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PinotFile 10/30

From Sojourn Cellars: 2014 Pinot Noirs are Wines of Emotion

2014 Sojourn Reuling Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $N/A. Vineyard is located between Graton and Forestvllle. Heritage clones are planted in Goldridge soils. Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. · Heady aromas of black cherry, sous-bois, woodland and nutty oak. Both fruity and savory on the velvety palate, with flavors of black cherry and dark red raspberry enhanced with a light tough of toasty oak. A subtle savory herbal imprint runs in the background. Juicy, with noticeable but tame tannins and impressive length on a finish that is reluctant to give up. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sojourn Riddle Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $N/A. Vineyard is located north of Occidental on the second ridge from the Pacific Ocean. Clones are Mt Eden and Pommard planted in sandy loam Goldridge soils. · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Beautifully perfumed with hi-tone scents of dark berry jam and Asian 5-spice. Mid weight plus in style with a strong physique, yet charming and nimble. The dark berry core really grabs on to the mid palate and holds through a fruit-laden finish. The wine has a trim oak compliment and a thick yet lubricating texture. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sojourn Ridgetop Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $N/A. Vineyard is located in the northern Sonoma Coast near Annapolis. There is a notable maritime influence, with fog ever present and receding each day. Clones 115, 667 and 777. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Gorgeous aromas of strawberry cherry and rose petal. Intriguing on the palate with a charge of black cherry, black raspberry, blueberry and spice flavors delivering a real mouthful of pleasure. Impeccably balanced, with a cashmere mouthfeel and a remarkable finish that offers good cut, length and a baby oil exit. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sojourn Wohler Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $N/A. This vineyard is located in the heart of the Russian River Valley. Clones are Wädenswil 2A, 115, 667 and “828” planted in Goldridge soil. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of cherry and sandalwood that pick up intensity over time in the glass. Like cherry pie day at baking class, with a discreetly concentrated core of fresh red cherries and baking spices. Quite elegant and charming, with a silky countenance, weightless tannins, and cherry goodness that hangs on at the finish. The lightest weighted wine in the 2014 lineup, but one that I liked more and more as I tasted it over time in the glass. It seemed to sneak up on me and give up its charms slowly. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sojourn Rodgers Creek Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.57, 775 cases, $48. Released spring 2016. This vineyard is located in the Petaluma Gap high on a ridge. Some whole cluster fermented Pommard clone is blended with clone 777. 15% whole cluster. Native yeast fermentation, aged in 50% new French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered in July 2015. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is more savory than fruity, offering aromas of potpourri with redder fruits in the background. The intense attack of perfectly ripened cherry fruit is almost numbing, yet the wine is focused and refined. There is plenty of savory spices and a light hand with oak. The satiny texture is very comforting, and the finish has grand cru length. A perfect marriage of fruit and savory nuances. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sojourn Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.57,1,350 cases, $59. Released spring 2016. Sourced from Roberts Road Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap region. Clones 115, 777 and Swan. Grapes were allowed to hang on the vine until late harvest. 100% destemmed, native yeast fermentation, aged in 50% new French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered August 2015. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The intoxicating nose is complex, offering scents of cherry, strawberry, spice, earth and exotic bouquet. A vibrant wine on the palate that features well-spiced redder fruits framed by poised acidity and toned tannins. Silky in texture, and deftly balanced, with an intensely fruited finish reminiscent of a perfectly ripened, sweet strawberry. This wine is the best I have ever tasted from this vineyard. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Father John Pinot Noir: Young Winemaker has French Sensibilities

2014 Father John Vine Hills Road (Oehlman Vineyard) Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., $55. · t cherry red color in the glass. Effusive aromas of red cherry, rose petal and complimentary toasty oak. A feminine, ethereal wine with delicate flavors of red cherry and cranberry, spice and sous bois. Exquisitely balanced with a juicy finish that exudes cherry fruit. Chambolle Musigny anyone? Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Father John Les Luteniéres Bourgogne France Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $80. Imported by Maison Harbour LLC, Travelers Rest, South Carolina. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers a mix of cherry fruit and savory earthy aromas. Earth-blessed, modestly sweet flavors of cherry, raspberry and cranberry are quite inviting. The overall impression denotes sauvage, with a noticeable oak input. Nicely balanced, improving over time in the glass, with a modest but satisfying finish. This wine was tasted two days after opening from a re-corked bottle indicating it has good prospects for longevity. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Father John Oehlman Vineyard Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., $55 (sold out). · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Sexy aromas of Bing cherry, spice and raspberry preserves. Very elegant, but highly flavorful, featuring a cherry-driven core of vibrant fruit framed by silky tannins, integrated acidity, and finishing with plenty of cherry goodness. A beautiful wine that hits the mark in this vintage. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Father John Oehlman Vineyard Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $55 (sold out). Some whole cluster. Aged 11 months on lees in French oak barrels. Fined but not filtered. · Light cherry red color in the glass. Aromas of cherry and sandalwood lead to a middleweight styled wine with vivid flavors of red cherry, cranberry and raspberry, framed by a kiss of oak. Elegantly composed, with very bright acidity complimenting the juicy, slightly tart finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From KITÁ Wines

