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Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir

With the gradual premiumization and increasing popularity of domestic Pinot Noir has come a gradual escalation in price. I looked back at the average price (rounded off) of all domestic Pinot Noirs I reviewed by year from 2007-2016. Each year there are about 1,000 published reviews of domestic Pinot Noir in the PinotFile.


2007 $41.00
2008 $39.00
2009 $44.00
2010 $48.00
2011 $48.00
2012 $46.00
2013 $47.00
2014 $50.00
2015 $51.00
2016 $52.00

The Nielsen statistics (representing about 75% of off-premises sales) for 52 weeks ending 11/05/16 of wine sales at all US outlets combined plus liquor and convenience stores showed a 9.2% increase in sales versus a year prior for Pinot Noir, exceeding all other varietals except Sauvignon Blanc (12.2%) and Rosé (55.4%). The average price for a 750 ml bottle of Pinot Noir was $10.20, exceeded among all varietals only by Zinfandel ($10.57) and Rosé ($13.27). However, the average price change compared to the prior year, was greatest for Pinot Noir among all varietals ($0.24) except Zinfandel ($0.39).

For the time being, premiumization is driving the overall profit pool for domestic Pinot Noir producers. And while wine premiumization may be a trend, it doesn’t apply yet to consumers younger than 55 who are drinking plenty of wine but not buying premium priced bottles. Will the younger consumers succumb to the allures of premium Pinot Noir as they age?

Most of the wines reviewed here are priced a little below or above the 2016 average price of $52.



J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Paso Robles and San Jose, CA

Jerry Lohr first planted his estate grapevines in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County in 1972. Forty-five years later, J. Lohr’s Monterey estate program encompasses more than 1,300 planted acres in the Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands, with an emphasis on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Pinot Noirs are crafted by long time red wine winemaker Steve Peck. Visit www.jlohr.com.

2014 J. Lohr Fog’s Reach Arroyo Seco Monterey Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.55, RS 0.09 g/100ml, 490 cases, $35. Dijon 115, 667 and 777 and Pommard. 100% de-stemmed, fermented in six and twelve ton open-top fermenters with manual punch downs, 6-days on skins, aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 60% new (medium plus to heavy toast). · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, ripe strawberry and toasty oak build in a crescendo over time in the glass. A mid weight plus attack of black fruits greets the palate, filling the mouth with a lush, plush and slightly creamy experience. A grounded wine with some earthiness that is complimentary. The silky tannins are well proportioned as is the acidity so the wine holds its balance even at this higher alcohol level. The modest finish leaves an impression of oak-kissed fruit. Score: 89

2014 Lohr Highlands Bench Santa Lucia Highlands Monterey Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.58, RS 0.1 g/100ml, 82 cases, $35. Warm vintage and early harvest. sourced from Escolle Road Vineyard located just west of the town of Gonzales. Primarily clone 115. Harvest Brix 24.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 20% saignée, 3-day cold soak, fermented in 10-ton open top tanks with punch downs twice daily, aged in unique water bent French barrels from Marcel Cadet, 60% new. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Initially reluctant, the nose opens over time to offer scents of purple berries, spice and vanilla. Full and luscious on the palate with a charge of sweet, ripe black cherry and black raspberry fruit flavors. Nothing out of place, with a creamy mouthfeel, the right touch of oak and enough finish to thoroughly satisfy. Score: 90



Lula Cellars, Philo, CA

www.lulacellars.com.

2014 Lula Mendocino Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.62, 276 cases, $45. A blend of grapes from Peterson and Costa vineyards. 33% Pommard, 30% 115, 20% 667 and 15% 777. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, and an additional 6 months after blending. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is driven by oak aromas of toast, marzipan and vanilla with black fruits in the background. Silky in the mouth, with very ripe flavors of blackberry, prune and black grape underlain with nutty oak. The wine has good acidity, but the tannins are gutty. The excessive ripeness of the fruit and overbearing oak impair the experience. Score: 86

2014 Lula Docker Hill Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.55, 157 cases, $50. First vintage from this vineyard. planted in 2010 in the coastal mountain town of Comptche, 8 miles southeast of the village of Mendocino. 5 acres at 900 feet elevation. Clones are Pommard, 777, “828,” 115 and Swan, each harvested and fermented separately. Aged 12 months before blending, then spent another 6 months in barrel before bottling. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose was slow to come around after opening, but became more expressive when sampled the following day from a previously opened bottle. Dark cherry and berry fruit aromas are echoed on the mid weight palate with added contributions of pine and caramel. Inviting natural acidity with silky tannins and a modest but enjoyable finish. Score: 89

