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2014 California Pinot Noir First Team All-Americans

2012 Benovia Cohn Vineyard Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 350 cases, $70. Sourced from Benovia’s historic Cohn Vineyard planted in 1970. This dry-farmed, 18-acre vineyard is planted to a massale selection of Pinot Noir (likely Martini and Pommard). Organically farmed for 6 years. Low yields of 1.25 tons per acre. 100% de-stemmed. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Vibrant, even exhilarating aromas of fresh cherries, spice and bark that hold up remarkably over time in the glass. Delicious layers of flavor featuring black cherry, black raspberry, brown spice, cherry licorice and toasty oak. Seamless, seductive and classy, with a finish of uncommon persistence. Lighter and more refined in this vintage, with more suavity and Pinot character. Still great two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. 95

2012 Davis Family Vineyards Campbell Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $65. 5 to 7-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation, aged 10 months in 33% new, 33% once-filled, and 33% twice-filled French oak barrels. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. This is a stunning wine upon opening with invigorating aromas of fresh cherry tart, raspberry sauce and spice that jump from the glass. Very satisfying, with a silken richness of perfectly ripened wild berry and black cherry fruit accented with vanilla and a savory, dark sous-bois riff. The mid palate attack is vivid and mouth filling, and the generous finish echoes with an exotic goodness. This wine is blessed with perfect harmony between the supportive, sinewy tannins and the pleasing acid tension. It is scary to think this wine will undoubtedly improve over the new few years in bottle. A special occasion wine that reflects the extraordinary terroir of the West Sonoma Coast. 95

2012 Freeman Akiko’s Cuvée Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

405 cases, $62. A barrel selection chosen by Akiko Freeman, Ed Kurtzman and assistant winemaker Mitchell Masotti. A blend of 6 vineyards with the most contributed by Campbell Ranch near Annapolis (clone 777) and the El Coro Vineyard at Keller Estate (Swan and La Tache selection). Aged 11 months in 33% new and 67% 1 to 4-year-old French oak barrels. Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose was initially closed for business, opening slowly in the glass with swirling over time to reveal wonderful aromas of blackberry jam, black raspberry coulis, rose petal and spice. Delicious essence of fresh dark berries with hints of cola and Hoison sauce. Modest in weight, but highly flavorful, with suave tannins, a satiny smooth texture and an expansive finish. The balance is spot on and the overall impression is magical. You can drink it now for its elegance, but it will be even better after a few years in the cellar. Best Akiko’s Cuvée ever. 95

2011 LaRue Rice-Spivak Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.8% alc., 47 cases, $N/A (allocation only). Katy Wilson’s first vineyard-designated wine. This vineyard is 6- acres located south of the town of Sebastopol. Soils are Goldridge sandy loam and volcanic ash (the ash is unusual for this area). Dijon clones. Aged 17 months in 50% new French oak barrels, then aged another year in bottle before release. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A high brow nose featuring scents of cherries jubilee, baking spice and dried rose petals. Charming in every way, with fresh, bright cherry and raspberry flavors accented with spice. Noticeably seamless and elegant with an endlessly long peacock finish that lasts over a minute. Totally amazing and impossible to score. 97

2012 Laetitia Whole Cluster Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.78, TA 0.59, 420 cases,$40. Harvest Brix 23.8º-26.8º. 45% whole cluster maceration and fermentation. Aged 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Better be sitting down when you drink this knock out wine. Copious aromas of black cherry, spice, rose petal and other exotic flowers. Reminds me of a classy woman’s perfume. Seamless and sensual on the palate, offering a festival of spiced black cherries and black raspberries with perfectly integrated tannins and acidity, and a long, supple finish that leaves an impression. Everything good about whole cluster is exemplified in this beauty that has that magical je ne sais quoi that makes people go ga-ga over some red Burgundies. 95

2012 Rivers-Marie Summa Vineyard Old Vines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.3% alc., 275 cases, $75. · Moderately dark, very pretty garnet color in the glass. The aromas pull you into the glass with a fascinating array of scents including dark berry coulis, forest floor, molasses and even pulled pork. A delicious onslaught of dark plum and black raspberry fruit engages the palate with hints of earthy goodness and exotic spices. This wine has an exceptional presence on the palate. Beautifully composed, with supple, balanced tannins and integrated acidity, finishing with length and aplomb. An argument for old vines. Wines like this make you want to go to church to give thanks. 96-97

