PinotFile: 12.4 March 22, 2020
- Saint Patrick’s Day is a Time for Celebration of Wine as well as Green Beer and Irish Whiskey
- Matt Taylor Wines: Great Things Take Time
- Alma Fria: West Sonoma Coast Wines by Former Red Car Co-Founder Carroll Kemp
Saint Patrick’s Day is a Time for Celebration of Wine as well as Green Beer and Irish Whiskey
As I sit here in my office on Saint Patrick’s Day, hunkering down because of the coronavirus, I wanted to offer
readers something of interest to help them pass the time in hopes it would help to relieve some of the boredom.
Before approaching the subject of the Irish and wine, let me dispel five myths about Saint Patrick. First, Patrick
was British, not Irish (he was born in Britain to a deacon and tax collector, kidnapped at age 16 by marauders
and forced into slavery in Ireland, escaping six years later). Second, Patrick had little mention of the shamrock
in his writing and his connection with the shamrock was an embellishment that developed over time. Third,
Patrick did not expel the snakes from Ireland (snakes never existed in Ireland). Fourth, Patrick revealed his
personal story in only two letters he wrote later in life. Fifth, Patrick is not officially a Saint. He is a saint only in
name and was never canonized by the Catholic church. He is a saint only by popular acclaim.
The Irish have a long tradition of wine drinking as revealed by the writings of Saint Patrick in 433 A.D. where
wine is given considerable mention. Although there is very little winegrowing in Ireland (it is simply to cold for
Vitis vinifera grapes to prosper), the Irish have played a significant role in the founding of some of the most
iconic wineries in France, Australia and the United States.
The Irish helped launch the wine industry in California. Irishman James McCaffrey owned the oldest surviving
commercial winery in California prior to Prohibition - the San Jose Winery - originally built by the Santa Barbara
Mission in the early 19th century. The tradition continued in the late 19th century with the founding of the iconic
Concannon Vineyard by Irishman James Concannon and in the 20th century, with Irish blood establishing such
well-known California wineries such as Murphy-Goode, Chateau Montelena, Mayacamas, Cakebread and
I have a special place in my heart for Concannon Vineyard since it was the first winery I ever visited and the
winery where I made my first purchase of a case of wine. Since I am primarily of Irish heritage ( my grandfather
was born in Ireland and was among the criminals sent to Australia), I was drawn to this winery at a young age
and it led to my early dalliances with Petite Sirah.
My formative years with wine involved many bottles of Mateus, Lancers, Blue Nun and Spanada. After my
medical training and stint in the USAF, I had enough spendable income to dabble in real wine. I was drawn to
Petite Sirah because of its bold, sweet, blackberry jam flavors and black pepper spice. It seemed to be the
perfect wine to pair with grilled steak, and in those days my cooking repertoire was largely limited to
barbecuing steaks. I liked the taste of the masculine wine and as a young bachelor and identified with its
Petite Sirah was discovered by botanist, Dr. Francois Durif, in France in the 1880s. He found it growing in a
field of Peloursin that had cross-pollinated with another grape varietal more recently identified as Syrah. In
1884, Charles McIver imported Durif to the United States for use in the vineyards of Mission San Jose in
California calling it Petite Sirah upon arrival.
Petite Sirah became the blending backbone of many homemade Prohibition-era wines. The grape has shown
plenty of pluck. It survived phylloxera in the 1890s, both World Wars, the Depression and Prohibition
(Concannon Vineyard was one of the few wineries that legally stayed in business because Petite Sirah was a
main ingredient in sacramental wines). There were approximately 4,440 acres of Petite Sirah planted in the
United States when James Concannon bottled America’s first varietally-labelled Petite Sirah in 1961. 50 years
later, acreage had near doubled to 7,592 acres and 723 producers featured a Petite Sirah in their lineup of
James Concannon, born on Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland, left his homeland in 1864 at the age of 17. He was
an adventurous type who landed in Boston and eventually found a job as a bellhop at a hotel in Augusta,
Maine. It was there he met and married an Irish lass, Ellen Rowe. In 1874, together with their new baby, the
couple traveled in a covered wagon across the country to Oregon.
After initially managing a sheep ranch, James moved to San Francisco and made considerable money selling
rubber stamps throughout the West. By age 32, he was a respected businessman, and his success allowed
him to pursue his interest in viticulture. He enrolled in college to learn about grape growing and traveled to
France to find rootstock. In 1883, he planted his first 40 acres in the Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco
and founded the Concannon Vineyard winery. The cuttings were from ChËteau d’Yquem. A few years later,
James became the first Irish immigrant to make wine in America.