2014 Lula Costa Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.64, 362 cases, $45. Third release from this vineyard. 5 acres planted in 1998 in the coastal mountain town of Comptche, 700 feet above sea level. A blend of 65% Pommard and 35% Dijon 115 clones. Each was harvested, fermented and barrel aged separately, then blended after 12 months in barrel and aged a further 6 months before bottling. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackest cherry, forest floor and nutty oak lead off. Mid weight in style, with a core of black raspberry and blackberry fruits with an earthy bent.There is a modest riff of oak, the tannins are noticeable and the wine finishes with the slightest sense of alcoholic warmth. Score: 88

2014 Lula Peterson Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.67, 400 cases, $45 (wine club exclusive). Vineyard planted in 1999 and located in the coastal mountain town of Comptche at 700 feet elevation. A blend of Pommard and Dijon 115, 667 and 777 clones, each harvested and fermented separately before blending after 12 months in barrel, and then aged an additional 6 months in barrel before bottling. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is reticent, even when checked the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Much more giving on the palate in a densely fruited and bold style that offers plenty of charm. Delicious flavors of black cherry and black raspberry with compliments of spice, vanilla and earth. Envious balance with integrated tannins and plenty of finishing power. This wine needs decanting if opened now but will most certainly benefit from a few more years in bottle. Score: 90



Tessier Winery, Healdsburg, CA

Kristie Tacey crafts a variety of wines out of a custom crush facility (Moshin Vineyards). Her 2014 Saveria Vineyard Pinot Noir was featured as one of the Year’s Best U.S. Pinot Noirs in the April 2017 issue of Wines & Spirits (score of 96). Visit www.tessierwinery.com.

2015 Tessier Winery Morelli Lane Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 197 cases, $45. 15% whole cluster. Clones 113 and Pommard. Native primary and secondary fermentations. Aged in 37.5% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Noticeably more giving when tasted one day after opening, showing hi-tone aromas of purple berries, purple grape mash, and earth notes. A succulent charge of black berry and black raspberry fruit flavors draw attention. Plenty of extraction to please, with added accents of black tea and nutty oak. Nicely balanced, with plenty of finishing energy. Score: 91

2015 Tessier Winery Saveria Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 94 cases, $45. 30% whole cluster. Clones 667 and 115. Native primary and secondary fermentations. Aged in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Highly fragrant, offering soaring aromas of cherry, raspberry, spice and rose petal. The deep black cherry core is blessed with freshness in this spirited offering that has a dreamy texture that speaks loudly of pinotosity. Fresh acidity, a deft touch of oak and a bit of savory herbs complete the experience. Still solid when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle. Score: 92



Valerie’s Vineyard, Carneros, CA

The 2015 release is the 13th vintage of Valerie’s Vineyard Pinot Noir. This one-acre site, farmed by three families according to practices guided by viticulturist Phil Coturri, is now reaching maturity and showing the nuances that come with old vines. The 2015 vintage crop was smaller than in previous years. Winemaker Jeff McBride crafted the wine at Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen. The wine was aged 18 months in 30% new French oak barrels. The wine is distributed to fine restaurants in Sonoma Valley and is sold at Hi-Time Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA. Visit www.valeriesvineyard.com. I have reviewed 10 vintages (2006-2015) and pulled out a few older vintages to accompany this review of the 2015 release. The 2007 through 2010 wines were vinified at B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen and have a consistency of style: ripe and luscious fruit, minimal oak infusion, firm tannic backbone and good balance. The 2015 vintage shows a shift in style with plenty of rich fruit but more vibrancy. As you can see, the price has remained the same through the years.

