PinotFile: 8.27 December 14, 2010
- Drinking Small
- Drinking Small Part 2
- Drinking Bigger
- Pinot Briefs
- Wine Books to Savor and to Gift
- The Bucket List
Wine publications and promotional material from wineries would have you believe that small case production of
Pinot Noir translates to better quality. This claim has some truth to it as Pinot Noir does not lend itself to the
large production winemaking techniques used in crafting other red wine varietals. Most cracking North
American Pinot Noirs are hand-crafted in less than 500 case quantities, even less than 100 cases, much like
the great wines of Burgundy. However, small production is labor intensive and often results in high prices ($40
and above), and is no guarantee that the wine will be a winner. Like Burgundy, it is most critical to know the
producer when choosing a Pinot Noir wine. One can then look to appellations or specific vineyards that
possess the terroir to capture your attention.
Acquiring knowledge of Pinot Noir and its producers is a lifelong hobby. Today, there are more American
wineries making Pinot Noir than any other red variety. There are well over 1,200 wineries in California and
Oregon crafting this righteous juice, most of which are very small, family owned, boutique operations. Small
production creates a challenge to source and acquire the good stuff, but the journey is filled with anticipation
and surprises. As a devoted Pinot Pimp, and champion of the accomplished small guy, I am happy to lead
those of you with a glint of Pinot Noir in your eye on your adventure. You can begin with this issue, filled with
marvelous wines from sixteen small California and Oregon wineries. Get crackin.
Windy Oaks Winery, Santa Cruz Mountains
Russian River Valley, California
Arista Winery is one of the new bright stars on Westside Road in the Middle Reach sub-region of the Russian
River Valley. The estate consists of 36 acres that was originally a part of a Southern Pomo Indian village
named Budutcilan. In the mid 1800s, the area was a prime growing site for the lumbar industry and later for
hops. The McWilliams family acquired the property in 2004 and in mid 2005 the Arista Estate was opened to
Arista winery is a small, family operated affair. The patriarch is Al McWilliams, a former orthodontist who had
previously farmed Pine Mountain Vineyards in the Alexander Valley with brother-in-law John Copeland. The
McWilliams could not use their family name for their Russian River Valley winery since E. & J. Gallo owned a
similarly named winery in Australia. The letter sent to the McWilliams family from the E. & J. Gallo attorney
suggested two alternative names and Arista was chosen.
Currently, Arista sources Pinot Noir from several Sonoma County vineyards. 10 acres of high density vines
have been planted on the estate property by vineyard manager Ulises Valdez, and a Pinot Noir from the site
will be produced beginning in 2010. Ben McWilliams directs vineyard development and oversees grower
relations. Plans are afoot to soon build a winery on the estate property. The winemakers are veteran Leslie
Sisneros, a University of California at Davis graduate who crafted Pinot Noir for Kendall Jackson Wine Estates
for thirteen years, and young Mark McWilliams. Mark developed a passion for wine fresh out of college
working for Kendall Jackson Wine Estates leading to his interest in winemaking. Besides assisting Sisneros,
he manages the day to day operations of the winery.
The emphasis at Arista Winery is on vineyard-designated wines including Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Pinot Gris, and
Gewürztraminer, all produced in lots of 80 to 300 cases. The wines have been very favorably reviewed in the
wine press, and as a result, the mailing list of customers has become crowded, but is still open to newcomers.
The single vineyard wines are only available to mailing list members. Some of the larger production appellation
wines are sold online, distributed to retail wine stores and offered in small amounts in the tasting room. The
winery was not included in John Winthrop Haeger’s comprehensive book, Pacific Pinot Noir, (published in 2008
and not on Haeger’s radar yet), but as the Pinot Noirs reviewed below from the 2008 vintage demonstrate, this
producer definitely deserves your attention. The wines all displayed admirable balance, a sign of impeccable
The winery’s beautiful tasting room is surrounded by a serene, Japanese garden. Located at 7015 Westside
Road, visitors are welcomed daily from 11-5. The venue is available for weddings, corporate meetings and
other special occasions. The winery’s website is www.aristawinery.com and phone is 707-473-0606. The
winery is currently offering a “Taste of Arista” gift box, which includes six 50 ml tasting bottles of 2008 Arista
wines ($35), a unique way to sample several wines before buying.
2008 Arista Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.80, 616 cases, $44. Released spring 2010.
Aged in 40% new French oak barrels. 92% Russian River Valley, 8% Sonoma Coast.
Shy aromas of black
cherries and red berries picking up some intensity over time in the glass. Earth-kissed black cherry and berry
flavors with a slight oak and tobacco edge. On the lean side, but has some charming silkiness on the palate.
A reliable daily drinker. Decent.
2008 Arista Longbow Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.80, 430 cases, $44. Released
spring 2010. Sold out. Aged in 65% new French oak.
The nose is closed for business with oak at the forefront
and only a hint of mixed purple berry and dark stone fruit peaking out over time in the glass. A mediumweighted
fruit-driven wine with flavors of black cherries, black currants and plums veering to the ripe side with
oak in the background. Silky smooth with mild tannins. Needs more time. Tasted twice. Good.
2008 Arista Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.80, 920 cases, $34.
Released spring 2010. Aged in 12% new French oak, 24% 1 year oak and 64%
The vibrant aromas of dark berries and cherries, oak and
mushroom really grab your attention. Tasty core of berries and plums with a
sidecar of tea and earth flavors. The fruit flavors have impressive intensity and
persistence, and the silky texture adds to the appeal. This is a wine that grabs
your senses and holds on. Good.
