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From California Dreamin’: New Releases

2016 Waxwing Blair Vineyard Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir Rosé

12.7% alc., 42 cases, $23. Release March 2017. Pommard 4 clone. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel. Aged in barrels with weekly lees stirring. Bottled January 27, 2017, after 3 months in barrel. · Delicate apricot color in the glass. This is a people-pleasing wine with many admirable attributes. The nose is alive and sustained in the glass, offering aromas of apricot, strawberry, cherry, blood orange and a floral note. The delicious flavors of cherry, strawberry white peach and apricot have good weight and are bright and lifted. The wine is perfectly balanced with fresh acidity, finishing with a blood orange tang. The best domestic rosé that I have experienced in quite awhile. Serve chilled of course. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Ancient Oak Cellars Appellation Series Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.69, 900 cases, $29. Produced primarily from Nurmi and Flyway vineyards. Native primary and secondary fermentations, sur lie aging with battonage. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Complex perfume of lemon oil, grilled pineapple, warm brioche, vanilla and chalk dust. Slightly creamy in the mouth, displaying very tasty flavors of lemon, pineapple, pear, and salted caramel. Nicely composed, with a lasting finish redolent of creme caramel. Rather ostentatious oak highlights, but no complaints from me. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Ancient Oak Cellars Single Vineyard Series Flyway Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., pH 2.9, TA 0.57, RS <0.1 g/L, 1,500 cases, $56. Old vines. Barrel fermented with native yeasts and sur lie aging with battonage. · Medium golden yellow color in the glass. Shy aromas of citrus, kumquat, petrichor and vegemite. Moderately rich, with flavors of lemon, pineapple, orchard fruits and subtle toast. Slightly creamy and nicely appointed with a lingering finish replete with righteous tangy lemon. A distinctive wine that intrigues and meshes the acidity well. Tasted twice. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Ancient Oak Cellars Single Vineyard Series Nurmi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., pH 2.9, TA 0.57, RS <0.1 g/L, 1,500 cases, $56. Wente clone planted and farmed by Paul and Gail Nurmi. Barrel fermented with native yeast and aged sur lie with battonage. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Shy, but very pleasing aromas of citrus, lychee, brioche and a steely note. The wine is blessed with delicious flavors of lemon, yellow apple and the slightest barrel toast. Excellent vibrancy with juicy lemon goodness returning in waves on the finish. A serious offering that becomes more affectionate in the glass over time. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Ancient Oak Cellars Reserve Series Kent Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.66, RS <0.1 g/L, 96 cases, $60. Greg La Follette made his first vineyard designated wines twenty years ago from the Kent Ritchie Vineyard. This wine contains grapes from a selection of specific rows. Barrel fermented with native yeast and aged sur lie for 20 months with battonage. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Complex nose offering a perfume of crystallized lemon, prickly pear, white flower bouquet, earthy flora and sea breeze. The onslaught of lemon goodness wakes up the palate on entry and expands through the mid palate. Very harmonious, with a pleasingly viscous texture, offering nuances of spice, nutmeg, vanilla wafer, and buttery caramel. A praiseworthy wine that finishes with uncommon richness for a Chardonnay and literally slides off the back of the palate as it exits. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Buena Vista Carneros Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.54, 2,995 cases, $25. Cellared and bottled by Buena Vista Winery, Santa Rosa and St. Helena. 100% de-stemmed, fermented in small open-top fermenters, and aged for 10 months in French and Hungarian oak barrels, 20% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is dominated by oak, revealing aromas of fresh ground coffee beans and toast. Smooth in the mouth with a mid weight core of black cherry fruit that plays second fiddle to conspicuous oak. The silky tannins and acidity are in favorable balance with the fruit, but the experience is like drinking a cold cup of coffee with cherry flavoring. Score: 82. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 DeLoach Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.55, 8,926 cases, $25. Sourced from BCD Vineyard, Becnel Vineyard, Heintz Vineyard and Murray Vineyard.Fermented in wooden open-top vats, hand punch downs, basket pressed, and aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 10% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas arrive over time in the glass revealing notes of Bing cherry, cranberry and oak spice and toast. Light to mid weight in style, with flavors of spiced Bing cherry, cola and tobacco. Satiny mouthfeel, with a bit of shallow impression on the mid palate, finishing with modest length. Easy to drink, but leans a bit too much on oak. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.52, $25. Aged 13 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is inviting upon opening, offering aromas of Bing cherry, baking spices, and cola, but fades over time in the glass. The light to mid weight charge of Bing cherry fruit offers a modest attack and shallow mid palate depth, but finishes better than it enters with good length. The barrel treatment is conspicuous but not overbearing. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle, the oak was not more judiciously integrated, but the wine proved to be a good companion with food. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 LUMEN Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 990 cases, $30. Fruit was picked early for freshness and lively acidity @ average 23.5º Brix. Clones 667, 777, Pommard 5 and Wädenswil 2A. 100% de-stemmed. Aged in 15% new and 85% neutral French and Hungarian oak barrels. Bottled unfined and loosely filtered. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. A very savory wine leading off with aromas of black cherry, pice, dried herbs, peppercorn and nutty oak. Light to medium in weight with flavors that replicate the nose with additions of black raspberry and earthiness. The tannins are silky, and there is welcome freshness and juiciness. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 LUMEN Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

13.3% alc., 540 cases, $30. Harvest Brix 22.1º. Robert Young and 15 clones. Barrel fermented and aged in 10% new and 90% neutral French and Hungarian oak. 100% MLF. Sterile filtered. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon, apple, banana cream, buttery brioche, yeast and a hint of reduction that blows off. Flavors of lemon, pineapple, green apple and spice infused with steely resolve. Slightly creamy on the palate, with a hint of nutty oak, finishing with a bright apple note. The wine improves in the glass over time. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.56, 10,354 cases, $35. Harvest Brix average 24.9º. Clones 113, 114, 115, 777, 667, 2A, 23 and Pommard. Grapes are de-stemmed to stainless steel tanks for cold soak, followed by fermentation with native yeasts. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 31% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of a plethora of dark fruits including black cherry and black raspberry complimented with toasty oak. Impressive harmony and soothing in the mouth, with middleweight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and baking spice. Easy to cozy up to, finishing with a kiss of fruit that literally slides off the back of the palate. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 O’Connor Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.66, 414 cases, $35. Harvest Brix 25.2º. Pommard, 115 and 777 clones. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels. Winemaker is Ron Johnson, the vineyard owners’ son-in-law. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Soaring aromas of Bing cherry, spice, toast and tobacco lead to a middleweight styled wine with delicious dark cherry fruit. The charge of fruit is buffered by vibrant acidity and silky tannins. There is definite barrel influence, but it seasons rather than dominates the wine. Very enjoyable, with a smooth texture and an exit bursting with savory oak and black cherry goodness. A real charmer and quintessential Russian River Valley in character at a very reasonable price. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sanglier River Tusque Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.57, 224 cases, $36. “Tusque” translates to “the old lands” in French. Clones are Swan, Calera, 115 and 667. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, 75% 1 and 2-year-old. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black raspberry and grape must are accented with a hint of underbrush. The black raspberry, blackberry and black grape fruits veer to the ripe side but never cross over. Modest in weight, but blessed with vibrant fruit flavor that grabs hold to the very long, dark berry infused follow through. The balance is impeccable. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Gehricke Sonoma Los Carneros Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 1,556 cases, $39. Small lot ferments. Aged 9 months in French oak barrels. Vinted and bottled by The Other Guys, Sonoma. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very giving fruit aromas of strawberry and cherry. Discreetly concentrated flavors of oakkissed black cherry with added accents of cola, sassafras and tobacco. Satiny in the mouth, with good balance and some finishing goodness. A little more oak-infused character than I prefer, but will please many especially at this modest price. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Ancient Oak Cellars Siebert Ranch Single Vineyard Series Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 400 cases, pH 3.50, TA 0.62. $44. Pommard 4 clone from hillside block 5 planted by Henry Siebert when he was 80-years-old. Mostly native fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and smoky oak. The wine makes a good impression on entry, the mid palate and finish, offering mid weight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and cola with a supportive riff of toasty oak. Offering good harmony, this wine finishes with length and purpose. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 DeLoach Vineyards Marin County Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.57227 cases, $45. A blend of two mature vineyards in Marin County, Stubbs and Corda. Fermented in small open-top fermenters and aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of cherry, strawberry and earthy flora arrive slowly in the glass with swirling. More expressive on the palate, yet delicate in weight, with primary flavors of red cherry and red berry. Nicely balanced, with a silken fabric and a very modest finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Domaine De La Côte Sta. Rita Hills AVA Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 3,294 cases, $45. Estate grown, produced and bottled. 