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Reviewed Wines from the current Newsletter
PinotFile 11/24

From Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

2017 Cosa Obra Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $18. · Moderate salmon color in the glass. Attractive aromas of white peach, strawberry, white flower and bark. Sleek and slightly creamy in the mouth, with satisfying flavors of blood orange, wild strawberry and watermelon with a thread of oak in the background. Bright acidity makes for refreshing drinking. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Calera Central Coast Vin Gris of Pinot Noir

13.9% alc.,1,000 cases, $22. Sourced from Flint Vineyard in San Benito County. Grapes were harvested at lower Brix, specifically to produce a dry Vin Gris. Aged 4 months in 100% stainless steel. · Moderate salmon color in the glass. Aromas of yellow peach, cranberry, strawberry, blood orange and algae are echoed in the flavors in a refreshingly crisp and vibrant style that is a superb example of this Pinot Noir genre. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Trader Joe’s Platinum Reserve Lot #79 Carneros Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $14.99. Vinted and bottled by Carneros Cellars, Napa, CA. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is quite charming, offering aromas of wild strawberry, rose petal, cherry, raspberry and pine. Light to mid weight in style, and very open and giving, featuring an array of dark red fruit flavors. A slightly earthy, mushroom vibe is typical of Carneros. There is favorable juiciness and able oak management (unlike many Reserves that lean heavy on oak). Still perfectly fine when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Incredible value. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Sonoma-Loeb Sangiacomo Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.58, $30. Grapes sourced from several of Sangiacomo’s best blocks. Harvest Brix 23.5º. Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. A classic Chardonnay nose displaying aromas · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. A classic Chardonnay nose displaying aromas of lemon, pear, slate and ocean breeze. Bright and crisp in the mouth with a satiny mouthfeel and a clean finish. The flavor profile centers on lemon lime. Energetic, with refreshing acidity and good cut. This wine has edges. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Cosa Obra Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $32. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Revealing aromas of black cherry, earthy flora and burnt tobacco. A wine with modest intentions, featuring mid weight flavors of black cherry, darkest strawberry, cola, tobacco and toast. Easygoing tannins make for comforting drinking, but the toasty oak is too pervasive for full enjoyment. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Kitson Wines North Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.55, 120 cases, $32. Double Gold Medal winner San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Harvest Brix 23.0º. A blend of three vineyards in the Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast and Coombsville appellations. 60%+ Pommard with the remainder Dijon 777, 115 and Swan selection. 10% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 10 months in previously used French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Appealing scents of cherry, spice, redwood and pine. Lighter in style, with easygoing flavors of red cherry and berry with a forest thread. Forward drinking with silky tannins and commendable balance. Like a Model T - simple but reliable. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Sonoma-Loeb Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $34. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. The nose is bright and fruity upon opening, offering scents of lemon curd, yellow apple, warm brioche and a whiff of honey and vanilla. Mid weight flavors of pineapple, guava and spice in a ripe-fruited style with a mildly creamy mouthfeel. The wine becomes less appealing over time in the glass both on the nose and palate, wants for acidity, and there is the slightest sense of alcohol on the finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Sonoma-Loeb Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.83, TA 0.59, $34. Grapes sourced from Dutton Ranch, Sangiacomo Vineyard and Calesa Vineyard. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of blueberry, blackberry, baking spices, toast, BBQ and vanillin. Generously endowed in a mid weight plus style with the whole gamut of fruit ripeness ranging from dark red to blue to black. Oak notes of char and tobacco dance in the background. Well oaked but the fruit load can handle it. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Friedeman Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.66, 170 cases, $35. Released March 31, 2018. Sourced from Lancel Creek and Catie’s Corner vineyards. Clones are Montrachet, Rued and Robert Young. Average harvest Brix 23.2º. Whole cluster pressed to 33% new French oak barrels for native fermentation and aging. Lees stirred bi-weekly. Full malolactic fermentation. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of yellow stone fruits, pastry cream and baking spices lead to a modestly flavored wine featuring yellow apple and subtle citrus highlights. The oak treatment is quite agreeable and the finish is cordial. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Kitson Wines Black Knight Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.558, 123 cases, $36. Harvest Brix 24.0º. The vineyard, situated in the southeast region of the Sonoma Coast due east of the Petaluma Gap, is organically farmed. Clones 777, 667 and 115. 100% de-stemmed into open-top fermenters. Cold soak followed by slight inoculation of wine yeast. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Deeply aromatic, featuring cherry, sandalwood and feral aromas. Elegantly styled, soft and satiny in texture, with mid weight flavors of black cherry and dark red berries. Very sleek, like an Aston-Martin, with deft balance and plenty of aromatic cherry goodness on the finish. The wine reaches new heights over time in the glass indicating age ability. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Kitson Wines Haynes Vineyard Coombsville Napa Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.56, 117 cases, $36. Haynes Vineyard, located in the cool southeast corner of the Napa Valley in the Coombsville AVA, was originally planted in 1966 under consultation from Napa legend Andre Tchelitscheff. Swan and Dijon 115 clones used in this wine were added to the mix subsequently. Harvest Brix 23.8º. 100% de-stemmed in to open-top fermenters. Slight inoculation of wine yeast. Aged in French oak barrels, 17% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Fresh aromas of cherry, baking spices and piney oak. Deeply flavored core of red cherry, cranberry and spice. Very gracious and elegant like a Bentley, with impressive harmony. Tre Pinot. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Mansfield-Dunne Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.55, 288 cases, $36. Released June 1, 2017. Clones 667, Pommard 05, 115 and 777. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Light garnet color in the glass. The nose leads with hi-tone aromas of cherry and spice with a hint of guaiacol. Lighter styled, with a core of cherry fruit underlain with a smokiness suggesting smoke taint. Silky in the mouth, with juicy acidity and a slightly tart cherry-driven finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Fallon Place Herbitage Vineyard Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.65, 110 cases, $38. Single clone. Aged 18 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Upon opening, aromas of cherry, baking spices, earth and dust lead off. Light to mid weight in composure, featuring a core of red berry and cherry fruits with a sidecar of spice and herbs. Very easygoing, with a silken texture and gentle tannins. More appealing when tasted later in the day from a previously opened bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Fallon Place La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.9% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.65, 75 cases, $38. Aged 12 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Terrific nose with bright aromas of lemon creme, pineapple, yellow apple and butter. Nicely composed with a welcoming core of lemon fruit accompanied by complements of pineapple and blonde caramel. Somewhat unctuous and suffused with California sunshine, with a steeliness on the finish that is appealing. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Sonoma-Loeb Envoy Carneros Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.58, $38. Grapes sourced from Sangiacomo Vineyard with a focus on Hyde and Robert Young selections. Harvest Brix 23.0º-25.0º. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Compelling aromas of lemon creme, wet lawn and sandalwood. Generous and engaging in the mouth, with a rich and viscous texture. Bold flavors of lemon and lime underlain with a steely acidity, finishing with appealing aromatic pep and energy. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Migration Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $40. Sourced from Running Creek Estate, Charles Heintz, Orsi , Sullivan and Jewell vineyards. 75% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 35% new and 65% neutral. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of canned peaches, honey, butter, yeast and toasty oak. Modest flavors of lemon-lime and pineapple, with a clean mouthfeel, a touch of oak and spirited acidity. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Migration Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 23,000 cases, $40. With this vintage, the winery switched their flagship Russian River Valley Pinot Noir to the Sonoma Coast AVA, sourcing more fruit from cooler vineyards. 25% of the grapes were sourced from Bloomfield Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap AVA. Russian River Valley sites are 40% of the blend. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, 60% neutral. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of cherry, raspberry and sandalwood lead to a mid weighted core of cherry, spice and cozy oak flavors. Silky textured with restrained tannins, and a finish infused with cherry goodness. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Lombardi Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.9% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.667, 148 cases, $44. Sourced from Boudreaux and Orsi vineyards. Barrel fermented and aged 15 months in neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of lemon creme, pineapple, yellow grapefruit and straw. Robust flavors of lemon-lime, yellow peach, creme brûlée and vanilla. Very slight tannins, with a soft texture. The higher alcohol is folded in nicely. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Friedeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.61, 165 cases, $45. Released May 31, 2018. Sourced from Campbell Ranch, Lancel Creek and Terra de Promissio vineyards. 60% 115, 20% 777, 20% Calera. 4 to 5-day cold soak, 5 to 7-day native fermentation, aged on the gross lees in French oak barrels, 50% new for 11 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Complex aromatic display featuring scents of black cherry, earthy flora, bark and cardamon spice. The juicy mid weight cherry cola core makes an impression as does the glossy texture. A wine for upfront enjoyment that has a bit more tug of oak at present than I prefer. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Mansfield-Dunne Peterson Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.68, 47 cases, 50 cases, $45. Released September 1, 2017. Hyde clone. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate golden yellow color with mild unfiltered haze in the glass. Aromas of lemon-lime, pear, parchment and toasty oak. Rich and ripe in a full-bodied style featuring flavors of grilled lemon, grilled yellow peach, pear and blonde caramel. Syrupy in texture with cautious vibrancy and a thread of toasty oak in the background. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Sonoma-Loeb Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.58, $45. Clones 667, 777 and 115. Harvest Brix 25.5º. Fermented using yeast strains from Burgundy and Germany. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Muted, but pleasant aromas of black fruits. Full-bodied array of purple and black fruits are backed by a muscular tannic backbone. Sleek in texture with a very long, fruit-driven finish. A little less charming than the Sonoma Coast bottling. A succulent Pinot Noir for fruit hedonists that could only be produced in California. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Lombardi Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.676, 227 cases, $48. Sourced from Griffin’s Lair and Sonoma Stage vineyards. Clones 667 and Calera. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Slightly confected cherry and oak aromas are featured. The middleweight core of cherry and raspberry fruits are nicely framed with oak barrel treatment. The mid palate is a bit shallow, the fruit is slightly confected, and the cherry-driven finish is slightly tart. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Mansfield-Dunne Peterson Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.,pH 3.71, TA 0.59, 240 cases, $48. Release September 1, 2018. Clones “828,” 667, Pommard 05, 115 and 777 from Peterson Vineyard. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of muddled black cherry and spice, with more subtle aromas of potpourri, briar and smoke. Very similar flavor profile as the Santa Lucia Highlands bottling but with more concentration, more flavor intensity and more savoriness. The wine builds in appeal with time in the glass, offering a deft touch of nutty oak, a silky mouthfeel, integrated tannins and some finishing length. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Tongue Dancer Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.59, RS 1.2 g/L, 223 cases, $49, white wax cap. Released March 8, 2018. A blend of three Sonoma Coast AVA vineyards. Clones 115, 667, 777 and a suitcase clone.100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, aged 16 months French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Exuberant and seductive nose offering aromas of black cherry and spice. The gorgeous charge of Bing cherry, black raspberry and spice flavors really hit home on the mid palate and cling through a generous finish. Sleek in texture with a subtle complement of toasty oak and nicely integrated tannins. A real charmer that is both harmonious and on pitch. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the glass. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Calera Mt. Harlan Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 1,800 cases, $50. Vines planted in 1984 and 1998. Aged 15 months on the lees in French oak barrels, 30% new, 20% second vintage and 60% neutral. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. The nose is flat out gorgeous, featuring aromas of white peach, honey, buttery brioche and dried seaweed. Very satisfying flavor intensity and length, in a riper, full-bodied style with luscious flavors of Golden Delicious apple and lemon. One doesn’t think oak at all when drinking this wine. An under appreciated offering from Calera more known for Pinot Noir. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Cattleya Wines Cuvée Number One Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 112 cases, $50. Sourced from Lakeview Vineyard in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Pommard and clone 115 fermented in separate tanks. Aged in French oak barrels. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose elevates over time in the glass. reaching a crescendo with aromas of blackberry, cassis, spice, violets, vanilla and a hint of toasty oak. Mid weight plus in style, with an energetic attack of purple and black fruits with underpinnings of spice, earth and oak. Veers to ultra-ripeness but does not cross the line. The tannins are tucked in, the texture is refined and silky, and the finish is juicy. Still terrific when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Friedeman UV Lancel Creek Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.66, 107 cases, $50. Release April 30, 2018. Montrachet and Rued clones. Average harvest Brix 23.2º. Whole cluster pressed to 67% new French oak barrels for native yeast fermentation and aging. Lees stirred weekly. Full malolactic fermentation. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. A classy offering with aromas of lemon, graphite, cold steel and toast. Richly fruited with flavors of citrus and pear fruits and a subtle petrol note. The fruit is energized with good acidity and the wine’s comforting texture makes for a pleasurable experience. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Metzker Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 310 cases, $55. 75% Wädenwil 2A and 25% clone “828.” 100% de-stemmed and fermented in tank, aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose offers an appealing marriage of black cherry fruit aroma and oak characters of old wood chest and spice. Mid weight plus in composure, featuring attacking flavors of black raspberry, black cherry, cola and tobacco holding court through a satisfying mid palate and strong finish. The tannins are under wraps, and the wine is quite approachable. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Migration Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $55. A cool, high elevation site with Goldridge sandy loam soils. Old clone 4 vines planted in 1982. 75% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in 90% French oak barrels, 35% new and 65% neutral. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. The aromas arrive slowly in the glass with air exposure, revealing lemon curd, yellow apple and artichoke. A flashy wine with vivacious flavors of lemon, pineapple and nori. Nicely composed with energetic acidity, folded in oak, and some pleasing aromatic persistence on the finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Migration Running Creek Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $55. A selection of the best blocks and barrels from this site. 75% malolactic fermentation. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 35% new and 65% neutral. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Shy aromas of white peach, jasmine and ocean breeze. Slightly creamy on the palate, with bright acidity and a quenching, lemony finish. The bright flavors of lemon and pineapple are nicely integrated with oak seasoning. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Mansfield-Dunne Cortada Alta Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.59, 141 cases, 150 cases, $58. Released June 1, 2018. Clones “828,” 23, Pommard 05, 667 and Swan. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Very pleasant and enticing aromas of black cherry, dark rose petal and seasoned oak. Mid weight plus in style, offering a melange of flavors including black cherry, black raspberry, plum, cola and spice. The fruit is ripe but not too ripe. Polished in demeanor, with good length in the mouth and a pleasing finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Roadhouse Winery Blue Label Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.73% alc., pH 3.90, TA 0.67, $59. Swan, 777 clones. Harvest Brix 25.0º. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, BGR yeast primary fermentation, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% a blend of 1 and 2-year-old. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Reserved aromas of blackest cherry and black raspberry. The mid weight core of sweet blackest cherry is accented with notes of red licorice and spicy oak. Balance is respectable with a pleasing finish of some length. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Roadhouse Winery Yellow Label Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

15.4% alc., pH 3.85, TA 0.66, 325 cases, $59, Clones 115, Wädenswil 2A, 777 and Pommard. Harvest Brix 24.5º. Clones 115, Wädenswil 2A, 777 and Pommard sourced from multiple vineyards along River Road. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, BGR Merit yeast primary fermentation, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% blend of 1 and 2-year-old. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Challenging to find any describable aromas other than oak on the nose. Elegant composed in a mid weight style with very sweet, extremely ripe dark fruit flavors complimented by a whisper of oak. So sweet the wine seems to have residual sugar. The wine finishes with a sweet and sour tone. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Friedeman Terra de Promissio Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.69, 47 cases, $60. 90% 115, 10% 777. 5-day cold soak, 7-day native fermentation, aged 15 months on the gross lees in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Subdued aromas of cherry and savory herbs are echoed on the light to mid weight styled palate. Rounded, polished and rather elegant, but this wine lacks flavor impact and seems a touch underripe. The wine picks up a little fruit intensity over time in the glass and discreet tannins make for easy drinking. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Friedeman UV Lancel Creek Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.61, 102 cases, $60. 50% Pommard, 30% Calera and 20% 777. Average harvest Brix 24.7º. 4-day cold soak, 6-day native fermentation, aged on the gross lees in French oak barrels, 50% new for 11 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Pleasing aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and underbrush. More sap and richness than the Sonoma Coast bottling and better oak integration. The silken mouthfeel is cordial as are the gentle tannins. The mid weight flavors of dark cherry, black raspberry and blackberry are infused with a compliment of toasty oak. The wine finishes with a seductive grip of cherry. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 2,725 cases, $60. 100% estate grown from Freestone vineyards. Aged 13 months in 35% new and 65% once-used French oak puncheons and barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. The nose wows you with aromas of lemon pie, buttery croissant, apple and pear. Well-endowed with flavors of lemon, yellow grapefruit and pineapple that are lifted with a backbone of crisp acidity. A deft touch of oak is pleasing, as is the tightly wound, citrus-driven finish that offers some aromatic persistence. A classic cool-climate Chardonnay. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 3,015 cases, $60. Estate grown. 51% Pastorale and 49% Quarter Moon vineyards. Aged 13 months in 38% new and 62% two-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate dark garnet color in the glass. A melange of dark fruit aromas and oak-driven toast and tobacco. Mid weight in style, with flavors of purple and black fruits that flood the palate with goodness. A fruit-driven wine with silken tannins and a modest finish. Not particularly challenging but not every wine needs to be. Enjoy this wine for its beautiful fruit. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine had not surpassed its opening character and a little more oak infusion was evident. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 LaRue Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 50 cases, $60. Released March 2018. Barrel fermented in once-used French oak barrels and aged for 17 months. · Moderately light but bright golden yellow color in the glass. Lovely aromas of lemon, stone fruits and alfalfa set the stage. Crisp and fresh in the mouth, with engaging flavors of lemon, white peach, buttered toast and pastry cream. Nicely composed, with some lingering fruit charm on the impressive finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Roadhouse Winery Black Label Nunes Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc. (label), 15.4% alc. (tech sheet), pH 3.84, TA 0.67, 300 cases, $69. Clones 114, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. Harvest Brix 24.2º. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, BGR yeast primary fermentation, aged 12 months in French oak barrels 20% new, 60% a blend of 1 and 2-year-old. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. Gold medal San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Very shy nose offering aromas of black fruit compote, spice box and a whiff of vinegar. Mid weight plus flavors of blackberry, black raspberry and cassis that really push the ripeness envelope such that a prune flavor also shows up. Acidity seems to be in respectable balance and there is some length of finish. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Roadhouse Winery Green Label Sangiacomo Roberts Road Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.73% alc., pH 3.90, TA 0.67, 400 cases, $69. Pommard, Swan and 777 clones. Harvest Brix 24.8º. 100% de-stemmed, 5- day cold soak, BGY, Merit and Assmenhausen primary fermentation, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 20% new and 60% a blend of 1 and 2-year-old. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Very shy nose without discernible fruit character. Mid weight flavors of blackest cherry, blueberry and blackberry framed by modest tannins. The wine finishes with a sweet and sour. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Roadhouse Winery Pink Label Leras Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.90, TA 0.60, 325 cases, $69. Martini clone planted in 1973. Harvest Brix 25.2º. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, BGR yeast primary fermentation, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. The nose lacks charm, offering only vegetal and cooked cherry aromas. Plush and velvety on the palate with very ripe, even stewed-tasting dark fruits with oak plying the background. The alcohol is tucked in on the modest finish. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Roadhouse Winery Purple Label Silver Pines Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., H 3.83, TA 0.60, 300 cases, $69. Pommard, “828,” and 23 clones. Harvest Brix 25.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, BGR yeast primary fermentation, aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% blend of 1 and 2-year-old. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of prune and raisin lead off. Extremely ripe and compote-like fruit in a mid weight plus style featuring flavors of raisin, cassis, blackberry and dark chocolate. Fruit driven and monotone with a sweet-fruited finish and a hint of alcoholic warmth. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Cattleya Pratt Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 75 cases, $70. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Spirited aromas of lemon zest, white peach, graphite and flint holding court for a long time in the glass. This is a spiritual wine with caressing refinement, offering flavors of lemon zest, yellow grapefruit, flint and subtle toast that drape the palate. The composure is seamless and the tight-wound acidity provides brightness and crispness. Every year, this beauty is one of my favorite California Chardonnays. Pratt Vineyard is an exceptional site for Chardonnay. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Cattleya Wines Donum Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 65 cases, $70. Sourced from the West Slope block containing the vineyard’s oldest vines. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black raspberry, dried dark rose petal and spice are enticing. Deep, dark and mysterious, with a generous amount of sappy black fruits touched by oak and supported by sleek tannins. Very polished, with a sexy, plush texture, and finishing long and dry. A bit reserved upon opening, showing off more when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Paul Lato “Belle dé jour” Duvarita Vineyard Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $70. · Light golden pear color in the glass. Enticing aromas of pear, lemon zest, pineapple and wet cement really gain expression over time in the glass. Very friendly on the palate, with great energy and balance, featuring flavors of green apple and lemon-lime backed by spritely acidity. A high-collared wine with an edge character that combines delicious fruit with energetic acidity in a harmonious blend. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Paul Lato “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $70. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Cordial aromas of cherry, crushed strawberry, rose petal and spice. Very tasty mid weight cherry core with an honorable spice accent. Good energy and composure, very silky with drop-dead elegance and refinement. Not a big-fruited bombast of a wine, rather one of charming delicacy. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Metzker Terra De Promissio Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 145 cases, $75. The winery’s first reserve wine. 50% clone 777 and 50% clone 115. 100% de-stemmed, fermented in tank, aged 14 months in French oak puncheon barrels, 70% new, for 14 months. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Nicely scented with aromas of burnished cherry, blueberry and spice. A very saucy and sexy wine, with a sleek and smooth demeanor, and enticing flavors of black cherry, cola and spice. Satisfying out of the chute with impressive mid palate intensity, deft oak treatment, integrated tannins and a ravishing cherry pie filling finish of uncommon length. The pedigree of the vineyard shows through in this beauty that wraps you in silk pajamas. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Paul Lato “Atticus” John Sebastiano Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $75. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is mainly red fruited with added aromas of rose petal, spice and forest. Beautifully ripened strawberry, black raspberry and black cherry fruits are long in the mouth and unusually juicy. This debutante is refined and silky, with balanced tannins and complimentary oak and baking spice accents. The amazing finish lasts at least a minute. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Paul Lato “Le Souvenir” Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., $75. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. The nose reveals more charming aromas over time in the glass, offering notes of lemon curd, wet soil, pear, honey, 7-Up, toasty brioche and vanillin. Richly composed and textured, yet sleek, with mid weight plus ripe flavors of pineapple, yellow apple and grapefruit. The fruit really clings to the long finish and the oak skips along in the background. Even more enjoyable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle with uncommon length of finish for Chardonnay. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Paul Lato “Seabiscuit” Zotovich Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $75. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Initial aromas of damp earth, flora, and sawdust give way to fruit aromas of cherry and boysenberry over time in the glass. Seemingly disjointed and uninteresting upon opening, exhibiting reserved mid weight flavors of strawberry and cherry. Considerably better on the palate the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, with more juicy fruit expression. Reserved aromas of cherry and oak spice persisted and this wine undoubtedly needs more time in the cellar. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Paul Lato “The Contender” Drum Canyon Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $75. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of plum, blackberry jam, mushroom, floral bouquet and a hint of oak. A stunning wine from the get-go with mid weight plus flavors of black fruits with accents of spice, licorice and a subtle oak shadow. Remarkable explosiveness on the mid palate. Silken in texture with a cordial balance, finishing really long and fruited. So tasty you can’t turn away. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Roadhouse Winery Platinum Label Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Mendocino County Pinot Noir

14.9% alc (label), 14.2% alc. (tech sheet), pH 3.95, TA 0.50, 200 cases, $75. Romanee-Conti selection and Wädenswil 2A clone. Harvest Brix 23.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, BGR yeast for primary fermentation. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Very reserved nose with only a hint of briar and oak aromas even over extended time in the glass. A fruit-driven wine featuring black cherry and raspberry fruits with toast and licorice in the background. The tannins are well integrated, but the wine’s low acidity leads to a lack of freshness. The finish is notable sweet. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Paul Lato “Lancelot” Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $80. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Exuberant aromas of black cherry, rose and exotic spices holds up over some time in the glass. The most tannic wine in the 2016 lineup and what you would expect from this vineyard, but the tannins are supportive without being intrusive. Amazing attack of sweet blackberry, black raspberry and pomegranate fruit flavors that are expansive in the mouth and boldly expressive on the finish. The alcohol is tucked in nicely. Even more seamless and glorious when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The pedigree of this vineyard as well as its terroir shines in this wine. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $80. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is both fruity and savory, combining aromas of black raspberry and spiced black plum with aromas of dried herbs and tobacco. The savory theme continues on the palate that features mid weight purple and black berry fruits that are permeated with earthy and herbal flavors The wine has a very soothing texture and a fine, but not noteworthy finish. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Cosa Obra Founder’s Reserve Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $N/A. Aged in 60% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose starts out with fresh black cherry fruit aromas, but transitions to musty, stewed fruit aromas. Full-bodied, ultra ripe and somewhat sweet flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and cassis. The wine leans heavily on oak although the prodigious fruit can hold up to it. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Wait Cellars Devoto Garden Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $N/A. Release summer 2018. Double Gold at 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The vineyard is a cool and windy site above Sebastopol with vines planted in Goldridge sandy loam. Native fermentation, 10% whole cluster 115 clone and 20% whole cluster “828” clone. Aged 10 months on lees with lees stirring through the winter in French and Hungarian oak barrels, 20% new and 33% once-filled. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of muddled cherry, underbrush, toast and dark chocolate. Mid weight flavors of black cherry, blueberry and pomegranate assembled in a classic style with some breadth of finish that includes a modest rush of tannins. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the tannins had assimilated and the wine had persistent and pleasing fruit pep. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Freeman Vineyards & Winery Ryo-Fu Green Valley of Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc, 615 cases, $40. A multiple vineyard blend (Keefer Ranch, Heintz Ranch, Black Emerald, Searby and Dutton Mill Station vineyards). Aged 15 months on lees in French oak barrels, 12% new and 88% used. Apparently full malolactic fermentation. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of buttered toast, lemon curd, honey, pineapple and slight matchstick initially. Rich and ripe fruited in a highly flavorful style that retains good vibrancy. Flavors of lemon, pineapple, yellow peach, burnt caramel and vanilla build over time in the glass. Slightly creamy in mouthfeel with some finishing length. The label says, “Burgundian-style,” but this wine is clearly California in style. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Peake Ranch Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 250 cases, $40. Proprietors John and Gillian Wagner, winemaker is Paul Lato. 100% John Sebastiano Vineyard grapes. Clones 667, 115 and Swan. 3-day cold soak, RC 212 yeast, 17 days on the skins, aged in French oak barrels, 40% new. Fined with egg whites, unfiltered. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A boisterous wine featuring aromas and flavors of blackberry, black current, earth and oak. Good attack and follow through with some finishing length. Appealingly silky in texture with integrated tannins. More enjoyable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Anaba Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.34, TA 0.64, 505 cases, $42. Grapes sourced from vineyards in the Green Valley (Kozlowski Vineyard) and Carneros (Los Brisas Vineyard). Pommard, 115, Swan, 777 and 667. Harvest Brix 24.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 4 to 6-day cold soak, fermented separately by clone. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose makes its mark with aromas of black cherry, bark, graphite and a hint of smoke. Rather simple but satisfying, with mid weight flavors of black raspberry, black cherry and strawberry framed by gentle tannins. The acid-fueled finish offers pleasing sweet cherry aromatics. More appealing when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Anaba Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.64, 148 cases, $52. Pisoni selection. Harvest Brix 23.8º. 100% de-stemmed, 4 to 5-day cold soak, fermented in stainless. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Extremely shy nose offering subtle aromas of cherry, sandalwood and oak vanillin. On the palate, the wine offers good depth and length of red and black cherry and black raspberry fruit flavors. The sleek texture is appealing due to milky tannins. The finish is modest but satisfying. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A delicate interpretation of this vineyard. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Anaba Westlands Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.64, 258 cases, $54. This wine is intended to capture the essence of the West Sonoma Coast. Grapes sourced from O’Connor Vineyard, Barlow Lane Private Vineyard and Mariani Vineyard. Pommard, Swan and 115 clones. Harvest Brix 22.2º. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, fermented separately by clone, 30% whole cluster. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light garnet. Gracious aromas of dark cherry, rose, and milk chocolate lead to a middleweight styled wine offering flavors of dark red cherry and berry and blueberry with a bit of herbal oak in the background. Elegant and streamlined, with quenching acidity and a mildly astringent finish. Unchanged when sampled the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Calera de Villiers Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $60. Vineyard planted in 1996, 1997, and 2001. Yields 0.39 tons per acre. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 30% new, 10% second vintage and 60% neutral. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose offers penetrating aromas of black fruits, fertile earth, toast, burnt tobacco and a hint of vanilla. The wine's texture is seductively smooth and the mid weight plus flavors of blackberry, black raspberry and cassis are enviable. The fruit is spirited and fresh and the wine is seamlessly composed. Wines from this vineyard always taste like this and that reflects deft winemaking. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 LaRue Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 240 cases, $60. Released October 2017. 100% destemmed. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels 20% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose is joyous, with aromas of cherry, pipe smoke, spice, and dried rose petal bringing more intensity over time in the glass. The core of cherry and pomegranate fruit flavors have impressive intensity and length and finish with uncommon generosity. Sleek, silky and balanced, finishing with juicy acidity. All you can ask for in an appellation wine. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 LaRue Rice-Spivak Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 150 cases, $70. Release fall 2018. 100% de-stemmed. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels 33% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Inviting aromas of black cherry, BBQ spice rub and floral perfume. Refined and gracious on the palate, with an amazingly generous core of black cherry fruit that seems to persist on the finish for minutes. A bit of spice and tobacco flavor adds intrigue. Not perfect, as some tannin shows up on the slightly tart finish, but this is still a very compelling wine. This vineyard is always my paramour among the LaRue stable of wines. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 LaRue Thorn Ridge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 100 cases, $70. Released March 2018. 100% de-stemmed. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Both red cherry and red berry fruit aromas along with earthy flora and mushroom aromas combine beautifully on the inviting nose. Comforting in the mouth, with good harmony, in a mid weight style featuring dark red fruit and savory herb flavors. The very long finish is notable for its generosity and refreshing cut. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Calera Reed Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 165 cases, $75. Vineyard planted in 1975 (4.4 acres) and 2012 (1.54 acres). Yield 0.59 tons per acre. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 30% new, 10% second vintage and 60% neutral. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Wines from this vineyard tend to be more red-fruited and elegant. Aromas of red cherry, spiced berry, dried rose petal and burnt tobacco reflect the whole cluster inclusion. The mid weight flavors of dark red fruits are accented with a hint of spice and caramel. The fruit is succulent yet refined and the overall impression is graciousness. Slick in texture, with a really long, mesmerizing finish. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 LaRue Coastlands Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.4% alc., 50 cases, $80. Released October 2017. 20% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 30 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Light garnet color in the glass. The nose is quite savory, featuring aromas of earthy flora, cigar box and toasty oak. Light to mid weight in composure, with dark cherry and dark berry fruit flavors that have an earthy and feral quality. Oak adds more seasoning than I prefer. The fine-grain tannins are evident but not intrusive and there is only modest finishing length. I re-tasted this wine several hours after opening and the following day and still felt the oak treatment dominated the delicate fruit. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Calera Jensen Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 495 cases, $90. Vineyard planted in 1975. Yield 0.44 tons per acre. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 30% new, 10% second vintage and 60% neutral. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of black cherry, exotic spices and underbrush. The first taste tells you this wine is special. The mid weight essence of black cherry fruit is long and intense, yet refined. The fine-grain tannins provide the perfect backdrop and the satiny texture is mesmerizing. The finish offers a good grip of acidity and uncommon generosity. This wine is always the Prima Donna among the Calera wine stable. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Goldeneye Ten Degrees Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 1,175 cases, $125. The winery’s finest lots of the vintage. Sourced from all four of the winery’s estate vineyards. Aged 16 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Engaging aromas of blackest cherry, blackberry, oak and vanillin lead off. Discreetly concentrated core of black cherry fruit is accented with toasty oak. A wine with serious intentions with a firm tannic backbone and and a long, cherry-blessed finish. Considerably more open and enjoyable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine is not as extracted and opulent as usual in this vintage, but is a better table wine as a result. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recently Tasted Oregon Wines

