PinotFile: 11.32 October 12, 2018
- Oregon’s Big Table Farm and California’s Big Basin Committed to Whole Cluster
- Unique Rusack Wines from Santa Catalina Island
- Brooks: Passionate About Organic and Biodynamic Farming and Natural Winemaking
- Recently Tasted Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
- Pinot Briefs
- Summary of Top-Scoring Wines Reviewed in This Issue
- Pinot Noir Bliss in Marriage
Oregon’s Big Table Farm and California’s Big Basin Committed to Whole Cluster
Whole cluster fermentation of Pinot Noir can be a risky proposition but Big Table Farm and Big Basin Vineyards
are committed to it “big time,” and their results are stunning. The potential advantages of whole cluster
fermentation include exotic aromatics, silky smooth tannins, and more lengthy and cooler fermentations that
impart a different and enchanting flavor profile. I had the opportunity to taste current releases from these two
wineries a few days apart, and although the wines from the two wineries are quite different in several ways,
they do share a commonality only found in whole cluster fermented Pinot Noir.
Big Basin Vineyards, Boulder Creek, CA
Proprietor and winemaker Bradley Brown established Big Basin Vineyards in 1998 adjacent to Big Basin
Redwoods State Park. Wine grapes were grown here by French immigrants in the early 1900s and continued
until 1954 when the property was sold by Justin Lacau to a local timber company. By the 1990s, all that
remained of the vineyards were redwood stakes and scattered vines hidden by brush.
Bradley has restored this historic property and the entire vineyard and olive tree orchards are now Certified
Organic by CCOF. 90% of the estate is preserved in its natural state. A winery was built on the same site as the
original 1890s house structure that burned down in the 1970s, and completed in 2003. The winery building is of
timber frame construction built using redwood harvested from the estate.
100% whole clusters of Pinot Noir are commonly employed. The whole berries and whole clusters are cold
soaked for up to a week before being heated up to start the spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentations. The
juice is pumped over and hand punched down, and the wine is gently pressed off the skins after 15 to 30 days
of skin contact. The wines are only racked once to oxygen-free bottling tanks for bottling unfined and unfiltered.
The whole process is truly non-interventional resulting in truly artisanal wines.
The winery’s portfolio includes over sixteen wines, and typically five different single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from
special sites in the Santa Cruz and Gabilan Mountains. The Pinot Noir wines tasted here are truly impressive
as a group and unlike any other wines currently produced in the Santa Cruz Mountains. They are notable for
their freshness, engaging aromatics, invigorating fruit, complexity and a judicious use of new oak. Bradley
notes that the wines are “still in their tight phase of youth,” so I sampled them initially over a 2-hour period, then
again 6 hours later, and again the following day.
Tasting is available at the winery’s Saratoga Tasting Room and the Estate Vineyard and Winery Tasting Room
in Boulder Creek. Visit the website at www.bigbasinvineyards.com for more information.
2017 Big Basin Dune and Mountain Monterey County Pinot Noir
12.8% alc., 440 cases, $36.
Release January 2019. Grapes were sourced from Olson Vineyard located just off Monterey Bay
planted in ancient sand dunes, and Coastview Vineyard situated at 2200 feet elevation in the
Gabilan Mountains overlooking Monterey Bay and planted in decomposed granite. Vine age is 18
years. Clones are Dijon 114, 115, 667, 777, and Pisoni and Swan selections. 95% whole cluster,
native yeast, aged 11 months in French oak barrels and bottled unfined and unfiltered.
garnet color in the glass. Conspicuous aromas of Maraschino cherry, burnt tobacco, and BBQ
spice rub. Very sleek in the mouth in a mid weight style, with flavors of black cherry and tobacco and an earthy
vibe. A bit of astringent tannin is apparent upon opening, but nearly resolves when tasted the following day
from a previously opened bottle. The fruit is quite ebullient and propels a lengthy finish. This wine will be better
upon release in January as the tannins enmesh.
2016 Big Basin Old Corral Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 205 cases, $65. Release March
2019. Inaugural vintage from Estate vines in three blocks budded over from Syrah to Pinot Noir in 2015.
Harvest Brix about 22.6º (Mt Eden clone) and 23.0º (Swan selection). 100% whole cluster, native yeast, aged
18 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light ruby red color in
the glass. Persistent aromatic joy featuring scents of cherry, ripe cranberry, spice, fertile earth and old wood.
Light to mid weight in style, offering flavors of red fruits , baking spices and tobacco. A woodiness pervades the
flavor and aromatic profile. Forward and pleasing and somewhat delicate, with riveting acidity and a finish
resonant with crystalline cherry.
2016 Big Basin Alfaro Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., 155 cases, $60.
Released September 2018. Clones 667, 777 and 115. 17-year-old vines. Harvest Brix 23.3º-23.6º. Fermented
100% whole cluster, native yeast, and aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. No additions beyond
S02 after malolactic was completed in barrel. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate garnet color in the glass.
Engaging nose offering aromas of darker berry and cherry, exotic spices, oak sawdust and a hint of fresh leafy
greens. Up-front opulent black raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors underpinned by muscular tannins. Sheer
beauty of fruit with welcome uplifting acidity and a notably long finish. When tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle, the imposing tannins had mollified. This wine will benefit from more
time in the cellar.
