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Loring Wine Company

Owner(s) Brian Loring, Kimberly Loring
Web site www.loringwinecompany.com
 
Link to this site
Loring Wine Company

I first wrote about self-admitted “pinot freak” and owner of Loring Wine Company, Brain Loring, in 2002 when his wines were receiving considerable press and interest. While in college, he worked at a wine store in Southern California where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic. Brian’s first experiences with Burgundy were from producers he quickly admired like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer and Domaine Romanee-Conti (who wouldn’t?). Early safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle of the 1980s were unsatisfying until he tried some wines from Calera. Eventually he came to understand and enjoy other California Pinot Noirs like Williams Selyem, Chalone and Sanford.

It was the friendship he developed with winemaker Norm Beko of Cottonwood Canyon Winery that got him started in the wine business. While participating in the 1997 crush, he made two barrels of his own Pinot Noir and the Loring Wine Company was hatched. He would say, "After asking Norm 10,000 questions about winemaking and working the crush, I was total hooked."

The name he chose for his own winery, Loring Wine Company, was a homage to Josh Jensen and the Calera Wine Company . Brian was to be one of the early boutique California Pinot Noir producers to enter the field cold so to speak (he was a software engineer). Unimpressed by his own good fortune and success, he has shared his enthusiasm and knowledge freely, and inspired a number of other pinot freaks such as Greg Piatigorski (Alcina Cellars), Jamie Kutch (Kutch Wines), and Andrew Vingiello (A.P. Vin).

His success has been predicated in part on his insistence of acquiring first-rate Pinot Noir grapes from prestigious vineyards. Anyone in the business can tell you that you can’t make great Pinot Noir from inferior grapes (although many try). He never professed to be an experienced winegrower, so he allowed vineyard owners to farm his blocks as they farmed the ones they used for their own label.

He began humbly, with 150 cases of Pinot Noir in 1999, increased this to 950 cases by 2002, and had made 6,000 cases in 2006. This plateau will allow him to devote his energies full-time to make wine for Loring Wine Company as well as consulting on other projects. An investment group who were fans of Loring’s wines started Pali Wine Company and built a large winemaking facility in Lompoc. Brian initially crafted the Pinot Noirs for Pali in exchange for the use of the new winery for producing his own Loring Wine Company Pinot Noirs, but has since split off into his own Lompoc winery.

The Brian Loring style is representative of the New World or “Caliesque” Pinot Noirs in that the wines are dark-hued, bursting with showy and sappy fruit, full-bodied in structure, possessing a toasted oak character from the use of plentiful medium toast new French oak, and in some cases, firm tannins, and normally significant alcohol levels. In recent vintages (since 2007), Loring is picking at lower sugar levels to moderate the alcohol and although the style is still intense, the wines have better acidity and balance.

In 2009, Loring branched out into Chardonnays and a red wine called Divergence.

The wines are sold through a mailing list and there is widespread retail distribution. Tasting is by appointment in the "Lompoc Wine Ghetto," behind the Home Depot in Lompoc. The tasting room is open Friday through Sunday from 12:00 to 5:00 (Monday through Thursday by appointment - 805-742-0478).

Reviewed Wines

2012 Loring Wine Company Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $32, screwcap. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of Bing cherry, spice and oak cask which tend to fade a bit over time in the glass. Rich and juicy with plenty of sweet, sappy black cherry fruit accented with cola and peppery spice. A fruit-driven wine with well-integrated tannins that aims to please. Score: 87. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $32, screwcap. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Initially brooding, the nose comes alive over time in the glass offering effusive aromas of black berry and stone fruits, cardamom spice and a hint of toasty oak. Rich and luscious on the palate offering an intensely flavored essence of boysenberries with notes of black plums and other black fruits. The mouthfeel is creamy and the tannins are beautifully integrated. The fruit is the star in this wine, coating every nook and cranny in the mouth, and persisting with uncommon intensity on the big finish. A tremendous value. Score: 90. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $32, screwcap. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose veers to a very ripe and roasted fruit profile. The aromas include dark berries, sarsaparilla, raisin, spice and bark. Very well-endowed with sappy, dark berry, black cherry and black plum fruit with a hint of spice and dark chocolate. Despite its heft, the wine is polished with modest tannins. Sta. Rita Hills really shined in 2012. Score: 88. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Aubaine Vineyard San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $50, screwcap. · Dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. Well-spiced black raspberry aromas hinting of whole cluster. Delicious and hedonistic, with full-bodied flavors of dark berries, black cherries, exotic spices and mocha. A huge wine that still has some grip and lift and is appealing for its tamed tannins and balanced composure. Score: 93. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Cargassachi Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $50, screwcap. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring perfume of fresh blackberry tart, currants and earthy flora. A killer on the palate with massive concentration of deep purple and black berry fruits (but not jammy), with a subtle underlying earthy, animale character. The tannins are reigned in and balanced, and the striking finish grabs hold and won’t let go. An unabashed, unapologetic, hedonistic wine of uncommon flamboyance. The expression of earthiness in this vineyard sets it apart. A great vintage for Cargassachi Vineyard. Score: 94. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Clos Pepe Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $50, screwcap. · Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. This is the most seductive and elegant wine in the Loring lineup for 2012. Aromatically enticing with deep aromas of ripe red cherries, sarsaparilla and sandalwood. Very soft in the mouth with elegant tannins. A discreetly concentrated array of dark red fruits quite is pure and vivid. The fruit veers to the ripe side but never crosses over to the dark side. Score: 92. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $50, screwcap. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Slow to evolve on the nose, but eventually very enticing with scents of ollaliberry jam, black raspberries and baking spices. Full-bodied but streamlined, with a decadent core of dark red berry fruits. Smooth and bright with well-proportioned tannin and a complimentary oak sheen. The amazing finish is ridiculously long, returning over a minute for several encores. The longest finish of all the Loring wines in this vintage. Score: 93. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $50, screwcap. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very ripe fruited with aromas of black cherries, plums, and oak-driven vanilla and smoke. Rich, plush and decadent flavors of vanilla-infused black cherry cola with a touch of oak sheen. Highly approachable, with modest tannins and some finishing presence that leaves some oak in its wake. Very good for this style. Score: 89. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Graham Family Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $50, screwcap. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy but pleasing aromas of black cherries, black raspberries and oak bark. Vigorous with black cherry and cola flavor, even saucy and lush, with balanced tannins, a very smooth mouth feel, and a powerful display of Maraschino cherry on the flashy finish. Score: 90. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Keefer Ranch Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., $50, screwcap. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of red cherries and berries with hints of bramble, sandalwood and sous-bois. A tasty, moderately rich wine strutting an array of red fruits accented with spice, red licorice and hazelnut. Very soft tannins and easy to drink, but brings a bit of heat on the finish. Likable, but I believe this vineyard lends itself to earlier harvesting which can fully reveal the crispness that the vineyard is known and revered for. Score: 88. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., $50, screwcap. · Dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. An intoxicating nose reveals exotic spices and fresh red and black berries, becoming more appealing over time in the glass. A big, rich pussycat of a wine with a sappy core of spiced black cherry, blueberry, and dark raspberry fruits. The tannins are well-matched and the finish, which throws a bit of heat, is powerful and generous. A big wine for this vineyard which is usually the most feminine of the Pisoni-Franscioni assembly of vineyards. Score: 90. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2012 Loring Wine Company Russell Family Vineyard Paso Robles Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., $50, screwcap. · Very dark purple color in the glass. Aromas of black raspberry, black currant, tar, cigar box and clay loam. Full-bodied with a load of very ripe, dark berry fruit. Big, big, big, almost syrupy with a velvety presence and a charge of oak on the finish. A brute of a Pinot Noir that lacks appeal. Score: 85. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Loring Wine Company Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $40. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Enticing aromatics, featuring bright scents of cherries, dark red raspberries and spice. Crisp and hi-spirited, composed of middleweight red fruits that are pure and vibrant, supple tannins, complimentary oak treatment, and a finish of excellent length. Definitely ripe in character, but hard to ignore. The name “Garys’ Vineyard” on a bottle is a reliable guarantee of quality. Very good. Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Loring Wine Company Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.9%, $48. · A big, full-on style of Chardonnay in the Kistler tradition with plenty of attractive buttery white stone fruit and citrus aromas and flavors. Oak is involved but not intrusive, while the alcohol lends body and creaminess. Very good. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Loring Wine Company Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $48, screw cap. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of fresh cherries and ripe strawberries. Round and polished in the mouth with a refined core of ripe, dark red cherries and berries, finishing long with a cherry-fueled intensity. This wine displays the most juiciness and tension of the Loring wines tasted this day and exhibits impeccable balance. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Loring Wine Company Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $48, screw cap. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very ripe fruit profile displaying aromas and flavors of blackberries, black currants, black plum, raisin and sassafras. Moderately dense with a long fruit-laden finish. Silky soft in the mouth. The fruit really sings in this wine. Good (+). Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Loring Wine Company Graham Family Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., $48, screw cap. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of Bing cherry, cola, cigar box, and a touch of oak. Fully ripe flavors of dark red cherries and black raspberries on a middleweight frame with a subtle oak char underpinning, offering impressive mid palate richness and some length on the finish. Still young and linear at this stage. Tasted twice. Good. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Loring Wine Company Keefer Ranch Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., $48, screw cap. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of hi-tone black cherries with pie spice. Lush black cherry fruit with hints of herbal oak and cola. Seductively soft in the mouth with reasonable length on the finish. Lacks the usual tension of wines from this cool vineyard and overplays the fruit angle, but is still a very alluring drink. This vineyard consistently outperforms many others from this region. Very good. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Loring Wine Company Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., $48, screw cap. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Dark red fruits including ripe strawberries fill the glass with perfume. Soft and elegant, offering the tasty essence of red cherries and plums framed by complimentary oak and finishing with some persistence. This wine reflects the femininity that I find in many wines from this vineyard. Very good. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Loring Wine Company Aubaine Vineyard San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., screw cap. · Very dark purple color in the glass. Aromas of oak toast, plum sauce, soy and cigar box. Purple fruit driven with reigned-in tannins creating a velvety texture. Very easy to drink with admirable balance of fruit, tannin and acidity. The next day from a previously opened and re-screwed bottle the wine had taken on a porty, cooked character. This wine will have many fans, but drink it now. Good Reviewed April 23, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Loring Wine Company Keefer Ranch Vineyard Green Valley Pinot Noir

15.1% alc., screw cap. · Aromas of black cherries, huckleberries, baking spices, oak and a whiff of alcohol. Intense purple fruits with a big acid spine. Fruitdriven but not jammy with a silky mouth feel. Develops interest in the glass over time. Tasted the next day from a previously opened and re-screwed bottle the aromas and flavors had become raisiny. Good, but drink up now. Reviewed April 23, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Loring Wine Company Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., screw cap. · Locked up like a tight chastity belt. The nose offers little fruit but plenty of oak. Lovely plum core is brooding and overwhelmed by oak and tannin. Very smooth in the mouth with admirable persistence on the finish. Potential here if the oak integrates more over time. More expressive the next day from a previously opened and re-screwed bottle indicating short-term cellaring will be rewarded. Good. Reviewed April 23, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Loring Wine Company Graham Family Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

15.2% alc., $40, screw cap. · Penetrating and haunting aromas of red plums, red berries, violets and graham cracker. Really impressive and tasty sweet red berry attack that progresses to a memorable finish. This hedonistic, Caliesque sucker hangs around for at least half a minute. The fruit is startling good and the very smooth mouth feel brings the hair on your neck to attention. The alcohol is well integrated and the wine was still delicious the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating the balance is spot on. This is a great sipping wine that aims to please. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Loring Wine Co Clos Pepe Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., $45. Clones 115 and 667. · Bright aromas of dark berries, brown spice and fresh-cut flowers. Riper flavors with an underlying riff of tar and earth framed by bold tannins. Fruit-driven and flashy. Good. Reviewed March 11, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Loring Wine Company Durrell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 425 cases, $46. · Earth-kissed dark stone fruits accentuated by oak, soy and herbs. Plentiful tannins are evident on the clean finish. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Loring Wine Company Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 675 cases, $46. · Very sensual aromas of dark cherries, baking spices, musk and prime oak. A hint of alcohol peeks out. Clean and uplifting deeply colored cherry fruit, richly flavored with lively acidity and gripping tannins. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Loring Wine Company Graham Family Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 250 cases, $46. · Vivid aromas of fresh Bing cherries, a hint of raisin and a slight touch of oak. Plenty of sweet and loamy black cherry fruit accented with flavors of cola and spice. Bright acidity provides a clean finish that sports mild dry tannins. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Loring Wine Company Keefer Ranch Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 900 cases, $46. · This wine really stands out from the pack. I would love to bottle the scents of Bing cherries, strawberries, and baking spices. This wine has the reddest fruit profile in the lineup, showing off crushed strawberries in particular. Modestly weighted and easy to drink due to polished, dry tannins and an uplifting, tangy and dry finish accented with grapefruit. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Loring Wine Company Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 725 cases, $46. · A big fruity wine with grill-marked black cherry and plum fruits, reigned-in oak toast, and some good Pinot barnyard aromas. Nicely composed and soft in the mouth with a touch of citrus in the background. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2007 Loring Wine Company Shea Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.2 % alc., 400 cases, $46. About a third of the barrels containing this wine were bulked out, unusual for this vineyard. · Attention-grabbing scents of rich black cherry, spice and a touch of oak. A broad-shouldered gulp of dark fruits with nicely balanced t ‘n a. Mild polished tannins and noticeable oak on the slightly astringent finish. The aromatics are far ahead of the flavors at this stage and this wine demands a couple of years in the cellar. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »

2006 Loring Wine Company Clos Pepe Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir Barrel Sample

Muscular from toe to toe, this is brimming with black cherry, cassis and plum reduction sauce. The wine is still un-evolved and awkward with the core of unctuous fruit outdone by oak and a tannic finish. Reviewed July 23, 2007 ARTICLE »

2006 Loring Wine Company Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc, $45. · Brian Loring’s first vintage under his label for this vineyard (he made the 2005 and 2006 Pali Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir) and he has crafted a beauty. Complex aromatics of blackberry, oak spice and pepper. The wine is darkly fruited, with slippery tannins, soft texture, and a nice toasty finish. Reviewed January 30, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Loring Wine Company Shea Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot

14.0% alc., 530 cases, $46, screw cap. Brian Loring’s first wine under his label from Shea Vineyard grapes (he crafted a 2005 vintage Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir for Pali). · Leads off with blackberries, pepper and oak spice in the aromatics. Darker Pinot fruits predominate, with respectable acidity, silky tannins, and a nice toasty, albeit shallow finish. Reviewed November 20, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Loring Wine Company Russell Family Vineyard Paso Robles Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 175 cases, $40. The grapes come from a cool and westerly vineyard. · This wine has an arsenal of red cherry and earthy aromas and flavors with noticeable oak in the background throughout. The texture is soft and sexy. There are moderate tannins on the long finish which smooth out with a couple hours of air time. Reviewed May 7, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Loring Wine Company Cargasacchi Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., 400 cases, $45. · The complex nose features wet leaf, mushroom, tea and toast. There is plenty of stuffing but the wine comes off as quite demure and feminine. The mid palate erupts with red fruit, spice (cardamom) and tea notes leading to a finish of oak-tinged cherries and coating tannins. Still a little closed but with great potential. Reviewed May 7, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Loring Wine Company Clos Pepe Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 800 cases, $45. · This wine has the darkest color of the lineup. The nose is terrific with notes of crushed red cherries, cocoa, and vanillin. After two hours, the nose was more cherry vanilla cola with a hint of alcohol. This Pinot is packed and stacked with fruit with plush black raspberries in the middle and oaked tart cherries at the end. The tannins are under wraps and the texture is downy. Prodigious wine. Reviewed May 7, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Loring Wine Company Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., 400 cases, $45. · This is the most elegant wine in the lineup. Terrific aromatics bring plenty of hi-tone cherry to the front. Both red and black fruits are evident in the structured core. The fruit is embraced by toasty oak on a finish featuring fine-grained tannins. Reviewed May 7, 2007 ARTICLE »

2004 Loring Wine Company Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., screw cap. · Aromas of black cherries, blackberries, oak, barnyard and alcohol. Rich and full-bodied cherry and berry flavors with oak in the background. Fresher than many wines in the lineup. Reviewed July 9, 2009 ARTICLE »