2014 Kitá Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

13.0% alc., pH 3.20, TA 6.75, 189 cases, $30. Harvest Brix 22.0º. Aged in stainless steel for 8 months. · Delicate golden yellow color in the glass. The nose is very becoming, with delicate aromas of lemon oil, apple, grapefruit and a hint of vanilla. Light and ethereal in style, with delightful lemon and pear flavors framed with a bright cut of acidity. Velvety in the mouth with good length on the lemon-lime inspired finish. A charming wine that seems to walk on tip toes. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Kitá Hilliard Bruce Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $55. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Seductive aromas of black cherry, spice, rose petal and toast rise from the glass, leading to a lighter weighted wine that is sleek and elegant. Flavors of black cherry, exotic spice, tea and char enliven the palate and carry over to a delicate, but satisfying finish. The soft tannins are well matched, and the wine is very easy to cozy up to. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Sips of Recently Tasted Pinot Noir

2014 Sphere Monterey County Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $6.99. This is a featured wine in the spring Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer newsletter. In amongst descriptions of many offerings including whole milk Greek honey yogurt and dark chocolate covered peaberry coffee beans, you will find this wine highlighted. It is said to have been crafted for Trader Joe’s Markets by a winemaker with deep roots in California wine country and is 100% Pinot Noir. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Well-perfumed with scents of strawberry, black cherry and spice. The light weight core of red cherry fruit is accented with complimentary oak and framed by modest tannins making for easy imbibing. The wine is a bit shallow and lacks much finish, but it is not oaky like so many value-priced Pinot Noirs and satisfies all the criteria for a Pinot Noir varietal. At this price, it is hard to complain. This would be a great wedding wine. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sonoma-Loeb Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $27. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of blueberry-pomegranate, dried rose petal and mulch. A full-on attack of black cherry fruit saturates the palate but the wine retains a silky, focused touch. Well-structured, with hints of smoke and toast in the background. Some length on the finish that leaves a slight sense of warmth in its wake. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Sonoma-Loeb Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $40. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, spice and vanilla fade a bit over time in the glass. Mid weight plus sappy flavors of darker berries with complimentary oak seasoning. Suave in the mouth, with matched tannins and a fruit-driven finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Pfendler Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 400 cases, $45. Estate grown from Kimberly Pfendler’s family property in the Petaluma Gap, crafted by winemaker Greg Bjornstad. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of brandy infused black cherries, baking spices and toast. Enviable attack and mid palate presence of mid weight black cherry, black raspberry, spice and floral flavor elements infused with good acidity. Fresh, lively, and satisfying in every way. Still very appealing the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle predicting good age ability. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Three Sticks Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 243 Cases, $60. 22% whole cluster. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A mix of aromas including black cherry, black raspberry, floral bouquet, mulch and toasty oak fade a bit over time in the glass. Silky in the mouth, with mid weight plus flavors of earthy black cherry and Middle Eastern spices. The immersed tannins and balanced acidity make for easy drinking. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2014 Three Sticks Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 614 cases, $60. 20% whole cluster. Aged 10 months in 100% French oak barrels, 60% new. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. A sleek and silky wine that offers aromas of Bing cherries, rose petal and sandalwood and mid weight flavors of black cherry, blueberry, plum sauce, spice and cola. The finish is notable for some sweet cherry intensity and modest length. Not a “typical” Russian River Valley offering as to lushness of fruit, but enjoyable. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Kokomo Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $36. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The shy perfume of cherry, oak spice and dried herbs is a prelude to a light to mid weight styled wine featuring a black cherry fruit core with toasty oak in the background. Silky on the palate, with a touch of spice and balanced acidity. Solid but not special. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 LaRue Rice-Spivak Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 125 cases, $70. Sourced from a 6-acre vineyard south of the town of Sebastopol. Goldridge sandy loam and volcanic ash soils. Dijon and Swan clones. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass with an unfiltered appearance. Intoxicating aromas of sweet cherries, exotic spices and rose petal. Admirable richness and fullness on the mid palate with saucy flavors of cherries, spice, smoke and jerky. A floral note lurks in the background. Melded tannins, vivacious acidity and long on the finish. Amazing phenolic concentration at this low ABV. Did I mention superb balance? Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 LaRue Coastlands Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., 50 cases, $75. This iconic vineyard’s fruit goes primarily into COBB bottlings. The vineyard sits at 900 to 1,200 feet elevation overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A blend of Pommard, Martini and Wädenswil clones. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate cherry red color in the glass. This wine is a whole cluster wonderland. Aromas of exotic spices, black cherry and wood sap lead to mid weight styled wine with many nuances including dark red raspberry, cherry, cranberry, tea leaf, gingerbread spice, bourbon and smoke flavors. Flat-out delicious, with a silky demeanor, tight acidity, cashmere tannins and welcome finishing interest. There is plenty to ponder in this elegantly styled wine that will especially appeal to whole cluster fans. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Wind Racer Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 1,007 cases, $50. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose picks up intensity over time in the glass, offering scents of very ripe black raspberry, ollaliberry and plum with a subtle mushroom note. Lush on the palate, with copious amounts of purple and black fruits accented with hints of pennyroyal, smoke, tar and vanilla. A ripe, bold style wine with tucked in tannins, good juiciness and some finishing generosity. A fine wine but the fruit really pushes the ripeness envelope. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Wind Racer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 1,527 cases, $50. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of ripe Bing cherry and dark strawberry leap from the glass. Full-bodied on the palate, with flavors of black cherry and cola. Silky and smooth with balanced tannins and a modest finish. This wine sports the luscious fruit typical of the Russian River Valley, but lacks the juiciness of the Anderson Valley bottling. Score: 89. 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.