Alcina Cellars is another of the young hounds that have joined the California Pinot Noir race. Wine
lover Greg Piatigorski (Greg P to his friends) learned his winemaking craft under Greg LaFollette
(Tandem, DeLoach) and has looked to winemaker Richard Davis (former assistant winemaker at
Tandem and now winemaker at Londer Vineyards, Halleck Vineyards and his own label, Calstar
Cellars) for additional guidance. His initial vintage, 2002, produced small amounts of Pisoni Vineyard
and Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir. He has expanded his vineyard sources and in the 2005 vintage
released 2 appellation and 3 vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs in addition to a Syrah and Petite Syrah.
I recently tasted through the 2005 lineup of Alcina Cellars Pinot Noirs. Because of the vagaries of
weather in 2005, yields on the Sonoma Coast were tiny at 0.3 tons per acre, but more normal in the
Russian River Valley at 3 tons per acre. I found the entire lineup quite interesting with all wines showing
an admirable style exemplified by elegance. Alcohols were 14.5% or above but were wellintegrated.
All wines were closed with a synthetic stopper.
2005 Alcina Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Earth, mushroom, forest floor and black cherry aromas develop with
swirling. Delicious cherry cola, bittersweet chocolate and a hint of
tobacco lurking in the background. Plenty of power but silky and
blessed with finesse. The clean finish of lovely dark cherries lasts and lasts.
2005 Alcina Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $45. 20%
Light in weight and light on its feet. Bright perfume of cherry,
cola and cooked strawberries. The wood-tinged cherry and sassafras
flavors were enhanced by fine sweet tannins leading to a long and tangy
2005 Alcina Cellars Ramondo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., $53. Ramondo Vineyard
is located in Sebastopol and straddles the line between the warmer Russian River Valley and
cooler Sonoma Coast fruit profile.
The darkest wine of the lineup with the most body and richness. The
nose is closed with brooding dark tarry aromas still reticent after two hours. Teeth-staining plush fruit
with edges of oak and chocolate. Despite its heft, it is supple and the finish is silky. A big mouthful that is
currently shy and would benefit from decanting and/or aging.
2005 Alcina Cellars Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 264 cases, $53.
This vineyard is located in the Petaluma Gap and yields are low ranging from a ton to a ton and a half
Elegant and easy to drink , this wine is dominated by oak. There is plenty of toast and some
funk in the nose and char and green tea embrace the cherry and red berry flavors.
2005 Alcina Cellars Silacci Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., $53. The Silacci Vineyard is located 5 minutes north of the
Santa Lucia Highlands AVA in Monterey County. Its cool location makes
ripening always a concern and this wine seems to show a failure to reach
optimum phenolic ripeness.
The most exotic wine in the lineup. Nutmeg,
tomato, and floral scents. The flavors range from tart berry to Asian spice
to graham with lively tart acidity on the backend. Very unusual and lightbodied
for a Silacci Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Alcina Cellars is located at231 Market Place #404, San Ramon, CA. 415-722-9393. The wines are sold
to a mailing list and distributed to a number of distinguished restaurants. Sign up for the mailing list at
www.alcinacellars.com. The 2006 vintage lineup has just been released: Sonoma Coast, Russian River
Valley, Ramondo Vineyard Sonoma Coast, and Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast.