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Uninvited But Welcome

Sometimes great Pinot just falls in your lap. Most of the Pinot Noir I currently review is wine sent to me by my invitation. Occasionally, wine will show up at me wine locker, asking to be reviewed. Here are two producers who recently followed that scrip.

Pangloss Cellars

Winemaker Erich Bradley gained notoriety with the excellent Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines he crafted for Sojourn Cellars in Sonoma and more recently, the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines under the Texture label. Jules Janssen is the assistant winemaker.

The brand is named after Dr. Pangloss, the eternal optimist in Voltaire’s novel Candide. The lineup of varietals includes Pinot Noir, Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, a white Rhone blend, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Some wines are only sold to wine club members of ‘The Optimist Society.’ such as the 2017 Charles Vineyard Pinot Noir reviewed here. Tasting is available daily by reservation at the Pangloss Cellars Tasting Lounge in Sonoma. Visit

2017 Pangloss Cellars Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.58, 506 cases, $40. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Inviting scents of black cherry, wax and a hint of oak. Light to mid-weight in style, with plenty of well-spiced dark cherry and berry fruits to satisfy. Very sleek and polished in the mouth showing excellent harmony and a cherry-driven finish. A very friendly wine. Score: 91

2017 Pangloss Cellars Charles Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.55, 492 cases, $50. Sourced from a 15-acre vineyard near the town of Boonville that is farmed by Bill and Nancy charles. 100% Pommard clone.Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, strawberry and cardamom spice rise from the glass. Very impressive entry and mid-palate fullness in a mid-weight plus style featuring flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and boysenberry. A compliment of oak and cola pitches in. A wine that aims to please with admirable length on the generous finish. Score: 93

Three Furies Wines

There is a philosophical bent to this winery’s goal. The vigneron from the antipodes, Martin Mckenzie, produces wines “that are a manifestation of his insatiable curiosity and quest for truth, power, and beauty in wine.” His wines are “an expression of respect for the power of nature.” Martin is a New Zealand native who crafted wines for Stonyridge Vineyard on remote Waiheke Island, New Zealand, for ten years before moving to California wine country in 2009 to practice his craft. Three Furies Wines is a partnership between Martin and Olin Russum.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are offered in limited-edition, single-vineyard releases. Current releases are Constant Vengeance Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and The Angry One Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands (The Second Fury). The third wine, Fury (The Third Fury) will be released in 2022. The winery’s mailing list membership, “The Society,” gives members the convenience of receiving three bottles of each Furies wines upon release. Visit

The wines have a few special placements including The French Laundry, Torc, Sante, The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, and the K. Laz Wine Collection.

2019 Three Furies Constant Vengeance Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., 120 cases, $85. Sourced from the 35-acre Rancho La Viña Vineyard planted to Pinot Noir. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of black cherry, pomegranate, brisket, spice and a hint of espresso. A very luxurious mouthfeel is instantly agreeable. A mid-weight styled wine with a heady core of black cherry, dark raspberry and cola flavors with a subtle note of toasty oak. Nicely integrated tannins and acidity, with a quenching finish that leaves an impression. As Martin noted, “Constant Vengeance is impossible to resist,” and I agree. The wine is considerably more enjoyable several hours after opening and reaches a crescendo the following day from a previously opened bottle. Score: 93

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