More Recently Tasted Pinot Noir
Kelley Fox Wines, McMinnville, OR
Kelley Fox was the winemaker for Scott Paul Wines for ten years (2005-2015), during which time she launched
her own label that focuses on small lots of Pinot Noir from the Momtazi and Maresh vineyards. The Momtazi
wines tend to feature deeper color, more extraction, more tannin and richer dark fruit flavor. The Maresh wines
tend to be more delicate with red fruit aromas and flavors.
Since 2015, Fox’s Pinot Noir wines contain all whole clusters. She uses neutral oak only, striving for unadorned
The wines are sold through a mailing list and on the website at www.kelleyfoxwines.com.
2015 Kelley Fox Wines Momtazi Vineyard “TIR” McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 75
cases, $60, screw cap. Sourced from unique small block vines surrounded by Oregon oak trees. “TR” is Farsi
for “star.” A Demeter Certified Biodynamic® wine.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose offers aromas
of red cherry, cranberry, underbrush and oak spice and toast. The core of cherry and raspberry fruit has
personality and is accompanied by subtle purple berry and plum flavors. Discreet in weight, with husky ripe fruit
tannins, yet no astringency on the finish. A bit of complimentary oak plies the background.
2016 Kelley Fox Wines Momtazi Vineyard “TIR” Mc Minnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 86 cases, $75.
dark garnet color in the glass. Inviting scents of black cherry, seasoned
beef and toasty oak. A bold and rich wine in a mid weight plus style with
flavors of sweet black cherry and blackberry fruits. Packed with fruit, yet
vibrant and refined with a plush mouthfeel, genteel tannins and a
generous dark fruit fueled finish. When you drink a wine, you want to
taste fruit and this wine delivers.
2015 Kelley Fox Wines Maresh Vineyard Star of Bethlehem Flower Block Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 86 cases, $75, screw cap. Old, self-rooted vines. “Star of Bethlehem” flowers grow in
the vine rows of this block.
Light ruby red color in the glass. A perfumed nose offers aromas of white flowers,
red berry, cherry, spice, sandalwood and red licorice. Light in weight in a very delicate style with flavors of red
cherry and red berry, a touch of spice and a hint of herbaceousness. The tannins are very fine grained and the
acidity provides good verve. This diaphanous wine may be too demurely extracted for those seeking richer fruit
2016 Kelley Fox Wines Maresh Vineyard Red Barn Block Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 46 cases, $60. Sourced from the Maresh Vineyard’s original blocks of Wadenswil and Pommard
surrounding the Maresh Red Barn. Jim Maresh, who founded Maresh Red Hills Vineyard (fifth oldest vineyard
in Oregon) still tractor farms the vines each year.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Expressive nose
offering aromas of red cherry, blueberry and rose petal. Elegant and refined in a comforting, classy mid weight
style with pleasing richness of dark red cherry flavor. Exquisitely balanced with a modest but thoroughly
Kingston Family Vineyards, Casablanca Valley, Chile
Kingston is a boutique winery located on a farm that has been family-owned for a century The winery produces
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc from estate vineyards in Casablanca, Chile.
2017 Kingston Family Vineyards Tobriano Casablanca Valley Chile Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 740 cases,
$26. Released September 2018. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels.
Moderately light ruby red color in the
glass. My first thought in smelling and tasting this wine was oak. Aromas of espresso and toast overwhelm the
cherry fruit scent. The light to mid weight core of red cherry fruit is overlain with dark espresso and tobacco
flavor. The wine has some charm in the form of an elegant composure, gentle tannins, good juiciness, and a
silky texture, but there is just too much oak at play. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle.
2017 Kingston Family Vineyards Alazan Casablanca Valley Chile Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 350 cases, $40.
Aged 8 months in French oak barrels and concrete egg vat.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas
of espresso, black cherry, raspberry and earthy flora. Mid weight flavors of black cherry and toasty oak in a
polished style with mouth filling mid palate presence, finishing long with generous cherry goodness. Less oak
overlay is evident when the wine was tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2017 Kingston Family Vineyards Sabino Casablanca Valley Chile Chardonnay
250 cases, $30, screw cap. Released September 2018. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels and
concrete egg vat.
Light golden yellow color in the glass. Very inviting aromas of lemon, apple,
white peach and floral bouquet. The flavors of lemon, pineapple and pear are arrayed in a very
satisfying style with commendable balance and polish, with hardly perceptible oak input.
Siduri Wines, Santa Rosa, CA
Winemaker Adam Lee’s 25th harvest. The following wines represent the southernmost regions and vineyards
in the winery’s “West Coast Pinot Noir” portfolio. Adam has made Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands
since 1997 and from the Sta. Rita Hills since 2000.
The wines are available via a mailing list and on the website at www.siduri.com, as well as at the Siduri Tasting
Room in Santa Rosa, the winery’s Wine Lounge in Healdsburg, and through distribution to select wine retailers
and restaurants nationally.
2016 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.55, $40, screw cap. A
blend of grapes from Garys’, Rosella’s, Pisoni, Sierra Mar, Soberanos, Lemoravo and Escolle
vineyards. 15% whole cluster. Aged 9 months in French oak barrels, 54% new.
Dark garnet color
in the glass. The nose offers primarily grounded aromas of mulch and potpourri with only hints of
black cherry and vanilla. Full-bodied flavors of blackberry, black raspberry and cassis in a fat,
saucy, lush style with modest tannins, a silken texture, and well-integrated alcohol. A weighty
wine that packs a wallop but lacks a bit of verve.
2016 Siduri Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.62, $35, screw cap. A blend of
grapes from Hilliard Bruce, La Encantada, John Sebastiano and Radian vineyards. 30% whole
cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass.