2017 Rain Dance Estate Grand Oak Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Rosé

14.1% alc., pH 3.36, TA 0.653, 50 cases, RS 0.83 g/L, $22, screw cap. Released May 5, 2018. Harvest Brix 22.3. 100% Dijon clone 114. Whole cluster pressed with no skin soaking. Cold fermented. Aged in neutral French oak barrels. · Delicate orange color in the glass. Aromas of blood orange, yellow apple, peach and fragrant melon. Slightly creamy in the mouth and reminding of Orange Julius (which I always loved). A lighter styled but flavorful wine that has a savory floral note as well in the background. A terrific table wine that has a very dry, thirst quenching finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Rain Dance Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.51, 164 cases, $40. Released May 5, 2018. 44% 667, 14% Pommard, 14% Wädenswil, 14% 943 and 14% 115. Harvest Brix 24.4º. 4-day cold soak, aged in French oak barrels, 29% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Nicely scented with aromas of Bing cherry and mocha java. The mid weight core of black cherry fruit is framed by toasty, smoky oak. Elegant in style, with amendable tannins, good juiciness and some finishing purpose. The oak oversteps its role a bit, but overall this is a charming wine. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Coehlo Coehlo Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.58, RS 0.3 g/L, 94 cases, $45. 50% 777 and 50% Pommard clones. Harvest Brix 22.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 5-day cold soak, 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new for 14 months and in stainless steel for 2 months. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Soaring aromas of black cherry infused with gentle oak-driven notes of spice and vanilla. The luscious fruit veers to the ripe side, but the flavors of black cherry, pomegranate and blackberry are captivating. Silky in the mouth, with impressive intensity and length and a giving finish. This wine was considerably more harmonious when tasted from an opened bottle later in the day. The richest of the three 2016 Pinot Noirs. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Coehlo Delfina Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.59, RS 0.1 g/L, 97 cases, $45. 25% 667, 50% 777 and 25% 115. Harvest Brix 22.5º. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 5-day cold soak, full malolactic fermentation. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, and 2 months in stainless steel. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Upon opening, this wine was not particularly appealing. Subdued aromas of black cherry and oak vanillin led to a rustic palate of sweet dark red and black fruits with a noticeable backing of citrusy acidity. Quite a change when tasted later in the day from a previously opened bottle when the wine exhibited considerably more harmony, showing adept oak management and a persistent finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Coehlo Zeitoun Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.55, RS 0.4 g/L, 95 cases, $45. Unknown clones. Harvest Brix 23.0º. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 5-day cold soak, full malolactic fermentation. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% neutral. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of a range of dark fruits and a hint of vanilla. Clean, polished and impeccably balanced in a mid weight style featuring an array of perfectly ripened purple and black fruits blessed with adroit oak input. A flat-out gorgeous wine that slides through the mid palate and finish likes its lubricated. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Big Table Farm The Elusive Queen Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.3% alc., 104 cases, $85. Released April 17, 2018. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Light golden yellow color and unfiltered clarity in the glass. Exhilarating aromas of lemon, pineapple, baking spices and buttered toast light up the nose. Delicious flavors of pear, lemon, yellow grapefruit, hazelnut and spice offered on a sleek platform. Impeccably balanced with a finish that is really tenacious. I could try to go on about this dreamy wine, but sometimes greatness defies adequate description. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2016 Big Table Farm Earth Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 105 cases, $105. Released April 17, 2018. 100% whole cluster fermentation. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The name of this wine is appropriate because their is an appealing earthiness that pervades the experience. A bit of whole cluster goodness shows up on the nose that offers aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, exotic spices, rose petal and burnt tobacco. The mid weight core of black cherry and black raspberry fruit provides plenty of vim and vigor. There is a seamless quality to the wine with perfectly integrated oak and t n’a. A subtle smokiness belies some fruit from Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard in this wine. More ostentatious when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Trader Joe’s Touting Charles Shaw Wines Made With Organic Grapes

2016 Charles Shaw California Pinot Noir

5% alc., $3.99, twist-off Helix cork. Made with CCCF certified organic grapes. · Light ruby red color in the glass. Upon opening, the nose offers aromas of cherry and mocha, fading quickly and giving way to aromas of plum, wilted rose, oak and a slight vinegar note. A simple quaff, with a dark cherry fruit core, low acidity, a shallow mid palate and a short, slightly sweet finish. The wine is silky in texture as one expects from Pinot Noir, but there are strange non-fruit flavors, including vegetal and spoiled nut tastes, as well as other unappetizing flavors that are hard to pinpoint. Unappealing, but about what you would expect from a $3.99 Pinot Noir. Score: 79. WINERY » ARTICLE »


Robert Parker’s 100 point wine scoring system, which became popular in 1983 and adopted by the Wine Spectator in 1988, has been a homing beacon for consumers seeking to buy good wine. Currently, a majority of United States based wine critics and magazines use the 100 point scale.

The reality is that the 100 point scale is actually a 10 point scale. MORE»
A Note About Prices

Price shown in a tasting note is either the winery-direct price or the retail price paid by the Prince.