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Reviewed Wines from the current Newsletter
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From Winemaker & Winegrower Ted Lemon Celebrates 20 Years of Littorai, 30 Years of Winemaking

2005 Littorai Mays Canyon Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.9% alc.. · Lightest golden yellow color in the glass of the wines tasted here. Aromas of yellow peach and vanilla wafer. Pleasing flavors of lemon, yellow peach and almond. Soft in the mouth with bright backing acidity and a shallow finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Cerise Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of blackberry, black cherry and sage. Middleweight flavors of dark cherries and berries with a touch of smoke, tar and black licorice. Silky, with fully integrated tannins and a very generous deep berry finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc.. · Strong aroma of burnt match (sulfur) upon opening that improves with air. Shy notes of lemon and hazelnut. More enjoyable on the palate with flavors of lemon and toasty oak, finishing with a vibrant lemon flourish and good acidity. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of fresh black raspberry preserves and a hint of spice. Delicious, mid weight flavors of black raspberry, black cherry and cola which attack the mid palate with a vengeance, coating the mouth, and finishing with amazing juiciness, length and intensity. Great now, but would have been an exceptional wine in its prime a few years ago. This was a better bottle than tasted at the Littorai Tasting on March 3, 2014. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Mays Canyon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Interesting aromas of herb-kissed black cherries and eucalyptus. The luscious dark cherry core is alive and flavorful. Still sporting some firm, non-astringent tannins balanced with bright acidity. Quite enjoyable with the black cherry fruit returning in waves on the persistent finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of dark red cherry and blackberry jam. More austere than the 2003 version, with more savory notes of mushroom, herbs and old wood complimenting the cherry fruit core. Bright and lively with some finishing interest. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai The Haven Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black fruits, mocha java and toasty oak. Flavors of blackberry, black currant, anise and seasoned oak are backed by firm tannins which lend a bit of astringency to the finish. A little too much oak and tannin at play. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc.. · Moderately dark golden yellow color with a very slight orange cast in the glass. The aromas of honey, caramel, leather shoe and floral perfume were quite inviting. Complex flavor profile featuring pear, yellow peach, apricot, lemon pie and roasted nuts. Still plenty of fruit at play with vibrant acidity on a refreshing finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2004 Littorai Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose starts out smoky, becoming less so over time with appealing ancillary aromas of black cherry, black tea and dried herbs. Mid weight core of black cherry and blueberry fruits with an undertone of smoke, mushroom and oak. Seamless and charming, with suede tannins and a long, dry finish. More contribution from oak in this wine but in a good way. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2003 Littorai Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.4% alc.. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aged aromas of stainless steel and toasted brioche. Less vibrant and fruity with more oak sheen. Flavors of pear grilled peach, vanilla cream and toasty oak. Slightly creamy, with a bit of heat on the finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2003 Littorai Mays Canyon Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.8% alc.. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Enticing aromas of pear, honey, bees wax and sawdust lead to a slightly creamy palate featuring flavors of poached pear, golden apple, lemon curd, burnt caramel and roasted nuts. Some finishing power and impeccable balance. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2003 Littorai Mays Canyon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Secondary aromas of black licorice, black tea leaves, menthol and vanilla. Rustic, with slightly roasted fruit flavors of black cherry, black plum and blackberry. Full-bodied with muscular tannins and a big, fruity finish. A bad boy that is not a typical Littorai wine in this vintage. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2003 Littorai Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc.. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose opens beautifully over time in the glass revealing aromas of wild berry jam, strawberry, rose hips tea, leather, earth and slight oak. Still fresh, with deep berry and black cherry flavor. The fruit is on the riper side with noticeable length and persistence. The suede-like tannins make for enjoyable drinking. Remarkable vitality for an 11-year-old California AVA Pinot Noir. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2003 Littorai Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of beet root, sassafras, hazelnut, vanilla and a bit of funk. Well-endowed with luscious dark berry fruit, with added flavors of prune, mushroom and truffle. Has the firm tannins to support the big fruit, but lacks vitality. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2001 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc.. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass with slight yellowing of the rim. Complex nose with scents of marzipan, black licorice, brown butter and caramel. Mid to full bodied flavors of black cherry, sassafras, brown spices and dark chocolate. A beautifully aged Pinot Noir with fully integrated tannins. A touch of heat shows up on the finish. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Clos de la Tech

2009 Clos de la Tech Domaine Lois Louise Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 588 cases, $42. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Typical whole cluster perfume of rose petals, exotic spice and black cherry. Richly endowed with generous flavors of black cherry, cassis, seasoned oak and spice. Sappy and sweet, with a noticeable mid palate attack, firm tannins and big fruit-driven finish. The least refined but the most hedonistic of the 2009 wines. Very approachable now but will improve in the cellar. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Clos de la Tech Domaine Lois Louise Cote Sud Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 170 cases, $62. · Dark reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose unfolds slowly to reveal aromas of red and black berries, tea leaves, oak, stem and salinity. Full-bodied with plenty of brutish tannins yet smooth and polished on the palate, filled with layers of black cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate and earthy flavors. Very subtle green note in the background. The tannins arrive with a rush on the long finish. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the aromas of black currant, spice, wood pile and salty ocean air were more apparent. This wine needs cellaring for at least five years to soften and integrate the tannins and flavors. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Clos de la Tech Domaine Valeta Sunny Slope Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

alc., 126 cases, $62. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass with the reddest hue in the lineup. Enticing aromas of dark cherries, baking spices, mushrooms and toasty oak. This wine is not as imposing as other wines in the lineup currently and exhibits impeccable balance. It is the most enjoyable wine now. Delicious mid weight flavors of cherry, strawberry, raspberry and mocha with moderate backing tannins and a wonderful peacock tail finish. The oak is nicely integrated and the mouth feel is very suave. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was still seductive. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Clos de la Tech Domaine Lois Louise Twisty Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 132 cases, $82. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of cherry jubilee, briar, stem, oak and slate. Similar flavor profile as the Cote Sud but the fruit is more out front and vibrant with amazing persistence on the finish. Flavors of black fruits, cassis, spice, dark chocolate are supported by healthy, polished tannins. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the tannins had softened and the mouthfeel was more velvety. Again, this wine should be cellared for at least five years for full enjoyment. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Clos de la Tech Domaine Du Docteur Rodgers Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 89 cases, $102. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose blossoms over time in the glass to reveal bright aromas of black cherry, cassis and spice with complimentary notes of oakdriven vanillin and nuts. Very ingratiating. Delicious core of dark red cherries, strawberry, blackberry, vanillin, sassafras and earth. More charm at this early stage with notable but more modest tannins and slightly more acidity. Very juicy on the palate with a satisfying finish. Still great from a previously opened and re-corked bottle the following day with a vast compliment of aromas including black cherry, rose petal, marzipan and vanillin. Surely will benefit from further aging, but hard to resist now. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Ceja Vineyards: Inspiring Preserverance Leads to Success

2010 Ceja Napa Valley Carneros Estate Chardonnay

13.6% alc., pH 3.38, 1,000 cases, $34. Viña del Sol and Las Amigas Road vineyards. Harvest Brix 24.3º. 100% barrel fermentation with no MLF, aged sur lie 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Very aromatic and complex, with scents of lemon pie filling, golden apple, banana fritter, pineapple, nutty oak and ocean air. A very well composed wine with generous flavors of citrus, tropical fruits and pear, bright acidity, a polished and slightly creamy mouthfeel, and surprising length of finish for a Chardonnay. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Ceja Carneros Estate Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 1,000 cases, $40. Ready to release. Viña del Sol Vineyard. 100% de-stemmed. Aged in 10% new and 90% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of fresh cherry pie glaze and baking spices. Elegantly fashioned and very appealing, with bright flavors of red cherries, strawberries, spice and mocha carrying over on a long, juicy, memorable finish. Very approachable with soft tannins, bright acidity and admirable harmony. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Ceja Vino de Casa Napa Valley Red Blend

13.6% alc., pH 3.53, 2,000 cases, $20. Viña del Sol Vineyard. Average Brix at harvest 24.1º. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Syrah. Aged 23 months in French and American oak barrels. · A pleasant, easy-drinking wine with well-integrated tannins, a spark of acidity, dark fruits, mocha and peppery spice. A good food match would be chilaquilles. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Ceja Sonoma Carneros Estate Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 1,000 cases, pH 3.48, $40. Viña del Sol and Dale Avenue vineyards. Brix at harvest 24.7º. Aged 20 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Shy, but appealing aromas of black cherry, raspberry and toasty oak. More rich sap and structure than the 2010 Estate Pinot Noir, with a core of earth-kissed darker red and black stone and berry fruits accented by notes of tea and savory herbs. The oak is beautifully integrated, the wine is nicely balanced, and the finish has uncommon length. Recommended food match is pozole. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Ceja Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $50. Not released. Sourced from Adobe Vineyard located in the Petaluma Gap. Primarily Dijon clones. 100% de-stemmed. Aged 23 months in French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. A variety of aromas emerge over time including red stone fruits, plum, rose petal, dried herbs and smoky oak. Moderate in weight with flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, black tea and sassafras with complimentary oak and spice in the background. The tannins are suave and the finish has some generosity. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Ceja Napa Carneros Dulce Beso Dessert Wine

11.6% alc., pH 3.44, residual sugar 14.6, 600 cases, $40. Viña del Sol and Las Amigas Road vineyards. Harvest Brix 34.2º. Stainless steel fermented, no MLF, aged 14 months in French oak barrels. A botryitized wine composed of 94% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. A thoroughly satisfying way to cap a meal. Complex aromas and flavors of coconut, pear, white peach, honey and roasted nuts with refreshing acidity and a persistent finish. A good food match is Mt. Tam cheese. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Ceja Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

13.9% alc., pH 3.48, 800 cases, $50. La Loma Vineyard located on the Silverado Trail. Harvest Grix 24.5º. Open top, small vat, cold soaked, extended maceration, gentle punch downs. Aged 34 months in French oak barrels. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. A moderately rich, nicely aged wine with a slightly creamy core of black cherry, plum, cassis and blackberry flavors with modest complimentary tannins and a richly endowed finish. Very smooth in the mouth, displaying the impeccable balance typical of Ceja wines. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Newest Bacigalupi Wines Truly Honor a Legacy

2012 Bacigalupi Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 179 cases, $56. The vines that produced this Chardonnay were grafted from the original vineyard that supplied grapes to the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the coveted 1976 Paris Tasting. Brix at harvest 24º. Barrel fermented, 90% MLF, lees stirring every other week for 9 months, aged 11 months in 50% new Francois Frères medium toast French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. I couldn’t pull my nose away from the glass which offered aromas of pineapple, grilled lemon, white peach, and butterscotch. A seamless, relatively plush wine with just the right spark of acidity and contribution from oak. More minerality is evident on the palate which offers flavors of lemon, crème brûlée, and tropical fruits. A beautiful thing. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Bacigalupi Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 300 cases, $65. 63% Wente and 37% Pommard clones. Brix at harvest 25.8º. 100% de-stemmed, whole berry fermentation. Inoculated with AMH yeast. Total cold soak and fermentation 19 days. Lees stirring weekly during malolactic fermentation and every other week thereafter. Aged 11 months in 42% new and 58% used French Francois Frères oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of Bing cherries, strawberries, blackberries, forest floor and complimentary oak. Plenty of nuance to discover in this wine which offers flavors of dark cherry, sassafras, anise, exotic cinnamon spice, herbs and cola. Refined, seamless and quite approachable with balanced tannins and acidity and a clean, pleasant cherry-driven finish. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle predictive of age ability. Awesome! Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Rivers Marie: Back on Track in 2012

2012 Rivers-Marie Gioia Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 212 cases, $50. Clone 115 and Pommard. 33% new oak. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. This wine comes at you with darker fruits and a more earthy pretense. Aromas of blackberries, black grape, dark chocolate, briar, oak spice and a hint of pine resin. Very accommodating flavors of dark red and purple fruits with an earthy underpinning. Very juicy with a lip-smacking finish. Deeper, denser and modestly tannic with oak in the background. This is the most brooding wine in the lineup at present. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Rivers-Marie Kanzler Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 200 cases, $50. Inaugural bottling from this vineyard. Clones 115, 667 and Pommard. · The outlier in that it is clearly different from the other wines in the 2012 lineup. Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose has a vivid aroma of black raspberries and black cherries with oak-driven espresso highlights. This wine displays a riper profile, and has more concentrated sap, but is not jammy. The core of dark stone and berry fruits are nicely spiced and there is a hint of cola and sassafras peaking out. The tannins are silky and the finish is flush with black cherry goodness. The finish really stands out for its generosity and length. I love the sweet fruit and oak interplay in this wine. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Rivers-Marie Occidental Ridge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 325 cases, $50. Clones 115, 667 and 777. The warmest site, yet also the most acidic. Small amount of whole cluster inclusion. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The expressive nose reaches more heights over time in the glass to reveal aromas of cherry, raspberry coulis, sandalwood and earth notes. Clean and silky on the palate with mid weight flavors of red cherries and berries, picking up weight over time in the glass. Well-crafted and very pleasant with a good cut of acidity and a charming cherry-infused finish. The most feminine wine in the lineup. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Rivers-Marie Silver Eagle Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 350 cases, $50. 10% whole cluster inclusion. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Interesting nose with an array of quirky aromas including citrus, cedary oak, stainless and jerky complimented the mixed dark fruit. Much more traditional on the palate with moderately rich flavors of juicy dark red cherries and berries that really grab on and hold through a lengthy finish that has considerable textural interest. Still tight, and the nose is a bit awkward, but this wine leaves you wanting more. Look to the future. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Rivers-Marie Summa Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 450 cases, $50. Vineyard dry farmed for the first time ever. · Moderately deep reddish purple color in the glass. A sexy nose of black cherry, spice, root beer, toasty oak and iron and is a chameleon in the glass. Middleweight, refined flavors of dark red cherries and berries that expand in the mouth and leave an impression on the glorious finish. Suave tannins, juicy acidity and a judicious touch of oak add charm to the experience. This beauty leaves a lingering message of spiced plum and raspberry on the finish. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Rivers-Marie Summa Old Vines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 275 cases, $75. · Moderately dark, very pretty garnet color in the glass. The aromas pull you into the glass with a fascinating array of scents including dark berry coulis, forest floor, molasses and even pulled pork. A delicious onslaught of dark plum and black raspberry fruit engages the palate with hints of earthy goodness and exotic spices. This wine has an exceptional presence on the palate. Beautifully composed, with supple, balanced tannins and integrated acidity, finishing with length and aplomb. An argument for old vines. Wines like this make you want to go to church to give thanks. Score: 97. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From E16 Pinot Noir: A Pleasant Surprise

2012 E16 E16 Selection Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 600 cases, $35. Primarily a blend from Trenton Road and Bowland Ranch vineyards. 20% comes from Anderson Valley and the Santa Lucia Highlands. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. A lovely nose you could nibble at with bright aromas of red cherry and strawberry. Light to mid weight core of cherry and strawberry fruits with a complimentary backing of spice and an echo of oak. Silky in the mouth, holding up nicely over time in the glass, offering a pleasing kick of citrus on the finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 E16 Santa Lucia Highlands “Upper Bench” Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 270 cases, $35. Sourced from the upper reaches of Escole Vineyard. Single block of Pommard 4 clone. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The nose really attracts attention with vivid aromas of fresh cherries, strawberries, and sandalwood. Soft, even pillowy on the palate with middleweight flavors of red cherries and red strawberries, accented with a hint of cola and oak. A very refined, elegant interpretation of Santa Lucia Highlands fruit with a sleek finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 E16 Bennett Valley “Bowland Ranch” Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 295 cases, $40. 3 blocks of Pommard clone from grower Chris Bowland. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Another aromatic bombast with scents of black cherry, earthy flora, and spice. A refined, silky wine that is harmonious, picking up interest over time in the glass. The tasty, mid weight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and cola are accented with oak and persist noticeably on the suave finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 E16 Russian River Valley “Trenton 1880” Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 320 cases, $45. Sourced from Singler Family Vineyards owned by Pete and Karrie Singler. The 1880 designation pays homage to the year the first grapevines that were planted in the town of Trenton next to this vineyard. Clone 667. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Exceptional aromatic explosion of Bing cherry, cardamom spice and cedary oak aromas. Really delicious spiced cherry bombast with plenty of spring and vibrancy. Mild tannins, bright acidity and a cherry-driven, mouth watering finish of uncommon length. My only nit is that a hint of heat shows up on the finish. This wine really draws your attention. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 E16 Anderson Valley “The West End” Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., 220 cases, $50. Sourced from a single vineyard located at the extreme north end of the Anderson Valley. Clone 667 and Pommard. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Penetrating aromas of blueberry, black cherry liquor and a hint of mint that comes and goes. The nose becomes somewhat muddled and loses interest over time in the glass. Mid to full-bodied, very ripe black cherry, blueberry and pomegranate fruit flavors with an undertow of oak and a backbone of soft tannins. Plenty of sweet, luscious, juicy fruit that is hard to ignore, but the wine is a touch cloying. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recent Sips of Chardonnay

2012 The Wonderland Project “La Reine Blance” (The White Queen) Sonoma County Chardonnay

13.2% alc., residual sugar 0.02 mg, 1,400 cases, $24. Released June 2013. Clone 76 and Robert Young selection. Staggered picks at 21º to 23.5º Brix to control acid. Native yeast fermentation in stainless steel, 100% MLF, aged 8 months in 1/3 new French oak, 1/3 neutral French oak and 1/3 stainless steel. Primarily a restaurant wine meant to be a refined wine at accessible cost but also sold on the winery’s website. Winemaker is former sommelier Matthew Ahern (also of Scribe). · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Clean aromas of lemon curd, honey, spiced peach, papaya, honeysuckle and vanilla bean. Easy to drink with enough acidity to add juiciness, featuring flavors of peach, marzipan, and spice. Slightly creamy and soft in the mouth, with the faintest compliment of oak. A highly enjoyable, nicely balanced, no-nonsense, casual wine that doesn’t weigh you down with alcohol and oak. The ideal proverbial back porch wine. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 LIOCO Estero Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.36, TA 0.65, $35. Harvest Brix 22º. Grapes are grown in Goldridge soils from cooler Russian River Valley sites and include clones 4, 17, 95 and 96. Berries broken before whole cluster pressed. Fermented on lees with battonage for 8 months in large neutral oak barrels. Natural MLF, gentle filtration. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Shy, clean aromas of lemon curd and mixed nuts. Tasty but lean flavors of citrus, baked apple, white grape and stony minerality. Juicy and fresh, but not exuberant and lush like many Russian River Valley Chardonnays. Some may find the wine too delicately flavored while others may welcome the discreet style. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Liquid Farm “White Hill” Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

13.8% alc., 988 cases, $40. Sourced from Bent Rock (63%), Zotovich, Kessler-Haak, Rita’s Crown, Huber, Radian and Clos Pepe vineyards. Aged 12 months in neutral oak with 18% stainless steel aging. · Pale golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon, pineapple, peach, vanilla cream and ocean air. Highly pleasurable on the palate, with crisp lemon-driven flavor accented with baking spice, vanillin, and acid-driven minerality. Modest in weight with a fresh, citrusladen finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 LIOCO La Marisma Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.64, $45. Harvest Brix 23º. The vineyard is near the town of Aptos and is a south facing, hillside site 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Soils are sand and calcerous marine deposits with ideal drainage. Diurnal temperature fluctuation is 40+º.After intense hand sorting, the berries were broken before whole cluster pressed. Wild yeast fermentation in neutral oak, natural MLF, aged 10 months on lees in barrel and 5 months in tank. · Medium golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Really nice array of aromas including fresh banana, baked pear, exotic honey, and fermented melon. Some richness and slightly creamy, with flavors of lemon curd, baked pear, roasted nuts, burnt caramel, pastry cream and lees. This wine is very unique and presents some flavors that defy description. I like it for its uniqueness and composure. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Aubert CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

