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This winery was founded in 2011 by winemaker Byron Mignanelli, whose sole focus is creating site-driven coastal California Pinot Noir. The winery started in a garage and has now moved into a professional facility where modern equipment is available.
The wines undergo native fermentation with 40% or more whole cluster. There are minimal additions if any (only Santa Lucia Highlands wines received acid additions in 2013). The wines are aged on fine lees and racked before bottling.
The wines are very modestly priced considering the quality. The wines are sold through a mailing list.
2014 Mignanelli Nelson Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
13.4% alc., $28. Vineyard planted in 1999 at 1,700 feet elevation in ancient marine sedimentary soil. Mt. Eden and Old Wente selections. Native fermentation, French oak barrel fermented (20% new), 100% malolactic fermentation. Mt. Eden and Old Wente selections. · Light lemon yellow color in the glass. Exuberant perfume of lemon cream, tropical fruits, buttery brioche, caramel and floral bouquet. Crisp, vivid and bright on the palate, with fruit flavors of lemon and pineapple and a hint of salinity. Harmonious, clean and fresh, with plenty of fruit goodness, and a vibrant disposition. Score: 92. Reviewed December 1, 2016 ARTICLE »
2014 Mignanelli Highlands Ranch Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $32. An 18- acre vineyard planted in 2001. Native fermentation, 40% whole cluster with hand and feet punchdowns. Clones are 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. Aged in French oak barrels on the lees, 20% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose evolves over time nicely, offering scents of briery black cherry, game, rose petal and vanilla. Modest in weight, with flavors of black raspberry, black plum, blackberry and tobacco. The whole cluster contributes more to the nose than palate, but does not generate unwieldy tannins. The wine picks up approachability and finishing intensity over time in the glass. Score: 90. Reviewed December 1, 2016 ARTICLE »
2014 Mignanelli KW Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $32 (sold out). A 6-acre vineyard planted in 2000 by Kirk William located between Rosella’s and Garys’ vineyards but lower in elevation. Soils are decomposed granite with quartz. Native fermentation, 60% whole cluster, hand and feet punchdowns. Clones are Pommard and 667. Aged in neutral French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, cola, spice, sweet pipe smoke and even a hint of diaper. Full-bodied, with a delectable sweet black cherry core accented with notes of spice and stem. The fine-grain tannins are modest and the wine tempts with a pleasing finish. The added whole cluster adds more nuance and interest in this wine. A manly, daring wine that remains very agreeable. Score: 92. Reviewed December 1, 2016 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. Reviewed January 16, 2017 ARTICLE »
2014 Mignanelli Saveria 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. Reviewed January 16, 2017 ARTICLE »
2013 Magnanelli Highlands Ranch Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.57, 145 cases, $26. This 18-acre vineyard is planted to a variety of Pinot Noir clones. Gravelly sandy loam soils. Harvest Brix 23.8º. Clones 115, 777 and Pommard. 40% whole cluster. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very pleasant scent of cherry pie glaze, baking spices and dark red rose petal. Plush and velvety on the palate, with a generous charge of well ripened black cherry and black raspberry fruits with a wink of dark chocolate accent. Whole cluster plays only a subtle role in this wine which has beautifully integrated tannins and acidity. The seductive mouthfeel and seamless character speaks loudly of Pinot Noir. Score: 92. Reviewed November 5, 2015 ARTICLE »
2013 Mignanelli KW Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.59, 135 cases, $32. This 6-acre vineyard is the home ranch of Kirk Williams, a Santa Lucia Highlands farmer who owns or manages 150 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. The vineyard sits between Rosella’s and Garys’ vineyard but lower in elevation and in closer proximity to the old Salinas River. The gravelly loam soils consist of decomposed granite and significant amounts of quartz. Harvest Brix 23.3º. 50% whole cluster. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is filled with delightful cherry and spice perfume. Well-composed, with the mid weight essence of black cherry and blackberry fruits working in harmony with a light touch of oak. Whole cluster adds a spice and floral accent that I find very appealing. The wine is well structured with ripe fruit tannins and finishes with a generous fruit presence. Score: 91. Reviewed November 5, 2015 ARTICLE »
2013 Mignanelli Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
12.8% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.61, 140 cases, $36. The grapes were sourced from the dry farmed Nelson Family Vineyard, occupying 9 acres at 1700 feet elevation. Sparse topsoil with marine sediment below. Harvest Brix 21.1º (clone 115) and 22.3º (clone “828”). The two clones were fermented and aged separately, and combined after 11 months in barrel. 75% whole cluster. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose opens slowly to reveal very appealing aromas of dark red cherry and raspberry with notes of exotic spice and wilted rose petal. Lighter in weight, but flavorful, featuring a core of red cherry, Damsel plum, raspberry and cranberry fruits accented nicely with whole cluster spice. This rather delicate wine has balanced tannins and bright acidity with oak playing a seasoning role in the background. The finish is a bit short, but otherwise the wine is solid and will particularly attract whole cluster fans. Score: 89. Reviewed November 5, 2015 ARTICLE »
2013 Mignanelli Roma's Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.61, 75 cases, $42. This small family owned and dry farmed vineyard was planted exclusively to Pinot Noir in 1992. Located on a ridge 1800 feet above the town of Boonville, it is exposed to cold Pacific Ocean breezes. The site struggled to ripen in 2013. Pommard clone. 25% whole cluster fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. There is a nice compliment of whole cluster goodness in this mid weight wine featuring aromas of charred plum, black cherry and exotic spice, and flavors of black raspberry, blueberry, spice and a thread of oak. Texturally appealing with fine grain tannins and a bit of citrus blessed acidity in the background. Score: 91. Reviewed November 5, 2015 ARTICLE »