2015 Valerie’s Vineyard “One-Acre” Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 60 cases, $40. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Plenty of aromatic volume, featuring scents of cherry, raspberry, sage and rose petal. The nose reminds of some intraberry (carbonic) fermentation. Ripe and discreetly sappy flavors of cherry, cranberry and strawberry offer good vibrancy. The gossamer tannins make for seductive drinking, the black cherry infused finish delights, and the overall harmony results in a charming, even aristocratic impression. Score: 92

2007 Valerie’s Vineyard “One-Acre” Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 88 cases, $40. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Considerable tertiary character in this wine with bouquet of dried black cherry, strawberry, red and black current, turned earth and earthy flora. Very ripe fruited and mid weight in style, with flavors of black cherry and prune framed by silky tannins, admirable oak assimilation, and a juicy, cherry-fueled finish of some length. Drink now to 2020. Score: 89

2008 Valerie’s Vineyard “One-Acre” Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $40. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Some aromatic breadth with scents of black cherry syrup, toasty oak and earthy flora. Rich and sappy, with dense flavors of dark cherry and berry accented with a hint of prune and marzipan. Still quite structured and fresh, with a polished mouthfeel. Drink now to 2025. Score: 90

2009 Valerie’s Vineyard “One-Acre” Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 75 cases, $40. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. A slight oxidized note is present on the nose that offers fruit aromas of black cherry and black raspberry. Sleek and seamless on the palate with intense, even teeth-staining, flavors of blackberry, black plum, raspberry and black tea. There is enough balancing tannin to support the fruit load. A pristine bottle would undoubtedly score higher. Drink now to 2025. Score: 88

2010 Valerie’s Vineyard “One-Acre” Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 58 cases, $40. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry jam, dark chocolate covered raisin, black raspberry and vanilla are replicated on the palate. The gorgeous fruit really impresses and is supported by well-integrated tannins. The milky texture appeals as does the fruit-filled finish. There is an underlying earthiness so prevalent in Carneros Pinot Noir. Drink now to 2025. Score: 90



Waxwing Wine Cellars, Belmont, CA

Scott Sisemore experienced extremely light yields in 2015, and ended up with only four barrels of Pinot Noir. The Ascona Vineyard is new for him, located above Los Gatos at 2,000 feet elevation in a beautiful spot surrounded by tall evergreen trees. The wines are distributed in the San Francisco Bay area and can be obtained on the website at www.waxwingwines.com.

2015 Waxwing Lester Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 50 cases, $55. Released March 2017. Fourth vintage working with this vineyard. Vines planted in 1998 and managed sustainably by Prudy Foxx. Dijon clones 667 and 115. 50% of fruit was crushed by foot whole cluster and fermented with Assmanhausen yeast. 5-day cold soak, punched down two to three times per day and aged 15 months in once-used French oak barrels. Bottled after a light filtration. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Quite savory on the nose with whole cluster aromas of stem merging with aromas of black cherry and blueberry. Light to mid weight in style, with flavors of strawberry, dark red cherry, boysenberry and root beer infused with noticeable oak highlights. Easygoing, with minimal tannins and silky in texture, but the wine lacks spirit and seems almost grumpy like it is in a dumb phase. Just doesn’t have the charm and character of other Lester Family Pinots from this and other producers.Tasted twice with similar results. Will need to be reassessed in the future.

2015 Waxwing Ascona Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 54 cases, $48. Released March 2017. Martini, Pommard, 115 and Mt. Eden clones. 100% of grapes crushed by foot whole cluster and fermented with Assmanhausen yeast. 5-day cold soak, punch downs two to three times per day and aged 15 months in once-used French oak barrels. Bottled after a light filtration. · Moderate purple color in the glass. Cherry, spice and earthy flora infuse the nose with goodness, especially over time in the glass. Modest in attack and finish, featuring a mid weight essence of clove-infused cherry fruits framed by bright acidity and toothsome, mildly astringent tannins that surge on the finish. This wine needs more time in bottle that hopefully will soften the tannins. Otherwise it has some nice attributes. Tasted twice. Score: 89



Windy Oaks Estate, Corralitos, CA

Winemakers Jim and Judy Schultze have been crafting exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since 1999. I have written extensively about their talents and the wines that are among the finest offered from the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. Pinot Noir is vinified by gravity only with no pumps during crush, press and bottling. About half of the fermentation bins are done with indigenous yeast. All Pinot Noirs are bottled unfined and unfiltered. In recent years, the winery has expanded its offerings to include Albarino, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and a red Rhone blend. Visit www.windyoaksestate.com.