2016 Big Basin Lester Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., 414 cases, $55.
Release November 2018. 18-year-old vines. Clones
include Mt Eden (50%), 667 and a Swan selection. Harvest
Brix 22.7º-23.0º and one lot 24.5º. Fermented 100% whole
cluster, native yeast, and aged 18 months in French oak
barrels, 25% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
garnet color in the glass. The nose is replete with whole cluster
goodness including aromas of dark cherry, exotic spices, burnt pipe
tobacco and compost. Heady fruits including black cherry, boysenberry
and blackberry are accented with redeeming notes of spice and
tobacco, and framed by silky and supple tannins. The mouthfeel is
comforting, oak is judiciously integrated, and the juicy, long finish leaves
quite a gratifying impression. Even more striking when tasted the following day from a previously opened and
re-corked bottle. This wine has personality.
2016 Big Basin Coastview Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 335 cases, $55.
Release January 2019. Vineyard located between the Chalone AVA and the Mt. Harlan AVA in the
Gabilan Mountains. Dijon clones 667, 777, 114 and 115, and Swan and Pisoni selections. One lot
fermented 60% whole cluster and the rest 100% whole cluster. Aged 18 months in French oak
barrels, 42% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The aromas of
black cherry, purple grape, spice cabinet and mulch soar in this gifted wine. Black cherry and
boysenberry fruit flavors flood the mouth with goodness. There is plenty of spice and smart oak to
enhance the pleasure. The balance is spot-on with exquisitely integrated tannins, acidity and oak, the
mouthfeel is sleek and polished, and the finish is uplifting and juicy. Flat-out amazing when tasted from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle the following day. Both swagger and finesse in one package.
Big Table Farm, Gaston, OR
Brian Marcy and Clare Carver departed Napa in 2006 and moved to Oregon. Brian was an experienced
winemaker and Clare had artistic talent and a way with animals. They bought a 70-acre property in the northern
Willamette Valley, where they now produce Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, raise farm animals and
produce seasonal vegetables.
Their business model is one to envy although the couple is not trained or by nature business people. They
host consumers for tasting in their more than 100-year-old farmhouse, enjoy entertaining visitors outdoors for
meals at a “big table,” (Brian is also an accomplished chef), vinify outstanding wines in a barn-like winery on
their property, and offer hand-drawn labels by Clare with artwork that is unique to each vintage. After a label is
applied by hand, each bottle is carefully wrapped in tissue to preserve the letterpress paper’s texture and
beauty (a product code on the bottom of each bottle allows identification of the wines without unwrapping
them). The winery’s website is one of adept design and concise content. Even the name, Big Table Farm, is
The biggest news of late is that a vineyard is being planted on the estate property behind the winery. This was
part of their vision from the beginning.
I have visited the winery on several occasions and tasted most every bottling since the first wines from the
2006 vintage. I have never been disappointed in the quality of the wines and have touted them repeatedly in
the PinotFile. Brian doesn’t even own a de-stemmer and does not tout that his Pinot Noirs are 100% whole
cluster, but he is committed to this style of Pinot Noir winemaking.
Big Table Farm wines are sold through a mailing list or directly with the winery. Call or email Clare or Laura to
purchase at email@example.com or call 503-662-3129. Free case shipping. Tasting is by appointment.
The wines reviewed here are from the fall 2018 release. Brian says, “These wines all have their own quirks and
characteristics that make them unique and delicious in their own way,” and I agree completely.
2016 Big Table Farm Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 315 cases, $62.
Grapes sourced from Kalita and the Coats and Whitney vineyards. The Bernard’s barn is on the label.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Leading off are hi-tone aromas of black cherry, spice and pipe smoke. The
dark red and black fruits are discreetly concentrated and forward, emboldened by a thread of oak in the
background. Silky in the mouth, with cashmere tannins and a generous finish. Not as earthy as many wines
from Yamhill-Carlton with more bright fruit as the focus. A brotherly wine that wraps its arms comfortably
around the palate.
2016 Big Table Farm Cattrall Brothers Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
184 cases, $62. Old vine organically farmed Wädenswil clone. 1947 Cattrall Brothers Vineyard truck on the
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The complex nose offers a range of aromas including dark
cherry, spice, underbrush, and savory herbs with the cherry aroma building intensity over time in the glass.
Middleweight flavors of black cherry, pomegranate, tobacco, smoke and BBQ sauce have good length in the
mouth and on the silken finish. Easygoing, fine-grain tannins make for approachability and satisfying harmony
drives the pleasure.
2016 Big Table Farm Wirtz Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 203 cases, $62. Last vintage
from this vineyard since the economic realities of leasing and farming an old vineyard no longer made sense.
45-year-old vines. Coury “clone.” Wild cherries on the label.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Classy aromas
of Bing cherry, cardamom spice, burnt tobacco and espresso. Generously layered tiers of ripe ollaliberry, purple
grape and blackberry flavors showing significant extraction. There are underlying flavors of grilled pork and
spice as well. The suave texture and silky tannins make for seductive drinking. Very charming and harmonious.
2016 Big Table Farm Sunnyside Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
326 cases, $62.
Release August 2018. Old Wädenswil vines. Owners have farmed this vineyard for over 30 years.
Hen and chick at Big Table Farm on the label.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. This is a
striking wine of uncommon excellence from the get-go. Perfumed with scents of black cherry, plump
purple grape, fertile earth and spice. Glamorous and sexy in a light to mid weight style offering
flavors of cherry and raspberry that make love to the palate. Sleek and lacy, with suave tannins, a
deft touch of oak and a finish with both good tension and length. Still superb when tasted the
following day from a previously opened bottle. The pick of the litter.
