weight core of black cherry fruit that plays second fiddle to conspicuous oak.
The silky tannins and acidity are in favorable balance with the fruit, but the experience is like drinking a cold
cup of coffee with cherry flavoring.
2014 DeLoach Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.55, 8,926 cases, $25.
Sourced from BCD Vineyard, Becnel Vineyard, Heintz Vineyard and Murray Vineyard.Fermented in wooden
open-top vats, hand punch downs, basket pressed, and aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 10% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas arrive over time in the glass revealing notes of
Bing cherry, cranberry and oak spice and toast. Light to mid weight in style, with flavors of spiced Bing cherry,
cola and tobacco. Satiny mouthfeel, with a bit of shallow impression on the mid palate, finishing with modest
length. Easy to drink, but leans a bit too much on oak.
2014 DeLoach Vineyards Marin County Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.57227 cases, $45. A
blend of two mature vineyards in Marin County, Stubbs and Corda. Fermented in small open-top fermenters
and aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.
Light reddish purple color in the glass. Demure aromas
of cherry, strawberry and earthy flora arrive slowly in the glass with swirling. More expressive on the palate, yet
delicate in weight, with primary flavors of red cherry and red berry. Nicely balanced, with a silken fabric and a
very modest finish.
2014 DeLoach Vineyards Maboroshi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.62, 802 cases, $50. Vineyard is
situated at 400 to 600 feet elevation in Sebastopol Hills. Clones 667 and
115 planted in Goldridge soil. Fermented in open top vats with hand
punch downs. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Both savory and fruity on the
nose, exhibiting aromas of cherry, dried herbs, wet mulch and a hint of
tobacco. Very charming in the mouth, with expansive flavors of black
cherry, savory herbs and tobacco robed in modest tannins. A silky
smooth texture attracts, and the wine has commendable harmony,
finishing with cherry and citric flavors.
2014 DeLoach Vineyards Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.65, 1,350
cases, $70. Very heavy bottle with a gold crest on the front. The 17-acre Estate Vineyard is certified
Biodynamic®. One of only 64 wineries or vineyards in the U.S. with Demeter certified Biodynamic estate
vineyards. 8 clones - 115, “828,” Swan, La Tache, Calera, Mt. Eden, 777 and 23. Fermented for 16 months in
individual lots with native yeasts in open top fermenters, basked pressed and aged on the lees in French oak
barrels, 31% new, before being blended together and aged for an additional 2 months.
purple color in the glass. A regal nose leads off with aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, forest floor, spice
and toast. Plush and full-bodied in the mouth with accommodating tannic backbone, offering layers of black
raspberry, blackberry and plum fruits accented with spice and dark chocolate. Almost too much of a good thing.
Classy, with good acidity lifting the fruit load, finishing uncommonly long and generous. Best to lock this wine
away for a few years.
2012 JCB No 3 Ed. III Red Wine
13.5% alc., $123. A marriage of five vineyards in California and three top
vineyards in Côte de Nuits, Burgundy. Aged 22 months in 100% French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple
color in the glass. Pleasant scent of black cherry, spice, herbs and beechwood. Lighter styled, with earthy
flavors of cherry and raspberry, and an array of savory spices and herbs. The savory and fruit components
compliment each other and the wine picks up interest over time in the glass. Drinking well now, with easygoing,
fine-grain tannins, and a bright, uplifting finish.
2013 JCB No 7 Sonoma Collection Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 500 cases, $50. Fermented in
wooden open-top fermenters with hand punch downs, basket pressed.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in
the glass. The aromas of black cherry, earthy flora, leather and toasty oak blend together nicely. Tasty flavors
of black cherry, black raspberry and blackberry energize the attack and mid palate, persisting on the finish with
lip-smacking goodness. A well-crafted wine with married tannins, deft oak integration and overall joy.
2013 JCB No 22 Sonoma Collection Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.58, 150 cases,
$75. 11 is Jean-Charles Boisset’s lucky number and this wine has twice the intensity of most Pinot Noirs and
thus the title of the wine. Fermented in wooden open-top fermenters with hand punch downs, basket pressed,
and aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass.
Gorgeous, nose-filling aromas of dark stone fruits, pie spice, vanilla and subtle toast. Delicious flavors of
cherry, raspberry, pie spices and vanilla with a subtle savory note in the background. Bright and seamless, with
a sturdy finish of welcome length. A real charmer.
2014 JCB No 6 Sonoma Collection Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $75.
purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry, strawberry and herb garden become more gracious over time
in the glass as do the flavors that echo the nose. Amicable balance, with a silken texture, good vibrancy and a
modest finish. Should benefit from another year or two in the cellar.
Domaine De La Côte, Lompoc, CA
I previously reviewed three of the outstanding 2014 Pinot Noirs from Domaine De La Côte:
www.princeofpinot.com/article/1883/. The layout of the vineyards is shown on the back label:
2014 Domaine De La Côte Sta. Rita Hills AVA Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 3,294 cases, $45. Estate grown,
produced and bottled. 50% whole cluster, aged in 0% new French oak barrels.
Moderately light cherry red color
in the glass. Pleasing scent of cherry, raspberry, rose petal, pine needle and underbrush. Very elegant, juicy
and refreshing in a mid weight styled wine with uplifting flavors of black cherry and black raspberry framed by
silky smooth tannins and supported by the acidity Sta. Rita Hills is known for. Tart cherry returns in waves on
the lip-smacking finish. An excellent way to sample the DDLC style with some retail availability. Still solid the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2014 Domaine De La Côte Siren’s Call Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 145 cases, $120. Inaugural vintage from this
vineyard. Estate grown, produced and bottled.
reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is remarkably
complex, offering aromas of dark cherry, mysterious Asian
spices, sous-bois, burnt tobacco and smoke. Light to mid weight
in style, with invigorating acidity that forms the first impression.
Demure flavors of tart cherry and cranberry with a touch of spice and
tobacco. The fine-grain tannins are supportive and make for easy
approachability. When tasted the following day from a previously opened
and re-corked bottle, the nose was in full flight featuring all the best of
whole cluster. The palate had picked up some weight, raspberry fruit
arrived, the wine was vivid and vibrant, and the finish left a mouthwatering
impression. You can just sense the cool ocean breeze in this wine.
2014 Gehricke Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 948 cases, $45. Small lot ferments. Aged 9
months in French oak barrels. Vinted and bottled by The Other Guys, Sonoma.
Light cherry red color in the
glass. Demure aromas of slightly confected red cherry, baking spice and forest floor. Cherry driven, with added
flavors of raspberry and cranberry, simple and easy going in a light to mid weight style, with a silky texture and
very modest oak contribution.
2014 Gehricke Sonoma Los Carneros Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 1,556 cases, $39. Small lot ferments. Aged 9
months in French oak barrels. Vinted and bottled by The Other Guys, Sonoma.
Moderately light reddish purple
color in the glass. Very giving fruit aromas of strawberry and cherry. Discreetly concentrated flavors of oakkissed
black cherry with added accents of cola, sassafras and tobacco. Satiny in the mouth, with good balance
and some finishing goodness. A little more oak-infused character than I prefer, but will please many especially
at this modest price.
LUMEN, Santa Maria, CA
A partnership between iconic Central Coast winemaker Lane Tanner and journalist, photographer and
experienced wine salesman Will Henry. Together, they craft the wines in Santa Maria. Lane prefers to pick on
the early side, producing wines that have lower alcohols, more vibrancy and freshness, and good age ability.
The wines are available for purchase at www.lumenwines.com. 25% off Lumen wines when a member of the
Lumen Vintage Club.
2014 LUMEN Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 990 cases, $30. Fruit was picked
early for freshness and lively acidity @ average 23.5º Brix. Clones 667, 777, Pommard 5 and
Wädenswil 2A. 100% de-stemmed. Aged in 15% new and 85% neutral French and Hungarian oak
barrels. Bottled unfined and loosely filtered.
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. A very
savory wine leading off with aromas of black cherry, pice, dried herbs, peppercorn and nutty oak.
Light to medium in weight with flavors that replicate the nose with additions of black raspberry and
earthiness. The tannins are silky, and there is welcome freshness and juiciness.
2014 LUMEN Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., 99 cases, $52. A selection of the best barrels from this
vineyard this vintage. Harvest Brix 22.7º. Clone 777. 100% destemmed.
Aged in 16% new and 84% neutral French and Hungarian
oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate reddish purple
color in the glass. Earth embossed aromas of blackberry, black
raspberry and ollaliberry with complimentary spice. More dark red
fruited on the palate with tastes of cherry, cranberry and pomegranate.
Lithe and juicy, with a very sensual mouthfeel, sporting matched
tannins, a savory thread of thyme and other herbs and some generosity
on the finish.
2014 LUMEN Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
13.3% alc., 540 cases, $30.
Harvest Brix 22.1º. Robert Young and 15 clones. Barrel fermented and aged in 10% new and 90%
neutral French and Hungarian oak. 100% MLF. Sterile filtered.
Moderate golden yellow color and
clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon, apple, banana cream, buttery brioche, yeast and a hint of
reduction that blows off. Flavors of lemon, pineapple, green apple and spice infused with steely
resolve. Slightly creamy on the palate, with a hint of nutty oak, finishing with a bright apple note. The
wine improves in the glass over time.
Manross Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Pinot Noir is like an infant that responds to coddling. Some of the best domestic Pinot Noir is produced in tiny
quantities of one to two barrels with loving care. That is the case with this Pinot Noir from winemaker Heather
Manross. Heather followed her family’s winemaking tradition by beginning her career at one of the largest wine
retail and wholesale operations in Southern California where she had the opportunity to taste many wines. She
moved to Northern California, taking on management positions for several prominent Napa Valley wineries
where she learned winemaking and began to develop her winemaking style. Although she was not a huge fan
of Napa wines, she learned that the most critical part of winemaking is starting with quality grapes. She crafted
two barrels of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir in 2014, sourced from the Lone Oak Vineyard. This older vine,
hillside vineyard was planted in 1982. The microclimate consists of very cool nights and morning fog with
warmer afternoon temperatures allowing for the development of balanced fruit with bright acidity. The wine is
available for purchase on the winery website at www.manrosswines.com.
2014 Manross Lone Oak Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.69, 50 cases, $58. 100%
Pommard clone. 30% whole cluster. Aged 20 months in French
oak barrels, 20% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
reddish purple color in the glass. Exhilarating aromas of fresh
Bing cherry, spice, vanillin and nutty oak. Polished and
refreshing on the palate, with the mid weight essence of
glorious black cherry, cherry cola and black raspberry flavors. Plenty of
ripe sap, but vibrant, with a juicy acid underbelly. Lovely balance, with
silken tannins and a compliment of oak. Still charged with deep cherry
flavor and juiciness when tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle. Uncommon verve in a seductively-appointed
Pinot that is welcoming now.
O’Connor Vineyard, Sebastopol
A single Pinot Noir produced from a family owned, 4-acre estate vineyard located in the Green Valley of
Russian River Valley. Almost 30 years ago, a 100-year-old apple orchard was replaced with a vineyard. After
selling Pinot Noir grapes to other wineries for a few years. the O’Connor Vineyard label was launched in 2005
by proprietors James and Mary O’Connor. The winemaker is Ron Johnson, the owners’ son-in-law, who has
been crafting wine for over twenty years. This wine is an exceptional treasure at a modest price. Visit the
website at www.oconnorvineyards.com to order or phone Mary at 707-823-4948.
2014 O’Connor Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.66, 414
cases, $35. Harvest Brix 25.2º. Pommard, 115 and 777 clones. Aged 18 months in French oak
barrels. Winemaker is Ron Johnson, the vineyard owners’ son-in-law.
Moderately light cherry red
color in the glass. Soaring aromas of Bing cherry, spice, toast and tobacco lead to a middleweight
styled wine with delicious dark cherry fruit. The charge of fruit is buffered by vibrant acidity and silky
tannins. There is definite barrel influence, but it seasons rather than dominates the wine. Very
enjoyable, with a smooth texture and an exit bursting with savory oak and black cherry goodness.
A real charmer and quintessential Russian River Valley in character at a very reasonable price.
Rodney Strong Vineyards & Davis Bynum, Healdsburg, CA
Davis Bynum was the first winery to produce a single vineyard Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. The
vintage was 1973 and the grapes came from Joe Rochioli’s vineyard. The winery was acquired by Rodney
Strong Vineyards who retained the name, continuing the heritage of hand-crafted single vineyard wines grown
exclusively in the Russian River Valley. The winemaker is Greg Morthole along with consultant David Ramey.
