Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Joseph Jewell Wines, Healdsburg, CA
Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrain Jewel Manspeaker pooled their middle names to found this winery beginning
with the first commercial vintage in 2007. Micah grew up in Alexander Valley and learned winemaking under the
direction of his winemaker father and was mentored at Gary Farrell Winery by winemaker Susan Reed. Adrian
was raised in Humboldt County, studied winemaking and viticulture at UC Davis extension program. and
learned his practical skills at C. Donatiello Winery and Peay Vineyards.
The winery features Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourced from stellar vineyards in Humboldt County and
Sonoma County. The “home” vineyard is the Starscape Vineyard (formerly known as Floodgate Vineyard), just
down the road from the winery’s tasting room in Forestville. The vineyard enjoys close company with legendary
vineyards such as Kistler and Ritchie. Located at the crook where the Russian River turns west towards the
Pacific Ocean, this special spot benefits from the coastal fog that provides cooler evening and early morning
temperatures shaping the vibrant acidity the vineyard exhibits. Thirteen different clones of Pinot Noir and five
clones of Chardonnay are planted. Joseph Jewell has worked with this vineyard since 2008.
A tasting room offering several tasting options and experiences is open Thursday-Monday in Forestville. The
winery’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are sold on the website at www.josephjewell.com.
I have been reviewing Joseph Jewell wines since the 2009 vintage and the following are among the best
wines I have tasted from this winery. They are highly recommended.
2015 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.58, 675 cases,
$40. 25% Hallberg Vineyard 777 and Pommard, 50% Starscape Vineyard 777, “828,” and Martini,
an 25% Bucher Vineyard swan and Pommard. Harvest Brix 23.5º-25.9. Aged 11 months in French
oak barrels, 20% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Terrific nose offering aromas of
vivid cherry, raspberry, spice and subtle toast. Thoroughly satisfying in a mid weight style featuring
flavors of black cherry, blackberry and spice with a deft touch of oak in the background. Notable
mid palate and finishing intensity, with gracious tannins. A charming AVA wine.
2015 Joseph Jewell Starscape Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.61, 200 cases,
$48. Clone 777 planted in 2000. Harvest Brix 24.1º. 15%
whole cluster. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 33%
Dark garnet color in the glass. Brooding
aromas of black fruits, molasses and toasty oak. Dense, bold
and slightly withdrawn in a mid weight plus style featuring
well ripened fruit flavors of blackberry and blueberry-pomegranate. Big
but not too big with plenty of vigor and a sleek mouthfeel. Typical of
Martini clone. When tasted several hours after opening, the nose had
come alive with more fruit appeal and the wine showed more polish,
class and concentration.
2015 Joseph Jewell Starscape Vineyard Old Girls-Martini Clone Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.63, 75 cases, $65. Vines planted in 1971. 0.9 tons per acre. Harvest Brix 24.1º. Aged 18
months in French oak barrels, 33% new. Unfiltered.
Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of ripe,
sweet black fruits in a full-bodied, rustic style with noticeable but not aggressive tannins. Luscious and creamy
on the palate , with good harmony, integrated oak and good finishing purpose. When tasted several hours later
from a previously opened bottle, the aromatics were more giving of black cherry and spice, the flavors of
purple and black fruits had come to the front and the wine was considerably more appealing.
2015 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Chardonnay
12.9% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.59, 235 cases, $N/A. 50%
sourced from Starscape Vineyard Wente clone and 50% from Shiloh Hill Vineyard clone 4. Harvest Brix
22.2º-24.2º. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 33% new.
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass.
Pleasant aromas of lemon, pineapple, kiwi and banana. Silky in the mouth with discrete richness, offering a
core of citrus fruit, integrated acidity and a subtle touch of woody oak in the background. Nothing to criticize but
nothing to excite.
2015 Joseph Jewell Starscape Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
13.8% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.61,
100 cases, $42. Clones are Wente and 15. Harvest Brix 22.2º. Barrel fermented and aged 11 months in French
oak barrels, 33% new.
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. More appealing overall than the RRV AVA
bottling with inviting aromas of lemon, apple and a hint of flint. More weight on the palate than the RRV AVA
Chardonnay, but not the exuberant fruitiness associated with many RRV Chardonnays. Sleek in texture, with
good acidity and a slight saltiness married to the citrus fruits.
Neely, Portola Valley, CA
Proprietor Dr Kirk Neely offers Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Spring Ridge Vineyard. The vineyard is
situated within a large parcel owned by Kirk and his spouse Holly Myers at the northern boundary of the Santa
Cruz Mountains. Jim and Bob Varner began planting the Spring Ridge Vineyard in 1980. They started with
Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer, adding 7 acres of Pinot Noir clones 115 and 777 in 1997 and grafted over
the Gewürztraminer to Pinot Noir clone 777 in 2006.
Bob became the winemaker for Varner Estate and Foxglove wines as well as Neely wines. Jim took over sales
and marketing of the wines. Bob retired in 2015 and Shalini Sekhar became the winemaker. She has an
impressive background, having worked at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Williams Selyem, Copain Custom Crush,
Bluxome Street Winery, ROAR and made wines for Furthermore and Waits-Mast. In 2015, she was named
Winemaker of the Year at the San Francisco International Wine Competition for her work with Furthermore.
The small bi-level indoor-outdoor winery and cellar located on the property was completed in 2000. Because
the vineyard and winery are located in a Preserve in Portola Valley, the winery cannot have a tasting room,
accept visitors, or conduct events, and thus remains largely hidden from the public eye. That said, the wines
have received considerable notoriety.
Several distinct blocks have been identified: Hidden Block and Picnic Block for Pinot Noir and Home Block,
Amphitheater Block and Bee Block for Chardonnay. A new phase of vineyard planting has begun.
The Neely wines are available on the winery website at www.neelywine.com. Three subscription wine club
formats are also available.
2015 Neely Spring Ridge Vineyard Picnic Block Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $42.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, underbrush and tobacco lead to a savory midweight
wine offering fruit flavors of black cherry and black raspberry with a flourish of oak in the background.
Very botanical, with matched tannins and juicy acidity. More appealing fruit came to the forefront when tasted
several hours later from a previously opened bottle.
2015 Neely Spring Ridge Vineyard Upper Picnic Block Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $42.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of fertile earth and toasty oak. Considerably more fruity on the
palate in a mid weight plus style with vivid flavors of cherry and raspberry. Oak plays a supporting role and
gracious tannins make for easy drinking. When tasted several hours later from a previously opened bottle, the
fruit was more giving and the finish had gained pedigree.
Samuel Louis Smith
A micro-negociant based in Salinas that is focused on some of the coolest and most compelling terroirs of the
Central Coast. Coastal mountainous sites and organic winegrowing are the tenets of the brand. Established in
2014, Samuel Louis Smith original focused on the Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, but the brand has shift its focus to
Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay, Monterey Pinot Noir and Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah.
Samuel trained with stints under Doug Margerum in Santa Barbara and Francois Villard in the Northern Rhône
and is now the head winemaker at Morgan Winery. Samuel Louis Smith winery produces about 400 cases
annually. Visit www.samuellouiswines.com to join the mailing list to acquire the wines.
2017 Samuel Louis Smith Albatross Ridge Vineyard Monterey Pinot Noir
12.7% alc., pH 3.62, 146 cases, $44. Albatross Ridge is
perched at the top of Laureles Grade at an elevation of 1,250 feet and
seven miles from Monterey Bay. The site pushes the limit for
winegrowing: windy is constant from the Carmel coast, degree days are
minimal, and resulting yields are usually less than two tons-per-acre.
35% whole cluster. Native primary and secondary fermentation. Aged
11 months in French oak barrels, 35% new.
Moderate garnet color in
the glass. Appealing aromas of black cherry and raspberry that sustain
over time in the glass. The friendly mid weight core of black cherry and
raspberry fruit flavors have impressive mouth filling intensity. A
captivating wine full of good cheer, with superb balance and a lengthy
Screen Door Cellars, Calistoga, CA
Winemaker Bobby Donnell and his viticulturist spouse Shannon Donnell produce small amounts of Russian
River Valley Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Rosé and Chardonnay. The first vintage was 2012. Four of their Pinot Noir
wines since 2013 have scored 94 or above in the PinotFile. The wines are sold on the website at
2015 Screen Door Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 200 cases, $50. Released
December 1, 2017.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. A wave of perky aromas from the get-go include dark
red cherry, dark red raspberry, baking spices and mocha. Tasty core of dark red Bing cherry with added notes
of spice and cola. Satiny in the mouth, with a cherry-driven finish. Oak stands out in the background.