Unique Rusack Wines from Santa Catalina Island
William Wrigley, Jr., of Wrigley Co. chewing gum fame, bought Santa Catalina Island Co., owners of all the
developable land on the island in 1919. Alison Wrigley Rusack, William’s great-granddaughter, along with her
husband Geoffrey Rusack, owners of Rusack Vineyards and Winery in Solvang, California, established a
vineyard on the island in 2007 at El Rancho Escondido, a working Arabian horse ranch used for Wrigley’s
horses and founded in 1930. The initial planting included three acres of Pinot Noir, 2 acres of Chardonnay and
one acre of Zinfandel (using cuttings from Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Island chain). No one had
previously made wine from Santa Catalina Island, but it turned out that the cool climate and clay loam soils
were ideal for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The inaugural harvest was from the 2009 vintage. After picking, the grapes were airlifted to the Santa Ynez
Airport for processing at the Rusack winery by winemaker Steven Gerbac.
Visit the winery tasting room in Ballard Canyon that is open daily. Tasting fee is $15. The setting is ideal for
picnics. The winery website is www.rusack.com.
2015 Rusack Santa Catalina Island Vineyards California Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.758, 136
cases, $72. Released November 2017. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 9% new. Bottled unfiltered.
Light ruby red color in the glass. Attractive aromas of dark cherry, woodland spice and cola. Charming mid
weight cherry goodness in a feminine, lacy style. Juicy, with suave tannins and just a hint of sandalwood.
Admirable harmony, with a very long and expansive finish.
2015 Rusack Santa Catalina Island Vineyards California Chardonnay
13.8% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.70, 136
cases, $60. Released November 2017. Barrel fermented
100% malolactic fermentation, lees stirring for 4 months.
Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 56% new.
golden yellow color in the glass. Enticing aromas and
flavors of green apple, lemon-lime, grapefruit and spice. An
acid-driven style with impeccable oak integration and an acid-fueled,
quenching finish. This is a vibrant and flavorful wine that will thoroughly
please Chardonnay aficionados.
Brooks: Passionate About Organic and Biodynamic Farming and Natural Winemaking
I wrote an extensive article on this iconic Oregon winery in 2016: www.princeofpinot.com/article/1858/.
Manager Janie Brooks Heuck and winemaker Chris Williams (since 2005) have carried on the legacy of
deceased founder Jimi Brooks admirably. The winery is known for its hospitality center that features multiple
venues for wine tasting as well as impressive food pairings.
For the winery’s 20th anniversary in 2018, the winery is hosting a number of special events and monthly
programming to celebrate those winemakers who donated their skill, time and passion after Jimi’s passing in
2004. “The Legacy Series” continues October 27 with winemakers Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill, the
people behind Rex Hill, A to Z Wineworks and Francis Tannahill. They will be pouring their wines at Brooks
Winery on that date. Check out the winery’s full calendar of events at www.brookswine.com.
The 2015 vintage was quite manageable in the Eola-Amity Hills where Brooks and many of its grape sources
are located. The season was marked by plenty of sunshine, drought conditions, a late-season heat wave and a
rain-free harvest. The result was wines of richness, that is, Oregon typicality turned up a notch. Tasters have
often used the words “showy” and “opulent” to describe the wines.
The 2016 vintage was similar to 2015 but had one of the earliest harvests on record. Early bud break and a
short heat spell at bloom condensed the flowering period resulting in a smaller fruit set. Summer had average
conditions with fewer heat spikes than the 2015 vintage. The harvested grapes showed good concentration
and high natural acidity.
2017 Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rosé
14.0% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.58, 3,000 cases, $20.
Grapes sourced from three vineyards where grapes were farmed specifically for dry rosé looking
for bright acidity and opulent aromatics. Fermented in stainless steel. Cross-flow filtered. (Note:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Brooks wants to do its part. For every bottle of this
wine sold in October, Brooks will donate $2.00 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation dedicated to ending breast
pink color in the glass. Lovely aromas of strawberry, guava, melon and white flower blossom.
Bright and fresh on the palate, with flavors of red cherry, strawberry, cranberry edible rose and a
touch of dry herbs. Soft and creamy in texture, with a thirst quenching, dry finish.
2016 Runaway Red Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.52, 2,245 cases, $23. A blend of
fruit from eleven vineyards. 100% de-stemmed, native fermentation, aged 10 months in French oak barrels.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. A straightforward wine with aromas of muddled cherry,
baking spice, boysenberry and toasty oak. Simple and agreeable, with mid weight flavors of black cherry and
sarsaparilla, and a conspicuous oak presence. Sleek and silky in the mouth with integrated tannins and good
2016 Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.53, 2,000 cases, $28. 100%
de-stemmed, aged 10 months in French oak barrels. Cross-flow filtered.
Moderate garnet color in
the glass. Conservative but pleasing flavors of darker berries, sweet oak and a floral intricacy. Light
to mid weighted in style, with gratifying flavors of black cherry and black raspberry. Very easygoing,
with silky tannins, juicy acidity a bit of toasty oak, and a suave mouthfeel. The overall impression is
one of harmony. A solid everyday Pinot Noir.
2015 Brooks Janus Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.55, 1,200 cases,
$38. The winery’s flagship Pinot Noir that is an expressive blend of multiple vineyards by
winemaker Chris Williams. 100% de-stemmed, native fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak
barrels. Cross-flow filtered.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. A righteous perfume of cherry
pie, raspberry coulis, blackberry reduction and toasty, sweet oak. Well-ripened purple and black
berry fruits with an oak background. Bright and silky in the mouth with crunchy fruit appeal. Much
more appealing when tasted several hours after opening. The fruit veers a little more to the ripe
side than I prefer.
2015 Brooks Big Cheese Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.40, TA
0.55, 100 cases, $48. Volcanic Jory and Nekia soils. Vineyard planted in 2008 to 777 and Pommard clones.
Average harvest Brix 24.0º. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels. Cross-flow filtered.
