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Recently Reviewed CA & OR Pinot Noir Wines



Cobden Wini Wines, Napa, CA

Proprietor and winemaker Mark Davis crafts small amounts of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir since 2012. An honors graduate in viticulture and enology from UC Davis, Mark also makes wines for other Napa Valley wineries. Tasting is available by appointment at The Wine Thief in Napa. Members of the winery's club have priority on the wines that are sold in any quantity.. Visit www.twtnapa.com or www.cobdenwini.com.

2019 Cobden Wini Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.53, 125 cases, $55. Released 11/23/21. A blend of grapes from Hogan’s Run and Moore Family vineyards including clones 667, 777 and Pommard. Aged 14 months on the lees with monthly stirring in 40% new and 60% once-used French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, rose petal and Doublemint gum lead the way. Light to mid-weight in style and highly agreeable with plenty of black cherry flavor saturating the midpalate and finish. Perfect harmony insures the wine’s allure at the dinner table. Score: 92

2019 Cobden Wini Hogan’s Run Vineyard Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.61, 100 cases, $75. Released 2/1/22. Clones 667 and 777. Aged 16 months on the lees with a monthly stirring in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. A very complex nose of earth, black raspberry, blackest cherry, herb garden and a hint of oak leads off. Hearty in a mid-weight plus style, with mouth filling and compelling dark cherry and berry flavors. Very long in the mouth through the cherry-laced finish. Score: 94



DION Vineyard, Chehalem Mountains, OR

Those who follow the PinotFile know that DION Vineyard is one of my favorite Willamette Valley wineries. The Old Vines bottling has consistently scored in the mid to high 90s through the years but the winery’s other Pinot Noir bottlings until 2019 have been superb as well. The winery’s vintage notes indicate the following. “2019 was a return to a more “classic” Oregon vintage. That is, cooler with some rain at harvest. The resulting wines are more elegant than usual with great aging potential.

Bloom kicked off on May 30 (a near-normal starting time). Weather during bloom was good for flowering resulting in a near normal, long-term average crop size. The 2019 summer was mellow with high temperatures never breaking 100ºF and only crested above 90ºF on 9 days. The warmer spring ensured that the year’s overall heat units were more comparable to 2009 and 2019. Pinot Noir harvest began on September 14 and continued all the way to October 3. There were over 2 inches of rain during the picking window similar to 2007 and 2012. Combines with the modest summer heat resulted in lower sugars.” Only 50 cases of the Old Vines Reserve Pinot Noir were produced in 2019 and have needed more time in the cellar before release.

For more information and to obtain wines, visit www.dionvineyard.com.

2019 DION Winemaker’s Reserve Limited Release Chehalem Mountains Pinot Noir

12.5% alc., 75 cases, $50. Sourced from the best blocks in the estate vineyard and chosen barrels that were most expressive of the vintage. Harvest Brix 21.4º-21.6º. Primarily Dijon clones. Aged for 13 months in French oak barrels. · Light garnet color in the glass. Deep, deep cherry perfume with a subtle oak compliment. Light to midweight in style, with loads of energetic cherry and spice to delight. Slightly creamy in texture with gentle tannins and an extremely long finish. Forward drinking in an easygoing package. Score: 94



Dutton Estate Winery, Sebastopol, CA

Dutton Ranch farms more than 80 different vineyards in the Russian River Valley. The Dutton family represents six generations of forward-thinking West Sonoma County farmers. The Duttons have a deep commitment to sustainable farming. The winemaker is Bobby Donnell. For more information, visit www.duttonestate.com.

2019 Dutton Estate Winery Manzana Vineyard Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.55, 233 cases, $66. Released June 2022. Clones 115 and faux 828. Harvest Brix 25.0º. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of black cherry, clove, turned earth and balsam. Very ripe fruited profile including flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, cassis, licorice and root beer. A touch of alcoholic warmth shows up on the modest finish. Score: 89

2019 Dutton Estate Winery Thomas Road Vineyard Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.55, 233 cases, $70. Released June 2022. This vineyard is located in the Green Valley AVA of the Russian River Valley AVA. Harvest Brix 24.4º. !00% clone 115. Aged for 11 months in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Fruit never appears on the nose, even when checked the following day from an opened bottle. Aromas of earthy flora dominate the nose. Mid-weight flavors of blackberry and black grape with a touch of spice. Sleek in the mouth with a harmonious touch of oak. The wine lacks uplifting acidity and the fruit tastes mildly roasted. Score: 88

2019 Dutton Estate Winery La Familia Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.57, 234 cases, $74. Released June 2022. Sourced from Kozolowski Family Vineyard located in the Green Valley AVA of the Russian River Valley AVA. The vineyard was once the site of the largest raspberry patch in Northern California. It was converted to a vineyard in 1998 with planting of Pinot Noir clones Pommard, Swan and Dijon 115. This bottling only contains the Pommard clone. Harvest Brix 24.5º. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The aromas of black cherry and peppery herbs are appealing. A seductive, mid-weight style with a delicious core of well-spiced cherry fruit. A debutante of a wine with a silky mouth feel and a delicate but juicy cherry-driven finish. Score: 92



McIntyre Family Wines, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA

Steve McIntyre is one of the most respected and knowledgeable viticulturists in California. As owner and operator of Monterey Pacific, he farms 16,000 acres in Monterey County and has planted or farmed nearly one-quarter of the vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. The 80-acre McIntyre Estate Vineyard lies in the “sweet spot” of this rolling bench land region. The vineyard was among the first properties in the Santa Lucia Highlands to be SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certified and McIntyre Estate Vineyard is regeneratively farmed. For more information, visit www.mcintyrevineyards.com.