To this day, although many varietals are produced, Petite Sirah has remained the flagship wine for Concannon
Vineyard and the winery offers several versions of Petite Sirah. Examples of old and new labels:
As an aside, I should note that 80% of all California Cabernet Sauvignon comes from Concannon clones 7, 8
and 11 that originated from a single mother vine imported from Bordeaux in 1893 by James Concannon.
Today, there are a number of winery owners and winemakers of Irish heritage producing Pinot Noir. The list
includes Kerry Murphy of DuMOL, Margie Williams of Brogan Cellars, Bill Murphy of Clos La Chance, Francis
Mahoney of Carneros Creek Winery, Jim McMahon of Athair, David O’Reilly of O’Reilly’s and Owen Roe, and
Peter Rosback of Sineann.
David O’Reilly is one of the few Irish-born winemakers in the United States. His family fled Belfast at the height
of that city’s friction between Catholic and Protestant factions in the late 1990s. The family settled in British
Columbia before David headed south to California where he majored in college in philosophy, the perfect
antecedent to a career in winemaking (ha!).
While in California, David visited Oregon’s Willamette Valley and was smitten. He landed a job at Elk Cove
Vineyards, where he befriended one of the seasonal assistant winemakers, Peter Rosback, who was also Irish.
Together, they left Elk Cove Vineyards, with Rosback subsequently found Sineann (named after Ireland’s
Shannon River) and O’Reilly launching Owen Roe (named after the famous Irish patriot who held off
Cromwell’s army before being poisoned with some evil breakfast cereal). Along with partner Gerald Owen who
manages the vineyards, O’Reilly crafts wildly popular Pinot Noir and other varietals sourced from fruit in
Oregon and Washington.
I have reviewed a number of Pinot Noirs from Tom Higgins, owner and winemaker at Heart & Hands Wine
Company in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The Claddagh ring on the label is the traditional Irish
wedding ring symbolizing friendship and togetherness (the hands), love (the heart) and loyalty and fidelity (the
crown). It is worn by people of Irish descent the world over as a source of pride in their heritage. At Heart and
Hands, the Claddagh symbolizes Tom and Susan Higgins’ passion for wine and their loyalty to their customers.
To read more about the history of Ireland’s ties to wine I recommend the book written by Irish author Ted
Murphy, A Kingdom of Wine.
Matt Taylor Wines: Great Things Take Time
“I want to share with you what admittedly is the most genuine reflection of what I’ve
strived to capture in wine: an honesty, transparency and purity that reflects the
site, vintage, farming and winemaking that were of our own volition and no one else’s.”
I first met winemaker Matt Taylor when he was crafting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Reuling Vineyard. The
Reulings had previously sold fruit to Aubert Wines and Peter Michael Winery, but in 2011 decided to keep their
fruit and start their own brand. They enlisted Matt, who had an impressive resume, as the winemaker.
Matt has had winemaking experience at Joseph Swan Vineyards in the Russian River Valley, Domaine Dujac in
Burgundy, wineries in Argentina and New Zealand and Araujo Estate Wines in the Napa Valley. When we met,
we talked at length about his reverence for the Joseph Swan property, his dedication to organic and
biodynamic farming, his preference for whole cluster fermentation and his general winemaking philosophy. In
his career, he has traversed some extraordinary vineyards charged by dedicated farmers who steward some of
the greatest terroirs in the world. All this travel and experience through 23 vintages has led him to embark on a
project that has been nearly a decade in the making. Matt and his wife Mikaela are pictured below.
Five years ago, he broke ground on two pristine parcels of land, located 4.5 miles inland from the Pacific
Ocean on a ridge due west of the town of Occidental. The site is just down the road from where Matt was born
and raised. He considers this area on the fringe of where grape growing is feasible in California. Matt also
believes this is a special place where he can make wines that are transparent and unadulterated.
The first parcel was planted in 2011 to the monarch of the Sonoma Coast: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Massale selections were sourced locally but their true identity will forever remain a mystery, This parcel is
known as the Komorebi Vineyard because the 6.25-acre vineyard is in close proximity to sequoia trees. In
Japanese, the word “Komorebi” means “sunlight filtered through the leaves of trees.”. Soils are Goldridge fine
The second and larger parcel of the two will be planted to Loire varietals (Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc,
Gamay, Pineau d’Aunis, Groileau, Romorantin and Menu Pineau) whose source was smugg…, er, less local.
The vines are dry-farmed organically and biodynamically. The site’s extremely long growing season and cool
climate combined with high-density plantings (3,600 vines per acre versus the more typical 1,800 vines per
acre in California) allows the grapes to achieve “skin maturity” and a natural acidity that is less common than
you’d expect in California.
Matt released the inaugural 2016 vintage of Matt Taylor Wines Komorebi Vineyard West Sonoma Coast Pinot
Noir and 2017 vintage of Matt Taylor Wines Komorebi Vineyard West Sonoma Coast Chardonnay on March 3,
2020. These wines are neither fined or filtered with nothing added to the Chardonnay and a minuscule amount
of sulfur put into the Pinot Noir. The entire small production sold out in less than a week to a mailing list. The
wines were released as a 3-pack (2 Pinot Noir and 1 Chardonnay) priced at $213. For those that missed the
debut release, sign up for the allocation list at www.matttaylorwines.com. This fall, a small release of a
second cuvée of Pinot Noir from the Komorebi Vineyard will be offered.
The striking labels are an attempt to paint specific colors to reflect something of a tasting note for the wine. In
the case of Chardonnay, there is a stroke of yellow to signify the citrus and fruit notes, a secondary moss green
brush stroke to show the green aspect of the wine (not green like herbaceous or lime or green apple but more
like ocean/saline and pine and moss), and then, a third component that signified the floral element. The colors
for Pinot Noir were orange, light blue and blue-green. Each bottle is hand-painted so is unique and slightly
different from each other.
2016 Matt Taylor Wines Komorebi Vineyard West Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.11% alc., pH 3.33, TA 0.84, 230 cases.
This vintage provided incredible skin maturity at lower sugar
levels, and the stems, despite being neon green in color, were
very sweet and ripe and not green in flavor. Hand-harvested
and hand-sorted (harvested before the Sonoma County fire in
early October). 100% whole cluster in two tanks: one oak and
the other concrete. Both tanks were a co-ferment with native
yeasts of the three selections in the vineyard. The grapes were
in tank 27 days which included a period of extended
maceration. The free-run and press wine were kept separate and
sent to 228L and 600L barrels (2.5x the size of a normal barrel
and having wood staves that are over 1.5x as thick) on the lees
for 18 months of aging. 3 months prior to bottling, the wine was
moved to tank and received 20 ppm of sulfur.
Light garnet color
in the glass. The whole cluster driven nose offers aromas of burnt tobacco, pine sap, sweet pipe smoke and
dried leaf elements. Elegantly styled in a light to mid-weight fashion, the wine offers flavors of red cherry and
cranberry with a botanical underpinning. Fine-grain, slightly gritty tannins are well proportioned. An arrow of
acidity contributes freshness and a piquant finish. More likeable over time in the glass, gaining succulence. Even
more enjoyable when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle when the wine
displayed more expressive fruit, better acid integration and overall more harmony.
2016 Matt Taylor Wines Komorebi Vineyard West Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
pH 3.22, TA 0.85, 160 cases. Harvested before the Sonoma County fire in early October. Clusters
are tight and tiny. The wine was pressed whole cluster in a bladder press, fermented and aged in
an 18HL concrete egg. Bottling proceeded without sulfur addition after 11 months in concrete sur
Moderately light yellow in color with the slightest haze. Engaging aromas of lemon curd, tarte
tatin and salted caramel that are persistent. The flavors replicate the aromas with the addition of
orchard fruits and baked green apple. Very appealing with good freshness, a sleek mouthfeel and
the slightest salinity. A very tantalizing wine that has well-integrated, crisp acidity and a pleasing lemony finish.
Still terrific when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. The West Sonoma
Coast may be the Holy Grail for California Chardonnay.
Alma Fria: West Sonoma Coast Wines by Former Red Car Co-Founder Carroll Kemp
Carroll Kemp is best known as one of the co-founders of Red Car Wines and long-time winemaker for that
label. In early 2018, he left Red Car to expand his role as founding winemaker at Alma Fria (“Cold Soul”) to
become a partner with the founding Holtermann family and continue as winemaker.
The 2.56-acre Holtermann Vineyard, located just north of Annapolis (population 200), was acquired in 2012. It
had been planted in 2002 to Pinot Noir clones 115, 777, “828,” and Pommard. The site is positioned on a
remote ridge top 5 miles inland from the Sea Ranch coastal community at an elevation of 700 to 800 feet.
Pinot Noir has been offered from the Holtermann Vineyard and the Doña Margarita Vineyard, with Doc’s Ranch
Vineyard replacing Doña Margarita Vineyard as a source in the 2017 vintage. Chardonnay is sourced from
Campbell Ranch Vineyard. The Campbell Ranch Vineyard was originally planted in 2001 solely to Pinot Noir. In
2008, Carroll brought Old Wente cuttings from the Hyde Vineyard and grafted 1.28 acres to Chardonnay, while
interplanting some additional vines.
I have reviewed the Alma Fria Sonoma Coast wines very favorably since the inaugural vintage in 2012:
Alma Fria is a member of the West Sonoma Coast Vintners Association. That organization has submitted a
proposal to the TTB to become an American Viticultural Area (AVA) and distinguish itself from other regions of
the vast Sonoma Coast AVA. Confirmation of an official AVA is expected soon.
Alma Fria Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are offered to a mailing list at www.almafria.com.
2017 Alma Fria Plural Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 250 cases, $40.
Moderately dark garnet color
in the glass. The nose offers an array of aromas including dark berries, underbrush, moss and rose petal. Midweight
plus in style with a charge of purple and black berry fruits that flood the mouth with goodness. There is a
noticeable spice, floral and botanical character as well. A modest amount of tannin shows up on the finish over
2017 Alma Fria Doc’s Ranch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
$70. One of the coolest vineyard sites in
all of Sonoma County. Vineyard is named after “Doc” Van Alstyne, a long-time resident and former landowner
of acreage encompassing this ridge in Occidental (including the parcels where this vineyard is located). the
vineyard was planted in 1999 and 2010 and totals 9 acres (8 acres of Pinot Noir and 1 acre of Chardonnay).
Elevation rises to nearly 1,000 feet above sea level giving a view of the Pacific Ocean and Pt. Reyes seashore.
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Exuberant aromas of wild strawberry and forest floor initially. The fruit
expression veers toward boysenberry, blackberry and pomegranate in a mid-weight style. Impressive harmony,
with a satiny mouthfeel and a persistent finish. More aromatic and appealing when tasted the following day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2017 Alma Fria Holtermann Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 140 cases, $70.
Clones 115, 777, “828,” and Pommard 5. 20% whole
cluster, native yeast fermentation. Aged in French
oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderate garnet color in the
glass. The most alluring nose in the 2017 lineup,
offering scents of blackberry syrup, leather and
redwood, gathering ebullience over time in the glass. Somewhat
rich in concentration in a nearly full-bodied style with a core of
black cherry and cassis flavors underlain by notes of wild herbs,
and framed by harmonious tannins and acidity. A wine of
sophisticated composure with a fruit-laden finish that goes on
and on. Still superb when tasted the following day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2017 Alma Fria Plural Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.3% alc., 175 cases, $40. Sourced from
Campbell Ranch and Joyce vineyards. Clones are Hyde Old Wente and 15. Wild yeast fermented,
aged in 100% neutral French oak barrels.
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass with a slight
haze. Inviting aromas of pineapple, lemon curd and warm pastry. Fairly rich and heady flavors of
lemon, pineapple, butterscotch and caramel with a slightly sweet lemon meringue fueled finish. A
showy, ripe-fruited style.
2017 Alma Fria Campbell Ranch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.3% alc., 115 cases, $50.
yeast barrel fermented in 25% new French oak. Moderate golden yellow color in the glass with a slight haze.
Refined aromas of citrus, baked pear and nut oils. A very polished wine in the mouth with focused flavors of
lemon, pear, yellow peach and warm croissant that leave you wanting another sip. Impeccable harmony and
class with a noticeably long finish. A much more refined wine than the 2017 Plural Chardonnay.
2016 Alma Fria Plural Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 280 cases, $40.
Moderately dark garnet color
in the glass. The nose features primarily earthy flora aromas with a note of cherry Danish pastry. More earthy
than fruity on the palate with middleweight flavors of black cherry, dried herb seasoning and mushroom.
Modest tannins for upfront enjoyment, with a slightly tart cranberry finish.
2016 Alma Fria Doña Margarita Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., 145 cases, $70. This
vineyard is located in the tiny hamlet of Freestone, 7 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and exposed to the
ingress of fog from Bodega Bay. It offers a very cool microclimate. Planting began in 2002 to clones 115 and
Pommard. Goldridge fine sandy loam soil. 15% whole cluster, wild yeast fermented, aged in 30% new French
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Aromas of blackest cherry, tobacco, spice and oak. Midweight
flavors centered on black cherry with a citrus note in the background. Pleasant, but not exciting, with
suede tannins, and nervy acidity that makes its presence felt. The finish has a sweet and sour tone.
2016 Alma Fria Holtermann Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.3% alc., 140 cases, $70. Clones 115,
777, “828,” and Pommard 5. 15% whole cluster, wild yeast fermentation. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new.
Moderately dark garnet color in the glass.
Nicely perfumed with aromas of red and black cherry and spice
cake. The essence of cherry and dark raspberry fruits exude an aura of pleasure. A arrow of acidity is woven
into the fabric of the wine and a compliment of oak plies the background. The wine picks up interest and body
with time in the glass, and offers a long and exuberant finish.
2016 Alma Fria Plural Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.2% alc.,185 cases, $40.
Moderate golden yellow
color in the glass. Initial aromas of ripe pineapple, pear and lemongrass fade over time. Rather mundane, with
flavors of pineapple, yellow peach, roasted nuts and caramel, shot through with steely acidity.
Burt Williams Tribute Dinners Blake Brown gave me a summary of a special tribute dinner in the
San Francisco Bay Area he took part in on February 25, 2020. Burt’s daughter, Katie, attended, along with
members of a local wine group in Belmont that are also followers of the WineBeserkers board. The wines
poured: 1997 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay, magnum of 1995 Williams
Selyem Summa Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (Brown said this was arguably the best wine Burt ever
made: 13.9% alc., pH 3.29, TA 0.964, no stem inclusion, aged 16 months in 100% new Francois Frères oak
barrels, priced at $125, 52 cases produced), 1994, 1995 and 1996 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian
River Valley Pinot Noir, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997 Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley
Pinot Noir, 1986 and 1997 Williams Selyem Sonoma County Pinot Noir, 1995 Williams Selyem Hirsch Vineyard
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (the wine of the night along with the Summa Vineyard bottling) and a1992 Williams
Selyem Russian River Valley Zinfandel. Additional wines were contributed by Margi Williams (Brogan Cellars).
Blake reports that Burt Williams tribute dinners were also held in Chicago and New York City. I would have
loved to do a tribute dinner but I liked Burt’s wines so much they mine were opened and thoroughly enjoyed
some time ago!
Big Table Farm Needs a Bigger Table I first met Clare and Brian, founders of Big Table Farm, in
2010 at a Pinot Days event in Santa Monica when they were hardly a blip on the pinotphile’s radar (photo
below). Since then, they have enjoyed incredible success based on the excellence of their wines and their
farm-based experience available to those who have visited them in Gaston, Oregon. They are still amazed,
humbled and grateful for the success of their Oregon adventure. Up until recently, they have held tastings in
their old farmhouse but now have leased a building in Carlton to serve as the public tasting venue for Big Table
Wine and Clare’s art (see photo below). Last year, they hosted over 2,500 people at their farmhouse and the
opening of a public facility will restore some sanity to their lives. Brian remarked that he has had a ladder
outside of his office window at home so he could move in and out of the house freely. Tasting at the Carlton
Atelier will be by appointment. Currently, the land is being prepared on the home property to plant Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay in the spring of 2021. Solar panels have been added to the winery along with backup batteries to
complement the Chevy Bolt electric forklift and the Polaris electric ATV. I have reviewed the Big Table Farms
wines for years with much fanfare. The winery has just released the fall lineup of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Reach out by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-852-3097.
New Direction for ConeTech The Craft Beverage Modernization portion of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
of 2017 was extended to December 31, 2020. The Act authorizes a wine tax rate of $1.07 per wine gallon to
still wines containing not more than 16% alcohol. There was previously a tax increase for still wines having
more than 14% alcohol. The Act was a devastating blow to the alcohol reduction business of ConeTech but the
company has moved on. ConeTech is now offering zero alcohol wines as a bulk finished product allowing clients to produce ZeroZero Wines. Billed as the new “sophisticated soft drink,” ZeroZero wine is an alternative
to sweet traditional soda. ConeTech says, “You have all the wine flavor, balance, structure and mouthfeel with
none of the alcohol.” The ZeroZero beverages also possess much lower calories than most leading soft drinks.
A second new offering is smoke taint removal. ConeTech has for the first time in the United States identified the
compounds that cause smoke taint. This has lead to the development of a unique and proprietary method that
drastically reduces, or eliminates completely, the volatile components that lead to smoke tainted wines.
Reportedly, the wine’s most delicate aromatic compounds are preserved. The key facts about smoke taint
(courtesy of Wine Australia): (1) smoke affects the grapes, not the vines, (2) there is no carry over between
seasons, (3) the risk is greatest closest to harvest, (3) proximity and age of smoke affect the level of risk, and
(4) characteristics of smoke in wine change over time and are experienced differently by each individual.
Knudsen Vineyards to Take Back Erath’s Tasting Room For 33 years, the historic Erath
Winery has been a tenant at Knudsen Vineyards, operating their business in the middle of the Knudsen
Vineyard. As the lease expires at the end of March, the space will be transformed into a Knudsen Vineyards
tasting room, slated to open in late May or early June. Knudsen Vineyards below.
“Minerality” Confined to Pinot Noir? I continue to be perplexed about the use of the word
“minerality” and its variants in the reviews of Pinot Noir in the popular wine publications. I wrote about this
recently in Volume 12 Issue 2: www.princeofpinot.com/article/2227/. In the April 30, 2020 issue of the Wine
Spectator, there were several California Pinot Noir wines reviewed. The following descriptors appeared:
“minerally finish,” (twice), “minerality,” “vibrant minerality,” and “ minerally details.” Similar terminology did not
appear in reviews of California Grenache, Syrah & Blends and Other Reds. Is Pinot Noir so confounding to
describe that reviews must lean on the vague and poorly understood terms implying “minerality”?
Wine.com as an Internet Source of Premium California Pinot Noir I had never looked
to wine.com as an internet source for fine California Pinot Noir but while recently searching for a specific Pinot
Noir, I came upon this seller. I was impressed by the extensive listing of quality California Pinot Noir wines from
both current and recent vintages. I looked at a number of wines that I had reviewed highly and compared the
SRP for my rated wines with wine.com prices. In most cases, the prices were at or modestly above SRP but
there were some good values to be found with prices below SRP in some wines (marked with an asterisk). Here is
a listing that may assist you in shopping for wines that I have reviewed highly in the past. My score is first, SRP
second and the wine.com price is listed last.
2017 Domaine Della Earl Stephens Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 93, SRP $75, $84.99
2017 Dutton-Goldfield Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 90, SRP $45, $43.99*
2017 RAEN Royal St. George Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 94, SRP $60, $58.99*
2017 Chappellet Grower Collection Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 90, SRP $45, $54.99
2017 La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 89, SRP $25, $19.99*
2017 Occidental Freestone-Occidental Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 94, SRP $65, $69.99
2017 Sojourn Rodger’s Creek Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 92, SRP $48, $49.99
2017 Sanglier River Tusque Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 90, SRP $36, $35.99
2017 FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 90, SRP $38, $39.99
2016 Morgan Double L Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 92, SRP $42, $64.99
2016 Benovia Martaella Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 94, SRP $60, $74.99
2016 Wayfarer Wayfarer Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 97, SRP $90, $89.99
2016 Goldeneye Gowan Creek Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 90, SRP $86, $79.99*
2016 Calera Jensen Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir 95, SRP $95, $88.99*
2016 Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 94, SRP $60, $54.99*
2016 Dutton-Goldfield Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley Pinot Noir 94, SRP $62, $69.99
2016 J. Wilkes Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 91, SRP $30, $31.99
2016 Waits-Mast Cellars Nash Mill Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 92, SRP $45, $52.99
2016 Lichen Moonglow Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 90, SRP $35, $41.99
2016 Big Basin Coastview Vineyard Monterey Pinot Noir 96, SRP $55, $56.99
2016 Big Basin Lester Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir 93, SRP $55, $54.99
2016 Ten Acre Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 90, SRP $55, $34.99*
2016 Black Kite Kite’s Rest Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 90, SRP $50, $52.99
2015 Eric Kent Sascha Marie Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 95, SRP $52, $57.99
2015 2015 Ryan Cochrane Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 93, SRP $46, $49.99
2014 LaRue Rice-Spivak Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 94, SRP $70, $79.99
Review of ‘Sideways’: The Experience’ in The New York Times ‘Sideways: The
Experience’ is the stage adaptation of the novel is playing at the Theater at St. Clement’s in New York until May
24, 2020. The play is preceded by a cocktail party at the Theater (an extra $100) with appetizers and wines
reflecting those tasted in the novel. The reviewer, Alexis Soloski, said the play was “corked.” “Observation is
shoved into dialogue like a stepsister trying to stuff her feet into too-small shoes.” She felt the movie worked
much better than the play, and in summary, claimed, “Some stories, unlike fine wines, don’t age well.” Ouch!