Moderately light garnet
color in the glass. Aromas of seasoned barrique, mushrooms on the grill and dark berry mix. A mid weight core
of spicy blueberry and boysenberry fruits satisfies as does the fruit-driven finish. Silky in texture, with smart oak
compliment and appealing balance.
2015 Brooks Temperance Hill Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., pH
3.59, TA 0.62, 250 cases, $48. Vines planted in 1981 in volcanic Jory and Nekia soils and farmed organically.
40% 777, 31% Pommard, 29% Wädenswil. Average harvest Bris 22.5º. Native fermentation, aged 18 months in
French oak barrels. Cross-flow filtered.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Scents of cherry and oak-driven
nuts and spice. The discreetly concentrated core of blueberry and boysenberry fruits have up-front appeal and
length in the mouth. Good vibrancy, with sleek tannins and a juicy finish. A very balanced package from one of
Oregon’s most prestigious vineyards.
2015 Brooks Old Vine Pommard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.70, TA
0.50, 300 cases, $55. Vines planted in 1973 and 1974 in volcanic Nekia soil. Pommard clone vines
biodynamically farmed. Average Harvest Brix 23.5º. Native yeast fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak
barrels. Cross-flow filtered.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of earth-dusted Bing cherry,
sandalwood and spice with a hint of volatile acidity upon opening. The luscious black cherry core makes an
impression as does the persistent finish. The texture is silken smooth by virtue of compatible tannins.
Considerably more enjoyable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
This wine has a promising future.
2015 Brooks La Chenaie Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.25, TA
0.62, 125 cases, $48. Wädenswil clone harvested at 23.6º Brix. Native yeast fermentation, aged 18 months in
French oak barrels. Cross-flow filtered.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Demure scents of purple
berry, black cherry, fertile earth and ripe fruit bin lead to a mid weight plus styled wine with a bountiful core of
black cherry fruit accented with nutty oak. Quite earthy, with a moderately firm tannic backbone, a satiny
texture and a finish filled with well-ripened fruit. More expressive when tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2015 Brooks Crannell Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.50% alc., pH 3.66, TA
0.59, $48. Vines planted in 1984 in volcanic Jory and Nekia soils. Pommard, 115, 777 and 667 clones. Average
harvest Brix 24.0º. Native fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak barrels. Cross-flow filtered.
garnet color in the glass. Haunting aromas of black cherry, spice and cedary oak. A savory earthiness and
woodiness underlines the essence of dark cherry and blackberry fruits. The firm tannins stick out on the
generously fruited finish.
2015 Brooks Rastaban Brooks Estate Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.54, 500
cases, $60. Vines planted from 1973 to 2001 in volcanic Nekia soil.
Pommard, 115 and 777 clones. Average harvest Brix 24.2º. Native
yeast fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak barrels. Cross-flow
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. This wine is slow to
give up its charms and was much better when tasted the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Really nice aromas of
cherry, strawberry and spice lead to a delicate and lacy wine that is
quite juicy and seductive. Mid weight flavors of black cherry,
pomegranate and hazelnut are framed by gentle but supportive tannins.
Forward drinking, with a lush texture, and impeccable balance.
2015 Terue Wines York Hill Vineyard Columbia Gorge Oregon Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.81, TA 0.54,
135 cases, $48. Cellared and bottled by Brooks Wines. Clone 667. Harvest Brix 25.3º. Native fermentation,
aged 18 months in French oak barrels. Cross-flow filtered.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Appealing
aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberry coulis, spice and red licorice. The mid weight core of black cherry, ripe
strawberry, black currant, black tea, hazelnut and toast flavors is framed by muscular tannins that lead to an
astringent finish. Aromatically pleasing, but too much nutty oak and gruff tannins as well as a lack of acidic
verve on the palate. The balance is just a little out of whack. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle.
Recently Tasted Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
Cambria Estate Winery, Santa Maria, CA
A new winemaker, Jill Russell, has taken over the reins at Cambria Estate Winery (the wines reviewed here
were crafted by the previous winemaker, Denise Shurtleff). Since the winery’s founding in 1986, the focus has
been on single-vineyard expression from the winery’s estate in the Santa Maria Valley AVA. Every wine is
sustainably grown, produced and bottled at the estate. The wines pay homage to the winery’s founders, Jess
Jackson and Barbara Banke, who named the vineyards at Cambria after their daughters Katherine and Julia
2015 Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.56, $25.
Vineyard named after proprietor Julia Jackson in 1988. This well-known vineyard is sustainably
farmed. Soils are fossilized seashells, shale, limestone and sand. Clones are Pommard 4, 2A, 23,
667, 115, 777 and “828.” Aged 8.5 months in 100% French oak barrels, 31% new.
garnet color in the glass. This wine performed much better when tasted a day after opening the
bottle. Nicely perfumed with black cherry fruit and subtle oak notes of toast, tobacco and
cardamom. Discreet in weight, with brandishing flavors of oak-kissed cherry, raspberry, spice and
earth. Silky, with a good tannic frame, bright acidity, and a modest but pleasing finish. This wine is always a
good choice in the value-price category.
2015 Cambria Katherine’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.46, TA
0.59, $22. This sustainably farmed vineyard was named after proprietor Katherine Jackson in
1986. Clones 76, 96 and Wente. Aged 6.5 months in 83% French oak barrels, 21% new.
golden yellow color in the glass. An appealing wine offering aromas of lemon, pineapple, peach,
gravel and toasty oak. Giving in the mouth, with flavors of apple, lemon creme, white peach,
pineapple and toast. Soft in texture, with agreeable acidic verve and some finishing fruit flavor. A
consistently dependable wine in this price category.