Rodney Strong was among the first modern wine pioneers that planted Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley.
In 1968, he planted the River East Vineyard adjacent the winery in Healdsburg. This family owned winery is
solar powered, certified sustainable, practices Fish Friendly Farming, and is Sonoma County’s first carbon
neutral winery. Winemakers are Rick Sayre and Justin Seidenfeld (along with Tom Klein and David Ramey on
the Russian River Valley Reserve bottling).
2014 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA
0.56, 10,354 cases, $35. Harvest Brix average 24.9º. Clones 113, 114, 115, 777, 667, 2A, 23 and
Pommard. Grapes are de-stemmed to stainless steel tanks for cold soak, followed by fermentation
with native yeasts. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 31% new.
Moderate reddish purple color
in the glass. Aromas of a plethora of dark fruits including black cherry and black raspberry
complimented with toasty oak. Impressive harmony and soothing in the mouth, with middleweight
flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and baking spice. Easy to cozy up to, finishing with a kiss of
fruit that literally slides off the back of the palate.
2014 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Clone 23 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.55, 192 cases, $55. Clone 23,
imported from Wädenswil, Switzerland in 1966, is known as the
Mariafeld clone. Harvest Brix 26.3º. Fermentation initiated with native
yeasts. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels 36% new.
reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of fresh Bing cherry,
spice and rose petal. Gutsy but not ponderous, with a flavorful core of
earthy black cherry and mushroom flavors that engage the palate. Lush
in the mouth, with deft oak management, a balanced tannic backbone,
and a juicy finish filled with black cherry goodness. A grounded Pinot
2014 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.52, $25. Aged 13 months in French oak barrels, 35% new.
reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is inviting upon opening, offering aromas of Bing cherry, baking
spices, and cola, but fades over time in the glass. The light to mid weight charge of Bing cherry fruit offers a
modest attack and shallow mid palate depth, but finishes better than it enters with good length. The barrel
treatment is conspicuous but not overbearing. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked
bottle, the oak was not more judiciously integrated, but the wine proved to be a good companion with
2014 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.55,
$30. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderately light reddish purple color in the
glass. The nose is reserved initially, but opening over time in the glass, offering aromas and flavors
of forestry cherry, dark red berry, spice and earthy flora. Silken in the mouth, with good lift, taught
tannins, and a spirited finish featuring persistent cherry goodness.
2014 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.77, TA
0.52, $45. Aged on the lees for 11 months with monthly battonage in French oak barrels, 36% new.
reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is sullen, offering only subtle aromas of black cherry, earth and oak.
Somewhat monolithic on the mid weight plus palate with flavors of ripe black cherry, black raspberry and
tobacco. The tannins are quite modest assisting the silky mouthfeel that is the wine’s best feature. The wine
lacks a bit of acidic lift. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, oak had
come to the forefront, but the seductive texture still stood out. It was challenging for me to predict the future of
this wine based on its current withdrawn state.
Sanglier Cellars, Santa Rosa, CA
This winery is vineyard focused, with winemaking only meant to coax, aid and help the grapes find their natural
course through fermentation. All vineyards are farmed sustainably, organically or biodynamically. Winegrower
and winemaker Glenn Alexander has been farming hundreds of acres of wine grapes for some of Sonoma and
Napa county’s best known wineries for many years. From those hundreds of acres, Glenn chooses fruit from 11
acres for his wines. He knows these 11 acres intimately and can influence wine quality in many wines,
including proper sizing of the vine relative to crop yield, arranging leaves or removing leaves to allow only the
desired amount of sunlight to reach the clusters, adding nutrition or irrigation (although minimalist in approach),
removing excess fruit to insure the remaining clusters ripen evenly and at the desired pace, and finally, when
and how harvest is carried out with the goal of picking at the best levels of flavor, tannins and acidity.
2013 Sanglier Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.55, 416 cases, $45. Pommard,
Calera, Swan and 115 clones. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 30% new, 70% 1 and 2-year-old.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose really blossoms over time, attracting the drinker to
bright aromas of cherry, red berry, woodland and sous-bois. A cherry bombast featuring a mid weight core of
perfectly ripened Bing cherry that is expansive in the mouth and carries over with purpose through the finish.
