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Pfendler Vineyards: Exceptional Wines in 2012 Honor Peter Pfendler

I have been following Pfendler Vineyards since it was founded in 2007 by Kimberly Pfendler. Her late spouse Peter was the first to plant vineyards in the Gap’s Crown region, and today she honors his legacy with continued dedication to producing premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from her estate vineyards in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast appellation.

Pfendler Vineyards farms Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on four estate vineyards under the direction of viticulturist and winemaker Greg Björnstad. This unique region in the Petaluma Gap exhibits a combination of foggy mornings, sunny days and windy afternoons, allowing cool climate grapes to mature through an extended growing season.

The 2012 vintage in the Sonoma Coast was described by Greg as a “relief” after two very challenging and low yielding vintages in 2010 and 2011. The harvested fruit in 2012 was plentiful in contrast, with remarkable consistency, quality and ideal balance and structure.

The two 2012 wines reviewed here are the best from Pfendler Vineyards to date and Kimberly must have considerable solace knowing that she has fulfilled Peter’s legacy. Both wines were released in February 2014 and were poured for the first time at the recent World of Pinot Noir.

Pfendler Vineyards wines are sold on the website at and through a mailing list.

2012 Pfendler Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.618, 300 cases, $38. Clones 4 and Hyde-Wente. Brix at harvest 24º 100% barrel fermented and 100% malolactic fermentation. 8 months sur lees aging and 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color with a slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. An array of appealing aromas emerge over time in the glass including lemon, grilled grapefruit, fresh brioche, pastry cream and toffee. Delicious core of discreetly rich lemon, grapefruit and pineapple fruits accented with a buttery toffee note. Crisp on the palate with a slight creamy texture and a bright, refreshing finish. The wine became more appealing over time in the glass to the point that I hated to stop sipping. My wife, who is quite the Chardonnay connoisseur, loved this wine as well. Score: 94

2012 Pfendler Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.64, TA 0.586, 350 cases, $45. Pommard clone and Swan and Calera selections. Harvest Brix 23º. 100% de-stemmed, 7-day whole berry cold soak, 8 months sur lees aging, 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring aromas of fresh red cherries, with hints of spice, mushroom and cedar. Very polished and elegant in the mouth, featuring ripe darker red cherry and berry flavors accented with spice and earthiness. Impeccably balanced with gossamer tannins and a bright, persistent, lip-smacking finish. This wine conveys a special sense of richness, roundness and brightness you don’t find everyday in Pinot Noir. Score: 94

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