2018 McIntyre Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.62, 1,561 cases, $28. A combination of Swan clone from Escolle Road Vineyard and clone 115 and “Old Vine” selection from the Estate Vineyard. Indigenous yeast fermentations. · Light garnet color in the glass. Enticing scents of cherry, white pepper and brown spices. Lighter in weight but with a redeeming impression of red cherry and red berry fruit flavors. Nicely composed in a carefree style with good crispness. An excellent daily drinker for the dinner table. Score: 90

2019 McIntyre McIntyre Estate Vineyards Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.60, 952 cases, $38. A combination of Swan and “Old Vine” selections and clones 777 and 115 from the McIntyre Estate Vineyard. Indigenous yeast fermentations. · Light garnet color in the glass. The aromas of dark red cherry, spice and earthy flora lead to a very satisfying mid-weight core of black cherry, clove and baking spice flavors. Highly approachable with only minimal tannins showing up on the modest but likable finish. Score: 90

2017 McIntyre McIntyre Estate Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.61, 346 cases, $48. A combination of the best blocks, the best lots, and the best barrels from the 80-acre Estate Vineyard with the core from the “Old Vine” Block. Indigenous yeast fermentations. · Dark garnet color in the glass. A very ripe fruit profile dominates the nose and palate. Aromas of blueberry, boysenberry, raisin and almond paste. Full-weighted style with bold flavors of jammy boysenberry, black raspberry and raisin. The wine finishes with a flourish of intensely-flavored fruit compote. Score: 88

2018 McIntyre McIntyre Estate Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.72, TA 0.58, 510 cases, $48. An amalgamation of the best blocks, the best lots and the best barrels from the 80-acre Estate Vineyard. The core comes form the “Old Vine” Block planted on its own roots more than four decades ago and is one of the oldest planting of Pinot Noir in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. Indigenous yeast fermentations. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Shy aromas of earth-kissed dark fruits, spice and toast. Joyously fruit-laden in a mid to full-weight, charming style with a thin overcoat of oak and modest supportive tannins. Score: 91

2015 McIntyre McIntyre Estate Vineyard Block 3 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.59, 1091 cases, $56. A combination of Swan, Dijon 115, and “old Vine” clones from the Estate Vineyard. Indigenous yeast fermentations. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Reserved aromas take time to emerge include boysenberry, violets, spice and smoke. Dominated by very ripe purple and black fruits in a mid-weight plus style. Moderate tannins support the fresh fruit load. (Best of two bottles sampled). Score: 91

2016 McIntyre McIntyre Estate Vineyard Block 3 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.59, 104 cases, $56. A combination of the Swan clone and the “Old Vine” Block. The crop was thinned to a maximum of three tons per acre or 1.5 lbs of fruit per foot of cordon. Indigenous yeast fermentations. · Dark garnet color in the glass. The nose offers aromas of blueberry-pomegranate and a compliment of toasty oak. An onslaught of purple and black berry fruits greet the palate. Not particularly nuanced but plenty of ostentatious fruit. Modest tannins, low acidity and a finish of modest length. The slightest warmth shows up on the finish. Score: 91

2015 McIntyre McIntyre Estate Vineyard Old Vine Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.57, 98 cases, $65. The “Old Vine” Block was planted on its own roots more than four decades ago, making it one of the oldest plantings of Pinot Noir in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Indigenous yeast fermentations. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, woodland and burnt toast. A pleasant wine on the palate but not what I have come to expect from an old vine bottling. There is simply too much oak overlay that suffocates the black cherry core of fruit. The finish lacks the length I expect from old vine Pinot Noir. Score: 89

2019 McIntyre McIntyre Estate Vineyard McIntyre Winemaker Series Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.55, 180 cases, $56. A field blend of equal parts Swan and Calera selections along with Dijon 115 clone. Crafted by veteran winemaker Don Van Staavern who has 50 years of experience.15% whole cluster. Aged 13 months with monthly lees stirring. · Alluring aromas of black raspberry jam, black cherry and rose petal. The flavors echo the nose in a middleweight style with added flavors of clove and spice. Seamless in style, with reserved tannins and a lengthy finish. Highly enjoyable. Score: 94



Taft Street Winery, Sebastopol, CA

This winery began in a garage more than 40 years ago. It remains family owned and operated since 1979. The latest winemaker since 2017 has been Melissa Kuhn, formerly at nearby Owl Ridge Wine Services. The winery’s detailed history is told at www.taftstreetwinery.com. Taste in the winery’s space by appointment.

2019 Taft Street Winery Zachary Hill Vineyard, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 160 cases, $42. Released April 2022. The vineyard is located in the cooler and windier Sebastopol Hills neighborhood of the Russian River Valley. Aged 10 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Highly seductive aromas of cherry reduction, dark rose petal, barnyard and a compliment of oak. Mid-weight plus in style with the juicy essence of black cherry and blackberry fruits infused with toasty oak, animale and spice. Suave tannins embellish the fruit. The slightest heat shows up at the finish. Score: 92

2019 Taft Street Winery Fifty Five Thirty Seven Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 132 cases, $42. Released May 2022. Aged 10 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with scents of black cherry, toast and floral aspects. Mid-weight oak-kissed core of black cherry and purple berry fruits framed by mild tannins that infuse the fruit on the somewhat persistent finish. Nicely balanced and easy to like. Score: 91

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