2014 Windy Oaks Estate Schultze Family Vineyard Estate Cuvée Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 296 cases, $39. A blend of 5 clones. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Soaring aromas of dark berry and cherry, rose and spice and a subtle touch of oak. The party continues on the mid weight palate that offers a wholesome attack of black cherry fruit accented with baking spices. Very fine grain tannins, juicy acidity and welcome intensity and length on the finish. A forward drinking offering that builds in appeal over time in the glass. Score: 93

2014 Windy Oaks Estate Schultze Family Vineyard Limited Release 100% Wild Yeast Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 72 cases, $58 (wine club and tasting room only). Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Plenty of appealing aromas of red cherry and berry, spice, underbrush and white pepper that are more showy when the wine was tasted the following day. The black cherry core of fruit has noticeable presence on the mid weight palate, working in harmony with compatible tannins. The mouthfeel is seductively silky, there is a tasty spice and floral thread, and some finishing persistence. Oak is definitely involved, but less so when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91

2014 Windy Oaks Estate Schultze Family Vineyard Limited Release Wood Tank Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 106 cases, $58. Fermented up to eight weeks in one-ton, French oak, open-top fermentation tanks. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. I couldn’t stop sticking my nose in the glass as the aromas of cherry, spice cabinet and marzipan were mesmerizing. Light to mid weight in style, with a redder fruited core that is embellished with wood-driven spice and nuttiness. Noticeable but not intrusive tannins and a lip-smacking finish complete the experience. There is more barrel presence in this wine but it enhances rather than detracts. Score: 92

2013 Windy Oaks Estate Schultze Family Vineyard Proprietor’s Reserve Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 554 cases, $65 (wine club members and tasting room only). The winery’s signature wine, primarily made from the 1.5-acre Bay Block planting of the original 3-acre vineyard. Aged 24 months in French oak barrels, 65% new. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Demure aroma of cherry pie filling with a hint of oak and barnyard. Lighter weighted, delicate flavors of cherry and cranberry accented with spicy oak amid a frame of gossamer tannins. Very easy going and elegant, bordering on austere. This bottle did not capture my fancy as much as a bottle sampled a year ago. Score: 88



Young Hagen Wines, Angwin, CA

2013 Young Hagen Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.68, 77 cases, $50. Released February 2017. A single vineyard wine from a vineyard located at the western edge of Green Valley (name not disclosed). Calera, Pommard, 115 and Elite clones. 10% whole cluster fermented separately. Aged 15 months on the lees in once-used French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Although there is no new oak barrels used in the aging of this wine, it shows a whack of oak on the nose and palate. Aromas of wood smoke and oak char lead off and persist over time. More fruit expression on the mid weight palate, with lush flavors of black raspberry, blackberry, spice and leaf. The tannins and acidity are in balance and there is some length to the sweet-fruited finish. Toasty oak plies the background and is still evident in the wine when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 87

2014 Young Hagen Riddle Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.82, TA 0.57, 149 cases, $50. Released February 2017. Clones 115 and Pommard. 10% whole cluster included in de-stemmed fermentation. Aged 11 months on the lees in French oak barrels, 20% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark purple color in the glass. Very similar in style and character as the 2013 Sonoma Coast bottling, but with more compatible oak management. Aromas of blueberry-pomegranate, rose petal, white pepper and vanilla lead to a mid weight plus core of sweet purple and black berry fruits framed by gentle tannins. The wine enters better than it finishes, with a welcome attack of well-ripened fruit, but finishes only modestly. Score: 89



More Pinot Noir

2015 Böen Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $26, screwcap. Produced and bottled by Böen Wines in St. Helena, part of winemaker Joseph J. Wagner’s Copper Cane Wines & Provisions. · Dark purple color in the glass. The nose is primarily imbued with aromas of oak-driven toast and vanilla. Lush and velvety on the palate, with a mid weight core of sweet, vanilla-scented boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors reminiscent of blackberry swirl ice cream. This wine is done in the “Meiomi” style for which Wagner became well known and will find an audience, but not among true Pinot connoisseurs. Score: 85

2015 Cline Family Cellars Estate Grown Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.72, RS 0.30%, TA 0.60, $16.99. Sourced from the estate Lazy C Vineyard located in the Petaluma Gap and Lazy P and M Ranches located a few miles further north. Harvest Brix 23.8º. 100% de-stemmed, cultured yeast fermentation, cap pumped over three times a day, and the wine aged for 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels and some contribution of small amount of American and Eastern European oak. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry jam, vanilla, tar and smoke lead off. A gutsy wine with the mid weight plus essence of ripe black fruits underlain with flavors of creosote and tar, finishing with rich fruit and some astringency. There is too much of a role for oak in this wine to suit my taste. Score: 85

