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Small Sips of Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

2007 Pleasant Valley Vineyards Dylan David Reserve Lester Family Vineyards Thelma Henrietta’s Block Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

15.3% alc., $48. Clone 115, whole berry and whole cluster fermentation. Unfined and unfiltered. · Slightly confected dark red cherry and berry fruit aromas with a pleasing hint of oak and a touch of heat. Luscious in the mouth, finding every nook and cranny, and plush and softly textured. The tannins are reigned in and the oak nicely integrated letting the prodigious cherry and berry fruit shine. Very good, especially if you are a fan of this Caliesque style of Pinot Noir.

2006 McHenry Estate Bottled Swan Clone Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 158 cases, $25. Sourced from the estate vineyard planted to own-rooted cuttings from Swan Vineyard and Dijon clone 115. The vineyard is situated at 1,800 feet in the Ben Lomond sub-region of the Santa Cruz Mountains and is one of the closest vineyards to the Pacific Ocean in the AVA. · McHenry Pinot Noirs are very distinctive for their delicate aromas and flavors. Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of cherries, strawberries, baking spices and a touch of oak. Moderately light in weight but delivering plenty of nuanced flavors of cherries, oak spice, crusty bread and a hint of raisin and earth. Soft in the mouth with gossamer tannins. Some might fine this style too dilute, but I find it quite charming. Very good and a great value as well.

2006 David Bruce Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $44. · Ripe, dark fruits, straw, oak and a whiff of alcohol on the nose. Rich, generous and slightly sweet flavors of black cherries, plum and blackberries. Very smoothly textured with mild dry tannins and a brisk grip of acidity. Fine, but not exciting. Decent (+).

2005 Hallcrest Vineyards Barrel Select Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 233 cases, $42, Diam closure. A blend of grapes from the top five vineyards sourced by Hallcrest. · Ripe cherry and berry fruits, oak toast and vanillin on the attractive nose. Discreet but impressive depth and richness of flavor featuring darker ripe Pinot fruits, nicely spiced, flanked by harmonious t n ‘a. A well-crafted wine of great charm worthy of the Barrel Select designation. Very good.

2005 Hallcrest Vineyards Vista Del Mare Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 167 cases, $42, Diam closure. This 4-acre vineyard is located in Scott’s Valley and looks out on Monterey Bay. · Ripe, slightly roasted fruit on the nose with added scents of black currants, maple syrup, exotic woods, Middle Eastern spices and a hint of alcohol. Black cherries are at the forefront on the attack with some attractive accents of spice and oak in the background. Soft in the mouth with fine-grain tannins and a slightly tart finish. Decent (+).

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