Jigar Wines, Forestville, CA
A family-owned boutique winery with a tasting room in Forestville and a production facility in Healdsburg.
Winemaker is Josh Bartels.
2015 Jigar Graham Family Vineyard Vintner’s Reserve Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 195 cases, $65. Release November 2018.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Leading off
are aromas of black cherry, forest floor, dark bittersweet chocolate and a hint of vanilla. Boldly flavored, with a
core of dark Bing cherry fruit that saturates the palate, carrying through a persistent finish. The texture is highly
soothing the oak is restrained and the tannins are toned and ripe.
2015 Jigar Peters Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.1% alc., 596 cases, $32.
Peters Vineyard is a former Gravenstein apple orchard with Goldridge sandy loam soil. Clones 4
and Dijon 76. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new.
The aromas of citrus, lees, wax, crushed wet
gravel, nutty oak and toast arrive over time in the glass. Ripely fruited and richly stated in the
mouth, with flavors of grilled lemon, pineapple, honey and caramel. Still, there is enough acidity to
balance the fruit load. An underlying burnt, roasted character implied by oak is evident.
Ken Brown Wines, Lompoc, CA
2015 Ken Brown Rita’s Crown Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.58, 336 cases,
$60. Rita’s Crown is one of the highest vineyards in the region planted at the “crown” at 600 to 950 feet
elevation. The combination of shallow soils ocean winds and southern slope results in in marked intensity of
fruit flavor. Blocks used are planted to 667, 777, “828,” and 115. 100% de-stemmed, pre-fermentation cold
soak, gentle punch downs, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 34% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in
the glass. The nose offers a mix of purple and black berry fruits along with a savory oak and vegetative bent.
Plenty of swagger in a mid weight plus style offering a charge of boysenberry and blackberry fruits that are issed by spice, black olive tapenade, umami, oak and earth notes. Plenty of extract and nuance to please with
juicy acidity and tame tannins.
2015 Ken Brown Ranch La Viña Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.55, $50. This
17-acre vineyard was planted in 2005 at the far western edge of the AVA where it is exposed to cool marine
winds. The block for Ken Brown Wines is planted to clone 115. 100% de-stemmed, pre-fermentation cold soak,
aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of dark
red berry, spice, underbrush, nutty oak and graham. Packed with red and dark red cherry and cranberry fruits
aligned with a touch oak. Soft and lustrous in the mouth with a notably long and mellow finish.
2014 Ken Brown Radian Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.57, $70. This vineyard is located at the extreme
western end of the Sta. Rita Hills and is one of the coolest vineyards of
the entire West Coast. The vineyard’s steep southern slope exposure
allows for optimized ripening. Clones 115 and 667. 100% de-stemmed,
pre-fermentation cold soak, gentle punch downs, aged 18 months in
French oak barrels, 35% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the
glass. Very sexy nose displaying scents of dark berry, bramble, and
lead pencil. Instantly appealing in a mid weight plus style, with waves of
invigorating black cherry and blackberry fruits carrying through a
saturating mid palate and a long finish. Everything is in place, with
balanced tannins, deft oak, and a very seductive texture. This is a rich
and bold expression of Pinot Noir, yet it still retains adept Pinot Noir
Senses Wines, Occidental, CA
Noted winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown crafts these Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. If you like Rivers-
Marie wines, also crafted by Thomas, you will enjoy the Senses wines.
Three childhood friends (founders Chris Streiter, Max Thieriot and Myles Lawrence-Briggs are pictured above)
enlisted Thomas to craft wines from coveted vineyard sites, especially those located in the small town of
Occidental where the three founders grew up. Hillcrest and B.A. Thieriot are estate vineyards.
The portfolio includes single vineyard wines from seven vineyards and appellation wines from the Sonoma
Coast and Russian River Valley AVAs. The vineyard locations are shown below:
Wines are offered to the currently large active mailing list twice a year in the Spring and Fall. The wines are
also placed in top restaurants across the world including the French Laundry and Le Berdardin. Visit
Pinot Noir winemaking features whole berry fermentation, and aging in once and twice-used French oak
barrels for 10 months. Chardonnay undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation and is aged in French oak barrels
for 12 months.
2016 Senses Day One Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 280 cases, $75. Fruit sourced from Hillcrest
Vineyard in Occidental where the winery started from Day One. This site neighbors Charles Heintz to the West.
It was first planted in 1974 to Grey Riesling making it likely the first planted still-wine site along the Sonoma
Coast. The vineyard was later replanted to Pinot Noir in 2005, including clones “828,” 115, and Calera and
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of oak-infused black cherry and blackberry
with an added note of grill smoke. An opulent charge of black raspberry and blackberry fruit on the attack with
good length in the mouth. Silky textured with tame tannins, and a modest finish. There is a noticeable infusion
of oak flavors that should ameliorate over time.
2016 Senses MCM 88 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 315 cases, $85. Fruit was sourced from
the famed vineyard formerly known as Keefer Ranch and now known as Perry Ranch, and the block originally
farmed by Kosta Browne. MCM stands for Max, Chris and Myles and doubles for the Roman numerals of 1900,
which when added to ’88 marks the founders birth year of 1988.
Dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is
oak-driven, with aromas of tobacco and toast, along with an added aroma of earthy flora. Robust in a mid
weight plus style, featuring deep, dark and very ripe black fruits underlain with toasty oak. The fruit is stellar
and holds onto the finish with intensity. The tannins are well integrated and the satiny texture pleases.