2015 Clos du Val Gran Val Vineyard Estate Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.55, 800 cases, $60. Sourced from the winery’s Gran Val Vineyard in Carneros that the winery has farmed since 1973. The vineyard adjoins Brown Ranch and Hyde Vineyard and features 41 acres and 10 clones of Pinot Noir with vine age between 12 to 18 years. This wine is from a prized block planted to Dijon 667 and Pommard. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 58% new. Bottled unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Very complex nose offering an array of aromas that dance in and out including blackberry, black grape, oak spice, mushroom and maple. The attack of blue and purple berry fruits is rich yet noticeably vibrant. The succulent fruit core is accented with notes of black tea and vanilla along with the typical Carneros earthiness, bay leaf and mushroom tone. The tannins are nicely proportioned, there is adroit oak management, and the wine finishes in pleasant fashion. Score: 91

2015 Decoy Sonoma County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 64,300 cases, $25, screwcap. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels, 30% new and 70% neutral. Decoy winemaker Tyson Wolf learned to make wine alongside his father and grew up in the Napa Valley just two miles from Duckhorn Vineyards. · An impressive offering considering the large production. The nose aims to please with inviting aromas of cherry, spice and brioche, becoming more exuberant over time. Soft in the mouth, with a polished demeanor, offering flavors of cherry and raspberry and a subtle touch of oak in the background. The finish is notable for its quenching, cherry-infused goodness. Widely available in the marketplace and easy to recommend as a daily table wine. Score: 89

2015 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.65, $44. A blend of several Green Valley vineyards with additions of Russian River sites. Yields down nearly 50% in contributing vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, punch down up to 3 times a day, 14 to 20 days on skins. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. There is a plethora of vivid purple and black berry aromas and tastes in this discreetly concentrated wine complimented with a bit of savory herbs and sweet oak. Showing off inviting harmony and easy drink ability, this wine has enough richness of fruit and tannic structure to thoroughly satisfy. An ideal introduction to the Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir style. Score: 90

2014 Gregory James Hawk Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.58, 275 cases, $58. Released October 2016. Vineyard on a ridge top above the town of Freestone. 6 acres planted to Pinot Noir in 1985. Pommard 4 and Dijon 115. Harvest Brix 22.8º. 100% de-stemmed, 8-day cold soak, two clones co-fermented with native yeast and very gentle cap management. 3-day extended maceration, aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 35% new and 65% neutral. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Upon opening this wine appeared dull and unyielding. However, it became amazingly alive when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The nose blossomed to reveal a lovely perfume of cherry, red berry, spice and sandalwood. Modest in weight, but packed with cherry and berry goodness offered in an elegant framework of gentle tannins, and finishing with both purpose and spirited acidity. There is a subtle riff of smoky oak in the background. Score: 91

2014 Mindego Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.73, 805 cases, $48. Estate grown. Second vintage from a family owned and farmed 10-acre vineyard planted to 8.7 acres of Pinot Noir and 1.3 acres of Chardonnay at 700 to 950 feet elevation adjacent redwoods. Clones 114, 115, 667, 777, “828,” and 943. Harvest Brix 23.3º. 20% whole cluster, native fermentation, daily punch downs. After 2 weeks on skins, the wine is gently basket pressed to French oak barrels, 25% new and 75% neutral. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark purple color in the glass. Shy aromas initially of blackberry jam, cigar box, vanilla and spice, arriving with more exuberance when sampled from a previously opened bottle the following day. Impressive harmony in a middleweight styled wine with vivacious flavors of blueberry and blackberry brought to life with spry acidity, and an appealingly sensuous mouthfeel. There is a pervasive earthiness that gives the wine character as does the oak that plies the background in a good way. Score: 91

2014 Sea Smoke Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard Ten Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.59, $82. Released October 2016. Crafted from the organically farmed and biodynamic certified Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard by winemaker Don Schroeder who has been at Sea Smoke since 2003. A blend of 10 clones. 100% de-stemmed, 1 to 4-day cold soak, inoculated with cultured yeasts, manual punch downs one to three times a day, total maceration time of 16 to 28 days. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 70% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Plenty of spicy boysenberry fruit aromas are joined with subtle notes of toast and vanilla. Very welcoming in the mouth, with a suave mouthfeel, bright acidity and gentle tannins. The taste of fresh purple berry fruits have expansive energy in the mouth and on the lengthy and uplifting finish. The barrel treatment is adroitly managed. An aristocratic wine that has the balance to carry on for many years. Score: 93


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