50% whole cluster, aged in 0% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Pleasing scent of cherry, raspberry, rose petal, pine needle and underbrush. Very elegant, juicy and refreshing in a mid weight styled wine with uplifting flavors of black cherry and black raspberry framed by silky smooth tannins and supported by the acidity Sta. Rita Hills is known for. Tart cherry returns in waves on the lip-smacking finish. An excellent way to sample the DDLC style with some retail availability. Still solid the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Gehricke Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 948 cases, $45. Small lot ferments. Aged 9 months in French oak barrels. Vinted and bottled by The Other Guys, Sonoma. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Demure aromas of slightly confected red cherry, baking spice and forest floor. Cherry driven, with added flavors of raspberry and cranberry, simple and easy going in a light to mid weight style, with a silky texture and very modest oak contribution. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.77, TA 0.52, $45. Aged on the lees for 11 months with monthly battonage in French oak barrels, 36% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is sullen, offering only subtle aromas of black cherry, earth and oak. Somewhat monolithic on the mid weight plus palate with flavors of ripe black cherry, black raspberry and tobacco. The tannins are quite modest assisting the silky mouthfeel that is the wine’s best feature. The wine lacks a bit of acidic lift. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, oak had come to the forefront, but the seductive texture still stood out. It was challenging for me to predict the future of this wine based on its current withdrawn state. Score: 89-91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 DeLoach Vineyards Maboroshi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.62, 802 cases, $50. Vineyard is situated at 400 to 600 feet elevation in Sebastopol Hills. Clones 667 and 115 planted in Goldridge soil. Fermented in open top vats with hand punch downs. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Both savory and fruity on the nose, exhibiting aromas of cherry, dried herbs, wet mulch and a hint of tobacco. Very charming in the mouth, with expansive flavors of black cherry, savory herbs and tobacco robed in modest tannins. A silky smooth texture attracts, and the wine has commendable harmony, finishing with cherry and citric flavors. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 LUMEN Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 99 cases, $52. A selection of the best barrels from this vineyard this vintage. Harvest Brix 22.7º. Clone 777. 100% destemmed. Aged in 16% new and 84% neutral French and Hungarian oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Earth embossed aromas of blackberry, black raspberry and ollaliberry with complimentary spice. More dark red fruited on the palate with tastes of cherry, cranberry and pomegranate. Lithe and juicy, with a very sensual mouthfeel, sporting matched tannins, a savory thread of thyme and other herbs and some generosity on the finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Clone 23 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.55, 192 cases, $55. Clone 23, imported from Wädenswil, Switzerland in 1966, is known as the Mariafeld clone. Harvest Brix 26.3º. Fermentation initiated with native yeasts. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels 36% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of fresh Bing cherry, spice and rose petal. Gutsy but not ponderous, with a flavorful core of earthy black cherry and mushroom flavors that engage the palate. Lush in the mouth, with deft oak management, a balanced tannic backbone, and a juicy finish filled with black cherry goodness. A grounded Pinot with character. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sanglier Old Camp Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.59, 220 cases, $55. Sourced from Old Camp Vineyard. Aged 19 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. There is a intra berry fermentation scent in this wine with notes of rose petal, tutti-fruity and pine sap accompanying the dark cherry fruit. Plenty of sweet dark cherry and berry fruit to satisfy in a somewhat husky wine with sinewy tannins. A bit of spice, vanilla and Juicy Fruit gum flavors add interest. The finish is remarkably intense and persistent, lasting well over 30 seconds, and the longest of the 2014 Pinots tasted from Sanglier. The Beaujolais character and lengthy finish define this wine. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Ancient Oak Cellars Alcman Siebert Ranch Reserve Series Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $58. Wine named after Alcman, the earliest of nine great Greek lyric poets known for clarity of tone and rich visual description. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very sensual perfume of dark fruits, rose petal, peppery spices and oak. Impeccably balanced, with plenty of black cherry and black raspberry goodness accented with spice and cola. Sleek in texture and very charming, with enough structure to age. A classy wine. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Manross Lone Oak Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.69, 50 cases, $58. 100% Pommard clone. 30% whole cluster. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Exhilarating aromas of fresh Bing cherry, spice, vanillin and nutty oak. Polished and refreshing on the palate, with the mid weight essence of glorious black cherry, cherry cola and black raspberry flavors. Plenty of ripe sap, but vibrant, with a juicy acid underbelly. Lovely balance, with silken tannins and a compliment of oak. Still charged with deep cherry flavor and juiciness when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Uncommon verve in a seductively-appointed Pinot that is welcoming now. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sanglier Emilia’s Cuvée Family Reserve Bennet Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.60, 155 cases, $60. Calera and Swan clones grown at Laguna Vineyard. Aged 19 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, 60% 1 and 2-year-old. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers its charms slowly over time in the glass, reaching a climax filled with dark cherry, berry, rose petal and nutty oak aromas. A little more oak and structure in this high collared wine, filled with succulent boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors that saturate the palate. Prodigious, yet not jammy, with a pleasing acid backbone and a good grip of juicy fruit on the ostentatious finish. A superb wine that is delicious now, but will benefit from short term aging. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 DeLoach Vineyards Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.65, 1,350 cases, $70. Very heavy bottle with a gold crest on the front. The 17-acre Estate Vineyard is certified Biodynamic®. One of only 64 wineries or vineyards in the U.S. with Demeter certified Biodynamic estate vineyards. 8 clones - 115, “828,” Swan, La Tache, Calera, Mt. Eden, 777 and 23. Fermented for 16 months in individual lots with native yeasts in open top fermenters, basked pressed and aged on the lees in French oak barrels, 31% new, before being blended together and aged for an additional 2 months. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A regal nose leads off with aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, forest floor, spice and toast. Plush and full-bodied in the mouth with accommodating tannic backbone, offering layers of black raspberry, blackberry and plum fruits accented with spice and dark chocolate. Almost too much of a good thing. Classy, with good acidity lifting the fruit load, finishing uncommonly long and generous. Best to lock this wine away for a few years. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 JCB No 6 Sonoma Collection Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $75. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry, strawberry and herb garden become more gracious over time in the glass as do the flavors that echo the nose. Amicable balance, with a silken texture, good vibrancy and a modest finish. Should benefit from another year or two in the cellar. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Domaine De La Côte Siren’s Call Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 145 cases, $120. Inaugural vintage from this vineyard. Estate grown, produced and bottled. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is remarkably complex, offering aromas of dark cherry, mysterious Asian spices, sous-bois, burnt tobacco and smoke. Light to mid weight in style, with invigorating acidity that forms the first impression. Demure flavors of tart cherry and cranberry with a touch of spice and tobacco. The fine-grain tannins are supportive and make for easy approachability. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the nose was in full flight featuring all the best of whole cluster. The palate had picked up some weight, raspberry fruit arrived, the wine was vivid and vibrant, and the finish left a mouthwatering impression. You can just sense the cool ocean breeze in this wine. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Sanglier Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.55, 416 cases, $45. Pommard, Calera, Swan and 115 clones. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 30% new, 70% 1 and 2-year-old. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose really blossoms over time, attracting the drinker to bright aromas of cherry, red berry, woodland and sous-bois. A cherry bombast featuring a mid weight core of perfectly ripened Bing cherry that is expansive in the mouth and carries over with purpose through the finish. Easy going, with silky tannins, juicy acidity and solid balance. Still delightful the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 JCB No 7 Sonoma Collection Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 500 cases, $50. Fermented in wooden open-top fermenters with hand punch downs, basket pressed. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas of black cherry, earthy flora, leather and toasty oak blend together nicely. Tasty flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and blackberry energize the attack and mid palate, persisting on the finish with lip-smacking goodness. A well-crafted wine with married tannins, deft oak integration and overall joy. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Furthermore Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.60, 151 cases, $55. Harvest Brix 28.0º. Pisoni and “828” clones. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very savory nose featuring aromas of earthy flora, tobacco, mushroom, black cherry, strawberry and vanilla. Silky on entry, with mid weight flavors of plum, black cherry, black raspberry, mocha, herbs and spice. Elegantly composed with a generous dollop of oak and some dry tannin on the finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 JCB No 22 Sonoma Collection Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.58, 150 cases, $75. 