15.0% alc.,600 case, $90. This vineyard is planted with the Reuling selection of Chardonnay in 2007. It is located adjacent Lauren Vineyard. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Wondrous aromas of apple, lemon, pineapple, stone, almond and steel displaying impressive intensity and penetrating quality over time in the glass. A remarkably flavorful wine with notes of lemon curd, baked apple, peach, spice, cashew butter, burnt caramel, nutty oak, and honey with moderate richness. Beautiful oak integration in an unctuous style that is still impeccably balanced. There is no sense of high alcohol in this wine. A distinguished wine offering a bold expression of California Chardonnay. This wine has the balance to last upwards of 10 years. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Golan Heights Winery Yarden Galilee Israel Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $20. Grapes grown in the cool climate, rocky volcanic, high altitude soils of the Northern Golan Heights. Barrel fermented and aged 7 months with partial MLF. Kosher for Passover. · Mild golden yellow color and clear in the glass. An array of citrus fruits and pear arrive on the nose, accented by oak-driven notes of toast and nuts. Good fullness and richness, with flavors of lemon curd, quince, pear and pineapple and a complimentary touch of oak. Slightly creamy, finishing with modest citrus-driven acidity. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Thomas Fogarty Estate Grown Damiana Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.4% alc., pH 3.21, TA 0.76, 96 cases, $60. · Moderate golden straw color and clear in the glass. Delicate aromas of Gravenstein apple, white peach and modest toasty oak do not prepare one for the sensory onslaught to follow. Wow! Amazing attack of lemon, pear, and apple fruits with accents of honey, burnt caramel and cardamom spice. The most intensity of flavor of the four 2011 wines tasted and sporting a long, generous, and juicy, lemon-infused finish. A little less prominent acid themed minerality in this wine. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Thomas Fogarty Estate Grown Langley Hill Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.13, TA 0.87, 96 cases, $60. · Moderate golden straw color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic, with bright aromas of croissant, roasted nuts, baked apple and lemon. Plenty of intensity showing lemon curd, baked pear, apple and almond flavors backed by a lively, but integrated, cut of acidity. Very smooth in the mouth with an incredibly bombastic finish that offers waves of lemony goodness returning for what seems like a minute. I have rarely met with a finish like this in Chardonnay. On top of that, the wine is very harmonious with just the right amount of contribution from oak. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Thomas Fogarty Estate Grown Portola Springs Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

12.3% alc., pH 3.162, TA 0.80, 96 cases, $60. · Moderate golden straw color and clear in the glass. The nose is very bright and clean, with aromas of lemon pie filling, grilled pineapple, seasoned oak and ocean air. The most austere wine so the acid is more evident, but the wine is quite charming. Delicate flavors of citrus fruits and tart green apple have a hint of nutty brittle in the background. Tightly wound, becoming more appealing over time in the glass. This wine will reward cellaring for another few years. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Thomas Fogarty Estate Grown Albutom Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.4% alc., pH 3.17, TA 0.80, 50 cases, $75. Yields 0.46 tons per acre. · Moderate golden straw color and clear in the glass. The nose is challenging to describe as there are many nuances that surface over time in the glass. Scents of pear, yuzu, dried herbs, white pepper and floral accents. A delicate, Chablis-style wine, with flavors of lemon and tart green apple, backed by bracing acidity which chases the saliva on the finish. An echo of lemon persists on the finish for several seconds. Best with acid-loving food like oysters. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recent Sips of Other Interesting Whites

NV Sokol Blosser Winery Evolution American White Wine

12.0% alc., residual sugar 1.2%, $15. A blend of 9 white varietals including Pinot Gris, White Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer, Müller- Thurgau, Semillon, Pinot Blanc, Sylvaner and Chardonnay. 17th edition. Fermented in 100% stainless steel, fff dry. · A unique wine that offers no special varietal correctness. The aromas are complex and include lemon, dried mango, honeysuckle, pastry cream and roasted almonds. On the palate, the delicately flavored wine is bright and easy to like, with tastes of pineapple, pear eau de vie, spice and citrus infused with bright, refreshing acidity and a very slight finishing sweetness. Very versatile at the table, and can shine with Thai curry, Tandoori chicken, spicy tune rolls or baked sole with lemon butter. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Dutton Goldfield Dutton Ranch Shop Block Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Blanc

12.8% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.56, 339 cases, $25. Warren Dutton’s original Graton Road ranch was planted to French Colombard and Gray Riesling when purchased in 1964. In the 1970s, he replaced the Riesling with apples and French Colombard. When it was time to replant the block in 2003, the Duttons decided on Pinot Blanc to augment the adjacent Chardonnay. The vineyard is dry farmed. Stainless steel fermented, partial MLF. · Pale straw color and clear in the glass. Luscious aroma of fresh peaches lemon peel, roasted almonds and the air after a heavy rain. Crisp on the palate, with an intense peach flavor which expands joyously in the mouth and clings to the finish forever. A bit of lemon, lime, grapefruit and vanilla flavors add interest. Beautifully balanced with well-integrated acidity and a silken mouth feel. This is one sexy peach of a wine. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Dutton Goldfield Chileno Valley Vineyard Marin County Riesling

13.2% alc., 380 cases, pH 3.31, TA 0.56, residual sugar dry, $30. From a dry farmed vineyard planted by the Corda family in 1991 to several varieties. When Mark Pasternak took over the farming, he budded everything to Pinot Noir except for 4 acres of Riesling. Harvest in two picks - one on October 22 and one on November 26. 100% stainless steel fermented. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Lovely aromas of peach, grapefruit and a touch of floral goodness. Juicy and flavorful, featuring crisp notes of citrus and white peach with some pleasingly discreet richness, slight creaminess, and a bone dry finish. Delightful. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Yalumba “Y” South Australia Viognier

14.5% alc., $9.49, screwcap. Imported by Negociants USA Inc., Napa, CA. Yalumba has quite a reputation for Viognier, but this is their entry level offering. Yalumba is Australia’s oldest family owned winery. · Light golden color and clear in the glass. Marked reduction upon opening with strong burnt match aromas. Soft and pleasing on the palate with flavors of lemon curd, grilled pineapple, and mango. Much better two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle with no reduction evident and more vivid tropical fruit flavors, although still somewhat dilute. Score: 86. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Golan Heights Winery Galilee Israel Moscato

7% alc., $14. Grapes grown in the volcanic soils of the Golan Heights. Fermentation blocked early to produce an aromatic wine that is lively and semi dry. Kosher for Passover. · Pale golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic with vivid aromas of peach, mango and lychee. Vibrant and flavorful core of white peach with accents of lychee and nuts. Soft and smooth on the palate with some, but not overbearing, sweetness. Ideal chilled as an aperitif or an accompaniment to a peach dessert such as peach melba. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Harper Voit Surlie Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc

13.6% alc., pH 3.10, 225 cases, $20. Sourced from Crannell Vineyard in the Eola- Amity Hills and Meredith Mitchell Vineyard in McMinnville. Barrel fermented in used French oak, no MLF, aged on lees for 9 months. · Very light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic with effusive aromas of baked apple, Limoncello, pear, pastry cream and a subtle yeasty note. Delicious and bright on the palate with an array of layered flavors including apple, pear, and citrus, finishing with a green apple note and palate cleansing acidity. This is the most interesting Pinot Blanc I have ever had from Oregon, and a great shellfish wine. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Harper Voit Maresh Vineyard Old Vine Dundee Hills Riesling

12.2% alc., pH 2.95, TA 0.895, residual sugar 1.3%, 75 cases, $25. From own-rooted, gnarled vines planted in 1979. No MLF. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of citrus, honeysuckle and petrol lead to flavors of grapefruit, Asian pear and lemon with a citrus-infused, off-dry, and electric finish. A wine searching for food. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Riesling

12.5% alc., pH 3.12, residual sugar 0.41%, 798 cases, $27. Vines grown in red, rocky volcanic soil. 5.5 acres of 40-year-old, dryfarmed Riesling planted along with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon adjacent encroaching forest of Madrone - hence the name. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Delicate aromas of lemon zest, green apple, peach and toast. Flavorful range of citrus fruits and peach with a note of iron-driven minerality and bright acidity. Has the goods to age for many years. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Cutruzzola Riven Rock Vineyard San Luis Obispo Riesling

12.5% alc., $22. Fermented in stainless steel. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, vanilla, oiled wood and leather boot. Enjoyable flavors of lemon and white peach with a hint of petrol in the background. Slightly creamy with good finishing acidity. A unique expression of dry Riesling. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Recent Sips of Pinot Noir

NV Longoria Fe Ciega Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.37, TA 0.64, 326 cases, $48. A blend of clones 115, 667, Pommard and Mt. Eden. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, inoculated fermentation, average 12 day fermentation. Aged 14 months in 30% new French oak barrels. Lightly filtered but unfined just before bottling. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Big aromas of blackberry, black plum, peppercorn, spice and subtle contributions from oak. Full flavored, with mid weight purple fruits and Hoison sauce leading the parade. The finish is remarkably intense and persistent. Easy to drink now because of modest tannins, but has the balance to age nicely for several years. One of the most elegant vintages of Fe Ciega that Longoria has produced. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.58, $25. An amalgam of different clones and vine ages with some very old vines dating to 1974. Named after proprietor Barbara Banke’s youngest daughter Julia. Clones 4, 2A, 23, 667, 115, 12, 5 and 777. 7-day cold soak, aged 7 months in 20% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. This wine is often one of my favorite value priced offerings, but this edition has too much oak sheen for my taste which is surprising since the percentage of new oak is very modest. The fruit aromas of dark cherry and blackberry are overshadowed by oak. The lovely fruit core of black cherry, blueberry and pomegranate is earth-blessed, but somewhat buried in oak-driven flavors of tobacco and toast. The finish is satisfying but offers a rush of tannin. Another 6 to 12 months in bottle should mitigate some of the tug of oak and soften the tannins. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.62, 27,240 cases, $25. Harvest Brix 23.6º-26.1º. Clones 113, 115, 459, 667, 777, “828,” Pommard 5, Wädenswil 2A, Martini 13 and Mt. Eden. De-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, quick fermentation lasting 4 days, aged for 11 months in 30% new and 70% neutral Francois Frères and Rousseau French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Sweet aromas of spiced raspberry, cherry, strawberry and a hint of vanilla. An easygoing, very flavorful mid weight wine with polished tannins. A red fruit brigade is featured with plenty of spice, finishing with a flourish of slightly tart red cherries. Eager to be enjoyed now. Widely available in the retail marketplace. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Geyser Peak Winery Pluto’s Fury Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.60, 500 cases, $28. Pluto’s Fury takes its name from one of the historic geysers that dot the landscape around the winery. Historically, the geysers were located in an area of mineral wealth and were given colorful names derived from Greek mythology, stemming from the belief that mineral wealth originated in the domain of Pluto. Winemaker Ondine Chattan. Aged 11 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of cherry, brown spice, mushroom and sweet oak. A lighter weight, easy drinking wine that is soft and silky in the mouth. The flavors of cherry, strawberry and oak spice are enjoyable, and there is commendable harmony. The finish is pleasant but not remarkably long. A solid wine for the daily table. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Windy Oaks Terra Narro Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $29. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Expressive aromas of black cherry, rose petal, cedar and sandalwood hold up nicely over time in the glass. Moderately light on the palate with pleasing flavors of red cherry and supportive oak. A forward-drinking, friendly wine with juicy acidity. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Drew Gatekeepers Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., $32. Grapes are from Valenti and Perli vineyards. 60% 667, 25% 777 and 15% Rochioli selection. Harvest Brix 22º-23º. 15% whole cluster fermentation. 100% native fermentation. 10% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of fresh cherry pie glaze, spice, toast and sunflower seed. Elegant and fresh, with mid weight flavors of black cherry, raspberry, and cranberry with a touch of spice and oak. Tangy acidity and mild fine-grain tannins. Plenty of verve to grab on and hold through a long, cherry-themed finish. Very generous in its youth, but fine the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating it can be cellared for several years. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Longoria Lovely Rita Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.64, 405 cases, $32. Grapes are from Fe Ciega Vineyard. Harvest Brix average 23.0º. Primarily Pommard clone. 100% de-stemmed, aged 15 months in 20% new French oak barrels. Gently fined and filtered two weeks before bottling. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of boysenberry, black cherry, forest floor, herbal oak and salinity. Enjoyable core of fresh, sweet red, spiced cherry and berry fruit. Nicely crafted, with mild tannins and a citrus-infused finish. Winemaker Rick Longoria advises a cellaring potential of 4 to 8 years. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 1,175 cases, $32. Released April 2014. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Fantastic nose with hi-tone aromas of fresh strawberries, cherry pie, spice and oak accent, holding up over time in the glass. Mid weight, juicy array of red cherry and berry fruits backed by supple tannins and good acidity. An elegant, fruit-forward, very accessible wine. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 2,232 cases, $32. Sourced from Pratt Vineyard-Sexton Road and "828" from Camp Castro Vineyard with some Sonatera Vineyard and a few barrels of Hirsch Vineyard. Released April 2014. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Fresh aromas of berries, black grapes, forest floor, toast, vanilla and leather. Mid to full bodied core of black raspberry and blackberry fruits backed by muscular tannins. Finishes with reasonable length and intensity leaving some oak and tannin behind. Should be better in 6 months. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 1,834 cases, $32. Released April 2014. A blend of fruit from John Sebastiano, Clos Pepe and Cargasacchi vineyards. · Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. Oak-kissed blackberry, cassis and vanilla aromas. Vivid and juicy on the palate, with a packed and stacked complement of sweet black cherry and blackberry fruits underlain with a good cut of acidity and backed by modest tannins. Very approachable now. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Sante Arcangeli Family Wines Split Rail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.65, 245 cases, $36. the vineyard is located 1,700 feet above Monterey Bay in Corralitos. An unusual combination of David Bruce selection, UCD 32 (Roederer clone) and Pommard clone. Harvest Brix 23º-25º. 10% whole cluster inclusion. Native and AMH yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 90% French and 10% Hungarian oak barrels, 50% new and 50% used. Bottled unfiltered in August 2013. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Gentle aromas of cherry, strawberry and baking spices lead to a light, elegantly styled wine with flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry complimented by hints of cola, herbs and oak. Bright and juicy with charming Pinot modesty. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 AEQUOREA Seafarer San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $38. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass with an unfiltered appearance. Aromas of oak-kissed cherry and spice. Nicely composed with mid weight flavors of cherry pie, raspberry and cranberry with a noticeable oak sheen. The tantalizing red fruits leave a pleasing impression on the mid palate and expand through the finish that offers some persistence. Very creamy the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kutch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., $39 ($78 per magnum). A blend of two-thirds Campbell Ranch located on a rugged portion of the true Sonoma Coast, and one-third from Sonoma Stage Vineyard on the northern edge of San Pablo Bay. 100% whole cluster. · Deep, dark reddish purple color in the glass. Complex nose with expressive aromas of blackberry, cassis, and whole cluster spice and floral goodness. The full Monty with thick, broad flavors of dark berries, black currants, spice and slate. Although sappy, the wine is not cloying. The sinewy tannin structure is neither astringent or particularly intrusive, but bottle aging will lead to more softness and integration. The finish is satisfying but shy at this stage. Amazing phenolic ripeness at this low alcohol level. Still quite aromatic the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Best to cellar for a few years at least. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Windy Oaks Estate Cuvée Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $39. A mix of 5 clones from the estate home vineyard. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very floral initially, becoming more fruity over time. Intoxicating aromas of spice-infused cherries, roses, herbs, and subtle oak. Delicious essence of fresh cherries with an amalgam of accents including spice, cola, graham and anise. Modest in weight and very polished, with balanced tannins and a lengthy finish filled with cherry goodness. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Laetitia Reserve Du Domaine Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.61, 1,200 cases, $40. Harvest Brix 23.8º-26.8º. Composed of fruit that is given a longer hang time on the vine and a longer period of aging in oak. It is the winery’s Tête de Cuvée representing the paramount of the vintage. Aged 11 months in 40% new and 60% neutral French oak barrels. Clones 115, 667, 459, “828,” Wädenswil 2A and Martini 13. · Gorgeously composed nose of black cherry black raspberry and spice aromas. Concentrated and strapping, with layers of chewy black cherries and dark berries, yet refined and polished with impeccable balance for the long haul. The finish delivers loads of extended pleasure. This wine has the backbone to age well into ten years but is irresistable now. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Laetitia Whole Cluster Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.59, 420 cases,$40. Harvest Brix 23.8º-26.8º. 45% whole cluster maceration and fermentation. Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Better be sitting down when you drink this knock out wine. Copious aromas of black cherry, spice, rose petal and other exotic flowers. Reminds me of a classy woman’s perfume. Seamless and sensual on the palate, offering a festival of spiced black cherries and black raspberries with perfectly integrated tannins and acidity, and a long, supple finish that leaves an impression. Everything good about whole cluster is exemplified in this beauty that has that magical je ne sais quoi that makes people go ga-ga over some red Burgundies. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Arbre Vert Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 399 cases, $42. Released April 2014. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. A festival of earth-kissed cherry fruit on the nose and palate with riffs of clove and citrus, opening slowly over time in the glass. Discreetly concentrated, softly textured and harmonious, with an oak skirt showing. Some length in the mouth and finish with a little grip of tannin and citrus on the finish. Still not very showy the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Definitely needs another 6 to 12 months in bottle for most enjoyment. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Hawk’s View Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 235 cases, $42. Release June 2014. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. The most flamboyant and interesting nose of the Oregon offerings with aromas of black cherry, sassafras, forest floor and graham. Pleasing flavors of black cherry, black raspberry with good fullness and polish on the palate. Impressive persistence on the fruit-filled finish which leaves a modest amount of tannins in its wake. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle, this was clearly my favorite with the most memorable finish of the 2012 Oregon offerings. Will only improve in the cellar. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Muirfield Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 211 cases, $42. Release June 2014. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is inviting with deep aromas of darker cherries and berries, forest floor and savory highlights. Middleweight core of black cherry fruit which is nicely ripened and bright. Fairly bold with a substantial tannic backbone and a juicy finish with hints of citrus and irondriven minerality. About the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. This wine could use another year in bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Van Der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 207 cases, $44. Release May 2014. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. The nose unfolds slowly in the glass to reveal bright aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, tea and wet leaves. Very tasty, with a classy core of black cherry, blueberry and pomegranate fruits backed by sweet oak. The tannins are firm but refined and the finish is spectacularly long. The higher alcohol is evident in the background, but this is a trade off for the sweet, luscious fruit presence. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Longoria Bien Nacido Vineyard Block N Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc, pH 3.51, TA 0.59, 168 cases, $45. 20th vintage of Pinot Noir that Longoria has produced from this vineyard. Block N is one of the original blocks of Pinot Noir at Bien Nacido planted in the 1970s. Harvest Brix 23.8º. 100% de-stemmed, 3- day cold soak, inoculated 7-day fermentation. Aged 14 months in 33% new French oak barrels. · This is a very distinctive wine. Moderately dark reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose starts off with prominent notes of evergreen tree and tomato leaf with a hint of black raspberry and cherry. Over time in the glass, the vegetal notes recede and the fruit is more sparkling. Similarly on the palate, the earthy dark cherry and raspberry fruit is clothed in tobacco leaf and dried herb flavors initially, shedding those notes over time in the glass and developing more pure fruit flavors. This unique wine grows on you over time, with the herbal notes declining and becoming more complimentary. Decant or hold this wine in your cellar for a year or two. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Windy Oaks Diane’s Block Klein Family Mountain Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $45. Grown on a 5-acre slightly warmer site at a lower elevation than the Schultze Family Vineyard. The vineyard is located in an old apple orchard perched 600 feet above Monterey Bay adjacent Schultze Family Vineyard. · Modest reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty to discover in the nose which offers aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, spice, cola and leather glove. Welcome fullness and roundness to the sweet cherry-driven core of fruit complimented by subtle oak highlights. Impeccable balance and easy accessibility with a pleasingly silken finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Eric Kent Small Town Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.66, 382 cases, $48. Released spring 2014. 44% Cleary Ranch and Michael Valentine, 31% Grand Vent, 13% Stiling, 12% Roberts Road vineyards. Clones 667, 777, Swan, Pommard and 113. Celebrating tens years of wine and art. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Attractive aromas of cherry and baking spices with a little dark chocolate showing up over time. Middleweight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, cola and sassafras, with a hint of tarry oak and orange zest showing up on the long, palate-cleansing, juicy finish. The tannins are nicely managed and the acid adds zest and vibrancy. Develops more interesting nuances over time in the glass. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Ewald Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 257 cases, $48. Release May 2014. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Complex nose with aromas of black cherry, black raspberry, briar, pine, spice rub, and others I could not pinpoint. Full-bodied, sweet and sappy, with a plethora of black fruits. Tremendous luscious fruit intensity with matched tannins. Complimentary oak in the background. The wine becomes softer and more cohesive with more nuance over time in the glass, but make no mistake, this is a fruit driven wine. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri John Sebastiano Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 352 cases, $48. Released April 2014. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Enticing aromas of blackberry jam, sassafras, vanilla and earthy flora. Delicious array of dark cherry and berry fruits supported by suave tannins. Very charming soft mouth feel with plenty of finishing grace. A very appealing, beautifully composed and seamless wine that will only get better in the cellar. A real standout. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Lingenfelder Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 211 cases, $48. Release June 2014. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Very aromatic, with expressive scents of cherry, nutmeg and rose petal. Good attack and finish with plenty of sappy black cherry fruit. Juicy and refined, but shouldering too much oak at present. This wine should be cellared for at least a year to integrate the oak. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 235 cases, $48. Release June 2014. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Exuberant nose with vibrant aromas of dark red cherries and berries, rose petals and wet earth. Highly flavorful featuring black raspberry, cassis and plum with an oak sheen. Velvety soft and silky in the mouth with balanced, suede tannins. The wine finishes with ornate fruit and a slight bit of heat. Needs more time to integrate the oak. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Sonatera Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 368 cases, $48. Release June 2014. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of cherry pie glaze, raspberries and exotic wood. Rich and luscious flavors of dark plum, black cherry, sassafras and spice with complimentary oak and balanced tannins. A pleasurable, fruit-driven wine with a plush mouth feel. A touch of heat shows up on the finish. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Parson’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 258 cases, $50. Released April 2014. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Black fruits are featured with a heavy dose of charred oak and cigar box evident on the nose and palate. Luscious black cherry and blackberry core with muscular, slightly astringent tannins and a generous finish filled with plenty of fruit goodness. An awkward bruiser right now that will benefit from more time in bottle. Score: 87-88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 376 cases, $50. Release May 2014. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Shy red cherry fruit with accents of stem and oak spice on the nose. The earthy cherry core has a cooked fruit tone. A feminine wine that is very dainty in this vintage. Currently, the oak and tannins stick out. Slightly tart cherry holds on at the finish which has a slight burn. About the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Drew Morning Dew Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc., $55. Vineyard is owned by Burt Williams and located in the deep end of the Anderson Valley on a steep, south-facing hillside. Multiple field selections including Rochioli and La Tache “828.” Harvest Brix 22.5º-23º. 30% whole cluster fermentation. 100% native fermentation. 33% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of black cherry, red grape, brown spice and sandalwood. Refined and elegant in style, with deep cherry and red raspberry flavors underlain with hints of spice and stem. A complete wine with balanced tannins, refreshing acidity and a long, bright, raspberry-infused finish with no hard edges. Good for long-term cellaring but thoroughly enjoyable now. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Longoria Fe Ciega Vineyard Block M Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.20, TA 0.60, 67 cases, $55. Second vintage produced exclusively from fruit planted in the 1.25-acre Block M of Fe Ciega Vineayrd. Mt. Eden Clone. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, inoculated 14-day fermentation. Aged 25 months in 55% new French oak. Lightly filtered, but not fined. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is very ingratiating, offering plenty of dark red and black berry fruit aromas. In fact, one sniff of this beauty and you know that you are in for something special. Delicious, perfectly ripened flavors of black raspberry, black cherry and plum reduction sauce. Medium to full bodied with round, dry tannins, a very polished mouth feel and a long, long finish. Clearly a very classy wine that any red-blooded pinotphile will adore. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Siduri Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 276 cases, $55. Release June 2014. Three new sections of vineyard added in 2012 as original section sourced wince 1995 was largely pulled out due to disease. A selection of 39% of the barrels for the final wine. 5 barrels of Pommard, 3 barrels each of Mt Eden and 114. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very reticent, but shows tremendous potential. Aromas of black cherry, blackberry jam and sassafras. Mid weight flavors of black raspberry, black cherry and pomegranate with an earthy, leathery undertow. Very classy fruit with well managed tannins and admirable balance. Not particularly interesting now, but the pedigree shows through. Should be a killer in a year or two. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Dutton-Goldfield Angel Camp Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.59, 306 cases, $58. This vineyard is owned by Dan Goldfield’s good friend Brian Zalaznick, who planted this 11.5-acre vineyard in memory of his brother and family. It is located west of Philo on a knoll above the Navarro River, overlooking the valley. 100% de-stemmed, 5-day cold soak, co-fermentation of clones (Pommard, “828,” and 667), 50% of press wine added back to enhance aromatics, aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple robe in the glass. This is one of those wines that you know is special from the get-go. Enormous aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, spice and sweet oak. Medium to full bodied and lush, it is crammed with zesty black cherry and black raspberry fruit with an undertone of cola, Asian 5-spice and dark chocolate. The tannins are modest and finegrained, the lip-smacking acidity adds juiciness, and the supple finish is remarkably long and focused. The wine holds up beautifully after3 an hour in the glass. Like biting into a just picked, perfectly ripe black raspberry. An absolute knockout! Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.58, 498 cases, $58. This vineyard just outside the town of Graton was planted by Steve Dutton in 2001. Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil 2A, and “828” in Goldridge soil. 100% destemmed, 5-day cold soak, each clone fermented and handled separately, aged 11 months in 55% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is very shy initially and evolves reluctantly over time to reveal aromas of blackberry preserves, blueberries, and an appealing floral note. Mid weight flavors of blackberry, blueberry, pomegranate and Tootsie Roll with a touch of spice, backed by suave, dusty tannins and good acidity. Texturally interesting and soft in the mouth, with admirable balance, and a generous dark berry driven finish. Decant this beauty if you must open now, but it will be more giving with another year or two in bottle. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Kutch Falstaff Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., $59. Falstaff has a shallow layer of Goldridge soil over marine sandstone that imparts a minerality to the wine. 100% whole cluster. · Deep, dark reddish purple color in the glass. Brooding aromas of blackberry jam, black currant, anise and smoky oak. Remarkable fruit intensity with a full-on array of dark berry fruits embellished with hints of spice and earthy goodness. The wine exhibits a tannin-filled personality that is in balance with the prodigious fruit. Very soft and smooth in the mouth with a long, fruit-laden finish. More aromatic with the telltale floral and spice attributes of whole cluster and more flavorful the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Tremendous potential that will require several years of cellaring, but can be enjoyed now with decanting. Score: 92-93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Gundlach Bundschu Heritage Selection Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.83, TA 0.56, 308 cases, $N/A (allocation only). Released March 2014. Grapes are from the Bundschu family’s 150+year-old vineyard located on the southwestern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, eight miles north of San Pablo Bay. Huichica clay loam with gravel deposits. Two distinct blocks of 40+year-old Heritage vines were harvested and vinified separately for this limited barrel selection bottling. 7-day cold soak, indigenous yeast and malolactic, partially fermented in upright open-top French oak puncheons, aged 14 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Effusive aromas of black cherry, blueberry, rose petal and spice rub. Striking flavor attack on entry with plenty of dark cherry and black raspberry fruit that really pops! Hints of anise, black tea and nuts from supportive oak add interest. Very soothing in texture with balanced fine-grain tannins and a drawn out finish. A unique, nuanced wine that changes constantly in the glass. An argument for old vine Heritage clones. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Waterstone Carneros Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.56, 868 cases, $22. Sourced from Diamond Vineyard and Truchard Vineyard. 100% de-stemmed, whole berry fermented in open top fermenters, aged 16 months in 35% new and 65% used French oak barrels. Minimal fining and filtration before bottling. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, plum and nutty-tobacco infused oak. Mid to full bodied core of earthy dark cherry, raspberry and plum fruits with modest tannins and a short finish. Good without being special. Score: 85. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Lea Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 635 cases, $32. A blend from Turner, Buona Terra and Moorman vineyards. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, tea leaves and hay. Straightforward and accessible with flavors of black cherry and dark red berries accented by dusty oak in the background. This wine grows on you over time, offering a notable long finish with a good acid tang. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Colene Clemens Vineyards Margo Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., $34. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, rose petal and sandalwood emerge slowly over time in the glass. Very similar to Adriane but with darker fruit flavors of black cherry and sassafras with a pleasant oak sheen. Light to medium weight with balanced tannins and a very dry finish. Seems a bit tight and should benefit from a year in the cellar. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Elk Cove Mount Richmond Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $34. This vineyard is located on a steep southeast facing slope with well-drained Willakenzie soil. Planted in 1996 with cuttings from Elk Cove’s Roosevelt Vineyard. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Deep aromas of cherry, strawberry, leather wallet and oak. Satisfying flavors of cherry and red berries with complimentary oak in the background. Supple tannins with a tangy, cherry themed finish. A good food wine. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Colene Clemens Vineyards Adriane Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $45. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. Rather shy aromas of oak-shaded black cherries. Mid weight core of red and black cherries and cranberries with tobacco-laced oak in the background. Well-managed tannins and some finishing length, becoming better over time in the glass. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the oak-kissed red cherry theme persisted. Could use a little more time in bottle. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 EN GARDE Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $48. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of strawberry, cut flowers and sandalwood. Mid weight flavors of strawberry, raspberry with a compliment of nutty oak. Noticeable tannin and zippy acidity producing a tangy finish of some length. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Colene Clemens Vineyards Victoria Estate Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., $58. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Expressive aromas of dark cherry liquor, black raspberry jam, spice and briar. The most polished and rich wine of the three 2011 Pinot Noirs, featuring a flavorful core of dark cherry accented with spicy oak. Very harmonious, but not fully forthcoming and will need a year or two in the cellar. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 EN GARDE Russian River Valley Reserve Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 100 cases, $58. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Very nice perfume of Bing cherry, raspberry, caramel and spice. Tasty essence of Bing cherries with a long cherry-driven finish. Seamless with balanced t n‘ a. Juicy and very satisfying. Highly accessible now, but has the balance to age effortlessly. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Trombetta Family Wines Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 530 cases, $58. Clones are Swan, 777 and “828” planted between 2002 and 2005. Yield 2.3 tons per acre. Harvest Brix 25º. Fermented with native yeast, extended cold soak and maceration, native MLF in barrel, aged 9 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, blackberry and toasty oak are slow to arrive on the nose, but when they do, the experience draws you into the glass. Mid to full-bodied essence of dark Bing cherries with cola and oak in the background and a touch of citrus on the finish. A cohesive wine with plenty of sappy fruit balanced by integrated tannins. I liked the wine more as it unfolded in the glass over time. Very similar in character to a moderately bold Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Runner up at recent Pigs and Pinot Sommelier Smackdown in Healdsburg. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.59, 3,091 cases, $60. The winery’s signature wine that represents the entirety of this multifaceted vineyard. This wine has fruit from 27 distinct farming blocks, more than any other wine made from the Hirsch Vineyard. Vines planted between 1980 and 2003. Clones are Pommard and Wädenswil (48%), Swan (21%), 777 (14%) and small amounts of Mt Eden and 114. 10% whole cluster inclusion. Aged 18 months in 35% new French oak barrels. Second vintage crafted by winemaker Ross Cobb. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. A haunting, searching perfume of black fruits, spice box, rose petal and herbs. Mid weight flavors of plum, boysenberry and cassis that are ripe and pure framed by balanced tannins. Invigorating and accessible, with an explosive finish of uncommon length. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hirsch Vineyards East Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.4% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.62, 301 cases, $85. East Ridge is a distinct microsite within Hirsch Vineyard, comprising an area of 18 acres divided into 16 farming blocks. This wine is a selection of the very best barrels from five of the oldest blocks on the East Ridge. 58.3% Pommard and Wädenswil, 33.3% Mt Eden and 8.3% Swan. Vines planted between 1990 and 1998. 20% whole cluster inclusion. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Pure, clean aromas of blackberry jam, Hoison sauce, spice and damp soil. More intensity and length here, with rich flavors of earth-kissed purple and black fruits flooding the palate, complimented by a dusting of tannins and a bright spark of acidity. The wine finishes with an immensely satisfying finish that goes on and on. Terrific juice. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hirsch Vineyards West Ridge Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.61, 195 cases, $85. West Ridge is a series of hilltop vineyard blocks along the main ridge of Hirsch Vineyard covering 28 acres and divided into 27 farming blocks. This bottling is a selection of the most exceptional barrels from three of the very best blocks on West Ridge. 50% Mt Eden, 47.5% Swan and 12.5% Pommard and Wädenswil. Vines planted between 1992 and 1995. 10% whole cluster inclusion. Aged 18 months in 25% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Delicate, but pleasing aromas of red cherry, raspberry jam and Christmas pine. Lighter and more elegant, with a little more oak sheen overshadowing the crisp cherry and raspberry fruit. More citrus-driven acidity in this wine that offers very suave tannins and easy accessibility. A more feminine wine, but like the San Andreas and East Ridge bottlings, a very long and tantalizing finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 EN GARDE Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $48. Unfined and unfiltered. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Initially, the aromas of red strawberry, red cherry, spice and sandalwood are quite charming, but oak dominates over time in the glass. Light weighted flavors of red berries, rhubarb and cherry with a tarry oak note that intrudes in the background. Supple tannins and some finishing intensity. Score: 87. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Bohème English Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 221 cases, $49. This vineyard is located on the southwestern edge of the Russian River Valley. Clones are 115, 667, Vosne-Romanee, and Calera selections. Yield .89 tons per acre. Aged 2 years in neutral French oak barrels. · Plenty to like on the nose with uplifting aromas of black cherry, spice and earthy flora. Elegant and suave, with darker stone and berry fruits augmented with cinnamon spice. There is a good cut of acidity and some finishing persistence. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Bohème Stuller Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 285 cases, $49. Vineyard is located at 1,209 feet elevation on a coastal ridge, 6.4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Clones 115 and 667. Yield .99 tons per acre. Aged 2 years in neutral French oak barrels. From owner-vintner Kurt Beitler. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Cherry is the dominant scent on the nose with added compliments of forest floor and leaf. Earth-kissed cherry flavor with hints of raspberry and dark chocolate. Very mild tannins and easy to drink, but a little delicate for my taste on the attack and finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Bohème Taylor Ridge Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 189 cases, $55. Vineyard is at 915 feet elevation, 5.3 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Swan selection, yields 1.09 tons per acre. Aged 2 years in neutral French oak barrels. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of red cherry, Christmas spice and sandalwood. Soft and elegant in the mouth with supple tannins backing the delicious core of red cherry and cranberry fruits. A delicate wine, but flavorful and very enjoyable. The cherrythemed finish is noteworthy. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 EN GARDE Russian River Valley Reserve Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $58. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Deep, glorious aromas of black cherry with a hint of spice and sandalwood. More structure and finish and a riper fruit profile than the regular bottling offering flavors of black cherry, plum reduction sauce, cola, dark chocolate and anise. The fruit pushes the ripeness envelope resulting in a cooked fruit tone and a little heat peaks out on the finish. Score: 87. 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.