2010 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $69. The vineyard is 11 acres situated at 1230 to 1400 feet elevation with a 20% to 40% slope. Soils are 20” to 24” topsoil over soft shale. Clones are Rhys selection and five heritage clones planted with 6’ x 4’ spacing. · Oh My God! Orgasmic nose offering aromas of dark stone and berry fruits with a hint of whole cluster floral notes including violets. The aromas last and last in the glass. Flat-out delicious on the palate with layered flavors of dark plum and blackberry fruits with plenty of spice. Perfectly balanced with a silky smooth texture and a finish of uncommon length and intensity spiked with juicy mineral-driven acidity. Impressive grace and refinement and very approachable now, but will improve over the next several years. An outrageously good wine that I could drink all night long. Still great two days later from a previously opened bottle. This one will bring you to your knees. 98

2012 Sea Smoke Southing Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.58% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.65, $60 (1.5 ml $125). The name refers to the south-facing hillside block of the estate vineyard. Grapes spent an evening in the cold room after picking and sorting and then 100% de-stemmed. Musts were cold soaked for 1 to 4 days, then inoculated with cultured yeasts. Manual punchdowns were carried out three times a day, with a total maceration time of 14 to 18 days. Free-run juice was transferred to tank for settling. Pressing was carried out at very low pressure. After settling, both free-run and press wines were racked to 55% new French oak barrels for 16 months aging. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Gorgeous nose featuring spiced berries, violets, sous-bois and a hint of vanilla. The flamboyantly flavored core of black raspberry and plum is accented with spice and an undertone of earthy flora. Amazing fruit flavor, yet angelic, with a very soft and seamless demeanor, with oak adding complimentary seasoning. The fine-grain tannins are beautifully integrated and the typically bright Sta. Rita Hills acidity adds vibrancy. The finish is long and pleasing, filled with spicy plum goodness. This wine demands your attention from the get-go. Still stunning the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, when I drained the bottle. 97

2013 Siduri Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.9% alc., 450 cases, $60, screwcap. High yields but many berries in each cluster created an ideal situation. Grapes were picked over a month. A good percentage of whole clusters were used in the fermentation as the clusters had very ripe stems. 18 barrels (34% of the lot) were selected for this wine which includes barrels from the Big Block, Hermanos, and Tina’s sections of the vineyard. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Typical Pisoni with a rich load of purple and black berry fruits that balance the wine’s broad shoulders of tannins. The boldest wine in the Siduri lineup with a remarkable palate-staining, grand cru finish. The penetrating energy of the wine is striking. When I left a re-corked bottle for 3 days and re-tasted it, I was astonished by its brilliance. The tannins had thoroughly melded and the wine was all velvet, highly flavorful, and I experienced stars. This vineyard is truly the source of one of California’s greatest Pinot Noirs. 96

2011 Soliste Nouveau Monde Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

12.9% alc., 79 cases, $75. MonoClone® Pommard from El Coro Vineyard at Keller Estate. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Wonderful perfume of red berries, red cherries, baking spice and sandalwood. In the mouth, this wine makes you sit up and take notice. Delicious mix of fresh, vibrant wild cherry, raspberry and red plum fruits with a touch of exotic spice in the background. Seamless and caressing with supple tannins. Lighter in weight but highly flavorful with a very long and charming spiced-cherry finish. Currently in a state of near perfection. 96

2010 Talisman Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., 243 cases, $65. Released October 2013. · A unique site with very cold night time temperatures and gravelly, well-drained soils. Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasing aromas of cherry, raspberry, blueberry and dark chocolate. Charming essence of sweet, dark red cherries and berries with a hint of lovable spice on the palate. Seamless with integrated tannins and a long, intensely fruited finish. This wine just speaks class. Everything you like in Pinot Noir from a very special vineyard. 96

2012 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $82. Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The knockout nose is orgasmic, featuring spicy black cherry, berry wonderland and dark chocolate aromas. Soft, smooth and polished on the palate, the dark red cherries and berries attack with intent, and the epic flavor circus finishes with a grand cru level of bombastic cherry goodness. The texture is very seductive and the fruit is vibrant and pure. Superlatives don’t do this spectacular wine justice. 96

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