2016 Screen Door Cellars Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 100 cases, $50. Released
December 1, 2018.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Reserved, but pleasant aromas of dark, very ripe fruits
and cola. The dark cherry, blackberry and pomegranate fruit has a roasted quality and a bit of prune chimes in.
The tannin and acid balance is spot on and the wine offers some lingering fruit on the finish, but toasty oak
plays a significant role in the ultra ripe flavor profile.
2016 Screen Door Cellars Roan Family Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
alc., 50 cases, $65. Release February 1, 2019.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Engaging aromas of
red cherry, red cranberry, baking spice and sandalwood lead to a lighter weighted wine fashioned in an elegant
style, displaying red cherry and red berry fruit flavors. The gossamer tannins make for a sleek texture. The oak
regimen sticks out a bit.
2016 Screen Door Cellars Leras Family Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 50 cases, $65. Release February 1,
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Lovely perfume of black
cherry, dark strawberry and botanical aromas. Delicious essence of
fresh black cherry with a hint of spice and toasty oak in the background.
Sleek and seamless in the mouth, with a stellar finish that harkens
Sojourn Cellars, Sonoma, CA
Sojourn is a highly acclaimed winery specializing in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fruit is
sourced from vineyards in both Sonoma and Napa counties. Winemaker Erich Bradley directs farming
operations and crafts the wines along with associate winemaker Randy Bennett.
I have reviewed vintages dating back to 2008, and always found the wines consistently excellent.
The 2017 vintage endured tragic wildfires on October 8-9. All of Sojourn’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes
were picked prior to the fires so there was no impact on the wines. The Sojourn Pinot Noirs in this vintage are
all forward-drinking but lack the concentration of the previous two vintages.
The winery’s Tasting Salon is open by appointment in downtown Sonoma. Visit www.sojourncellars.com.
2017 Sojourn Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.62, 1,025 cases,
$69. Release spring 2019. Clones “828,” 115 and 667. A portion of clone “828” was fermented with stems and
blended in, for an overall rate of 10% whole cluster. Native yeast fermentation, aged in French oak barrels,
50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose is quite earthbound,
offering scents of clay, compost, dusty earth and iron along with blackberry fruit. Flavors of very ripe blueberry
and blackberry with a hint of allspice, framed by modest tannins. Nicely composed with a generous finish, but
doesn’t emote like Gap’s bottling usually does.
2017 Sojourn Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.60, 850 cases,
$59. Release spring 2019. This vineyard is located on Roberts Road at the western base of Sonoma Mountain.
Clones 115, 777 , and a Swan selection. Native yeast fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Agreeable aromas of black cherry, spice,
dark red rose petal and toast. Light to mid weight in style, with appealing elegance. Flavors of black cherry,
black raspberry and spice are overshadowed at this early stage by lavish, toasty oak. Silky in the mouth, with a
modest but satisfying finish.
2017 Sojourn Rodgers Creek Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.60, 800 cases,
$48. Release spring 2019. This vineyard is located high on a ridge in the heart of the Petaluma Gap. Pommard
is the foundation and some of it was fermented whole cluster. Some 777 clone as well. Native yeast
fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light garnet
color in the glass. Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Welcoming aromas of plum, black cherry, purple
grape, blueberry and toast. Mid weight in extraction, with benevolent flavors of blue and purple fruits with an
infusion of spice. The tannins are reserved, the oak is well integrated, and the fruit-driven finish has legs.