11 is Jean-Charles Boisset’s lucky number and this wine has twice the intensity of most Pinot Noirs and thus the title of the wine. Fermented in wooden open-top fermenters with hand punch downs, basket pressed, and aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Gorgeous, nose-filling aromas of dark stone fruits, pie spice, vanilla and subtle toast. Delicious flavors of cherry, raspberry, pie spices and vanilla with a subtle savory note in the background. Bright and seamless, with a sturdy finish of welcome length. A real charmer. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Soliste Solitaire Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 52 cases and 78 magnums, $100. From a vineyard nestled in a redwood forest. Multiple passes through the vineyard selecting only the very best grapes. 50% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in one 600-liter barrel for 28 months. The model for this wine is the Bertheau Bonnes Mares. · Light cherry red color in the glass. A very young wine that needs decanting or more time in the cellar to evolve. Over time in the glass, lovely aromas of darker cherry and berry, rose petal, sous-bois and spice arrive with a gentle blanket of oak. More expression, yet reticent, on the palate, with a mid weight core of juicy black cherry fruit, spice and savory herbs that commands attention on the mid palate and persists through a pleasingly satin finish. Much better the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. No hurry to pop the cork on this one, much like a Bonnes Mares. Let the oak integrate further, the nuances rise up and the whole cluster work its magic. Score: 92-94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 JCB No 3 Ed. III Red Wine

13.5% alc., $123. A marriage of five vineyards in California and three top vineyards in Côte de Nuits, Burgundy. Aged 22 months in 100% French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant scent of black cherry, spice, herbs and beechwood. Lighter styled, with earthy flavors of cherry and raspberry, and an array of savory spices and herbs. The savory and fruit components compliment each other and the wine picks up interest over time in the glass. Drinking well now, with easygoing, fine-grain tannins, and a bright, uplifting finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Aged California Pinot Noir: Proceed at Your Own Risk

2011 Paul Lato “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 75 cases, unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of black cherry, herbs, earthy flora and eucalyptus. Quite silky in the mouth, with a mid weight attack of black cherry and blueberry-pomegranate fruits and subtle oak barrel accents. Inviting harmony and polish with an appealing but not exceedingly long finish. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Paul Lato “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 75 cases, unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The bouquet offers a significant contribution from oakdriven aromas of spice and burnt tobacco, but there is added appeal in aromas of Bing cherry and rose petal. A middleweight styled wine, with a black cherry core accented with smoke and toast. Silky tannins with an elegant impression, singing with a deep and lasting finish replete with cherry and raspberry fruits. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 WesMar Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Slightest hint of oxidation (acetone) recedes. Fruit never shows up on the nose, but seasoned oak does. Much better on the palate, with flavors of blackberry, cassis and dark chocolate. Good harmony in a wine offering prodigious sweet fruit, balanced tannins, good freshness, and some length on the finish. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Windy Oaks Estate Limited Release Wild Yeast Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The bouquet speaks of herbs, vegetation, turned earth, sandalwood and spice. Light to mid weight flavors of red cherry and cranberry. The tannins supersede the fruit sap. Lacks interest and intensity and reflective of this vintage. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Windy Oaks Estate Proprietor’s Reserve Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The fruit is faded, replaced with nutty oak bouquet and a slight oxidized note of sherry. Light in weight and lacking enthusiasm, this wine features flavors of red cherry and cranberry framed by gentle tannins. This wine will not improve with further aging and is a victim of the vintage. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Littorai B.A. Theiriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The bouquet reminds of a walk in the forest with added notes of black cherry and black raspberry. Rather bold, with plenty of sweet, concentrated boysenberry and black raspberry fruit flavor. A note of star anise and other spices add interest. Vigorous, yet lively acidity and balanced tannins. Notable richness of fruit on the finish. Still remarkable the following day with copious amounts of fresh black cherry, blackberry and spice flavors. Drink now to 2024+. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Algeria” Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 100 cases, unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting bouquet of dried cherry, burnt tobacco, grilling spices and tea leaf. Fruit-driven, with a core of black raspberry and blackberry fruits with subtle accents of spice, herbs, earth and oak. Has more aged tertiary character than the 2008 vintage. Gratuitous texture with good fine-grain tannic bones. Drink now to 2020. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 100 cases, unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Well-sustained bouquet of cherry, mashed berries, spice and savory herbs. Redder fruit in this vintage with an accent of herbal tea. Bright and somewhat crisp, with balanced tannins, complimentary oak treatment, and a long finish. Delightful! Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Seabiscuit” Zotovich Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 75 cases, unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is initially quite complex, offering a bouquet of black cherry, spice, brioche, forest floor, and salinity. Fresh and invigorating upon opening, but fading slightly over time in the glass. Impressive harmony and elegance with nothing sticking out, offering flavors of black cherry and purple and black berries. Well-proportioned tannins, with notable fruit persistence on the finish. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 125 cases, unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Bouquet of cardamom spice, tobacco, cigar smoke, mulch, wood shop and black cherry leads off. Lush in the mouth, with a charge of well-ripened dark red and purple fruits framed by modest tannins. Generous and persistent dry, but not bitter, finish. Silky and elegant and very pleasing, but there is slightly intrusive oak overlay. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Suerte” Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 200 cases, unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with a bouquet of black stone and berry fruits, dark rose petal, potpourri, toast and spice. Mid weight plus styled and slightly creamy on the palate, with a big gulp of boysenberry and blackberry fruit. Still fresh with enough tannins and fruit to balance the high alcohol for further evolution. Drink now to 2024+. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 WesMar Balletto Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.9% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Bouquet of ripe dark stone and berry fruits with some oak as well. Full-bodied and luscious on the palate with flavors of blackberry and spiced plum. A big gulp of fruit with well-matched tannins. Drink now to 2020. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 WesMar Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Deposits in the neck of the bottle. Aromas of acetone, sweet smoke and horse. Full-bodied flavors of black raspberry and blackberry with a carry over of the horsey note. Silky tannins, with some finishing fruit presence. Oxidative character overwhelms. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 WesMar Oehlman Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., Magnum. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The bouquet is quite charming initially, showing aromas of cherry, cola, and spice, but oak takes over with time in the glass and the fruit fades. A harmonious and juicy wine with a plush mouthfeel, offering ripe fruit flavors, particularly black cherry and blackberry, underlain with oak seasoning. More faded the following day with little fruit pleasure when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Drink now to 2020. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Windy Oaks Estate Limited Release Wild Yeast Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but welcoming bouquet of wild berries, marzipan and vanilla with a hint of “wet dog.” Polished and charming, with good freshness, featuring mid weight flavors of black cherry and black raspberry. The wine’s youthful character reminds one of a just released wine. Impressive balance. Drink now to 2025. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Littorai B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose lacks expression, offering only demure aromas of plum, black cherry, oak spice and smoke. Guaiacol dominates the flavor profile with added black cherry fruit. Good tannic backbone and lengthy finish. Enjoyment will depend on tolerance for smoke taint. (When a bottle was reviewed in December 2010, the smoke taint was not evident) Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Paul Lato “Duende” Gold Coast Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 100 cases, unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The bouquet of black cherry, exotic spices, toast and nutty oak is initially enjoyable, but notes of prune and band-aid appear over time. Plush and rich on the palate, with a charge of black cherry and blackberry fruits and added flavors of tar, marzipan, and black tea. The tannins are well integrated and the finish is lengthy. Most appealing when first opened. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Paul Lato “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 125 cases, unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Love the bouquet of cherry, spice, sandalwood, nuts and leathery oak. Charming in the mouth with silky tannins and inviting flavors of black cherry and sassafras. Beautifully balanced, with subtle oak involvement, and an appealing finish redolent of black raspberry fruit. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 WesMar Balletto Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Oxidized aromas of nail polish remover and apple core. Disjointed in the mouth, with flat black cherry, Dr. Pepper, and unpleasant vegetal flavors, mild fine-grain tannins, and a bitter finish. An unsuccessful bottle that is now defective. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 WesMar Oehlman Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Fresh berry fruit shows up right after opening, but fades over time when the bouquet is dominated by aromas of cola, seasoned and spicy oak, leather, dried cherry and earthiness. The juicy mid weight cherry core is oak infused and clothed in modest tannins. More fruit sap than the 2006 and 2007 bottlings and a little more structure, but I still prefer the 2007 wine. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Windy Oaks Estate Limited Release Wild Yeast Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Complex bouquet of dark red cherry and berry, woodland spice, rose petal, marzipan, vanilla and stem. Very tasty core of middleweight cherry fruit with impressive mid palate intensity and remarkable persistence. Subtle tertiary notes of tea, root beer, chocolate and mushroom. Inviting harmony, with a silky mouthfeel and an appealing freshness. The fruit is not dried out at all. Enjoy this now through 2025. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Littorai B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Somewhat muted aromas of dark berries, black currant, chocolate wafer, vanilla and sandalwood. Rich, concentrated and sappy black cherry and blueberry-pomegranate fruit core with toasty oak in the background. Good acid verve and plenty of structure to support the fruit load. About the same when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, with red (strawberry) and dark (blueberry-pomegranate) fruit and baking spice flavors still lively. Drink now to 2023. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Paul Lato “Sine Cera” Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 125 cases, unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. An aged bouquet of dried dark cherry, prune, vegetation, leather boot and oak. Flavors of roasted fruit and raisin backed by nutty oak. Sleek in the mouth with immersed tannins and noticeable oak on the somewhat generously fruited finish, but the fruit is beginning to tire and fade. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 WesMar Balletto Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color with very slight rim bricking. Bouquet of sweet smoke, burnt tobacco, tea leaf, spice and brioche. Still offers plenty of spiced cherry goodness, with admirable harmony. The tannins have melded, and the wine finishes on a dried cherry note. Still enjoyable the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 WesMar Oehlman Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · Moderately light cherry red color with slight bricking of the rim. The bouquet unfolds nicely over time in the glass, revealing a perfume of red cherry, spice, burnt tobacco and sandalwood. On the lighter, delicate side, with pleasant flavors of red cherry and cranberry framed by silky tannins. A charming wine that doesn’t jolt the senses, but has pleasing qualities. Drink now to 2020. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Windy Oaks Estate Cuvée Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. This wine is oxidized, with aromas of sherry and nail polish remover. Better on the palate, with flavors of black cherry, plum and brown spice with good vitality and some persistence on the finish. This particular bottle is defective but drinkable. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Windy Oaks Estate Limited Release Wild Yeast Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Nice bouquet of black cherry, forest floor and a touch of oak. Exuberant in a mid weight style, with flavors of black cherry and black raspberry framed by supportive tannins. Enjoyable, but leans a little too much on oak. Drink now to 2020. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Windy Oaks Estate Proprietor’s Reserve Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is a compatible marriage of cherry and sous-bois aromas. Fresh and and juicy on the palate, with flavors of cherry, strawberry and cranberry in a mid weight style with modest persistent tannins and a compliment of oak in the background. Aging beautifully. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Fresh bouquet of cherry pie, rose petal, compost and toast. Flat-out delicious black cherry and black raspberry core. Elegantly composed in a light to mid weight style, with impressive attack, expansion and amazing long finish. Added tertiary notes of earth, fig and dried cherry bring joy. Juicy and vibrant. An exceptional, even amazing, aged Pinot Noir that was the most outstanding wine in this tasting of ten aged Littorai wines. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Littorai Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc.. · Light cherry red color with very slight rim bricking. Inviting bouquet of cherry, pie spice and sandalwood, fading a bit over time in the glass. Light to mid weight styled with a delicious core of black cherry fruit engaged by immersed tannins. Excellent vibrancy, gorgeous balance, and a sustained cherry-driven finish. Still enjoyable the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, but fruit was faded and oak was showing up. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 WesMar Oehlman Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc.. · Light cherry red color with mild rim bricking in the glass. The bouquet offers notes of dried cranberry, pipe smoke, white pepper and straw. Light to mid weight in style, with a black cherry core accented with notes of white pepper and herbs. A very elegant wine, with delicate, silky tannins, and somewhat faded, shallow fruit. Drink now to 2018. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Windy Oaks Estate Cuvée Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate brown tinged reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with a bouquet of rose petal, exotic spices, stem and sous-bois. Good vibrancy, with appealing flavors of black cherry, raspberry and spice. Silky on the palate with a juicy finish. This wine has held up remarkably well, but begins to fade over time in the glass. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Windy Oaks Estate Proprietor’s Reserve Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Revealing bouquet of cherry jam, spice, brown sugar and brioche. Tasty cherry core backed by integrated tannins, displaying good acid verve and a decent finish. A nicely aged, comforting Pinot. Drink now to 2020. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Littorai Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.5% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep bouquet of cherries, grilled beef, smoke, mocha java and oak spice. The mid weight flavors of red cherry, red currant, baking spice and nutmeg attract, as does the silk and satin mouthfeel. Very fresh and like able, with excellent harmony, gentle tannins, and welcome intensity of oak-kissed fruit on the sustained finish. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Littorai Mays Canyon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers medicinal aromas along with hints of acetone, white flower bouquet and plum. Fading and dry dark red berry and cherry fruit with noticeable tannin and barrel overlay. Still juicy, but not very charming. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Littorai Mays Canyon Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.9% alc.. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Bouquet of grilled lemon, smoky toast, old book and woodshed. Delicious flavors of lemon curd, well-ripened pineapple, dried apricot, apple and Nutella. Slightly creamy in the mouth with impeccable balance and some finishing length. Also fantastic in more of an Old World style. Drink now to 2020. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Littorai The Haven Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish purple color with a brownish tinge and some rim bricking. Complicated bouquet featuring mocha java, wet mulch, cinnamon toast, oiled wood, clove, and dark berry fruits. I found the nose very ingratiating. Mid weight flavors of black cherry, blackberry, black tea and a prevalent earthiness. Still offering some fresh fruit that maintains over time in the glass. Beautifully balanced, with a good acid tang and staying power on the finish. A real treat. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Littorai Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc.. · Moderately light copper color. Bouquet of dried apricot, roasted macadamia nut, bruised apple, agave syrup and yeast. Nicely balanced, with flavors of grilled pineapple, roasted nuts, caramel, and even botryitized white wine. Fantastic in a California style. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Littorai Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color with very slight rim bricking. Plenty going on in this wine to attract your attention. The bouquet offers notes of dark cherry, savory and other spices, cola, pipe smoke and wet brick. The mid weight black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors are framed by noticeable toasty oak and there is also a vegetal riff. The fruit is a bit faded and dried out but still enjoyable. Elegantly composed, with silky tannins, finishing juicy with tastes of cherry, green pepper and oak. Drink now to 2020. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 WesMar Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color with slightest bricking of the rim. Bouquet of black raspberry, damp oak, old sock and slight acetone. A funky wine on the palate, with mid weight plus musty flavors of strawberry, black cherry and black raspberry framed by firm tannins, ending with some length. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 WesMar Vintners Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., Magnum. · Moderately lightreddish purple color with slightest rim bricking. Intriguing aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, old book, damp oak, earthy flora, and cigar smoke. Noticeably fresh mid weight flavors of black cherry, black currant, Crimini mushrooms, and tobacco. The wine has great appeal with a good acid verve and finishing presence, although the fruit is slightly dry and the wine finishes with slight astringency. This Pinot has definitely earned its Reserve badge. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Windy Oaks Estate Cuvée Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate brown tinged reddish purple color in the glass. This wine was pretty interesting upon opening but faded quickly. Aromas of spice, pine oil and worn leather led to some faded flavors of black cherry, burnt tobacco and spice. Elegant and silky, with immersed tannins and some drive on the finish initially. Drink up. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish purple color with slight rim bricking. Sexy bouquet of leather, potpourri, dank cellar, sous-bois and dark fruits with staying power in the glass. Still admirable attack and length in the mouth of well-spiced, and very ripe black cherry and black raspberry fruits that have a slight roasted tone. Good lift, with silken tannins, complimentary oak driven notes of pine, tea leaf and tobacco. This beauty still has some swagger. Drink now to 2022. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2003 WesMar Piner Ranch Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., Magnum. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass with no rim bricking. Aromas of compost, worn leather, toasty oak, rose petal, black cherry and bruised apple. Very enjoyable, with mid weight flavors of sweet black cherry, blueberry and blackberry, black tea, tar, cola, tobacco and allspice. Good rich richness backed by balanced tannins and some intensity on the finish. Drink now to 2020. 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.