Bjørnstad Cellars

Owner(s) Greg Bjornstad
Web site www.bjornstadcellars.com
 
Link to this site

Greg Bjornstad produces small quantities of handcrafted, vineyard-designate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Bennett Valley and Sonoma Mountain appellations. Greg has an impressive resume. After graduate studies at UC Davis, Greg joined Joseph Phelps Vineyards as their viticulturist and later held the same position at Newton. In 1996, he joined Flowers Vineyard & Winery as vineyard manager and assistant winemaker. Flowers won the title, "Artisan Winery of the Year," two years in a row by Wine & Spirits magazine while Greg worked there. In 1999, he launched a successful international vineyard consulting business and has assisted winegrowers in Russia, South Africa and Australia as well as known clients in the United States such as DuMol, Hirsch, Kistler, Kosta Browne, Paul Hobbs, Pisoni and Scott Paul. He founded his own label in 2005.

Two vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs are produced from the Hellenthal Vineyard in the true Sonoma Coast and the van der Kamp Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain.

The wines are sold primarily through a mailing list with limited retail distribution.

Reviewed Wines

2008 Bjørnstad Cellars Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 221 cases, $25. Released 7/10. · Straw color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Shy aromas of citrus peel, brioche, brown butter and stainless. Demurely flavored with notes of lemons, white peaches and buttered brioche. Slightly creamy in texture. A solid offering. Good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Bjørnstad Cellars Barbed Oak Vineyard Bennett Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 115 cases, $30. Release 12/11. Golden straw color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. · Terrific nose offering scents of petrichor, crabapple and poached apple. Varied flavors including peaches, bananas foster, brown butter, roasted nuts and a hint of citrus. A uniquely flavored wine with a slightly creamy texture, finishing with a bright lift of acidity and impressive persistence of fruit. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Bjørnstad Cellars Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., 129 cases, $40. Release 12/11. · Yellow-straw color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Appealing aromas of apples, roasted almonds, and subtle butter accent. Delicious core of crisp green apples, marzipan and spice. Discreet but flavorful with bright acidity that drives one to take another sip. A superb rendition from this iconic Russian River Valley Chardonnay vineyard. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Bjørnstad Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 194 cases, $40. Released 11/10. · Moderate reddish-purple color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Earthy black stone fruit and berry aromas and flavors predominate with an exotic bent. Well-mannered sinewy tannins beautifully frame the fruit and the whole package is seamless. This wine has that rugged, musky, wild appeal common to true Sonoma Coast bottlings and is a joy to drink. Hellenthal Vineyard Pinot Noir typically takes a few years to reach its full expression and this wine should follow that theme although it is hard to resist now. Source: mailing list, website. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Bjørnstad Van Der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 175 cases, $40. Released 10/10. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Brooding nose offering shy aromas of blackberries and cassis with a touch of toasty oak. Another beautifully crafted wine with a luscious core of berry flavors, well-integrated oak, supple tannins, satiny mouth feel and a hint of savory herbs on the silky finish. Mountain Pinots can sometimes be daunting, but this one is unplugged and very charming. I suspect cellaring will bring the nose to life. Very good. Source: mailing list and website. Reviewed July 1, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Bjornstad Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc.. · A bit exotic with aromas of ripe plum, wild berries and toasty oak. Richly fruited and flavorful with husky tannins but with a marvelous velvety texture and a refreshing spark of acidity on the lingering finish. Very good. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Bjørnstad Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 221 cases, $25, released May 15, 2010. · Appealing aromas of cooked pear, brown butter, caramel and oak fading some in the glass replaced by green apple notes. Tasty citrus and pear flavors with a hint of honey. Not as rich or striking as the vineyard-designated Chardonnays, but a solid wine with a slightly creamy mouth feel and a bright, clingy finish. A go-to wine for everyday enjoyment. Good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Bjørnstad Barbed Oak Vineyard Bennett Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 116 cases, $30, released January 15, 2010. This vineyard was planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 2005 on well-drained Spreckles Series soils. The Bennett Valley AVA is a very cool region due to the onshore winds of the Pacific Ocean which enter through the Petaluma Gap. · This is a very charming wine with an alluring perfume of nectarine, banana and butter evolving in the glass to aromas of lemon and brown spice. Delicious on the palate with discreetly rich flavors of buttered toast, malted milk, roasted nuts, lemon, and poached white peaches that persist on the endless lemony finish. Harmonious in every way with the signature Bjornstad creaminess on display. Very good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Bjønstad Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., 152 cases, $40, released March 1, 2010. Gard and Lori Hellenthal first planted this vineyard in the true Sonoma Coast in 1980. Bjornstad directed the planting and farming of a newer block developed beginning in 2000 from which Bjornstad is the sole recipient. · A savory aroma profile showing intense plum fruit, forest floor, and a hint of oak. Wellendowed with a hearty core of dark red and black fruits, game and earth. You can almost taste the soil in this wine. Healthy, but ripe tannins, a satiny mouth feel, and impressive persistence on the feral finish. Hellenthal Pinot Noirs can be monolithic and tannic, but this wine shows none of these traits. The best Pinot Noir I have ever had from this vineyard. Still singing the next day from an opened and recorked bottle indicating balance and age ability. A California classic. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Bjønstad Porter-Bass Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 64 cases, $40, released October 1, 2009. This vineyard dates to 1980 and is farmed organically and biodynamically. Clones are Rued (a Musque selection) and Wente. Soils are gravelly clay loam, a fractured shale that commonly underlies the Goldridge Series. Bjornstad has worked with this vineyard since 1997. · Nuanced aromatic profile of lemon meringue, rock quarry, chalk dust, grass and a hint of oak. Very smooth and creamy in the mouth with flavors of green apple, pastry cream, citrus and a striking minerality. Discreet richness, facile tannins and a tangy finish. The most Chablis-like Chardonnay in the lineup. Very good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Bjørnstad Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.7% alc., 200 cases, $40, released May 1, 2010. This revered vineyard has been farmed by Kent Ritchie since 1972. The soils are in the Goldridge Series and are well drained, sandy loams. The Bjornstad block is planted to an Old Wente field selection that includes a very floral clone known as Musque. Bjornstad has worked with Kent and his fruit since 1997. · Slight haze in the glass (unfiltered). Shy but pleasing aromas of lemon zest, toffee, vanilla and crushed rock, with a whiff of alcohol peaking out. Rich and full-bodied flavors of golden apple and pears with a bright accent of minerality. There is deft use of oak and a striking creaminess to the texture. The biggest Chardonnay in the lineup and the most Caliesque. This wine will find many hedonistic-seeking fans. Very good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Bjørnstad van der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.5%, 128 cases, $40, released October 1, 2009. This cherished vineyard, farmed by the van der Kamp family, has some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in Sonoma County. · Pinot Noir from this mature vineyard always possesses distinctive and interesting nuances. The aromas are more savory than fruity and feature wild berries, smoky oak and a hint of barnyard. On the palate, darker fruits are underlain with an appealing earthiness and meatiness. The tannins are reigned in and there is a good nip of acidity on the bright finish. My notes say, “Love the texture!” The wine picks up interest and intensity as it opens in the glass over time. Still drank beautifully the next day from an opened and re-corked bottle. You need some of this. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »