Download &
print (pdf)

Sips of Recently Tasted Wines

2006 JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset No. 65 Burgundy France Sparkling Wine

12.0% alc., $60. From a vineyard in Savigny-lès-Beaune. Aged in 100% stainless steel.. A Blanc de Noirs Brut Crémant de Bourgogne. · Pale apricot color in the glass. Aromas of pineapple, lemon and apple core. The flavors echo the nose with added nuances of lees, nectarine and kumquat. A dry, pleasing drink with a strong bead. Score: 87

NV JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset No. 69 Brut Rosé Burgundy France Sparkling Wine

12.0%, $60. A Crèmant de Bourgogne. The number signifies the birth year of Jean-Charles Boisset. Based exclusively on Pinot Noir. · Delicate coral pink color in the glass. The nose offers a perfume of cherry skin and toast. Flavors of cranberry, cherry, orange peel and tangerine with a tart, citrus-driven finish. Score: 86

2012 La Crema Monterey Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., pH 3.74, TA 0.54, >50,000 cases, $23. Aged 6 months 26% new, 96% French oak barrels. Racked once out of barrel before final blending. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. A diverse array of aromas are offered including red cherry and strawberry, plum, root beer and sandalwood. Easy to drink with modest weight flavors of red and black fruits accented with spice and oakdriven anise. Very elegant and supple, with well-integrated tannins and acidity. Widely available and a solid go-to wine for dinner. Score: 88

2012 Masút Estate Vineyard Mendocino County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 2,450 cases, $40. From brothers Jake and Ben Fetzer. 22.6-acre vineyard planted in 1997 at the headwaters of the Russian River Valley. Dijon clones 115 (73%), 777 (18%) and 113 (9%). 100% de-stemmed, 14-18 day fermentation, aged sur lie for 10 months in 33% new French oak barrels. · Medium reddish purple hue in the glass. Highly aromatic with black cherry and black plum scents accented by oak-driven toast and spice. Very smooth and seductive on the palate, with a middleweight core of vigorous black cherry, black raspberry coulis and cola flavors singing in cadence with thick oak notes. The fruit is beautifully ripened and rich on the mid palate, finishing with a generous presence. Tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine still had a significant oak overlay. I would cellar this wine for a year or two to integrate the oak. Score: 90

**An updated wine map of Mendocino County showing the smaller sub-AVAs and the location of Masút is reproduced below.

2011 Patz & Hall Chenoweth Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 379 cases, $58. Wild and cultured yeast fermentations. 15% whole clusters. Aged in 65% new French oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration.From a 7-acre vineyard in Green Valley planted and farmed by acclaimed viticulturist Charlie Chenoweth. The site, which was originally an apple orchard, is farmed almost exclusively for Patz & Hall. Dijon clones planted in Goldridge soils. · Moderately dark reddish purple color. The oak-dominated nose also features aromas of black plum, black cherry, spice, peat and cigar box. Medium to full-bodied flavors of oakkissed red and purple fruits leave a lasting impression on the finish which exhibits an earthy flora tone. Very smooth in the mouth with balanced tannins. Significantly better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle showing better oak integration and more vivid aromas and flavors. Score: 91

2011 Patz & Hall Burnside Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 220 cases, $70. From a vineyard planted to clone 115 in Goldridge soil by the Martinelli family on a site that was a former hillside apple orchard. Burnside was picked at the last minute before the rains, and at 13.6%, is one of the lowest alcohol Pinot Noirs Patz & Hall has ever produced. Wild and cultured yeast fermentations, 15% whole clusters, aged in 50% new French oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose is entirely oak-driven initially with no fruit evident. Full-bodied flavors of oak-kissed black cherry and blackberry, with a hint of licorice-laced cola. Somewhat of a brut of a wine that currently lacks personality. The fruit that does peek out seems quite pretty and there is some finishing persistence. Tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the delicate fruit was still overwhelmed by oak. Time will tell. Score: 88

2011 Patz & Hall Zio Tony Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 324 cases, $60. This vineyard was planted by the Martinelli family in 1990 on Frei Road in Green Valley. Patz & Hall has made wine from this vineyard since 2003. 100% Dijon clone 76. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast fermentation, aged sur lie with weekly stirring, 100% MLF in barrel, aged in 65% new French oak barrels. Bottled without filtration. · Moderate golden yellow color with a slight haze in the glass. Lovely perfume of lemon curd, pineapple, golden apple and hazelnuts. Medium bodied and full-flavored featuring tastes of green apple and citrus, with a complimentary accent of oak in the background. Vibrant and energetic, with a spark of citrus-driven acidity on the refreshing finish. Score: 91

2012 POE Hudson Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $45. · Medium reddish purple color in the glass. Very shy aromas of dark berries, oak and a little barnyard. Middleweight flavors of dark berries, grilled mushrooms, spice and earth with some oak showing up on the finish. Very supple tannins. Quite typical of many Carneros Pinot Noirs. Rather brooding and mysterious now, improving some over time in the glass, but needing more time in bottle. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, there was still little fruit on the very shy nose and the wine remained rather closed. I sense potential here but patience is required. Score: 88

2012 POE Manchester Ridge Vineyard Mendocino Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $48. 15% whole cluster. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very exotic and appealing nose with expressive aromas of dark berry preserves, spice, potpourri and redwood forest. Highly pleasurable on the palate with waves of perfectly ripened, juicy cherry, berry and black plum fruits. Soft in the mouth, with suede tannins and fresh acidity. The wine finishes with a spicy flourish, although not dramatically long. Spectacular the following day from a previous opened and re-corked bottle with highbrow aromatics and flavor to spare. Score: 93

2011 SHANE The Charm Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.63, 250 cases, $45. Third issue of this wine sourced from vineyards managed by Ulises Valdez. Winemaker Shane Finley was former assistant winemaker at Kosta Browne. Clones are 777, Pommard, Calera and Swan. Aged 14 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Quite aromatic with bright aromas of black cherry, raspberry and Moroccan spices. Mid weight flavors of black cherry, pomegranate and spice with a riff of oak in the background. Soft and seamless, with balanced tannins. An upfront wine of immediate appeal. Impressive in this challenging vintage. Score: 91

2010 SOHO White Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $18, screwcap. A newer winery founded in 2009 by Rachael Carter whose family has been involved in the New Zealand wine business for over 40 years. The winery has won multiple awards. Younger sibling of Black Label. Winemaker Dave Clouston. Imported by Nedrac Inc., Palm Desert, CA. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, toasted oak and campfire. Medium weight flavors of black cherry with a prominent oak sheen. Supple tannins, bright acidity and easy to drink. Score: 84

Print entire newsletter