2016 Senses Terra De Promissio Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., 300 cases, $72. Vineyard farmed
by dedicated growers, Charles and Diana Karren.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose offers a
combination of toasty oak and boysenberry and black cherry aromas. Good vibrancy, with lifted boysenberry and black raspberry fruit flavors that sail along through the spirited, quenching finish. Enjoyably round
mouthfeel with complimentary oak in the background and plenty of vigor to encourage another sip.
2016 Senses Tenth Step Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.7% alc., 200 cases, $75. This is a wine named as
an homage to Occidental where the three winery founders grew up. Occidental served as the tenth stop on the
North Pacific Coast Railroad. A barrel selection of top sites, primarily Dutton Palms Vineyard (shared with
Kistler and Dutton Estate).
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Very aromatic, showing aromas of apple
pan dowdy, lemon, lime and pineapple. Apple flavor engages the palate with a touch of lemon and pineapple.
Creamy in texture with spirited acidity and comforting balance. This wine exudes friendliness.
2016 Senses Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.4% alc., 275 cases, $65. Clone 4.
Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of
lemon creme, yeast, wet parchment and nutty oak. Solid harmony and richly flavored in the mouth, with tastes
of lemon, pineapple, mango and vanilla. Nicely composed, yet a bit reserved.
2016 Senses B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.1% alc., 255 cases, $82. Vineyard owned
by Cameron and Bridgit Thieriot that was first planted in
1988 by the late Warren Dutton.
Moderate golden yellow
color in the glass. Enticing aromas of lemon oil, grilled
pineapple, dried seaweed and bark. Delicious blend of
lemon, pineapple and caramel flavors. Sleek and silken with
impressive character, palate presence and finish. Slightly oily in texture,
with enough racy energy to satisfy.
Tongue Dancer Wines, Healdsburg, CA
Winemaker James MacPhail (formerly MacPhail Wines), currently has several projects in the works. Tongue
Dancer Wines has a new “Grapewagon Pied-á-Terre tasting room at the winery in Healdsburg with all tasting
reservations available through the website. He is also the winemaker for Sangiacomo Family Wines (first
vintage was 2016), The Calling Wines beginning with the 2016 vintage (previously Dan Goldfield), Crescere
Wines (first vintrage 2016) and 8 Hand (first vintage 2017). For more information, visit
www.tonguedancerwines.com. These two wines are the remaining releases from the 2016 vintage.
2016 Tongue Dancer “Pinot de Ville” Putnam Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.56, 99 cases, $65.
Release September 6, 2018. The third release in the “de Ville” series.
The Putnam Vineyard is located 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the
town of Annapolis and is owned and operated by Cliff and Puanani
Putnam. Clones 15, 777, Pommard and a Calera selection. Harvest
Brix 25.5º. Grapes sorted once in vineyard and once at winery. 100%
gently de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, native
yeast primary and malolactic. Aged 17 months with weekly lees stirring
for 3 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. Light polish filtration
without fining at bottling.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Enticing
aromas of dark fruits, forest floor and wine cave. Bold flavors of
blackberry and black raspberry with weight and presence. Adept and
rounded in the mouth with soft tannins, deft oak compliment, and a cleansing, finish that leaves a resonant
2016 Tongue Dancer Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.38, TA 0.65,
100 cases, $50. Released September 6, 2018. Old Wente clone. Harvest Brix 23.2º. Whole cluster pressed,
barrel fermented, native yeast primary fermentation, 100% malolactic fermentation, once weekly lees stirring
during primary fermentation. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Bottled unfined and lightly
Light golden yellow color in the glass. Demure perfume of lemon peel, pineapple, parchment and
petrol. Discrete richness of flavor, offering tastes of lemon, golden apple, pineapple and sweet oak. A bright
and uplifting style with redeeming acidity that veers from many typical Russian River Valley Chardonnays that
display tropical fruit lushness.
More Wines of Interest
2016 Animist Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.58 $20. Vinted and bottled by
Winepress Vintners, Sonoma and Graton. Very nice embossed label. 100% de-stemmed, 4-day cold soak,
inoculated yeast fermentation, manual punch downs, aged 9 months in neutral French oak barrels.
light garnet color in the glass. A lighter, easy drinking wine, offering aromas of cherry, earthy flora and
mushroom, and flavors of black cherry, raspberry, tobacco and ash. Simple, and forward drinking, with silky
tannins and a short finish.
2015 Chenoweth Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., 303 cases, pH 3.50, RS 0.6 g/L,
$75 (mailing list only). A noteworthy grower’s designate
wine sourced from three meticulously developed and
carefully farmed vineyards (Chenoweth Ranch, Treehouse
and Bootleggers) managed by Chenoweth Vineyards. The
Chenoweth family has lived in the Sebastopol area for
more than a century and have farmed everything from wine grapes to
apples, prunes and cherries. Charlie Chenoweth is well known as one
of California’s most renowned vineyard managers. Clones are 667,
777, 115, 37, 23, Pommard and a Calera selection. 8% whole cluster.
Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 30% new.
color in the glass. Energetic perfume of black cherry, raspberry and
sous bois. A deeply flavored cherry core is framed by gracious tannins, spirited acidity and a welcome oak
compliment. The wine is exquisitely balanced with a lingering finish that has good snap that demands another
sip. Fresh as a mature barrel sample and everything you can ask for in a Pinot Noir.
2017 Cline Sonoma County Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.83, TA 0.60, RS 0.32%, $14.99. Harvest Brix 24.3º.
100% de-stemmed, indigenous yeast to begin fermentation, cap pumped over twice a day, settled in a stainless
steel tank and then aged for 7 months in primarily French oak barrels (a small amount of American and Eastern
European oak), 40% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Notable aromas of black cherry and cinnamon
upon opening. Black cherry fruit is at the core of this middleweight wine, with added tastes of earth and oak.
Straightforward, with a silken texture. Firm tannins show up on the finish with some astringency.
2017 Masút Estate Vineyard Eagle Peak Mendocino County Chardonnay
pH 3.34, TA 0.61, 219 cases, $35. Inaugural
release. Dry farmed Wente clone (50%) and
Dijon 96 clone (50%). Vines planted in 2014 at
1500 feet elevation at the headwaters of the
Russian River Valley. Aged 10 months on the
lees in neutral French oak barrels.
Light golden yellow color in the
glass. Lovely, bright aromas of fresh lemon, Golden Delicious apple,
pineapple and guava. Sheer beauty of flavor in a luscious style with
layers of citrus, golden apple and tropical fruits. Slightly viscous in the
mouth with gracious acidity and a showy, succulent finish. A fashionable,
Caliesque style that wows.
2016 Red Hills Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 60
cases, $50. Released September 2018. Inaugural vintage composed of
63% Yamhill-Carlton, 30% Eola-Amity Hills and 7% Chehalem
Mountains fruit. Winemaker is Tony Rynders. Aged 17 months in
French oak barrels, 39% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the
glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of blueberry, black cherry, forest
floor, and exotic spices. Generous tiers of dark red cherry and
boysenberry fruits that fill the mouth with goodness and purpose. A bit
of toast and spice plies the background. Enviable balance with
supportive tannins and a compelling fruit-driven and aromatic finish.
California Producer of Elouan Cancels Oregon Grape Contracts Grape contracts with
growers in southern Oregon’s Rogue Value worth $4 million were canceled September 22 by Copper Cane
Wines & Provisions in Napa. The reason is purported smoke taint but the growers feel the claim is “bogus.” The
Oregon Wine Industry Solidarity Mission was formed immediately by Willamette Valley Vineyards project
managers Jan and Jim Berrnau to help stranded winegrowers pick grapes left hanging. Lab analyses have
shown that a majority of the crop is well below the threshold for the finished wines to be adversely affected.
Copper Cane is already in the midst of a controversy over appellation mislabeling for Oregon wines.
2018 Vintage in Sonoma County Superb Not only is the vintage providing ideal ripeness and
acidity and maturity of flavor at lower sugars, yields are generally 15-20% higher than average for Sonoma
County. The region has had ideal conditions from the start of the growing season including a cooler summer.
Hang time has been estended and there has been no push to harvest.
20th Annual Wine & Food AffairWine Road, an association of 200 wineries and 54 lodgings in
Northern Sonoma County has three annual events scheduled for the 2018-2019 event season. The season
kicks off with the 20th Annual Wine & Food Affair, November 3-4, 2018, featuring two days of food and wine
pairings along the Wine Road. Each participating winery will offer gourmet cuisine prepared by local chefs
paired with their wines. Winter WINEland will be held January 19-20 and the 42nd Barrel Tasting Weekends
will be March 1-3 and 8-10. For more information and tickets, visit www.wineroad.com.
Margerum Wine Company and Wine Cask Part Ways Long-time co-operators of the Wine
Cask in Santa Barbara Doug Margerum and Mitchell Sjerven have departed from the iconic restaurant. No
immediate changes in restaurant operations are planned. Margerum is opening a new Tasting Room in the
Hotel California early in 2019. The Reserve Tasting Room at 32 El Paseo will continue to pour both Margerum
and Barden wines until the new tasting room is complete. After that, the Reserve Room in El Paseo will pour
exclusively Barden wines. Visit www.margerumwines.com.
Failla Releases 2016 Oregon Wines Ehren Jordan is now crafting wines from both Oregon and
Northern California with tasting rooms in both Salem, Oregon and St. Helena, California. He noted on a recent
release announcement email that he is often asked, “What is the difference between Oregon and California
wines?” His response was “Easy. Everything.” Ehren went on to say, “Soil, climate, average rainfall, clonal
material, degree days and historic geographic events are just some of the differences that I can think of off the
top of my head. They couldn’t be more different.” The northern expansion of Failla is the result of a quest
started twenty years ago to find outstanding vineyards in excellent places. 2016 was the first vintage for Failla
making Oregon wines in Oregon at Carlton Winemakers Studio. The 2016 wines include a Riesling, Grüner
Veltliner and Gamay along with the Bjornson Vineyard Pinot Noir and Seven Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir. The
wines are sold through a mailing list at www.faillawines.com.
“Harvest on the Coast” in SLO Coast Wine Country SLO Coast Wine Country hosts its
signature harvest season event on Saturday, November 3, where a Grand Tasting and Wine Auction will be
held in an outdoor tent pavilion at Avila Beach Resort, and on Sunday, November 4, with Surf’s Up Sunday
where wineries throughout the region host a day of open houses. For more information, visit www.slowine.com.
Preference for Wine Container:
Burgundy Vintages-A History from 1845 Allen Meadows and fellow Burgundy lover Douglas
Barzelay are releasing the hardcover version of this book initially to subscribers of the Burghound.com. The
limited first printing of the book is in pre-sale and the exact date of availability to all consumers is not known. An
E-book version will be available in 2019. In the 600-page book, each vintage from 1845 is rated and discussed
in depth. This scholarly book is full of insights on the cultural, economic and technological developments that
have made Burgundies among the most sought-after wines in the world. The link for more information and
sample pages: www.burghoundbooks.com/burgundy-vintages/.
SOMM 3 Premiered in Napa at Clos Du Val The third film in the SOMM series is devoted
primarily to the 1976 Judgment of Paris and will be released later this year in digital platforms. It features many
of the former cast members but adds Steven Spurrier, master sommelier Fred Dame and wine critic Jancis
Robinson. The film is narrated by Madeline Puckette, creator of Wine Folly.
