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From Vertical Tasting of Pisoni Estate Pinot Noir

2014 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 780 cases, $80. Released September 2016. 24% whole cluster. Aged 11 months in selective French oak barrels, 61% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · “Early bud break from warmer winter. Fruit dropping required due to high potential yields. Harvest was early, but total days of fruit development was still long, with the growing season more ‘shifted’ from the early bud break as opposed to the season being ‘cut short’ by warm weather late in the season.” Moderate dark reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of black raspberry juice, Bing cherry, vanillin and pain grille. The mid weight core of gorgeous black cherry and black raspberry fruits arrive with notice, expanding in the mouth and finishing with remarkable length. The wine seems crisper and less concentrated in this vintage, to the better, with a compliment of toasty oak in the background. The tannic structure holds the fruit in check, and the texture is appealingly silky. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was still captivating and quite approachable. A reference wine for Pisoni Vineyard. Drink 2018-2028. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · “The influence of warm winters and drought began to show. Ideal spring weather led to good fruit set. High potential yields required additional fruit thinning. The vines were more stressed, producing dense, but mature tannins.” Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Shy initially, but extremely inviting over time in the glass. Aromas of black grapes, blackberries and spice with cigar oak in the background. Intense on the attack, expansive in the mouth, with a luscious expression of blackberry and cassis flavors. Concentrated and bold, yet offering admirable balance of acidity and tannin. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the tannins were more imposing indicating the wine needs more time in the cellar to integrate the tannins and allow the fruit to fully rouse itself. Drink 2018-2026. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kosta Browne Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Engaging nose that draws you in with aromas of black cherry, raspberry and spice. Beautifully composed, with middleweight flavors of black cherry and black raspberry balanced by tame tannins. Nicely spiced with giving oak in the background, and seamlessly composed. A terrific wine that can be thoroughly enjoyed now but will age magnificently. Drink now to 2026. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · “A very moderate growing season with few weather challenges.” Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas arrive slowly over time in the glass, revealing an array of black fruit goodness. Full-bodied, with a perfectly ripened core of blackberry, boysenberry, black tea and oak spice flavors in dancing in harmony. Tannins are evident but not intrusive, the texture is seamless, and the fruit-filled finish is remarkably long and intense. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine had maintained its excellence indicating a long life ahead. Drink now to 2026. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., screwcap. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Little aromatic discovery, offering muted aromas of dark fruits and bark. Big, bold and masculine, with an array of sweet black fruits tempered by muscular tannins. Silky in the mouth, with a generous, fruit-driven finish of notable length. Drink now to 2020. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. · “Similar start to the growing season as in 2010. The second half of the growing season brought moisture and an even later harvest. A very challenging vintage that required extremely slo and patient vineyard work. Many passes were required through the vineyard with small scissors clipping out botrytis on a berry-by-berry basis. The preceding winter was also very wet which necessitated extensive canopy work.” Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Highly aromatic, with appealing scents of spiced plum, black raspberry and hazelnut. Very easy going with impeccable balance, offering mid weight flavors of blueberry and black raspberry, robed in relatively tame tannins and supported by complimentary oak in the background. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the aromatic explosion persisted and the wine offered remarkable pleasure. Drink now to 2022. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. · “The first half of the growing season was cold and late. There was concern about reaching enough degree days for ripening, but hot weather appeared in July and August bringing harvest in early.” Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas appeared slowly over time in the glass with swirling, offering notes of dark cherry liquor, nutty oak, spice and mocha (primarily oak-driven aromas). More integrated on the mid weight palate, with flavors of muddled black cherry and brown spices. Silky, with very modest tannins and some finishing power. The lightest in weight of the wines tasted in this vertical. Easy to drink now, but with too much oak overlay for full enjoyment. Drink now to 2020. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Paul Lato “Lancelot” Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Brooding aromas of blackberry syrup, dark chocolate and porto. Dense and rugged on the palate, with a mid weight plus essence of ultra-ripe dark fruits. The tannins are aggressive, making the wine unpleasant to drink on its own and needing a big steak to mollify. Drink up. Score: 84. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · “A cool year with an exceptionally long growing season leading to very dense wine. Tannins were the highest among the 2004 to 2014 vintages.” Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black raspberry, blackberry jam and earthy flora lead to a dramatic onslaught of black cherry and blackberry fruit flavor. Very sleek on the palate, with corralled tannins, a touch of spice, and a juicy, fruit-driven finish of impressive length. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the fruit had faded a bit on the nose, replaced by aromas of nutty oak and earthy flora. The fruit load sustained on the palate with balanced tannins. Drink now to 2024. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · “A very wet spring led to poor set and reduced yields along with considerable millerandage. The wine had more fine and supple tannins (less seed occurrences of millerandage). The season turned warm in August leading to an earlier harvest.” Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose opened nicely over time in the glass, revealing aromas of black cherry, black tea and herbs. Full-bodied, with a very ripe core of plump blackberry and cassis flavors framed by substantial tannins. Earthy, primal, smoky, and herbal with a touch of iron and oak in the background. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine had mellowed, offering more expressive black cherry fruit aromas and a soothing texture. Drink now to 2024. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.7% alc.. · “Cool season and average yields. A harmonious vintage.” Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Brooding, but pleasant aromas of slightly roasted blackberry fruit along with notes of oak vanillin, and tar. Full-bodied, with an attacking and expanding core of very ripe, even prune-flavored fruit on the palate. Noticeable oak contribution, with a slight sense of heat on the modest finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was unchanged, offering roasted fruit flavors including prune backed by modest tannins. Drink now to 2020. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 ROAR Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.9% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is quite pungent with aromas of Band-Aid and sweaty horse (Brett). Dense and boldly concentrated, with a core of purple and black fruits that veer to the very ripe side framed by muscular tannins. A bit flat on the palate, with a compliment of nutty oak and some length on the sweet-fruited finish. Drink up. Score: NR. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2006 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.. · "A cool year with very high yields. A lot of fruit was removed to reduce the vines’ tendency for high yields. Tannins were firm and hard and the wines took considerable time to fill out after bottling.” Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Upon opening, the aromas of black cherry, plum pudding and spice were quite appealing. The mid weight plus core of black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors were charming yet confronted by substantial tannins. Not overly sweet, with some length on the astringent finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the fruit had faded on the nose, the tannins had moderated some but still overwhelmed the fruit. Drink now to 2020, but will always be a tannic wine. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2005 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. · A cold year with a late harvest. Average crop levels and very slow development, but harmonious wines.” Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant scent of black fruits, potpourri and vanilla. Rugged and unyielding on the mid plus weighted palate, becoming somewhat more giving and softer over time in the glass, yet still displaying noticeable tannin. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, oak dominated the fruit on the nose and palate. Much more enjoyable upon opening than when tasted the following day. Drink up. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Pisoni Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.7% alc.. · “A warm vintage but many blocks were harvested before the heat waves. The wine had great acid levels and concentration.” Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Upon opening, the wine offered a profusion of delightful aromas including blackberry, cassis, spice, vanilla and violet. However, the following day, the aromatic profile became much less charming, dominated by aromas of prune and very ripe fruit. On the palate, the mid plus core of black raspberry and blackberry fruit was concentrated and lush with a matching firm structure that was not imposing. The fruit was very ripe (surmaturité) and somewhat sweet and complimented by subtle spice and oak notes. The fruit seemed a bit tired when tasted the following day and the finish was slightly bitter. Drink up. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recently Tasted Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

2015 Castle Rock Kristy Vineyard Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $16.95. Cellared and bottled by Castle Rock, Geyserville. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. An oak-dominated nose reminds me most of the scent of cigar. Light to mid weight black cherry, cola and spice flavors. Innocuous, with silky tannins, noticeable oak overlay and a modest cherry fueled finish. The oak treatment tends to smother the fruit. and the wine fades in appeal over time in the glass. Score: 82. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., $40. Released September 2016. A blend of grapes from multiple established vineyards including Dutton, Durell and Gap’s Crown, and young vineyards like Mark Sanchietti’s Pleasant Hill Vineyard that was planted for Patz & Hall. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast fermentations, aged on lees with weekly stirring in 32% new French oak barrels. 100% malolactic fermentation in barrel. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. This is a very crisp, uplifting and agreeable wine offering fresh aromas and flavors of cut apple and pear, along with gracious integration of oak. Spirited and easy to drink, with a clean, thirst-quenching finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 375 ml format tasted, around $45. A blend of grapes from Pisoni and Soberanes vineyards. A combination of eight low-yielding Chardonnay clones, mostly Old Wente selections. Native yeast fermentation, some modest whole cluster, and aged in carefully selected French oak barrels. Aged 10 months in about one-third new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Leading off are aromas of yellow applesauce, pear, lemon oil and buttered toast. Highly engaging, with delicious flavors of apple, pear, pineapple and lemon and a soft touch of oak. Bursting with flavor, yet crisp and lively. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 375 ml format tasted, around $45. A blend of grapes from Pisoni, Garys’ and Soberanes vineyards. Native yeast fermentation and aging 10 months in French oak barrels, about 50% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very inviting aromas of cherry, red berry, exotic spice and warm brioche. Succulent flavors of red and purple berries with a welcome touch of oak in the background. Elegant in demeanor, yet highly flavorful, with good drive in the mouth, juicy acidity and a finish that lingers appealingly. An impressive appellation wine that is very easy to like at this young age. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Domaine Divio Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay

13.0% alc., pH 3.29, 150 cases, $50. Released November 16, 2016. Harvest Brix 22.7º. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Full malolactic fermentation. · Light platinum yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of cut apple, Asian pear and cake spice lead off. Pleasant, bright and clean, driven by apple and pear flavors with a little citrus and minor nutty oak component. Soft in the mouth with spirited acidity. An interesting wine because of its emphasis on orchard fruit rather than citrus fruit and its demure, slightly austere character with a mineral bent driven by acidity. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2015 Patz & Hall Zio Tony Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 496 cases, $65. Released October 2016. This is a well-known vineyard planted by the Martinelli family. Patz & Hall has produced a Chardonnay from this vineyard since 2003. 100% Dijon 76 clone. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast fermentation, aged on lees with weekly stirring in 50% new French oak barrels. 100% malolactic fermentation in barrel. Bottled without filtration. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas and flavors of lemon, pineapple, yellow apple, melon and toasty oak combine in a full body styled wine that has a comforting mouthfeel and admirable balance, finishing with a bit of tannin. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Calera Mt. Harlan Chardonnay

14.4% alc., 386 cases, $N/A. From Calera’s 10.4-acre Chardonnay Vineyards. Vines planted in 1984 and 1998. Calera selection. Yield was 0.54 tons per acre. Barrel fermented with native yeasts, 100% malolactic fermentation, aged 13 months in stainless steel and French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon, apple, seasoned oak, buttery pear, and brioche. Fresh and mildly flinty, with a clean, brisk envelope of citrus, pear and apple flavors. Sleek and balanced, with a refreshing, chalky finish. The wine picks up more body and charm over time in the glass. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Austerity Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $15.70. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. I struggled to find much nose in this wine at all even over time in the glass, that offered only subtle whiffs of purple berry, smoky oak and ash. Much better on the palate, with a mid weight charge of black cherry and raspberry fruit flavors, combined with noticeable smoky oak in the background, displaying modest tannins, and donating some intensity on the fruit-driven and mildly astringent finish. Score: 84. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Domaine Divio Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.55, 250 cases, $28. Released May 2016. Harvest Brix 24º. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is quite woody, with aromas of soft cherry married to dominant nutty oak. Better on the palate, yet somewhat shallow and woody with light to mid weight flavors of cherry and raspberry. Silky in texture, with modest tannins and a little burst of cherry on the finish. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Brooks Note Marin County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.68, 250 cases, $36. A blend from Chileno Valley Vineyard (46%) and Azaya Ranch Vineyard (54%). Clones are Wädenswil 2A, Dijon 115 and 667 (Azaya Ranch) and Pommard and “828” (Chileno Valley). About 10% whole cluster. 3-day cold soak, native yeast inaugurated fermentation, aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 27% new, 27% once-filled and 46% neutral. Bottled March 2016. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. I had to dig deep to pull out the shy aromas of earthembossed cherry, plum, boysenberry, fall forest floor, and floral bouquet. Light to mid weight in style, with flavors of plum, red and purple berry and pomegranate. Sleek in the mouth, with supportive tannins, and good lift and juiciness. Forward drinking and pleasing. A very attractive value. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Mignanelli Nelson Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., $36. Vineyard planted in 1999 at 1700 feet elevation in sandstone rock and marine sedimentary soils. Clones 115 and “828.” Native fermentation, 75% whole cluster, aged in French oak barrels, 20% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose enthralls with aromas of black cherry, dark berry and spice. Noticeable attack and mid palate presence of mid weight plus boysenberry and plum fruits that saturate the taste senses. The density of fruit is evident and the high percentage of whole cluster really compliments this wine creating textural fullness and interest as well as subtle floral and spice notes. The tannins are quite modest and the wine has open arms even at this young age. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Purple Heart Wine Freedom Hill Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., 500 cases, $38. Pommard and Wädenswil clones. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Uplifting aromas of blackberry, black currant and oak driven notes of hay, popcorn and toast. Highly enjoyable on the palate, with a mid weight plus core of purple and black berry fruits complimented by spice. Inviting roundness and harmony with deft oak management and welcome overall balance. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle, the wine still displayed a tasty marriage of dark fruit and oak. The wine is true to Freedom Hill terroir and shows off the vineyard well. The dense, dark fruit stands up well to oak. A good value. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Dolin Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.62, 232 cases, $39. Whole cluster pressed and fermented in 33% new and 66% used French oak barrels. 100% malolactic fermentation over 5 months, then left on the lees and stirred twice a month during 15 months of barrel aging. Bottled unfined and filtered. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Lovely perfume of lemon, pineapple, nutty apple and vanilla creme. The flavors of crisp citrus and pear along with saline notes drive this nicely balanced wine that displays good vibrancy and flavor presence. Recommended and a good value. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Dolin Malibu Estate Vineyards Malibu-Newton Canyon Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.57, 187 cases, $39. Grapes were grown in the hills of Malibu at elevations of 1400 to 1800 feet above sea level. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in 33% new and 66% used French oak barrels. 100% malolactic fermentation over 5 months, then left on the lees and stirred twice a month during 15 months of barrel aging. Bottled unfined and filtered. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Demure aromas of lemon oil, applesauce, pear and oak are pleasing. A restrained, somewhat austere style, that is sleek and bright, featuring shy flavors of citrus and pear. The wine lacks a bit of acidic verve. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Mignanelli Savaria Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $39. Vineyard planted in 2000 in sandy, calcareous soils. Clones 115, 667 and “828.” 50% whole cluster. Aged in neutral French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is complex and appealing, with aromas of cherry, rose petal, spice and bell pepper. Light to mid weight styled, with flavors of cherry, raspberry and red grape as well as a vegetal and burnt tobacco note. Fresh, with good vibrancy, slick in texture, with integrated tannins and a raspberry-infused finish. I like this wine, but the whole cluster inclusion character is a tad overbearing and the burnt tobacco note is too prominent. A wine for whole cluster aficionados. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Brooks Note Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.70, 140 cases, $44. Rochioli and Wädenswil clones from the lower eastern blocks and RC clone from the western blocks. 10% whole cluster. 3-day cold soak, native yeast start to fermentation, clones kept separate and blended before bottling. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 33% new. Bottled March 2016. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Both savory and fruity aromas show up with a hint of sandalwood. Elegant and bright on the palate, bursting with flavors of dark red cherry and berry. The fruit really locks onto the palate and holds on through a very generous finish. Light in color and body, yet delivers a wallop of flavor, and has just enough fine-grain tannins to deliver a compliment of textural interest. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Carlson John Sebastiano Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $45. Winemaker is Chuck Carlson, vinified in Los Olivos. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The nose is largely oak-driven (sandalwood and smoky), with added cherry fruit and baking spice aromas. The palate is oak-charged, but there is charming cherry fruit that is complimented by spice. The acidity and tannins are in harmony and there is some generosity to the finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, there was considerable oak-driven notes of toast and cigar and the wine had lost appeal for me. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Domaine Divio Ribbon Ridge Oregon Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.65, 75 cases, $48. Released May 16, 2016. Sourced from Ribbon Springs Vineyard. Harvest Brix 23.5º. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of black cherry, almond and oak lead to a mid weight core of appealing dark cherry, strawberry and black raspberry fruit flavors. The wine displays tight acidity in harmony with good structure, an accent of oak vanillin, and a modest but satisfying finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Alma Rosa El Jabali Vineyard Mt. Eden Clone Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.56, 1,324 6 bottle packs, $55, screwcap. Harvest Brix 24.1º. 10% whole cluster, 3-day cold soak, aged 16 in 20% new French oak barrels and 2 months in tank. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, pungent herbs and mulch draw you in to the glass. Noticeable attack and finish and more savory character in this wine. Flavors of black cherry, blueberry, herbs, spice and dried rose. Still showing vigorous tannins even the next day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A gutty and gruff but complex wine that will reward cellaring to ameliorate the tannins. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.62, 596 6 bottle packs, $55, screwcap. 100% clone 777. Harvest Brix 23.8º. Aged in about 25% new French oak barrels. Bottled fined but unfiltered. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Very enticing aromas of red cherry, raspberry and baking spices. Light to mid weight in style with juicy flavors of red stone and berry fruits accented with a pleasant earthy tone. The fruit has a slight confected character. Forward drinking, with admirable finesse, balanced tannins, a deft touch of oak, and a modest, but pleasing finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Domaine Divio Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.62, 125 cases, $55. Released November 16, 2016. Clone 667. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of red cherry, spice, wood and sherry lead off. Upon entry there is an intense attack of cherry and raspberry fruit flavors that persist with good length on the finish. Satiny in texture, fresh and vibrant, with notable but not imposing tannins and a compliment of oak in the background. A thread of savory herb flavor adds interest. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Peirson Meyer Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 200 cases, $55. Indigenous yeast fermentation and barrel aged for 14 months on the lees in about 40% new French oak. Old Wente clone in Goldridge soil. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Appealing aromas of fresh cut apple, citrus, white peach, rain-dampened grass and nutty oak. Wonderful parade of citrus, apple, pear and tropical fruit flavors that have uncommon length and persistence. Slightly viscous in the mouth, thoroughly seamless, with a high-flying finish that tempts the drinker to return to the glass. Special in every way. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Alma Rosa Barrel Select Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $60, screwcap. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherry, sous-bois and pungent herbs. The wine needs time to arouse itself, offering a core of well-spiced cherry fruit that is juicy and ripe. Somewhat elegant, with modest tannins, and complimentary oak treatment. Much better the following day, with brighter cherry fruit and spice expression, yet the aromatics still lag. Cellar this one for at least 2-3 years. Score: 89-90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Patz & Hall Chenoweth Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 1,284 cases, $60. Released October 2016. In 2000, famed viticulturist Charlie Chenoweth worked with James Hall to plant his family’s homestead estate in the cool Green Valley sub-AVA of the Russian River Valley exclusively for Patz & Hall (Chenoweth and a select few other wineries make wine from this vineyard as well). The 7-acre vineyard has an assortment of Dijon clones planted in Goldridge sandy loam soils. The vineyard is a warm site in a cool region. Wild and cultured yeast fermentation, aged in 70% new French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of compost, spice, dark chocolate and shy fruit arrive slowly in the glass over several hours. Mid weight flavors of black cherry and black raspberry with noticeable oak overlay. Very pretty fruit that has great intensity and length, becoming more appealing over several hours in the glass. This is a wine to decant if you open now, or better yet, be patient and cellar it for a few years. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Migration Bien Nacido Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 310 cases, $68. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% neutral. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of cherry, strawberry and spice. Light to mid weight in style, with layers of dark red cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruits accented with notes of tea and toasty oak. Delicious, with juicy acidity and taut tannins, finishing with nuances of pine needle and Middle Eastern spices. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the aromatics still soared and the finish was remarkable. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Migration Drum Canyon Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 213 cases, $68. Vineyard planted in 2003 by the Dierberg family and is located on the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% neutral. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Savory notes of leaf, oak and earth combine with aromas of cherry and clove on the nose. Light to mid weight flavors of black cherry and blackberry have an earthy tone and are framed by dry, but not bitter tannins. Even better the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, showing more spice and exuberant fruit on the nose, and a more fruit-charged finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Migration Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 316 cases, $68. Released September 2015. Sourced from three Dutton Ranch properties, all in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. A block and barrel selection of favorite Dutton lots and represents only about 7% of the total fruit obtained from Dutton Ranch. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Complex nose offering aromas of Bing cherry, strawberry, underbrush and a touch of oak. Silky in the mouth, strutting a middleweight core of cherry cola, dark raspberry, black plum and baking spice flavors framed by integrated tannins. Plenty of Russian River Valley luscious fruit in this polished wine. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Migration Running Creek Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 206 cases, $68. Inaugural release.I A Migration estate vineyard located on River Road, consisting of 70 acres and six clones of Pinot Noir. A block and barrel selection including only about 4% of the vineyard’s grape output. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 40% new and 60% neutral. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of Bing cherry, spice and animale. Mid weight flavors of black cherry, blackberry and cola with a compliment of oak backing. Noticeable attack with good mid palate presence and persistence. Forward drinking with a very credible finish, although the wine leans a bit on oak. Unchanged the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Cattleya Pratt Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 100 cases, $70. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. A delightful wine that is very polished and hi-collar. Aromas of citrus, pear and spice carry over on the palate that adds integrated toasted oak flourishes and an acid-driven minerality that further elevates the wine. This wine has nothing out of place, is very easy to drink, and urges you to search for nuance. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Patz & Hall Burnside Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 315 cases, $75. Released October 2016. This vineyard was planted by the Martinelli family and Patz & Hall has been making a single-vineyard Pinot Noir from Burnside Vineyard since 2002. Clones 115 and 777. Wild and cultured yeast fermentation, aged in 50% new French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark berry mash, spice and toast lead to a mid weight styled wine with flavors of oak-infused blackberry and black grape with a touch of spice. A bit rugged and barrel-laden upon opening with some astringency. Much better six hours later and also the following day when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, showing less tannin and oak overlay and more charm. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Calera de Villiers Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.63, 1,018 cases, $N/A. 15.6-acre vineyard planted in 1997 in limestone soils. Yields 1.07 tons per acre. Native fermentation, aged 19 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Bottled unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry reduction sauce and blackberry jam lead to a mid weight plus style wine with a luscious core of purple fruits. The fruit is extraordinarily bombastic but monotone at present. There are substantial tannins that need time to integrate. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine had more oak and less fruit on the nose, but the lush mouthfeel was appealing. This wine is disjointed now and one can only speculate about its future. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Calera Ryan Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.63, 898 cases, $N/A. From a 13.1-acre vineyard that was planted in 1998 and 2001 in limestone soils. Yields .97 tons per acre. Native fermentation. Aged 19 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very earthy aromas of clay combined with black fruits and spice. Bold in size, with an array of succulent purple fruits including grapes and boysenberries. Long and hedonistic in sap, with daunting tannins and a big, fruit-filled finish. Tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with the same results, and I believe this wine needs at least two more years in bottle to be friendly. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Calera Selleck Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.68, 327 cases, $N/A. From the 4.8-acre Selleck Vineyard that was planted in 1975. Yields .93 tons per acre. Native fermentation, aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Bottled unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Enthralling aromas of cherry, rose petal, white pepper and scrub brush. Intriguing and complex, with flavors of well-spiced black cherry and black raspberry fruits along with significant oak compliment. Plush on the palate with a very long finish. The tannins are firm but not foreboding, the bright acidity keeps the fruit fresh, and the alcohol is well integrated. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, there was less oak overlay apparent and the finish was other worldly. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 TREOS Estate Elegant Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 200 cases, $35. Released November 2016. Five Dijon clone mix. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Charming perfume of fresh cherry fruit and cedary oak. Impressive attack and length with a silky as well as juicy character that is very easy to like. The mid weight core of boysenberry fruit is complimented by a deft touch of oak and the tannins are finely tuned. Clearly the best wine to date from this producer and a good value. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 TREOS Estate Founder’s Choice Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 125 cases, $35. Released November 2016. 2 Dijon clones. The biggest, boldest, most “bad-ass” expression of Pinot Noir that Dave can achieve. Targeted at consumers who like the body and texture of Rhone reds and Brunellos, while maintaining the black cherry, dark plum flavor profile of Pinot Noir. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The sweetly aromatic nose offers scents of dried cherry, plum, herbal tea and oak. Mid weight flavors of dark cherry, black raspberry and savory herbs satisfy. Modest tannins and oak support the fruit load that displays good intensity on the dry, but not bitter finish. Not as “bad-ass” as the 2012 version and more appealing to me. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Calera Mills Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.65, 789 cases, $62. From the 14.4-acre Mills Vineyard planted in 1984 in limestone soils. Own rooted Calera selection. Crop yield 0.81 tons per acre. Native yeast fermentation, aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Bottled unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A very compatible blend of fruit and savory aromas with black cherry standing out. Amazing charge of black cherry fruit on the palate, yet discrete in weight, with balanced tannins and a raspberry coulis infused finish of notable length. Approachable now, but will surely last for years. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Calera Reed Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.64, 336 cases, $70. Sourced from the 4.4-acre Reed Vineyard that was planted in 1975. Yields were 1.14 tons per acre. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Bottled unfiltered. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of cherry, strawberry, blueberry and dark raspberry blend harmoniously with nutty oak in this mid weight wine with more approachability. Impressive attack and persistent finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the blueberry, cherry, spice and nutty oak flavors were captivating. Easily recognizable as coming from Reed Vineyard. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Calera Jensen Vineyard Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.64, 1,088 cases, $88. From the 13.8-acre Jensen Vineyard that was planted in 1975. Yields 1.12 tons per acre. Native fermentation, aged 17 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. Bottled unfiltered. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, rose petal, smoke and toasty oak rise from the glass. Relatively light in color, but substantial in flavor, featuring mid weight plus flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and blackberry. The gorgeous fruit seems to last and last and thoroughly illuminates the senses. There are still firm tannins that need time to soften but the wine is hard to refuse at this early age. The sensual mouthfeel adds even more appeal, and like all great wines, the finish is grand. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Chalone Vineyards Estate Grown Heritage Vines Chalone Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 2,836 cases, $26. Vineyard is at 1800 feet elevation near the Pinnacles National Park. Reddish soil underlain with limestone. Aged in French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very ripe fruited, featuring dried plum and black cherry essence accented with vanilla, floral and apple core notes on the nose. Welcome mid palate intensity and plushness, featuring highly ripened dark stone and berry fruits with a floral and oaky thread in the background. Sappy, with balanced tannins and some finish. I expected more from heritage vines. Score: 85. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Domaine Divio Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., pH 3.62, 150 cases, $48. Released October 21, 2015. Clone 777, harvest Brix 24º. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Toasty oak dominates the perfume, with added aromas of spice cake and black cherry. Plenty of sappy purple and black fruits to satisfy with an appealing earthy bent. Plenty of oak at play with a healthy tannic structure. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was pleasant but not provocative, with oak playing a major role in its character. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 TREOS Estate Elegant Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

15.0% alc., 170 cases, 500 ml., $48. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Shy aromas of a dark fruit medley lead to a mid weight styled wine with ripe but not particularly sweet black fruit flavors. Fruit driven with little nuance, but delivers a hedonistic fruit experience. Silky in the mid palate, with mild astringency on the fruit-intense finish.(Consistent with review of August 2014 with same score) Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 TREOS Estate Founder’s Choice Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

15.5% alc., 195 cases, 500 ml., $48. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Sweet black fruit aromas with hints of port and cognac and slight volatile acidity. Sweet, ultra ripe fruit flavors with soft tannins and integrated alcohol. Drinks more like a dessert wine with the sweetness coming from fruit and alcohol, not sugar. Well-done in the intended style but not my style. (This wine is less appealing to me now than when reviewed in August 2014 when it was scored 88 and probably is not a long-lived wine) Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Tasting Wine Before Its Time: Experiencing Wayfarer Vineyard Pinot Noir

2014 Wayfarer Golden Mean Wayfarer Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.. Pommard and Swan clones, estate grown. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. I was enthralled with the nose on this wine, offering hi-tone aromas of earthy black fruits, sous-bois and mocha that were persistent. Both mature purple and black berry fruits form the essence of this mid weight plus wine that is impeccably balanced with a soothing velvety texture and a polished demeanor. The wine speaks to you with open arms: “Take me.” December 2016. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Wayfarer Mother Rock Wayfarer Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. A blend of clones 37 and 777. Named for the vineyard’s sandstone substrate that fractures into sandy loam. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of black fruit compote. This wine is still monolithic and unyielding, opening some in the glass to reveal mid weight plus flavors of black cherry, blueberry-pomegranate and spice framed by muscular tannins. Much more aromatic and friendly when tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine definitely needs decanting or a few more years in the cellar. December 2016. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Wayfarer Paige’s Ridge Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir

14.8% alc.. Clone 667, estate grown. Named after Jason Pahlmeyer’s wife Paige. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black fruits, damp earth and underbrush lead to a mid weight plus offering that is flat-out delicious. Layers of invigorating black cherry and blackberry fruit are tempered by honed tannins combined with enough acidity to elevate the prodigious sap. A deft touch of oak seasoning adds interest. A harmonious wine with a generous finish that is beautifully crafted in a bold California style. Yes, it is excessive, but so what. December 2016. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Wayfarer The Traveler Wayfarer Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir

14.1% alc.. A single suitcase selection. Estate grown. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Soaring aromas of blackberry and cassis. Considerably more open than last tasting in May 2016, offering a gorgeous core of discreetly concentrated, well-spiced black cherry and blackberry fruits that are broad in the mouth and display freshness, vibrancy and juiciness. This beauty is very harmonious and giving, finishing with unbelievable length and generosity, and deserves an ovation. December 2016. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Wayfarer Wayfarer Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir

14.5% alc.. Estate grown. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Demure, but pleasing aromas of black cherry, blackberry and woodland spice. Silky in the mouth with striking flavors of black cherry and blackberry framed by firm but not imposing tannins. Very good juiciness on the finish. The least extracted wine in the lineup and the most approachable. December 2016. Score: 91. 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.