Clean and fresh aromas of blackberry, blueberry-pomegranate and spice. Saucy, fat and lush
flavors of black raspberry, blackberry and pomegranate. The gregarious fruit makes an
impression on the mid palate and finish. Nicely composed with integrated tannin and juicy acidity
along with a compliment of oak in the background.
2016 Siduri Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.63, $60, screw
cap. 30% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the
glass. Aromas of turned earth, oak cask and black cherry. A muscular, full-bodied style offering thick flavors of
dark red and black cherry, blackberry, black tea, and espresso. There is sprightly acidity that keeps the fruit
load upbeat. Highly atypical for this vineyard showing unusually prominent tannins, dark rather than red fruits,
and sappy rather than demure fruit character.
2016 Siduri John Sebastiano Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.59, $55, screw cap. 100% de-stemmed.
Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new.
garnet color in the glass. Intriguing aromas of dark berry mash, oak
spice and rose petal. Sleek and sexy in the mouth in a mid weight plus
style with waves of purple and blackberry fruits underlain with vibrant
acidity. The whole package is harmonious with an uplifting finish.
Williams Selyem, Healdsburg, CA
I have been a member of the mailing list of this highly-regarded winery for over 25 years but have not sampled
the wines since the 2013 vintage. I acquired three bottles from the 2016 vintage fall offering to taste and the
wines are reviewed here. Needless to say, I was disappointed, especially at the price point of these wines.
Williams Selyem wines are sold exclusively through a mailing list. Private tours and tastings are available by
advanced appointment to list members and their guests only. The website is www.williamsselyem.com.
2016 Williams Selyem Burt Williams’ Morning Dew Ranch Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
alc., $85. Last vintage as Burt Williams sold the vineyard in 2015.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
Very reserved aromas of cherry, underbrush and smoky oak. A gentle wine that picks up some intensity over
time in the glass but remains drab. Light to mid weight flavors of cherry and raspberry lack mid palate and
finishing resolve. There is a prominent citric note that pervades through the finish. Unchanged when tasted the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2016 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $85.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of Bing cherry, exotic spice, blueberry, briar and toasty oak
lead to a mid weight styled wine presenting the essence of black cherry underlain with oak-inspired licorice and
toast flavors. Soft in the mouth, with shy acidity, balanced tannins and some length on the finish. Hard to
criticize but not much to get excited about.
2016 Williams Selyem Eastside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $59.
garnet color in the glass. The nose opens reluctantly to reveal aromas of black cherry, cola and Middle Eastern
spices. The flavor profile replicates the aromas in a middleweight styled wine. Tastes very close to black cherry
cola. Bright acidity adds verve, yet moderately aggressive tannins stick out a bit. The wine finishes with
impressive deep cherry fragrance that persists.
2016 Acrobat Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $19.99, screw cap.
Light ruby red color in the
glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of strawberry, red cherry and sandalwood. Simple, yet
satisfying, in a light weighted style offering an array of red fruits and a touch of oak in the
background. Easygoing tannins make for gracious drinking. An elegant introduction to Oregon
2017 Cloudline Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $22, screw cap. From the Drouhin family.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose offers aromas of briar, dried herbs, new oak and a hint of
cherry. Light in weight and shallow in concentration, offering oak-infused flavors of cherry and red berry. The
tannins show up in force on the finish.
2017 J. Lohr Falcon’s Perch Monterey County Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.58, $17.
This wine is drawn from multiple vineyard sites in the Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands
appellations. Clones 777, 667, 115, Pommard, 2A and 114. Harvest Brix 25.3º average. 3-day
cold soak, open-top fermentation, aged in two-thirds stainless steel tanks and one-third aged
French oak cooperage.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Cherry and strawberry aromas are
framed by nutty oak. Light in weight, but endowed with pleasing red cherry and strawberry flavors
cloaked in subtle espresso oak. An easy drinker, with integrated tannins and a suave mouthfeel. A
forward drinking wine that can be a daily workhorse at the dinner table.
2017 Lucky Rock Wine Co. County Cuvée California Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., 1050 cases, $20.
56% San Benito County (Vista Verde Vineyard), 24% Sonoma County (Morelli Lane Vineyard),
and 20% Monterey County (White Sage Vineyard). Winemakers Aaron and Jesse Inman have
made wine since 2006. They were raised by gold-mining parents. The wine company was named
after on of the more memorable mines of their youth. “Wines made with intention, not pretension.”
Aged 10 months in French oak barrels.
Light ruby red color in the glass. An easygoing, elegantly
styled wine with aromas and flavors of dark red cherry and raspberry framed by silken tannins
and a sniff of oak. Light to mid weight in style, with bright acidity and a modest finish.
2016 Rainstorm Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $20, screw cap.
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass.
Aromas of red cherry and toasted oak lead to a light weighted wine with red cherry and red berry flavors
framed by gossamer tannins. A sleek, Pinot Noir beverage.
2015 Yamhill Valley Vineyards Estate McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., pH 3.64, TA
0.57, $22, screw cap. This winery has been family owned
and operated since 1983. The estate vineyard was
planted in 1983 and consists of 150 acres planted to
multiple clones. Harvest Brix 24.2º. 100% de-stemmed, 1-
day cold soak, inoculated and fermented in 1.5 ton
microbins. Free run aged 10 months in 11% new oak.
Light ruby red
color in the glass. Inviting aromas of cherry, cranberry, underbrush and
spice. Both savory and fruity on the palate in a well-mannered, relaxed
style featuring flavors of red fruits and dried herbs. Excellent lift and
juiciness with no oak intrusion, balanced tannins, and a lip-smacking
finish. Even better when tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle.