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The Line Wines

Neil Koch began his winemaking career at Seavey Vineyards and Vineyard 29 in 2002 working with Anna Montecelli and Philippe Melka. After finishing his degree at California State University at Fresno, he was hired at Lewis Cellars, where he helped craft world class Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay for two vintages. He was fully in-charge of the Chardonnay program at Lewis Cellars.

Despite working for top Cabernet Sauvignon producers in the Napa Valley, his passion grew for Burgundy varieties after numerous trips to the Burgundy region of France. He decided to launch his own wines under The Line Wines label. Along with this new project, Neil works as an enologist and cooperage consultant for four coopers based in France. His other passion is motorcycle racing (above at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma) and the name of his winery reflects this.

Neil’s latest Pinot Noir release from the Sonoma Coast is quite impressive. I am often asked, “What is a good inexpensive Pinot Noir? The answer is always a challenge as they are far and few between, but Neil’s wine fits the bill.

2008 The Line Wines “The Racing Line” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., 150 cases, $34. Sourced from primarily Gap’s Crown Vineyard on the western side of Sonoma Mountain in the Petaluma Gap. A blend of clones 115, 667 and Pommard. · Deep, dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Rich aromas of dark wild berries including strawberries with a hint of juniper berry. Moderately opulent featuring satisfying ripe purple fruits with a judicious touch of oak and accents of coffee and evergreen. Almost viscous in texture, with healthy tannins that will integrate over time. A man’s Pinot that is a dead ringer for Kosta Browne’s bottling from this vineyard. Good.

The wine is available for purchase online at This is an opportunity to support a young winemaker destined for success on his way up and drink some good Pinot at the same time.

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