Easy going, with silky tannins, juicy acidity and solid balance. Still delightful the following day when tasted from
a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2014 Sanglier River Tusque Sonoma County Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.57, 224
cases, $36. “Tusque” translates to “the old lands” in French. Clones are Swan, Calera, 115 and 667.
Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, 75% 1 and 2-year-old.
Moderately dark reddish
purple color in the glass. Aromas of black raspberry and grape must are accented with a hint of
underbrush. The black raspberry, blackberry and black grape fruits veer to the ripe side but never
cross over. Modest in weight, but blessed with vibrant fruit flavor that grabs hold to the very long,
dark berry infused follow through. The balance is impeccable.
2014 Sanglier Old Camp Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.59, 220 cases, $55.
Sourced from Old Camp Vineyard. Aged 19 months in French oak barrels.
Moderately dark reddish purple
color in the glass. There is a intra berry fermentation scent in this wine with notes of rose petal, tutti-fruity and
pine sap accompanying the dark cherry fruit. Plenty of sweet dark cherry and berry fruit to satisfy in a
somewhat husky wine with sinewy tannins. A bit of spice, vanilla and Juicy Fruit gum flavors add interest. The
finish is remarkably intense and persistent, lasting well over 30 seconds, and the longest of the 2014 Pinots
tasted from Sanglier. The Beaujolais character and lengthy finish define this wine.
2014 Sanglier Emilia’s Cuvée Family Reserve Bennet Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.60, 155 cases, $60.
Calera and Swan clones grown at Laguna Vineyard. Aged 19
months in French oak barrels, 40% new, 60% 1 and 2-year-old.
Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose
offers its charms slowly over time in the glass, reaching a climax
filled with dark cherry, berry, rose petal and nutty oak aromas. A
little more oak and structure in this high collared wine, filled with
succulent boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors that saturate the
palate. Prodigious, yet not jammy, with a pleasing acid backbone and a
good grip of juicy fruit on the ostentatious finish. A superb wine that is
delicious now, but will benefit from short term aging.
2013 Furthermore Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., pH 3.60, 151 cases,
$55. Harvest Brix 28.0º. Pisoni and “828” clones. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new.
light reddish purple color in the glass. Very savory nose featuring aromas of earthy flora, tobacco, mushroom,
black cherry, strawberry and vanilla. Silky on entry, with mid weight flavors of plum, black cherry, black
raspberry, mocha, herbs and spice. Elegantly composed with a generous dollop of oak and some dry tannin on
2013 Soliste Solitaire Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., 52
cases and 78 magnums, $100. From a vineyard nestled in a redwood
forest. Multiple passes through the vineyard selecting only the very
best grapes. 50% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in one 600-liter
barrel for 28 months. The model for this wine is the Bertheau Bonnes
Light cherry red color in the glass. A very young wine that
needs decanting or more time in the cellar to evolve. Over time in the
glass, lovely aromas of darker cherry and berry, rose petal, sous-bois and
spice arrive with a gentle blanket of oak. More expression, yet reticent, on the
palate, with a mid weight core of juicy black cherry fruit, spice and savory
herbs that commands attention on the mid palate and persists through a
pleasingly satin finish. Much better the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle. No hurry to pop the cork on this one, much like a Bonnes Mares. Let the oak integrate further, the
nuances rise up and the whole cluster work its magic.
2016 Waxwing Blair Vineyard Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir Rosé
12.7% alc., 42 cases, $23. Release March 2017.
Pommard 4 clone. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in
stainless steel. Aged in barrels with weekly lees stirring.
Bottled January 27, 2017, after 3 months in barrel.
apricot color in the glass. This is a people-pleasing wine with
many admirable attributes. The nose is alive and sustained in
the glass, offering aromas of apricot, strawberry, cherry, blood orange
and a floral note. The delicious flavors of cherry, strawberry white peach
and apricot have good weight and are bright and lifted. The wine is
perfectly balanced with fresh acidity, finishing with a blood orange tang.
The best domestic rosé that I have experienced in quite awhile. Serve
chilled of course.