PinotFile: 11.10 September 24, 2017
- Dreamy California Pinot Noir Deserves Some Love
- Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
- Kingston Family Vineyards
- Knudsen Vineyards New Releases
- George Wine Company
- Pinot Briefs
Dreamy California Pinot Noir Deserves Some Love
A few years back, Eric Asimov was quoted in the Journal of Fine Wine saying, “The wine media in general, in
my opinion, is overly focused on greatness - on killer wines, as too many Americans like to say.....We need to
pay greater attention to wines intended for drinking rather than wines that will be collected.” I am happy to say
in this issue there are many “great” wines that are affordable and intended to be drunk now. They would not be
considered “collectible,” but that does not diminish their excellence. Francophiles may turn up their noses, but
California Pinot Noir can be dreamy.
It is astonishing to realize how far domestic Pinot Noir has come over my adult lifetime. Noted wine critic,
Robert Lawrence Balzer, wrote in 1978 in his book, Wines of California, some derogatory, but correct
comments about Pinot Noir in California at the time. He said, “I can cite isolated examples of superlative
California Pinot Noir, but they are few and far between. Pinot Noir, both the grape and the wine, remains an
enigma to California viticulturists and winemakers alike.”
When Balzer penned those quotes, I had begun my medical practice. With new found spendable income and
an interest in Pinot Noir through previous experiences with Burgundy, I began to survey the marketplace. As
Balzer pointed out, there were few domestic Pinot Noirs that were worthy, with Chalone being the most notable
one that I latched on to.
Forty years later, domestic Pinot Noir offers an embarrassment of riches, with great wines easy to find and
acquire. As a perfect example, I offer you the superb wines from California reviewed in this issue. In step with
California’s increasing Pinot Noir riches, the consumer’s palate has matured leading to more interest in the
subtleties and complexities of Pinot Noir. Also, consumers now hold high standards for great producers. As
Jake Lorenzo noted in Wine Business Monthly in 2012, “We need to take the time to find out who is
uncompromising when making their wines. Once we identify these winemakers, we need to buy their wine and
pony up the amount of money they need to stay in business. Consumers with a true appreciation for the craft of
winemaking need to do it the right way.”
Some readers will not find that all the wines highly rated in this issue meet their personal standards of
deliciousness. I would emphasis however that the most lauded wines need to be respected for their balance,
complexity and subtleties, and admired for what the winemaker set out to accomplish. I believe you will find the
best wines money well spent. Pay special attention to the Pinot Noirs from Morgan and Eric Kent.
September is the 13th annual California Wine Month so this is a timely issue. It is a time to reflect and
celebrate California wine. The Golden State now has 4,700 wineries and over 900,000 acres planted to wine
grapes throughout 138 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). California produces 85 percent of United States
wine and is the number one state for wine and food tourism, attracting 24 million tourist visits to the state’s wine
regions each year. Two-thirds of the wine shipped in this country comes from California.
A series of videos on California wines, “California Wines: Behind the Glass,” is being released by the California
Wine Institute. The videos convey the appeal of the regions, climates, and grapes and people that come
together to make California wine. “California Wine Month” is the first in the 23-part series debuting on
September 6 on Instagram (california.wines) before rolling out across social media channels including
Facebook (CaliforniaWines), Twitter (CalifWines_US) and YouTube (California Wine Institute), and going live
on www.DiscoverCaliforniaWines.com. A new video will be posted each week until the final video, “Road Trip,”
wraps up the series on February 7, 2018.
Visit www.discovercaliforniawines.com/californiawinemonth to view a full list of September events by date.
Several members of the California Association of Boutique & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) are offering special wine
packages for guests at harvest time. For information on the special deals, visit www.cabbi.com/specials.
Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
Featured Winery: Morgan Winery
Winemaker Daniel Morgan Lee has been at it a long time. A graduate of the University of California at Davis,
he launched Morgan Winery in 1982 while he was the winemaker at Durney Vineyard. This was before the
Santa Lucia Highlands became an official AVA, but Daniel recognized the uniqueness of this yet to be
discovered mountainside district. In 1984, he moved into his own winery in Salinas and released the first
Morgan Pinot Noir in 1988.
In 1996, Daniel and Donna Morgan purchased and planted a 65-acre property in the northern end of the Santa
Lucia Highlands. Planting began the following year in what was named Double L Vineyard (in honor of Donna
and Daniel Morgan’s two daughters). Today, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and other varietals are produced from the
48.5-acre (28 acres of Pinot Noir), organically-farmed, estate Double L Vineyard, the core of Morgan Winery’s
wine program. The vineyard is near Rosella’s and Garys’ vineyards, both of which supply grapes for a Morgan
A variety of Pinot Noirs are offered including multiple single vineyard wines and clonal wines, all from Santa
Lucia Highlands vineyards. The wines are consistently superb and what one would expect from a veteran
winemaker. I found the 2015 Pinot Noir releases to be the best wines I had every tasted from Daniel.
The 2015 growing season in Santa Lucia Highlands was a continuation of the drought in California. The lower
than normal rainfall totals and dry winter led to early bud break. The vineyards’ proximity to Monterey Bay (the
area has a cool Region 1 type climate) mitigated the few heat events, allowing for a fairly normal, gentle, long
ripening period. Yields were very low, yet fruit quality was uniformly excellent.
Morgan Winery has been named “Winery of the Year” by Wine & Spirits in 1996 and the San Francisco
Chronicle in 2003.
The winery’s tasting room is in the Crossroads Shopping Center off Highway 1 and Rio Road in Carmel. For
information and to purchase wines, visit www.morganwinery.com.
2015 Morgan Twelve Clones Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14,1% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.61,
$35. An appellation blend of the Santa Lucia Highlands that includes Morgan’s Double L Vineyard
(36% of final blend). The “Twelve Clones” designation denotes the original diverse Pinot plantings
at the Double L Vineyard. Contains over 12 unique clones of Pinot Noir. Aged 9 months in French
oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Engaging aromas of cherry,
strawberry and cranberry draw interest. The mid weight flavors echo the aromas in a nicely
composed wine with good intensity of flavor, harmonious tannins, juicy acidity and a resolute finish
replete with red berry goodness. A terrific value.
2015 Morgan Double L Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.60,
1,335 cases, $64. Vineyard Certified Organic since 2002
making it the first vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands
to achieve both organic and sustainable certifications.
Clones 777, 667, 115, 114 and Pommard 4. Aged 10
months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
garnet color in the glass. Very special nose that attracts
with aromas of plum, blueberry, blackberry, cardamom spice and
floral blossom. A high-collared wine that is flat out terrific, offering mid
weight plus flavors of an array of blue and black fruits. Gifted with
plenty of extract yet discreet in generosity with the right touch of oak
and earthiness. A tenacious finish completes the picture.
2015 Morgan Double L Vineyard Clones 667/115 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
pH 3.42, TA 0.738, 68 cases, $64. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
light garnet color in the glass. Those nose is spectacular, offering waves of aromas over time that
include fresh raspberry, black cherry and spice. Perfect in every way, with a heavenly core of deep
red cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruits. Very giving, soft and satiny in texture, with a finish of
2015 Morgan Double L Vineyard Pommard 5 Clone Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH
3.63, TA 0.679, 52 cases, $64. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderately light garnet color
in the glass. Hi-tone aromas of Bing cherry, rose petal, fertile earth and underbrush are followed in the mouth
by a mid weight plus charge of deeply flavored black cherry and black raspberry fruits. The masculine styled
wine keeps getting better over time in the glass. Very polished, with restrained tannins and a very long and
2015 Morgan Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.68, 62
cases, $64. “Pisoni clone” and Dijon 777. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
ruby red color in the glass. Plenty of interest in this wine that is typical of this vineyard. The perfume of red
cherry, violets, green tobacco and baking spices are attractive. Light to mid weight in style, the wine offers a
delightful mix of well-spiced red fruits with a notable candied cherry character. Elegant, with a cashmere
texture, juicy acidity, and a compliment of tobacco oak in the background.
2015 Morgan Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.65, 71 cases,
$64. Vineyard planted to “Pisoni clone” of Pinot Noir. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 60% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The scent of strawberry, raspberry, earth and tar fill the glass.
Explosive attack of black cherry fruit saturates every nook and cranny in the mouth. A very appealing accent of
spice adds to the experience. Silky in the mouth with a mouthwatering finish of impressive length.
2015 Morgan Tondre Grapefield Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.64, 45 cases,
$64. Dijon clones 943, 115, “828,” and 777. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
color in the glass. Reserved but pleasant aromas of purple grape, blackberry juice, spice and nutty oak.
Intensely fruity, with layers of purple and black fruited extract. The most intense fruit attack in the 2015 Morgan
lineup. There is enough tannin to corral the fruit and the finish is notable for its generosity.
Featured Winery: Eric Kent Wine Cellars
I have followed the winemaking career of Kent Humphrey since 2004, a year after he produced 375 cases in
his inaugural 2003 vintage. His wines, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah have shown significantly
more sophistication over the years, displaying a refinement that is reflective of his modest personality. His
wines have always been popular, but the three Pinot Noirs reviewed here show that his winemaking acumen
has reached the equivalent heights of many of California’s most notable Pinot Noir winemakers.
Kent (there is no Eric Kent, rather the name inverts his first and middle names) also has the distinction of
offering artistic labels that are truly collectable. His wife, Colleen, is an accomplished artist, and the couple
decided early on to showcase artists on their bottles. The two work in harmony in choosing the individual and
striking art works that grace the bottles of Eric Kent wines. The art work is from deserving, but often as yet
undiscovered talent. Each artist brings a unique vision that compliments the spirit behind the wines. For the
story behind the art work, visit the Art Tour on the website at www.erickentwines.com/gallery/tour.jsp?
catid=233. Both the label art work and the wines in the bottle inevitably lead to discussion. Labels of three
wines reviewed here presented above. For the story on making wine at Eric Kent, visit the Wine Tour on the
website at www.erickentwines.com/gallery/tour.jsp?catid=232.
Kent crafts his wines at a custom crush facility in Santa Rosa. Assistant winemaker Hanna Chort has had a
hand in every Eric Kent wine since the 2011 vintage. Eric Kent Wines are sold almost exclusively through the
winery’s mailing list, with very limited retail distribution. The wines reviewed here are from the 2017 spring
2015 Eric Kent Small Town Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.66, 221 cases, $52.
Released spring 2017. Artist Kelly Puissegur. Fruit sourced primarily from Freestone area including Michael
Valentine, Cleary Ranch, and Rayhill vineyards with additions from Grand Vent Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap
and a small amount from Stiling Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Multiple Dijon clones and Swan and
Pommard. 25% whole cluster. Aged in French oak barrels, 35% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.
The aromas reach new heights over time in the glass, revealing notes of black raspberry preserves, spice and
sawn oak. A complete wine featuring flavors of blueberry-pomegranate and black raspberry framed by gentle
tannins. Steadfast and seamless, with persevering mouth and finish presence.
2015 Eric Kent The Pianist Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.65, 70 cases,
$52. Released spring 2017. Artist Dutchess. 100% Grand Vent Vineyard. A special barrel selection
from assistant winemaker Hanna Chort. 69% Pommard, 25% 667 and 6% 113. Small amount of
whole cluster, 30 days on the skins.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Resolute aromas of
boysenberry, plum and peppery spice lead to a mid weight core of vivid and vibrant fruit mimicking
the aromas. Nicely balanced, with unpretentious tannins, and a glorious finish that has both
determined intensity and unrelenting length. A Grand Cru finish for sure.
2015 Eric Kent Sascha Marie Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.63, 218
cases, $52. Released spring 2017. Artist Valerie Savarie. 56% Roberts Road, 22% Grand Vent and
22% Stiling vineyards. 50% Swan, 28% 777, 15% Pommard, 4.5% 113 and 2.5% 667. Aged 15
months in French oak barrels, 62% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. A toned and trim wine
with both weight and weightlessness. Aromas and flavors of dark cherry and blackberry are
accented with nutty oak. Noticeably juicy, with a gentle grip of tannins and a finish that is joyously
long. This wine is a wine of immense charm and poise.
More California Wineries
Attune Wines, Sonoma
Wines from a sustainably farmed 8.5-acre Pinot Noir vineyard in Carneros owned by vintner partners Mike and
Nancy Scribner and Ken and Debbie Venner. The Eight Street Vineyard is planted to a field blend of Dijon 667
and 115. The winemaker is Kenneth Juhasz. The Pinot Noirs are typically aged for 18 months in barrel and an
additional year before release. The wines are available on the website at www.attunewines.com.
2016 Attune Carneros Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $28, 165 cases, screwcap. The beautiful
bottle design should win an award - clear with embossed labelling that really shows off the pink
color. Aged 5 months in neutral French oak barrels.
Pretty in moderate pink color. Highly engaging
aromas of strawberry, peach, blood orange and spice. Nicely composed, with generous flavors of
strawberry, watermelon, orange zest and herbs, finishing with a bright cut of acidity.
2015 Attune Station Ranch Carneros Chardonnay
13.5% alc., 175 cases, $36. Aged 15 months
in French oak barrels, 30% new.
Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Nicely appointed
aromas of peach, white rose, spice and vanilla. Sleek in the mouth, with flavors of citrus, warm
spices, honey and fresh brioche with a subtle oak note in the background. Nicely balanced with a
bright, quenching finish.
2014 Attune Sonoma County Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 320 cases, $48. Aged 15 months in French oak barrels,
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose offers little fruit respite, featuring primarily
aromas of oak, campfire and vanilla. Better on the mid weighted palate with a juicy core of fresh black cherry
and black raspberry fruit, but the fruit is buried in heavy oak overlay. There are some good features here
including a silky mouthfeel and well honed tannins as well as some finishing generosity, but the oak spoils the
experience. The winery’s name, Attune, means bring into balance, but this wine doesn’t quite live up to the
Cambria Winery, Santa Maria
Led by Katie Jackson and Julia Jackson of the Jackson Family, Cambria Winery has launched their estateinspired
wine series that includes both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This series of wines focuses specifically on
different micro sites throughout Cambria’s Katherine’s and Julia’s vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley of Santa
A new winemaker has been announced at Cambria this month. It was noted in a previous PinotFile that Jill
DelaRiva Russell has been hired to work alongside former Cambria winemaker and general manager, Denise
Shurtleff. The wines are available exclusively from Cambria’s website at www.cambriawines.com/wine. All
wines are grown, produced and bottled by Cambria Winery in Santa Maria.
2015 Cambria Element Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.56, $45. Clone 115. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 39% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the
glass. The nose is highly aromatic, featuring the scent of black cherry, dark bittersweet chocolate and toasty
oak. Welcome attack of black cherry, boysenberry and tar flavors with a quenching finish offering slightly
astringent tannins. The wine has definite merit, but the voluptuous oak treatment is not for me personally.
2015 Cambria Mesa Terrace Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.57, $45. Clones 2A, 23, 4 and 115. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 62% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Forceful and assertive,
with attractive aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry, fertile
earth and oak-driven dark chocolate and spice. The flavors fill the
mouth without over reaching. Mid weight plus in style, with a firm
backbone of tannin that keeps the fruit in line. The broadly flavored
finish is appealing.
2015 Cambria Fog Tide Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
14.4% alc., $38.
Moderate golden yellow color in
the glass. Sumptuous oak, butter and subtle herbaceousness dominate the citrus oil aroma. Serious extract of
citrus and orchard fruits greet the streamlined palate with some, but not overbearing dependence on oak. Rich,
but not too rich, with enough vibrancy and freshness to appeal.
2015 Cambria West Point Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
14.2% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.61, $38. Aged 9.5 months in 94% French oak barrels, 10% new.
Moderate golden yellow color in
the glass. A strong butter note accompanies aromas of citrus peel, nuts and vanilla. Richly styled and quite
succulent on the palate, with flavors of lemon, pear, apple, caramel and honey. Viscous in texture with well
integrated acidity. A Caliesque style of Chardonnay that is quite popular.
En Garde Winery, Glen Ellen
Fourth generation Hungarian winemaker Csaba Szakal left the computer programming field in 1996 to pursue
a career in winemaking. He started En Garde Winery in 2007, producing multiple varietals including an
appellation blend and vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs from the Russian River Valley.
I have reviewed the wines since the 2011 vintage and the latest 2014 releases are stellar. In 2014, Csaba used
less new oak to let the fruit shine through and he achieved that goal. All the wines were bottled unfined and
The winery’s tasting room is located on Sonoma Highway in Kenwood and is open daily.
2014 En Garde Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 130 cases, $45. Martini, Pommard, 667 and 23
clones. 10% whole cluster. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.
Light garnet color in the glass. The nose offers
aromas of oak-kissed black cherry, underbrush and peppery spices. The fruit core features black cherry with
added accents of baking spice and smoky tobacco. Welcome balance with a sweet, black cherry finish that
2014 En Garde Gold Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 96
cases, $55. Clones 667, “828,” 115. Harvest Brix 24.0º. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
ruby red color in the glass. The nose engages with fragrant notes of dark red Bing cherry and fertile earth. Light
in weight, but flavorful, offering the essence of red cherry fruit framed by nutty oak. Crisp and elegant, with
good transparency, a suede texture and an appealing cherry-blessed finish that has good length.
2014 En Garde Olivet Court Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 73 cases, $55. Vineyard
is located on Olivet Road in Santa Rosa. Owned and tended by Bob and Ida Montgomery. 35+-year-old vines
that are two different Martini selections. Harvest Brix 25.0º. 10% whole cluster. Aged 18 months in French oak
barrels, 33% new.
Light garnet color in the glass. The scent of plum, blueberry-pomegranate and spicy oak
lead to a middleweight styled wine with real interest. Extroverted flavors of purple grape and purple and black
berries have a gentle accent of oak spice. Well-rounded, with a beguiling attack and mouth presence set off by
well-integrated tannins and an exit that is long and chewy.
2014 En Garde Starkey Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 138 cases, $55. Vineyard
is located in Sebastopol just outside the Green Valley
AVA. Owned by Diane Starkey and cared for by Arturo
Robledo. 30+-year-old vines including clones 23, “828,”
and Pommard. Harvest Brix 23.6º. 15% whole cluster.
Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 40% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. A wine with
special drive and purpose, offering engaging aromas of blueberrypomegranate,
blackberry preserves and subtle oak. Enters with a
charge of blue and black berry fruits framed by fine-grain tannins and
maintains in the mouth. Impeccable harmony, with a long, powerfully
2014 En Garde Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.3%, 123 cases, $70. Favorite barrels. Clones
“828,” 115, Martini, Pommard and 23. Aged 18 months in French oak barrels, 60% new.
Moderate garnet color
in the glass. The nose is richly fruited with spiced black cherry and sumptuous oak. Tenacious flavors of black
cherry and blackberry in a juicy, mid weight style with firm tannins for the long haul. The toasty oak is a bit too
extroverted now but should integrate further over time. This wine is like an awkward teenager that will need a
few years to mature and may be more deserving of a higher score at that time. The winemaker had a vision for
this wine as it is composed of favorite barrels in cellar.
Gracianna Winery, Healdsburg
This beautiful winery and hospitality center is located on Westside Road. The winery is owned by the Amador
family who have been in Sonoma County for decades. The winery is named after Gracianna Lasaga, the
family’s French Basque great-great-grandmother. 2017 marks the tenth year in business and to mark this
occasion, a special Westside Reserve Pinot Noir has been released for which sales will fund the $10,000
Gracianna Gratitude Grant for Bay Area non-profits serving women and children.
The Estate Vineyard, Mercedes Riverblock, is located in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley and is
planted to Dijon clone 115. The vineyard is named after Lida Amador’s grandmother on her father’s side,
Mercedes Siordia Amador.
The winery’s tasting room, located between Rochioli and Williams Selyem on Westside Road is open daily from
April 1-November 30 (5-star Trip Advisor rating). Wines may be purchased on the website at
I have tasted the Gracianna Pinot Noirs going back to 2009. There was a rough patch with the 2012-2014
vintages and I did not review the wines favorably. The wines were ultra ripe with very high ABV leading to a
roasted flavor set off by significant tannins and some VA in a couple of wines. The wines reviewed here are
back on track showing considerably more refinement, with better balance and charm, and positively
recommendable. Winemaking is a family affair.
2015 Gracianna Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 514 cases, $52. Aged in
French oak barrels for 11 months and bottle finished. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate garnet color in the
glass. Aromas of black cherry, oak cask and mushroom are slow to arrive in the glass. More expressive in the
mouth, with tastes of Bing cherry and raspberry fruits accented with a deft touch of oak. The tannins are suave,
the mouthfeel is satiny and the finish leaves a good impression.
2015 Gracianna Estate Mercedes Riverblock Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
cases, $64. Clone 115. Aged in French oak barrels for 11 months. Unfined and unfiltered.
Dark garnet color in
the glass. Initial aromas of blackberry, cassis and black grape give way to fertile earth. Deeply flavored in a mid
weight style with a delightful array of well-ripened black fruits framed by ruddy tannins and a deft touch of oak.
Quite seamless and like a Swiss watch, keeps on ticking in the glass. My only nit is a slight bit of alcoholic
warmth on the finish.
2015 Gracianna Westside Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc.,150 cases, $72. Released
July 2017. A selection of the best four barrels in the cellar.
Bacigalupi Vineyard. Blend of Dijon 667 and 777, and
Pommard clone. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels.
Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately dark garnet color in
the glass. Alluring aromas of Bing cherry, cola and baking
spice. Delicious flavors of black cherry, black raspberry
and pomegranate in a beautifully composed mid weight style that
offers easy going tannins, a soothingly silky texture and tucked in
alcohol. A glamorous wine.
Mansfield-Dunne, Portola Valley
Lynn and John Peterson, Jr. started this small family label with the 2011 vintage. In 2010, the couple had
purchased the 8.8-acre Peterson Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands planted to Pinot Noir and added
another 1.1 acres of Chardonnay. The vineyard has 5 clones of Pinot Noir: “828,” 667, 777, 115 and Pommard.
All wines are estate grown. The winemaker is veteran Ed Kurtzman.
A second estate vineyard is being developed beginning in 2014 in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The property is
at a higher elevation of 1100-1300 feet and consists of 24.7 more acres of Pinot Noir, 5.6 more acres of
Chardonnay and a small amount of Syrah and Viognier. The first small production from this vineyard was
realized in 2016.
The wines are allocated through a mailing list at www.mansfield-dunne.com.
2015 Mansfield-Dunne Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.55, RS <0.1 g/L, 280
cases, $36. Released September 1, 2017. Clones 667, 115, 777 and Pommard 5. Aged 11 months in French
oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dark berry compote are joined by
aromas of nutty oak and a hint of soap. Rather luxurious in the mouth with a richly appointed core of
boysenberry and black cherry fruits. The tannins are quite agreeable making for easy drinking. The wine
finishes long and fruity with a bit of tartness. Two bottles tasted.
2015 Mansfield-Dunne Peterson Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.59,
RS < 0.1 g/L, 232 cases, $48. Released September 1, 2017. Clones “828,” 777, 115, 777 and Pommard 5.
Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 70% new.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Nutty oak dominates the
nose with added aromas of dark berries and floral bouquet. Soft in the mouth, with a likable core of black
cherry, blackberry and vanilla flavors. As in the nose, the nutty oak plays a noticeable role. The wine finishes
cherry, blackberry and vanilla flavors. As in the nose, the nutty oak plays a noticeable role. The wine finishes
with aromatic power accompanied by noticeable tartness in a citrus tone. Two bottles tasted.
2015 Mansfield-Dunne Peterson Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
14.2% alc., pH 3.47, TA
0.68, RS , 0.1 g/L, 250 cases, $43. Released September 1, 2017. Hyde clone. Aged 15 months in French oak
barrels, 50% new.
Moderately dark golden yellow color in the glass. The nose is replete with the scent of citrus
and toasty oak. More complex on the sleekly textured palate, with flavors of grilled lemon, cooked apple,
honey, caramelized sugar and creme caramel. A rich, heady style showing significant winemaking input.
Mi Sueño Winery, Napa Valley
Founder Rolando Herrera was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times, July 16, 2017. This winery produces
8,000 to 10,000 cases of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot, a red blend, and
Chardonnay. Employing 16 workers, the winery farms 40 acres of vineyards.The winery’s name, Mi Sueño,
means “My Dream” in Spanish.
Herrera’s story is fascinating. He was working a summer job in high school at Warren Winiariski’s house in the
Napa Valley. Winiarski was the founder of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and offered Herrera a job during harvest.
Herrera was quickly entranced with winery work, and stayed at Stag’s Leap while he finished Napa Valley
Junior College and took viticulture courses from University of California at Davis. Winiariski eventually
promoted him to cellar master. He eventually moved on to Chateau Potelle for three years where he made his
first wine in 1997. He became a winemaker at Vine Cliff Winery where he started his own tiny label, Mi Sueño,
on the side. Eventually, he was able to acquire a warehouse home in downtown Napa for his winemaking.
Herrera sources from from estate vineyards farmed exclusively by Herrera Vineyard Management Company for
Mi Sueño from multiple appellations in Napa and Sonoma counties. Pinot Noir is sourced from Castiglioni
Vineyard in the Russian River Valley and Tierra Blanca Vineyard in Los Carneros.
The wines may be purchased on the website at www.misuenowinery.com. Tours and tastings are available by
appointment daily. Herrera also produces high-end varietals, including Chardonnay and Pinot Noir under the
Herrera label and sold to Herrera Wine Club members only.
2013 Mi Sueño Los Carneros Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 915 cases, $42. Sourced from Tierra Blanca Vineyard
Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Leading off are
aromas of black fruit compote, fertile earth, dark chocolate, smoke and oak char. Gracious and juicy in the
mouth with a mid weight core of purple and black berry fruit with an earthy, mushroom undertone. There is a
firm backbone of tannin and a riff of oak in the background. A quintessential Carneros Pinot Noir that tastes like
it came from there.
Pellegrini Wine Company, Santa Rosa
This winery traces its heritage in winemaking back to the early 1900s with the arrival of Nello and Gino
Pellegrini in New York City from their native Tuscany. After settling on the West Coast, they became Sonoma
Country grape merchants in 1925 shipping grapes throughout the United States for home winemaking. After
the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the brothers established the original Pellegrini Wine Company and began
producing wines from Sonoma County for many of San Francisco’s finest shops and restaurants. This heritage
now continues today at the winery located at the Olivet Lane Estate that reopened in 2013 after Robert and his
mother Aida Pellegrini purchased the winery and vineyard in total from other family members.
The Olivet Lane Vineyard dates to 1973, when the Pellegrini family purchased a 70-acre plum and apple
orchard on West Olivet Road in Santa Rosa that became the historic Olivet Lane Vineyard and home to today’s
modern Pellegrini Wine Company. In 1975, Robert Pellegrini and his father Vincent planted the property to
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay using the Martini and Wente clones respectively. This established Olivet Lane
Vineyard as one of the first pioneers to grow Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley.
Winemaker Lynn Krausmann, who has been at Pellegrini Wine Company since its rebirth in 2013, produces
wines under the Pellegrini Wine Company and Olivet Lane Vineyard labels with an emphasis on vineyard
designated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from estate grown grapes. Her career spans nearly three decades,
including experience as winemaker at Esterlina Vineyard and Williams Selyem.
Pellegrini Wine Company was honored to be one of the featured wineries at this year’s International Pinot Noir
The tasting room is open daily under the direction of Alexia Pellegrini, Robert’s daughter and Chief Operating
Officer. Visit the website at www.pellegrinisonoma.com.
2014 Pellegrini Hurst Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., $50.
Light garnet color in the
glass. The aromas of spice cabinet dried herbs and cherry draw you in. Elegant in composure, with lighter
weighted flavors of black cherry, blueberry and blackberry set off with appealing spice. A harmonious wine with
demure tannins, juicy acidity and a fruit-inspired finish.
2014 Pellegrini Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $50.
Moderately light garnet
color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of black fruits and oak spice with unique notes of haystack and
eucalyptus. Discreetly concentrated flavors of cherry, blueberry and blackberry framed by fine-grain tannins.
Satisfying, but a bit shallow on the mid palate and finish. Forward drinking with admirable balance.
2016 Pellegrini Russian River Valley Unoaked Chardonnay
14.1% alc., $24.
golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of lemon oil, white grape, honey and white blossoms are
echoed in the flavors in the mouth. Better over time in the glass with an appealingly smooth
mouthfeel. The wine is driven by lively acidity and finishes with a tight, citrus note (grapes on a
2014 Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $65.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The
seductive perfume of spiced Bing cherry is remarkable. Delicious mid
weight core of black cherry, cola, anise, spice and toasty oak flavors
nicely teamed together. Forward drinking, with tame tannins, juicy
acidity and an enduring finish. A classic Russian River Valley Pinot
2014 Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.2% alc., $45.
Moderate golden yellow
color in the glass. Aromas of lemon, pineapple, spice, brioche and caramel. Rich and ripe in style with a rather
luscious core of citrus fruits set off by toasty oak and butter notes. The wine reflects the well-ripened, even
tropical fruit character found often in Russian River Valley Chardonnay.
Seal Beach Winery, Los Alamitos
Refer to a recent article on this winery in the PinotFile: www.princeofpinot.com/article/1933/. It is always
interesting to taste single Pinot Noir clone wines. It is challenging to find a unifying thread in wines made from
the same clone from different sites since site always trumps clone. The single clone wines are primarily offered
in the tasting room and to wine club members and although I don’t have retail prices, the wines represent good value.
2014 Seal Beach Winery Kessler-Haak Vineyard Clone 667 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, fresh mulch and bark. The mid weight
essence of black cherry and blackberry fruit is clothed in oak-driven spice and tobacco that tends to integrate
over time in the glass.. The mouthfeel is lush and sleek, the tannins are well integrated and the finish offers
2014 Seal Beach Winery Rio Vista Vineyard Clone 667 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
light garnet color in the glass. The aromas are slow to arrive over time in the glass, eventually offering cherry,
strawberry and pipe smoke. The palate is more satisfying, with a pleasing combination of black cherry, black
raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors. Velvety in texture, with modest tannins and a modest finish.
2014 Seal Beach Winery Rio Vista Vineyard Clone 115 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Light ruby red
color in the glass. Comforting aromas of strawberry, red cherry and potpourri. Lighter in weight and rather
elegantly styled, with flavors of cherry and baking spices. Very modest tannins and a silky mouthfeel make for
easy drinking. I like this wine for its charming delicacy.
Sean Minor Family of Wines, Napa
Sean Minor is a veteran of the wine industry for over 25 years who founded Sean Minor Wines and Four Bears
Winery in 2005. Pinot Noir is offered under the Sean Minor, Four Bears and Point North labels. The wines,
many of which are value priced, are widely distributed and available on the website at
2016 Sean Minor Four Bears Central Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.71, TA 0.57, $15.99. Vinted and
bottled by Sean Minor, Graton, CA. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, fermented in stainless
steel open-top fermenters with daily punch downs. Aged in oak.
Light ruby red color in the glass.
The aroma of black cherry is set off by oak-driven toast and burnt tobacco. Easy drinking in a
straight forward style, with a core of cherry accompanied by swank oak. Sleek in the mouth with
2015 Sean Minor Sangiacomo-Roberts Road Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.76, TA
0.54, $48.99. Vinted and bottled by Sean Minor, Sonoma, CA. This vineyard, planted in 1999, is located at the
base of Sonoma Mountain at the far northern edge of the Petaluma Gap. A blend of Dijon 777 and Pommard
clones. 100% de-stemmed, natural yeast fermentation in open-top fermenters, daily punch downs. Aged 10
months in French oak barrels, 50% new.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Mellow aromas of black
cherry pie and biscuit. A sophisticated wine that attracts by its polished and balanced demeanor. Extroverted
flavors of black cherry and blackberry are framed by modest tannins and complimentary oak. The pedigree of
the fruit shines through.
2014 Point North Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.58, $21.99. Produced and bottled by Sean
Minor, American Canyon, Napa County, CA. A blend of grapes from vineyards in the Willamette Valley and
Umpqua Valley. 100% de-stemmed, 2-day cold soak, fermented in open-top bins and stainless steel
fermenters, and aged 6 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.
Very light ruby red color in the glass. Very shy
aromas of red cherry and berry with cozy oak. Light in weight and somewhat austere, offering the essence of
oak-infused cherry flavor and gossamer tannins. A simple wine that probably would taste best slightly chilled.
2014 Sean Minor Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.63, TA 0.56, $21.99. Produced
and bottled by Sean Minor, American Canyon, Napa County, CA. A blend of Dijon and Pommard
clones. 100% de-stemmed, 3-day cold soak, fermented in open-top fermenters with daily punch
downs. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 20% new.
Moderate light garnet color in the glass.
Demure but likable aromas of dark red cherry and berry, fertile earth and seasoned oak lead to an
easy drinking mid weight wine with plenty of ripe cherry and blackberry flavor to satisfy. Admirable
balance, with a sleek mouthfeel and a modest, but pleasing finish.
Siduri Wines, Santa Rosa
Winemaker Adam Lee manages to craft multiple appellation and vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs from Sonoma
County, Santa Lucia Highlands, and the Sta. Rita Hills. His expanded number of Oregon bottlings state on the
label that they are “Cellared & Bottled by Siduri Wines, Santa Rosa, CA,” meaning the wines were vinified in
Oregon, presumably at a Kendall-Jackson facility with Adam’s oversight. The one exception is the Zena Crown
Vineyard bottling that has a label that states, “Produced and Bottled by Siduri Wines, Dundee, OR). The wines
are never fined and only occasionally filtered. The appellation wines are consistently solid and represent very
good value. All wines are closed under screwcap.
Adam’s comments on the 2015 vintage and wines. “Yields were low and the further West or further South one
went, the worse the yields were. The Sonoma Coast really got slammed. With these low yields we were
incredibly fortunate that things didn’t get terribly hot during harvest. It was an early year, but the heat largely
held off until later in the harvest - September - and there were really only two short heat spikes in August. We
were able to pick around those. 2015 is a year where later ripening grapes such as Cabernet complained of a
hot year, but Pinot Noir didn’t see that.”
Tasting is available daily at the Siduri Wine Lounge in Healdsburg or by appointment at the Siduri Warehouse
Winery in Santa Rosa Thursday-Monday. The wines may be purchased on the website at www.siduri.com.
Wine Club members receive significant discounts.
2015 Siduri Chehalem Mountains Oregon Pinot Noir
14.7% alc., 143 cases, $39, screwcap. Released April
2017. Sourced from four vineyards at the northern end of the Willamette Valley (Muirfield, Hawks View, Arbre
Vert and Shaw Mountain).
Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose picks up interest over time in the glass,
displaying hi-tone aromas of fresh strawberry, cherry, allspice, burnt tobacco and bramble. Very tasty and
vibrant offering a mix of deep red and purple fruits. Juicy and refreshing and tres Oregon.
2015 Siduri Muirfield Vineyard Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., 291 cases, $50, screwcap.
Released April 2017. Vineyard planted in 1991. Ungrafted and non-irrigated vines.
Moderately light garnet
color in the glass. Intriguing aromas of muddled black cherry and loamy earth. Rather bold, but refined, in a
mid weight plus style with highly flavorful notes of earthy plum and black raspberry back by immersed tannins.
A satiny texture and persistent finish add to the appeal. The fruit is very classy and seductive.
2015 Siduri Hawk’s View Vineyard Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 295 cases, $50, screwcap.
Released April 2017. A combination of grapes from
ungrafted vines and newer Dijon clones on roots, all dry
Light ruby red color in the glass. A real charmer
with seductive aromas of cherry, cranberry baking spices
and earthy flora that hold up nicely over time in the glass.
Juicy, forward and elegant, with a light to mid weight core
of delicious Bing cherry, cola, red licorice and spice flavors. The wine
has a balletic character with impeccable harmony and is thoroughly
2015 Siduri Zena Crown Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Oregon Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., 219 cases, $70,
screwcap. Release October 2017. Inaugural release from this vineyard. Both block and barrel selection.
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Deep, dark fruit aromas including black cherry and blackberry with
a hint of freshly turned earth and a bit of floral delight. Velvety in the mouth, with an intensely fruited core of
sweet purple and black fruits that are expansive in the mouth and through the finish. There is a subtle petrol
note and some astringent tannins on the finish that should ameliorate with more time in bottle.
2015 Siduri Van der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 143 cases, $50, screwcap.
Released April 2017. Vineyard originally planted in the 1950s.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. There is
definitely terroir at work in this individualistic wine but not necessarily in a favored way. Aromas of dusty black
cherry, dark raspberry, savory herbs and smoke. The mid weight purple and black fruits are framed by
substantial tannins. A brambly herb and earthy mountain character runs through this wine that is more savory
than fruity. A slight bit of alcoholic warmth shows up on the finish.
2015 Siduri Lingenfelder Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 142 cases, $50, screwcap.
Released September 2017. Vineyard offers a combination of Pommard and Martini clones located in one of the
cooler spots in the Russian River Valley.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Lovely aromas of Bing cherry,
spice, rose petal and BBQ rub. Very tasty core of fresh and vivid cherry fruit along with a supportive tannic
backbone and a very sensual mouthfeel. A fresh and juicy expression of Russian River Valley lusciousness.
2015 Siduri Keefer Ranch Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 438 cases, $55,
screwcap. Released September 2017. Vineyard is in the cool Green Valley of Russian River Valley.
garnet color in the glass. Pedigreed fruit runs through this wine that features aromas and flavors of strawberry
and black cherry fruits with a thread of tobacco oak. Impressive length in the mouth and a drawn out finish in a
middleweight style that is welcoming and forward drinking.
2015 Siduri Betty Ann Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 100 cases, $55, screwcap.
Released September 2017. Clone “828.” Revitalizing this vineyard.
Dark garnet color in the glass. Brooding
aromas of black fruits and smoky oak. Aggressive onslaught of smoky black cherry and blackberry fruits in a
ultra ripe style that has a delicious juiciness. There are enough tannins and acidity to harness the fruit load and
the alcohol is submerged, so the wine touts commendable balance. Pinot purists will be turned off by the
enormity of the bombastic fruit, but the wine will delight others who cherish luscious, sappy fruit. Totally unique
among the Siduri lineup.
2015 Siduri Ewald Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., 196 cases, $50, screwcap.
Released September 2017. 3.1-acre vineyard located directly behind Kistler Winery.
Moderately light garnet
color in the glass. A straightforward wine featuring aromas and flavors of red cherry, cranberry and toasty oak.
Modest in attack and finish modes, with easy going tannins and integrated acidity.
2015 Siduri Parson’s Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 667 cases, $50, screwcap.
Released April 2017. Vineyard located west of Santa Rosa.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Lovely
aroma of fresh cherries, cola and fertile earth. Pleasingly forward and fruit driven, with a mid weight plus core
of earthy black cherry and purple berry fruits. Nicely composed with good harmony. Should develop more
nuance with more time in bottle.
2015 Siduri Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 314 cases, $55, screwcap.
Released September 2017.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Comforting aromas of dark berries and
sandalwood. Sleek and polished on the palate, with middleweight flavors of blackberry, black raspberry and
spice with an earthy undertone. More darkly fruited than usual for Rosella’s. The tannins are woven in nicely
and the sweet fruited finish satisfies. There is the slightest sense of alcoholic warmth on the finish.
2015 Siduri Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 145 cases, $50, screwcap.
Released May 2017. Clones 667 and Pisoni.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose is both fruity
and oaky (charcoal, tobacco, BBQ spices). Sweet fruited in a mid weight style featuring black cherry and black
raspberry with a serious investment in oak. Well proportioned tannins and acidity with good persistence on the
finish that offers black cherry and sweet tobacco aromatics.
2015 Siduri Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 390 cases, $60, screwcap.
Released may 2017. A blend of two different sections of the vineyard, both Pisoni clone but on different
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant scent of cherry, ripe berry and dried herbs that
builds in aromatic intensity over time in the glass. Intense, mouth filling attack of black raspberry, blackberry
and cassis flavors that really alert the senses. The tannins hold the fruit in check and the fruit-filled finish is
noticeably generous. One senses the alcohol on the lips.
2015 Siduri Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 272 cases, $65, screwcap.
Released September 2017. Small crop in this vintage led to a more typical bigger, full-bodied wine.
dark garnet color in the glass. Brooding aromas of fertile earth, black cherry and ripe dark berries. A big boy
wine with an exuberant load of fruit extract that captivates with its intensity and length. Mature tannins provide
a good frame. A dreamy wine with a soothing texture that is built for aging. My only nit would be the sense of
alcohol if you look for it.
2015 Siduri Clos Pepe Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., 190 cases, $60, screwcap. Released
June 2017. Frost decimated yields. Sourced from two hillside blocks.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.
Welcoming aromas of pie cherry, spice and toasty oak. The luscious dark cherry and raspberry essence fills
the mouth with goodness. Fruit driven in a good sense with immersed tannins, palate harmony, and a
2015 Siduri John Sebastiano Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 190 cases, $55, screwcap.
Released September 2017.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Gracious aromas of dark cherry and
berry, granola and toast. Plenty of black raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavor to satisfy in a fruit driven, mid
weight style with complimentary oak in the background. Perfectly fine, with some, but not exceptional length on
Westwood Estate Wines, Sonoma
The Annadel Gap Vineyard that serves as the core of Westwood Estate Wines has been certified
Biodynamic™ by the Demeter Association following an extensive revitalization of the site led by consultant
Phillipe Coderey, winemaker Ben Cane and proprietor Carl Stanton. First planted in the northernmost Sonoma
Valley in three stages between 2001 and 2009, the 22 planted acres consist of nine clones of Pinot Noir, four
clones of Syrah, and micro blocks of Counoise, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Tannat, Roussane and Viognier.
The wines are produced and bottled by Westwood Wine company in Sonoma. The website is
2016 Westwood Estate Annadel Gap Vineyard Sonoma Valley Rosé
13.5% alc., pH 3.32, TA
0.628, 189 cases, $25. Released May 2017. Harvest Brix 23.0º-25.0º. Counoise (40%) and Tannat
(13%) grapes picked early for making a rosé and then whole cluster pressed. The Pinot Noir
(40%), Mouvèdre (3%) and Syrah (4%) were collected as a saignee. All varieties individually
fermented in neutral French oak puncheons, aged on lees for 4 months, and underwent partial
malolactic fermentation. Gently fined and filtered.
Moderate pinkish orange color in the glass.
Market reduction upon opening (burnt match, sulfur) that resolves over time in the glass revealing
aromas of strawberry, juniper berry and underbrush. Quite flavorful with tastes of plum, cherry,
Damsel plum, spice, apricot, peach and savory dried herbs. Only the slightest tannins show up on the finish
that has some length. Much better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle, so this may be a rare instance of a Rosé benefiting from decanting.
2015 Westwood Wendling Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.53, 216 cases,
$72. Released May 2017. This is the closest vineyard in Anderson Valley to the Pacific Coast. 23 acres, five
clones including Pommard, 667, Calera, “828,” and 115. Clones fermented separately, 25% whole cluster, 5 to
6-day cold soak, 18 days on skins. Gently basket pressed. Aged 16 months on lees in French oak barrels, 56%
new. Gently fined and bottled unfiltered.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. This wine needed a day
after opening to unwind. Aromas of black cherry, dried herbs and smoky oak. More fruit expression on the
palate, offering tastes of black raspberry, boysenberry, blackberry and spice framed by facile tannins and a
touch of oak. The fruit really comes out of its shell the following day from a previously opened and re-corked
2015 Westwood Clone 90 Estate Annadel Gap Vineyard Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir
pH 3.51, TA 0.521, RS 0.7 g/L, 48 cases, $64. Release October 2017. Harvest Brix 23.6º. Clone 90
is the Chambertin clone. 6-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation, 15 days on skins. Gently
basket pressed. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Gently fined, bottled unfiltered.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Highly perfumed with aromas of black cherry, spice and pipe
smoke. Light to mid weight in style with flavors of black cherry and blackberry along with a thread of
savory herbs. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the
nose was more appealing with a combination of cherry, spice and undergrowth aromas and more
fruit expression on the palate. You must decant now or cellar.
2015 Westwood Calera Clone Estate Annadel Gap Vineyard Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH
3.64, TA 0.506, RS .5 g/L, 100 cases, $64. Harvest Brix 24.1º. 6-day cold soak, gentle punch downs, on skins
for 15 days. Basket pressed, aged in French oak barrels, 50% new, for 16 months. Gently fined and unfiltered.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Nicely appointed aromas of cherry, spice, earthy flora and toast. Mid weight
plus flavors of black raspberry, blueberry-pomegranate, black tea, Hoison and earth. There is good length in
the mouth and on the finish that is juicy and intensely fruity. Oak shadows the background as a compliment.
Considerably better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2015 Westwood Sangiacomo Vineyard-Roberts Road Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.1% alc., pH 3.29,
TA 0.73, 289 cases, RS .4 g/L, $44. Released May 2017. Harvest Brix 22.8º-23.2º. Vineyard planted in 1999.
Clones 17 and 95. Native yeast fermentation in egg-shaped vessel. Primary fermentation and partial malolactic
fermentation finished in 35% new and neutral French oak barrels and puncheons for 11 months with 6 months
of lees stirring. Clones blended after 11 months and finished in stainless steel for 5 months. Lightly fined and
Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Complex aromatic profile that features lemon, olive
oil, banana and nutty oak. Rich flavors of lemon, pineapple and white peach in a rather decadent style. Slightly
viscous in the mouth, with a very long, intensely fruited finish.
Zina Hyde Cunningham, Sonoma ( Associated with Ledson Winery & Vineyards,
2014 Zina Hyde Cunningham Julia’s Estate Vineyard Anderson Valley Reserve Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH
3.73, TA 0.52, RS 0.42 g/L, 99 cases, $68. Winemaker Steve Ledson crafts this wine from 10 acres of vines
containing 4 Dijon clones, planted at high elevation on Ledson’s 6,000-acre Bald Hills Ranch. Native yeast
fermentation. Aged 21 months in French oak barrels, 28% new. Bottled without filtration.
garnet color in the glass. Very fragrant with elevating aromas of plum, black raspberry, blackberry, pipe smoke
and cardamom spice. A gorgeous wine that is rich and full on the palate with black fruits, yet weightless.
Delicious flavors of black fruits, spice, black tea and smoke. The oak a slightly heavy handed but the bodacious
fruit shines through.
2015 Zina Hyde Cunningham Adeline’s Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay
14.2% alc., pH 3.31, TA
0.588, RS 1.55 g/L. Sourced from a Wente selection
planted on 2 acres at 1,450 elevation on Steve Ledson’s
6,000-acre Bald Hills Ranch. Native yeast fermentation.
Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 20% new. Bottled
Light golden yellow color in the glass.
Bright aromas of lemon-lime, peach, cantaloupe and
buttery brioche. Discreetly rich flavors of citrus, pear and white peach
with a hint of caramel. Slightly creamy in texture, with integrated
acidity and a uplifting finish. Quintessential California style of
2013 1849 Wine Company Iris Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., $25.70. Produced and bottled
by 1849 Winery, Lodi, CA. Artwork on label is “Tool of
Dissent” by Saber, a legend in the graffiti world and an
urban art pioneer.
Moderately light garnet color in the
glass. Deep aroma of well ripened dark fruits with hints
of vanilla, toast, spice and rose petal. A explosion of
very ripe black raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors
greets the palate. Well-structured tannic backbone with a touch of
oak and some finishing persistence. Powerful fruit is the main feature
of this wine.
2014 Pence Ranch Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $27. Winemaker Sasha Moorman.
Produced and bottled by Pence Ranch, Lompoc, CA. I
could not find this wine on the website or wine-searcher.
I bought it at Whole Foods.
Light ruby red color in the
glass. The nose opens beautifully over time displaying
scents of cherry, cardamom spice, rose petal, pipe
smoke and a touch of toasty oak. Light to mid weight in
style, and forward drinking, offering flavors of cherry, cranberry,
raspberry, and exotic spices backed by easy going tannins. A deft
touch of oak plies the background, and the wine finishes with a nice
cherry kiss. A terrific value in a Pinot displaying some whole cluster
2015 Viluko Mayacamas Mountains Sonoma County Chardonnay
13.5% alc., pH 3.40, TA
0.58, 90 cases,$38. Produced and bottled by Viluko Vineyards, Sonoma, CA. Vineyard planted to a
Robert Young selection (clone 17). Frost damage reduced crop in this vintage by 50% (less than
0.5 tons-per-acre). Harvest Brix 22.5º. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented with lees stirring
twice monthly for 6 months during malolactic fermentation, then aging on the gross lees with
monthly lees stirring for another year. Aged in 45% new and 55% second use French oak barrels.
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of lemon oil, green apple, smoke and pine sap
lead off. Sleek and polished in the mouth, with alluring flavors of lemon, grapefruit, spice, and oakdriven
notes of vanillin, caramel, toast and buttery brioche. Quite satisfying, with good but not imposing cut on
Kingston Family Vineyards
Kingston Family vineyards is a boutique winery located on a farm that has been in the owner’s family for a
century. C.J. Kingston left Michigan and headed to Chile in the early 1900s searching for gold. He never did
strike gold, but he found a large cattle ranch 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the hills of Chile’s Casablanca
Valley. Third generation, Courtney Kingston, while attending Stanford University, convinced her family to
expand their ranch from dairy and cattle into wine. The family planted a vineyard on the property beginning in
1998. The area was known exclusively for white wines but she bet on Pinot Noir and Syrah. The initial release
was 400 cases of Pinot Noir and Syrah in 2003.
Today, Kingston Family Vineyards is recognized as one of the top wineries in Chile and known for producing
some of Chile’s best Pinot Noirs. The winery produces 5,000 cases annually of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah
and Sauvignon Blanc from estate vineyards in Casablanca, Chile. Kingston collaborates in MOVI, Chile’s
Movement of Independent Winemakers, whose members make small lots of artisan wines by hand.
The 300-acre estate vineyard is planted to Dijon clone 777 and Kingston Grande and Chico that are the
winery’s own selections, as well as Valdivieso and Conco y Toro. 95% if the vines are own rooted in red clay
loam containing decomposed granite.
The wines are produced under the guidance of American consulting winemaker Byron Kosuge in association
with Chilean winemaker Amael Orrego. Photo below is of Byron and Courtney. Byron says, “A lot of things have
come together at Kingston Family Vineyards in the last few years. The vines have reached an age where they
are naturally balanced and more consistent in yield and quality. We have fine-tuned our combination of small
barrels, larger casks and concrete tanks to better develop and preserve the wines.”
The winery has been a notable participant in the World of Pinot Noir and the International Pinot Noir
Celebration. It was awarded “Brand of the Year” honors in 2016 by Wine & Spirits magazine.
The wines are imported to the United States by Kingston Family Vineyards LLC, Portola, CA, and worth
seeking out. They are also sold on the website at www.kingstonvineyards.com. These wines are among the
best values in the current Pinot Noir and Chardonnay marketplace.
2016 Kingston Family Vineyards Tobiano Casablanca Valley Chile Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 860
cases, $24. Released September 2017. Aged primarily in oak barrels but most are neutral.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. A savory nose leads off with aromas of dried herbs, floral
bouquet, strawberry and tobacco. Forward drinking with bright flavors of red cherry and red berry
boosted by lively acidity, displaying some persistence on the quenching finish. This is a welcome
Pinot that is pleasurable without needing analysis.
2016 Kingston Family Vineyards Alazan Casablanca Valley Chile Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., 365
cases, $38. Released September 2017. Some whole cluster. Aged 8 months in oak barrels and
concrete egg vat.
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose becomes more expansive
over time in the glass, revealing aromas of cherry, spice, sous bois and a hint of toasty oak. Wellmannered
in the mouth with impressive harmony, offering mid weight flavors of earthy cherry,
raspberry and spice. The tannins are nicely integrated making for easy drinking now. The
somewhat earthy and savory character reminds me more of Old World than New World. In any
case, an excellent wine.
2016 Kingston Family Vineyards Sabino Casablanca Valley Chile Chardonnay
415 cases, $30, screwcap. A combination of oak and concrete vessels are used for fermentation
and aging. Native yeast, a little lees stirring, slow malolactic fermentation and little or no
sulfur.Aged 10 months and released September 2017.
Light golden yellow color in the glass.
comforting aromas of lemon oil, apple and lees. Round and composed on the palate with flavors
of lemon, grapefruit, pear and apple that persist through the finish that offers an energetic grip of
acidity. No oak in sight, just terrific purity of fruit. Tasted twice with same result.
Knudsen Vineyards New Releases
The fourth vintage of Knudsen Vineyards Pinot Noirs includes the 2015 Estate Dundee Hills Willamette Valley
Pinot Noir and the 2015 Estate Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Knudsen Vineyards was
founded in 1971 and is one of the oldest wineries in Oregon and still Knudsen family owned.
450 cases of the 2015 Estate Pinot Noir were produced in the winery’s traditional style blending estate grown
fruit from Block 5, planted in 2001, and Block 6, planted in 2004, both clone 777 and Block 3, planted in 2000,
clone 667. The wine was released to the public in September. 225 cases of the 2015 Estate Reserve were
produced. This wine includes traditional Blocks 5 and 6 and a new vineyard Block 1 planted at a higher
elevation in 2006. This wine was produced because of the extraordinary vintage and a blocks of grapes that
revealed themselves to be special and distinct. The Estate Reserve will be only offered to mailing list members.
To purchase wine, visit www.knudsenvineyards.com.
The family owners came together from across the country in July to blend the 2016 Chardonnay that will be
released in spring 2018. Ryan Collins, previously Director of Viticulture at A to Z Winery, became Head
Viticulturist at Knudsen Vineyards. Jose Sanchez, who started as a field worker over ten years ago, was
promoted to Vineyard Manager at Knudsen Vineyards.
2015 Knudsen Vineyards Estate Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.57,
500 cases, $55, screwcap. Clones 777 and 667 planted in Jory soil. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels,
Light ruby red color in the glass. A very friendly wine with cozy aromas of red cherry, cranberry and
sandalwood. Light to mid weight in style, with a charming core of red fruits with cherry as the centerpiece.
Additional accents include baking spices and brioche. Elegantly styled and forward drinking with harmonious
tannins and a robust finish that seems to build in generosity over time in the glass. This lovely wine reveals the
demure, angelic side of Pinot Noir.
2015 Knudsen Vineyards Estate Reserve Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.44, TA
0.55, 225 cases, $70, screwcap. Clone 777 planted in
Jory soil. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 35%
Moderately light garnet color in the glass.
Welcoming aromas of fresh cherry, spice and rose petal.
Upon entry, the wine engages with riveting and luscious
black cherry, black raspberry and plum flavors accented
with a charming dose of spice. A sophisticated wine that is truly
special with impeccable balance, a seamless texture and a grand
finish that lingers until the next sip. This collectible wine was even
more seductive when tasted the following day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle when my wife and I eagerly polished it
George Wine Company
Proprietor and winemaker George Levkoff is a disciple of Burt Williams. After a career in academia and bond
trading, he had a wine epiphany with the 1991 and 1992 Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir. Four
years later, he left his bond trading job in Los Angeles and headed to Sonoma County. He interned at Williams
Selyem from 1999 to 2002 while also working with Margi Williams at Brogan Cellars. With grapes from Hirsch
Vineyard, he released 150 cases of his inaugural Pinot Noirs in 2003. The wines quickly caught the fancy of top
sommeliers in Las Vegas and New York and George (or “george” since George has a thing for lower case)
Pinot Noir became a cult wine showing up on the wine lists of this country’s most notable restaurants. I have
tasted and reviewed practically every wine from George Wine Company going back to 2005. I was always
captivated by the wines that replicated the Burt Williams’ years of Williams Selyem Pinot Noir.
George resides in Healdsburg and is a one-man operation, performing every step of winemaking from sorting,
to vinification, to bottling, and even some delivering. The wines are allocated to a faithful mailing list at
George has released Vintage XIV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and there are less than 100 cases still
available. Current offerings include Hansen Vineyard Pinot Noir, Leras Vineyard Pinot Noir, Martinelli
Ceremonial Vineyard and Sonoma Coma (a blend of all three Russian River Valley vineyards). The wines are
$60 a bottle with the Sonoma Coma priced at $50 a bottle. I did not get a chance to review these wines but I
did taste a number of older vintages from my cellar recently.
2004 george Vintage II Hirsch Vineyards Block 3A Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 634 bottles.
brown, root beer color in the glass. Aromas of worn leather, barnyard, black cherry, sweet smoke, geranium
and oak spice. Still offers from fruit but it is dried out with added flavors of earth, orange pekoe tea, and wood.
Juicy, with silky tannins. The fruit fades quickly over time in the glass. Drink up.
2004 george Vintage II Hirsch Vineyards Block 4A Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 647 bottles.
brown, root beer color in the glass. Aromas of grape must, Nutella, dark chocolate, pipe smoke and rose petal.
Still enjoyable, with a mid weight core of dried cherry, nought, cola and fig flavors. Juicy with silky tannins,
fading over time in the glass. Drink up.
2005 george Vintage III Hirsch Vineyards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 492 bottles.
dark garnet color in the glass. Very engaging, fresh aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and mulch. Still
delightful, with a mid weight charge of blackberry fruit engaged with a compliment of oak. Slightly viscous and
polished in the mouth with immersed tannins and a long finish. Easy to mistake this wine for a more recent
vintage. Drink now to 2025.
2007 george Vintage V Sonoma Coma Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 1,111 bottles.
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. The nose leads with deep aromas of Bing cherry. An easy quaff,
with light to mid weight flavors of cherry, strawberry, baking spices and guaiacol. Still some freshness with
refined tannins. Drink now to 2020.
2007 george Vintage V Ceremonial Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 3,888 bottles.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry and pomegranate with a sniff of volatile acidity.
Commendable attack and finish of tasty black cherry fruit accent with a touch of oak. Still some tannins evident
and slight astringency on the finish. Quite satisfying and vibrant due to juicy acidity. Drink now to 2022.
2007 george Vintage V Hansen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 959 bottles.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of sweet smoke, mulch and cow manure. Wines from this
vineyard always show a fecal, guaiacol note making them very distinctive and terroir-driven. Mid weight flavors
of black cherry and black raspberry framed by silky tannins and honed acidity. Still fresh, with a generous finish. Drink now to 2022.
2008 george Vintage VI Sonoma Coma Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 2,499 bottles.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Really inviting aromas of black cherry, spice and sweet oak. Satiny in the
mouth, with plenty of fresh black cherry fruit delivering an expansive experience that lasts through a noticeably
persistent finish. Oak plays a supportive role. Drink now to 2025.
33rd Annual WineSong Event Raised More Than $700,000 Mendocino’s premier food and
wine event on September 8 & 9, 2017, had increased auction sales and more guests than ever participating in
auctions. Over $700,000 was raised for the Mendocino Coast District Hospital.
2017 Sonoma County Wine Auction Raised Record-Breaking $5.2 Million This year’s
event was held on September 16 at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard. The money raised supports
Sonoma County charities focusing on literacy, education, health and human services, the environment, and arts
and culture. The top wine-only lot was a six bottle collection of rare large format 2014 Kosta Brown Pinot Noir
that sold for $37,000. Photo courtesy of George Rose.
Silver Oak”s Duncan Family Buy Dick Erath’s Prince Hill Vineyard in Dundee Hills
Wine Spectator reported online on September 14, 2017, that the family behind Silver Oak purchased the 40-
acre Prince Hill Vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The vineyard will be used as a source of grapes for the
Twomey label. The vineyard was planted by Oregon pioneer Dick Earth in 1983. Neighboring vineyards include
Archery Summit, Bergstrom and Domaine Serene. Erath had previously sold his winery in 2006 to Chateau
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates but kept the Prince Hill Vineyard because he had a home on the property. Twomey
winemaker Eric Miller joined Twomey in 2014 after working at Evening Land in Oregon and was eager to craft
Pinot Noir from Oregon. The first vintage for Twomey from Prince Hill Vineyard will be 2017 but a vineyard
designate may not be immediately forthcoming as some revitalization and change in clones in the vineyard is
2017 Garagiste Wine Festival Sixty micro-wineries will be featured at the Garagiste Wine Festival in
Paso Robles, November 10-12. A wide variety of wines, styles and regions are included. Founder Doug Minnick
said, “Because our winemakers aren’t concerned with getting their product onto supermarket shelves, they are
free to explore their winemaking passions, which makes for an absolutely unparalleled and exciting range of
cutting-edge wines. The three-day festival includes the “Rare and Reserve” event, a Grand Tasting at the Paso
Fairgrounds, Tasting Seminars, and the Garagiste Paso Passport day. Some wineries known for Pinot Noir
participating include Asuncion Ridge, Camlow Cellars, Cutruzzola Vineyards, RN EState, Ryan cochrane
Wines, Silver Wines, Stolo Family Vineyards and Weatherborne. The nonprofit festival raises money for The
Garagiste Scholarship at Cal Poly to educate future winemakers. To buy tickets, visit
Bacigalupi Releases First Sparkling Wine Bacigalupi Vineyards has announced the release of
the Brilliant sparkling wine as a family tribute to Paul Robert Heck, forty years after his passing. Pamela
Bacigalupi, winegrower and part owner of Bacigalupi Vineyards and Heck’s daughter, is pleased to recognize
her Heck family roots. The 2014 Brilliant is an estate grown Methode Champenoise cute of 50% percent Pinot
Noir and 50% Chardonnay. Released in an extremely limited production, each bottle retails for $70. Paul
Robert Heck was the son of Adolf Ludwig Heck Sr. who emigrated to America from Alsace-Lorraine in the early
1900s. He reopened Cook’s Imperial Champagne Cellars after Prohibition. Upon returning from WW II, he
joined his father and worked for the American Wine Company. In 1948, Paul and his wife, Anna Marie, moved
to Lodi, where Paul worked for Italian Swiss Colony. He later relocated to Healdsburg and oversaw operations
at the company’s Asti winery. Along with his brother, Adolf Jr., Paul and their families purchased Korbel
Champagne Cellars in 1954 and part of Korbel is still owned by Heck descendants. Pam spent her childhood
on the Korbel estate. Today, she farms Bacigalupi Vineyards with her husband, John, and negotiates contracts
with local grape growers and buyers. Photo of Paul Heck below. Visit www.bacigalupivineyards.com.
English Pinot Noir Attracting Interest An article online in Decanter by Jane Anson is titled, “Is
English Pinot Noir really getting better? Pinot Noir is the second most planted variety in England, accounting for
almost one quarter of total plantings. Most English Pinot Noir is used in sparkling wines that account for 70% of
all English wines. Global warming, improved vineyard management and cellar practices have all contributed to
the success of English still Pinot Noir. The clones that seem to work best are Dijon and a few German clones.
The wines are crafted in a lighter, fresher style, similar to an AOC Bourgogne Rouge in quality.
Russian River Valley Wine Experience with Kosta BrowneHotel Healdsburg and Dry
Creek Kitchen are offering a food and wine escape. Stay two nights in a guest room at Hotel Healdsburg and
enjoy a private tour of the Kosta Browne winemaking facility that is not open to the public. Complete the day
with a special tasting menu at Dry Creek Kitchen paired with Kosta Browne wines. The package (starting at
$1149 plus taxes and fees) also includes a daily gourmet breakfast and valet parking. Call reservations at
Maggy Hawk Releasing 2014 Unforgettable Pinot Noir Allocations are opening soon for
Maggy Hawk Unforgettable Pinot Noir, only made in the years when the vineyard block best expresses itself. I
gave the wine a rating of 95. To reserve your bottles, call 888-339-7726. There are limited amounts of 2014
Jolie, Afleet, Stormin’ and Graceful Lady still available.
8th Edition of North California Fine Wineries Published This hardcover wine country travel
book (and ebook for Kindle and iPad) is the top seller on Amazon for “California Winery Books.” The latest title:
The California Directory of Fine Wineries, 8th Edition (Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino). The new edition includes
many notable Pinot Noir producers including Anaba Wines, Donum Estate, Domaine Anderson, Dutton-
Goldfield, Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery, Handley, Hartford Family, Iron Horse Vineyards, Lichen Estate,
Papapietro Perry, Patz & Hall and Three Sticks. Each winery is profiled including location, tasting room hours,
and winemaker. Photos are by noted photographer Robert Holmes. Can be used as a guide to the Napa,
Sonoma and Mendocino wine regions. Easy to find the book on Amazon - www.amzn.to/2wtTszB - or Barnes &
Noble, or CostCo.
Premium Wine Sales DeceleratingRob McMillan of Silicon Valley Bank reported at
www.svbwine.blogspot.com the following. “While premiumization is in full force and the wine business is still
growing, today we are at a tipping point: The growth rate in premium wine is decelerating and has been since
late 2015. We are at the start of a long term secular market change.” One reader responded, “The largest
percent of the population was born prior to 1967, over 50 now and history has shown that afterimage 50
individuals spend less each year going forward on stuff. There is roughly another 7-10 years before the
millennials have a large enough presence in the prime buying age bracket to stimulate another rally like we saw
Important Study of Relationship of Alcohol Consumption to All-cause
Cardiovascular, and Cancer-related Mortality The study was published in the Journal of
American College of Cardiology recently. 34,754 patients were followed looking at what participants died of in
median follow-up of 8.2 years. Compared with lifetime abstainers, those who were light or moderate alcohol
consumers were at a reduced risk of mortality for all cases. There was a significantly increased risk of mortality
for all causes and cancer in adults with heavy alcohol consumptions. Binge drinking equal to one or more than
one day a week was also associated with an increased risk of mortality for all causes. The authors concluded
that light and moderate alcohol intake might have a protective effect on all-cause and cardiovascular-specific
mortality in U.S. adults. The author’s analysis shows a clear J-shaped curve for the relation of alcohol to
mortality, with lower total, cardiovascular, and even cancer mortality rates for light and moderate drinkers who
do not binge drink.
Jeff Pisoni’s New Luli Release Luli is a partnership between Master Sommelier Sara Floyd and the
Poison Family. A new Luli release is the 2015 Highlands Ranch Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($45). Luli
Pinot Noir has been typically a blend of various Santa Lucia Highlands Vineyards, but this inaugural release is
from a single vineyard. Only 85 cases produced. Great value wines at www.luliwines.com.
New Releases from Zena Crown & Gran Moraine Three limited production Pinot Noir from the
Eola-Amity Hills are new released to the mailing list. 2014 Zena Crown Slope, 2014 Zena Crown Conifer and
2014 Zena Crown The Sum. The wines, crafted by winemaker Shane Moore, were stunning in the last vintage.
Call 866-462-4641. Shane Moore is also the winemaker at Gran Moraine. This winery has released the 2015
Dropstone Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir and 2015 Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir. Call 855-831-6631.
Inaugural Elton Vineyard Releases The inaugural vintage of Elton Pinot Noir ($75) and
Chardonnay ($75) are now released. Dick and Betty O’Brien planted Elton Vineyard in 1983 and spent their
lives growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Today, the vineyard is owned by Willamette Valley Vineyards. It has
often been recognized as one of the top vineyards in Oregon. Consulting winemaker Isabelle Meunier made
the inaugural wines. Call 503-588-9463.
Damn Computer My 9-year-old iMac hard drive crashed on me last week, an eternity for a computer that
gets a workout every day from me. The tattooed millennials at the Apple store were shocked, using subtle
insulting words like “obsolete.” Needless to say, I kept my iPhone 4s in my pocket. I bought a new iMac and
unlike the iPhone, prices have not changed much for iMacs during that 9 year period. Fortunately, everything
was backed up on a hard drive so I didn’t lose anything important. That said, it has been a challenge to
compose the PinotFile using the new iPages program because it has changed significantly from the older
program I was using. iPages is not the ideal program for composing a newsletter to begin with but I am
comfortable with it. My blessed wife took the brunt of my constant moaning and cries of desperation. Thanks to
help from my techie son, Dane, I managed to adapt and even triumph, and this issue is the first composed on
the new computer and software. I would rather be drinking Pinot Noir.