2017 Sojourn Walala Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.57, 575 cases, $69.
Release spring 2019. This vineyard is situated at 1,200 feet elevation just inland from the Pacific Ocean near
the coastal town of Annapolis. The maritime climate here creates an extreme growing microclimate that
requires precise viticulture. Clones 113, 115 and “828.” Native yeast fermentation, 100% malolactic
fermentation, and aged in French oak barrels, 50% new. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate garnet color
in the glass. The aromas arrive instantly and persist in the glass, including dark red cherry and berry and fertile
earth. As typical with this vineyard, the wine sports a bold core of succulent black raspberry and plummy fruit.
There is an appealing earthiness as well and the oak is well integrated. The tannins are reserved, making for
easy up front drinking.
2017 Sojourn Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.1% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.64, 625 cases, $38.
Release spring 2019. Old Wente clone and 95 clone from several vineyard sites. Whole cluster
pressed, barrel fermented with lees stirring during the first three months of fermentation and aging.
Malolactic fermentation complete. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. and blended
to create a winemaker’s cuvée.
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Fragrant with aromas of
citrus, white peach, crème brûlée and white flower blossoms. Moderately rich, with ripe flavors of
yellow peach and pear. There is enough of a spark of acidity to offset the boisterous fruit, and oak
blends in nicely.
2017 Sojourn Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.1% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.67,
400 cases, $45. Release spring 2019. Clone 95 from Sangiacomo Roberts Road vineyard and Old
Wente clone from Sangiacomo Vella Ranch and Green Acres. Whole cluster pressed, barrel
fermented, native yeast fermentation, aged in French oak barrels, 30% new. Bottled unfined.
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. The aromas of lemon oil, pineapple, apple and pastry
creme draw you into the glass. The lovely flavors of lemon and pineapple are engaging. This
sophisticated wine has a soothing texture, a foxy crispness, and a persistent, lip-smacking finish. A
spirited, gorgeous wine!
Three Sticks, Sonoma, CA
Three Sticks is a boutique, family-owned winery led by Director of Winemaking, Bob Cabral known for his
previous success at Williams Selyem. Founded in 2002, the winery is named for owner William S. Price III’s
surfing nickname. “Billy Three Sticks” as a name given to him in his youth as reference to the Roman numerals
that follow his name. Three Sticks is part of the Price Family Vineyards & Estates (PFVE), a portfolio of
premium vineyards and wineries owned by Bill Price - www.pfve.com.
Winemakers Ryan Prichard and Ashley Holland work closely with Bob Cabral in crafting the Three Sticks
wines. The 2016 vintage Pinots reviewed are are very similar in style, with well-ripened fruit and a generous
oak imprint, but vineyard differences still show through.
The Prices purchased the historic Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe (built in 1842) in the town of Sonoma and
embarked on a two-year preservation project. The historic landmark is now home to the hospitality of Three
Sticks. Tasting is by appointment: email@example.com.
The Three Sticks portfolio consists of Appellation Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Single-Vineyard Designated
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Cuvée Selections, and Adobe Selections (more reasonable wines for visitors to the
Adobe). Grapes are sourced from the Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain, Russian River Valley and Sonoma
Valley appellations. Estate vineyards include Durell, Gap’s Crown, Walala, Alana and William James.
The wines are available via personal allocations and through distribution to select restaurants and fine wine
shops in 22 states. Visit www.threestickswines.com. Some large formats are available.
2016 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.61, 430 cases,
$70. Released August 14, 2018. Soil is volcanic, rocky loam. Clones 667, 115, 777, 943 and Swan selection.
25% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 57% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
The nose offers a pleasing marriage of black cherry fruit and oak-driven toast aromas. A tide of vivid black
cherry, blueberry and blackberry fruits roll over the palate and end with relish. Mid weight in style, with lavish
oak -driven flavors of toast, spice and dark chocolate. I am not a big fan of noticeable oak, but somehow it
works in this wine.
2016 Three Sticks Gaps Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., pH 3.38, TA 0.70, 485
cases, $70. Released August 14, 2018. An estate vineyard owned and farmed by Price Family vineyards &
Estates, acquired in 20123. 138.6 planted acres, 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. Vineyard is located on the
western slope of Sonoma Mountain at an elevation of 300 to 800 feet. The soil is well-drained loam and clay
loam. Clones in this wine are “828,” 115, a Swan selection and a Rochioli selection of Pommard clone. 24%
whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 52% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
Reserved aromas of black fruits, fertile earth and mulch. A flood of eye-popping, dark purple and blackberry
fruits greets the palate. Oak is evident upon opening, but integrates nicely when the wine was tasted the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The tannins are gracious, the texture is plush and
seamless, and the finish is fruit-saturated. Not quite as big as the Walala Vineyard bottling, but still desirable.
2016 Three Sticks Walala Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.67% alc., pH 3.52, TA 0.63, 188 cases, $70.
Released August 14, 2018. A Price Family Vineyards &
Estates Estate vineyard, acquired in 2015. 17.2 acres of
Pinot Noir perched atop a ridge near Annapolis, only a few
miles from the Pacific Ocean. Clones “828,” 777 and 115.
25% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels,
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy, but agreeable
aromas of black fruits, toast and a hint of floral perfume. Initially, this
wine is very tight and closed becoming considerably more
approachable after opened several hours and spectacular the following
day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Great harmony in a
mid weight plus style, featuring hedonistic black current and black grape
flavors that are quite ripe but not too ripe. The texture is soothing, the oak is honorable and the preposterous
finish goes on and on.
2016 Three Sticks Cuvée Eva Marie Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.60, 220
cases, $90. Released August 14, 2018.One Sky Vineyard is an estate vineyard planted, owned and farmed by
Price Family Vineyards & Estates. 1,400 feet elevation. Soils are Goulding cobbly clay loam with excellent
drainage. Mix of heritage and Dijon clones including Calera selection, Swan selection, Dijon 943, 777 and 115.
21% whole cluster. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 57% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
The nose is oak-dominated with added aromas of black cherry and black raspberry. Mid weight plus in style,
with a charming core of dark red and black cherry fruit flavors with lavish oak in the background. The most
elegantly styled of the 2016 Three Sticks Pinots, but the one with the most appealing energy.
2016 Three Sticks Alana Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.25, TA 0.73, 110
cases, $75. Alana is an estate 5-acre vineyard nestled amongst the old redwoods of the Green Valley of
Russian River Valley. Vineyard planted in 2010 in Goldridge fine sandy loam. Wente clone. Aged 15 months in
French oak barrels, 27% new.
Moderate golden yellow color with some spritz initially in the glass. Shy citrus
and yellow apple fruit aromas are embellished with notes of caramel and ginger. Weighty, ripe, lemon and
pineapple flavors with oak-driven notes of toast and coconut. Expansive in the mouth and slightly viscous in
texture, with an assertive sweet-fruited finish that exudes ripeness.
2016 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.3% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.63, 675 cases,
$55. Released August 14, 2018. Old Wente, Hyde, Mt. Eden and Dijon 76. Aged 15 months in French oak
barrels, 33% new.
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Complex nose with assorted aromas including
lemon, white peach, petrichor, crushed seashells and the slightest matchstick. Lovely, rich flavors of lemon,
pineapple and pear with a spryness in the mouth that is appealing. Commendable oak management and
balance, with a welcome sleek, satiny texture.
2015 Chalone Vineyard Heritage Vines Estate Grown Chalone Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., 1,500
cases, $35. Vineyard is located at 1,800 feet near the Pinnacles National Park within Monterey
County. Soils are sparse and underlain with limestone. Aged in French oak barrels.
dark garnet color in the glass. Brooding aromas aromas of blackberry jam, raisin, and cola. There
is some apple core aroma initially (volatile acidity) that blows off in the glass. More agreeable on
the palate, with full-bodied flavors of blackberry, black current and boysenberry with a hint of flower
blossom. The texture is wholesome, the tannins are modest, oak is well integrated, and the wine flows nicely.
2016 Replica Goldenrod Flower Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $35. Clean Label Project
Certified. The Clean Label Project is an unbiased, science-based nonprofit educating consumers
about quality in consumer products on the market today.
Moderate light garnet color in the glass. A
savory nose offers scents of earthy flora and seasoned oak barrel. The wine is more appealing on
the palate with tasty mid weight fruit flavors of purple grape and boysenberry. Silken in texture, with
matching, supportive tannins, and a modest but sufficient finish.