2018 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition This competition involves only wines
made with grapes grown in Sonoma County and have a Sonoma County designated AVA as the only region
listed on the bottle. Judging was held September 18-20. Competing Pinot Noir wines are classified by the
following price categories: up to $29.99, $30.00-39.99, $40.00-$49.99, $50.00-$59.99, and $60 and over. Most
of the premium Sonoma County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers reviewed in the PinotFile are not
Red Sweepstakes Award: 2016 Buena Vista Bela’s Selection Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $50
Best of Pinot Noir Class Awards:
2016 Laurier Carneros Pinot Noir $20
2016 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $35
2016 Bowman Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $42
2016 Buena Vista Bela’s Selection Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $50
2016 Russian River Valley Vineyards Bella Luna Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $65
Double Gold Pinot Noir Awards:
2017 Valley of the Moon Carneros Pinot Noir $30
2015 Woodenhead Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $47
2014 Woodenhead Wet Kiss” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $52
2014 Sanglier Cellars Old Camp Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $60
2016 Tiny House Vineyard W.E. Bottoms Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $60
2016 Russian River Valley Vineyards Horseridge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $65
Best of Chardonnay Class Awards:
2015 D&L Carinalli Russian River Valley Chardonnay $20
2016 Selby Russian River Valley Chardonnay $33
2017 ZO Wines Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay $35
Double Gold Chardonnay Awards:
2017 Folie A Deux Russian River Valley Chardonnay $18
2015 Picket Fence Russian River Valley Chardonnay $18
2016 Frei Bros Reserve Russian River Valley Chardonnay $20
2015 D&L Carinalli Vineyards Estate Russian River Valley Chardonnay $20
2017 Davis Family Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay $38
2017 Dutcher Crossing Winemaker’s Cellar Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay $38
2017 ZO Wines Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay $38
The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste: A Field Guide to the Great Wines of Europe
Authors Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay focus on the subject of blind tasting and the nuances evident in wines
from various subregions and appellations of Europe. Release date is October 23, 2018, $25.47 on Amazon.
Summary of Top-Scoring Wines Reviewed in This Issue
Readers have asked for a quick overview of scores and prices of reviewed wines in each issue since they may
not have the time or inclination to read the entire issue upon publication. Here are the top scoring wines. Let
me know if you find this valuable.
96 2016 Big Basin Coastview Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir $55
95 2016 Big Table Farm Sunnyside Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $62
94 2016 Big Basin Lester Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir $55
94 2015 Chenoweth Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $75
93 2016 Big Table Farm Wirtz Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $62
93 2015 Brooks Rastaban Brooks Estate Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $60
93 2014 Ken Brown Radian Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $70
93 2016 Red Hills Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $50
93 2015 Rusack Santa Catalina Island Vineyards California Pinot Noir $72
93 2016 Senses Terra De Promissio Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $72
93 2016 Tongue Dancer “Pinot de Ville” Putnam Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $75
92 2017 Big Basin Dune and Mountain Monterey County Pinot Noir $36
92 2016 Big Basin Alfaro Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir $65
92 2016 Big Table Farm Cattrall Brothers Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $62
92 2016 Big Table Farm Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $62
92 2015 Brooks Temperance Hill Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $48
92 2015 Brooks Old Vine Pommard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir $55
92 2015 Ken Brown Ranch La Viña Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $50
92 2015 Ken Brown Rita’s Crown Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir $60
95 2015 Rusack Santa Catalina Island Vineyards California Chardonnay $60
94 2017 Masút Estate Vineyard Eagle Peak Mendocino County Chardonnay $35
94 2016 Senses B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay $82
93 2016 Senses Tenth Step Sonoma Coast Chardonnay $75
92 2016 Tongue Dancer Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay $50
Pinot Noir Bliss in Marriage
If the man in a marriage has a Pinot Noir buying habit, it may be prudent for him to get his wife hooked on Pinot
Noir as well. As the cases of Pinot Noir accumulate in the house or garage after allocations are delivered, the
wife will certainly take notice. Her ears will perk up when the UPS delivery person knows the husband by his
first name. Pretty soon you may see an equal number of shoe boxes arrive by UPS from Nordstrom. She may
feel the husband is spending a larger share of the household’s booty.
If you find yourself in this predicament, there are subterfuges that can be utilized. One can employ any one of a
number of excuses for the wine boxes arriving at the house such as, “It’s not all my wine. I bought some for my
friends who are sharing my allocation.” Or, “I bought the wine for a special wine dinner for my wine club and I
will be reimbursed.” Or, “I am selling some of my wine at auction to pay for this.” Or, in desperation, “The wine
was on sale.” The latter puts you on shaky ground, because although your wife can relate to this, desirable
Pinot Noir is never on sale. Never, ever tell your spouse the price you paid for the Pinot Noir. Do not leave a
copy of the PinotFile lying around where it can be easily perused.
Other options include having your Pinot Noir sent to your place of business although this will raise eyebrows
among other employees unless you share the wine with them. More costly, but certainly advantageous, you
can rent a wine locker and have your wine sent there without your spouses’ knowledge.
The best solution is to get your spouse interested in Pinot Noir. Wean her off Chardonnay. Good things happen
when you drink Pinot Noir. Pour nice examples into proper stemware, and turn on some good music. Make it an
event. After you have piqued her palate, she will want to move up to the “best” examples of Pinot Noir. Once
she is hooked on really sumptuous Pinot Noir, there is no turning back. You will have achieved marital bliss and
become a lucky man.