Elite California Pinot Noir Vineyards Part II
“Like people, certain places simply imbue inherent rock star quality.”
This issue is Part II or second of a three-part article devoted to what I consider Elite California Pinot Noir
As domestic Pinot Noir has enjoyed a surge in popularity over the last three decades and the consumer has
become more knowledgeable, there has been an increasing emphasis on vineyard sources. Unlike Burgundy,
where vineyards receive top billing on wine labels, in California the producer receives preeminence on wine
labels. With that in mind, I have provided detailed information on each Elite California Pinot Noir vineyard.
My listing of California Pinot Noir vineyards as “Elite” is based on twenty years of my reviews from every
notable Pinot Noir vineyard in California. This compilation is meant to serve as a valuable resource for Pinot
Noir enthusiasts and as a reliable guide for Pinot Noir purchases.
I have chosen the word “Elite” to signify the finest or the best of their kind. I would leave the Grand Cru
designation to the French because their classification is based on primarily geological and climatic conditions
while my classification is based on the quality of wines consistently produced by a special vineyard.
It is surprising that the popular wine literature is filled with information on grape varieties, wines, winemakers
and wineries, but comparatively little detail about vineyards.
Outline of Elite California Pinot Noir Vineyards:
Part II North Coast
Part II: North Coast
Russian River Valley
Dehlinger Estate Vineyard
Dutton Ranch Jentoft Vineyard
Olivet Lane Vineyard
Porter Creek Vineyard
Quail Hill Vineyard
Soul Patch Vineyard
Trenton Estate Vineyard
Other North Coast Appellations
Devil’s Gulch Vineyard (Marin County)
Donum Ranch Vineyard (Carneros)
Grace Benoist Ranch Vineyard (Carneros)
Hanzell Estate Vineyard (Sonoma Valley)
Haynes Vineyard (Coombsville)