2016 Kukeri Lakeville Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.62, 175 cases, $42,
screw cap. Double Gold 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. 100% Martini clone. 100% destemmed.
3-day cold soak, fermented with ‘prise de mousse’ yeast. Aged 17 months in French oak barrels,
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of well-ripened black fruits along with notes of fertile
earth, spice, boysenberry and raisin. Creamy in the mouth in a mid weight style with discretely concentrated
fully-ripened purple and black fruit flavors with a dark cocoa and dark milk chocolate tone typical of the Martini
clone. Subtle, oak-driven marzipan flavor plies the background..The wine’s balance is spot on and the finish is
long and generous.
2017 Larkspur Dundee Oregon Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $14.27.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.
The flavors supersede the aromas of wooded path, forest and reserved red cherry. Light to mid weight in style,
featuring oak-kissed flavors of cherry, red raspberry, and cranberry with a sidecar of tobacco. Well-balanced
tannins and zippy acidity with a decent fruity finish.
2016 Poppy Monterey County Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., $14.27.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.
Aromas of old barrique and smoldering campfire. Mid weight flavors of black cherry and oak-driven tobacco
and toast. A simple quaff, with mild tannins and a modest cherry-driven finish.
2017 Say When Wine RASI Rancho La Viña Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 200 cases, $45, screw
cap. Aged 10 months in 1 to 4-year-old French oak barrels.
Light ruby red color in the glass. Aromas of red
cherry, sandalwood and burnt tobacco lead to a mid weight styled wine with flavors of red cherry and red berry.
Elegant in demeanor with flavors of grape, black cherry and tobacco framed by gracious tannins. A hint of nutty
oak plies the background. The wine displayed a little more fruit intensity when tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2017 Say When Wine When Spanish Springs Vineyard Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., 200 cases,
$40, screw cap.
Light ruby red color in the glass. Shy aromas of crushed red cherries and toasty oak. Light in
weight, even shallow, with demure flavors of red cherry and red raspberry. Delicate tannins and redeeming
balance with a modest finish. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked
2017 Say When Sc;Nd VINO Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
alc., 50 cases, $35, screw cap.
Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of
buttered toast, crème brûlée, pineapple and a hint of matchstick. More appealing on the palate,
with flavors of lemon, pineapple, apple and pear. Rich and robust, with fully-ripened flavors, and a
viscous mouthfeel. Caliesque in style.
2016 VIE North Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.71, 200 cases, $35. Winemaker Bryan Kane
sources grapes from a selection of vineyards throughout the North Coast that utilize organic and sustainable
farming practices. Clones 151, 667, 777 and “828.” Indigenous yeast fermentation. Aged 14 months in French
oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. This wine has a ripe, roasted fruit profile.
Aromas of dark red, purple and black fruits, prune, marzipan and tobacco lead to a middleweight styled wine
with flavors that echo the aromas. Plush in the mouth with noticeable nutty oak, modest tannins and a sweetfruited
finish with a noticeable cut (? acidified). Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle.
2016 VIE Canihan Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.74, 100 cases, $50.
Canihan Vineyard was first planted in 1998 and field grafted to Dijon clones 115, 667, 777 and “828.” Vineyard
is farmed organically and dry-farmed. Yields are seldom more than 2 tons per acre. Indigenous yeast
fermentation, aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light garnet
color in the glass. Ultra ripe aromas and flavors of the darkest fruits with oak-driven marzipan in the
background. Plush in the mouth, with modest fine-grain backing tannins and a very sweet-fruited finish of good
length. Unchanged when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The fruit is
too ripe for my taste.
2016 The Winery SF North Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 300 cases, $29.99. Winemaker Bryan Kane.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of dark red fruits and nutty oak. Discretely concentrated black
cherry and blueberry flavors with moderately firm tannins, a hint of oak and a sweet-fruited finish. The oak rises
up over time and quite noticeable when the wine was tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked
2016 The Winery SF Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 100 cases, $40.
color in the glass. Aromas of earth-kissed black cherry and walnut lead to a mid weight plus
styled wine driven by black cherry and blackberry fruit flavors. The fruit is well-ripened but not
overripe. Creamy in texture, with a sweet-fruited finish of good generosity and length. Even more
appealing when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.