2008 Arista Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.52, 220 cases, $56.
Released fall 2010. Helen and Charles Bacigalupi’s first plantings in the Middle Reach of the Russian River
Valley date from the early 1960s. Carl Wente sold the Bacigalupi family Pinot Noir cuttings from his vineyard in
the Livermore Valley. This wine contains the old Wente Selection Pinot Noir and Pommard clone from this
historic vineyard. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass.
Demure aromas of spiced Bing cherries picking up more of a savory, leafy bent over time in the glass. Discreet
array of medium-weighted dark red Pinot fruit flavors with notes of herbs and mushroom. A relatively simple
and youthful wine now, but with impeccably balanced tannins and acidity, should age nicely in the bottle.
2008 Arista La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.68, 258 cases, $56.
Released fall 2010. From the southernmost end of the Sonoma Coast appellation. Plantings here were
among the first in the Petaluma Valley dating to 1994. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels.
aromas of fresh black cherries with hints of oak and spice box. A gorgeous wine in the mouth with bright
flavors of black cherry and black raspberry with a complimentary underpinning of oak spice and toast.
Perfect harmony creating a wine that urges you to take another sip. I would love some duck confit with
2008 Arista Mononi Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.63, 224 cases, $56. Released fall 2010. From a 10-year-old
vineyard planted to Dijon clones 113 and 115. Aged in 50% new French
Stunning and nuanced aromatic profile featuring spiced
berries, rose petals and violets picking up intensity with time in the glass.
This wine has all the charm and delicacy one could asked for combined
with a tasty and hearty core of cherry, strawberry and cola flavors, harmoniously
supported by soft tannins and bright acidity. The whole package.
2008 Arista Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.63, 256 cases, $56. Released fall 2010. This 15-acre vineyard is located just off Olivet Lane and is planted to Dijon 115, 667, 777 and Pommard 5 clones. Aged in 50% new French oak barrels.
Brooding nose with scents of dark fruits, raisin and cigar box. The most intensely fruity and tannic wine in the Arista lineup but retaining an appealing silky mouth feel. The berry, cassis, and plum flavors veer to the ripe and sweet side with oak char providing a backup note. Not shy, and quite flavorful. Very Good
Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
The Maresh family is closely tied to the history of Pinot Noir in the Williamette Valley. Jim and Loie Maresh
were Wisconsin natives who met as students at Marquette University. The couple bought a 26-acre farm in the
Dundee Hills in 1959. They expanded their holdings while Jim worked for Dunn & Brandstreet and served as a
reserve officer in the Navy in Portland. Their home was relatively isolated, but they enjoyed the life of farming
cherries, nuts and prunes.
Dick Erath, who had begun to farm 49-acre vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains in 1968, encouraged the
Maresh family to grow wine grapes on their site. They followed his suggestion and in 1970 planted three acres
of Pinot Noir vines. At the time, David Lett (The Eyrie Vineyards) had the only Pinot Noir vineyard in Yamhill
County. The Maresh Vineyard was the fifth to be planted in Oregon and the first vineyard developed on Worden
Hill Road outside of Dundee, now a major epicenter of Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley.
Jim and Loie had five children. One daughter, Martha, married Fred Arterberry who was one of the first Oregon
winemakers to have a degree from the University of California at Davis. Arterberry produced many award winning
wines including the first sparkling wine in Oregon. Fred Arterberry’s 1985 Pinot Noir received a 95
point score from Wine Spectator and was Oregon’s highest scoring Pinot Noir for more than twenty years.
Martha and Jim had a son, Jim Arterberry Maresh. When the eldest Jim died, Martha remarried but kept
Maresh as her last name.
The Maresh Estate now consists of 124 acres of several varieties including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The
vineyard is primarily south west facing and is planted on Jory soil at 850 feet above sea level. The
southwestern exposure allows for perfect ripening and the old vines contribute a depth of flavor and complexity
that is matched by few other Pinot Noir vineyards in Oregon. The vineyard is managed by Stirling Fox. About
50% of the grapes (600 cases) are vinified as Red Barn Pinot Noir and sold only through the Red Barn tasting
room. The rest of the grapes are highly sought after and sold to Daedelus Cellars, Et Fille, Kelley Fox Wines,
Scott Paul, Sineann and Arterberry Maresh. Rex Hill produced a Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noir for many years
until the winery was sold a few years back.
Jim Arterberry Maresh is one of Oregon’s young hounds in the Pinot race. Jim began “messing around”
making wine in 2001, apprenticed at Penner Ash in 2003, St. Innocent in 2004 and Cameron in 2005. In 2007
he revived his father’s label, Arterberry Cellars, as Arterberry Maresh, releasing his inaugural wines with much
fanfare from the 2005 vintage. The label is true to that of Arterberry Cellars, modified only slightly to include the
Maresh name. The 2006 vintage Pinot Noirs were particularly impressive. The 2006 and 2007 Arterberry
Maresh Pinot Noirs have been reviewed previously in the PinotFile and a 2008 release is detailed below.
The Arterberry Maresh Pinot Noirs are sold through a mailing list with limited retail distribution within Oregon.
Avalon Wine is an online source (www.avalonwine.com). The winery phone is 503-434-7689.
2008 Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $75. Unfined and unfiltered.
Reluctant nose initially
offering some berry fruit, oak and a green pea note. Substantial classy core of
berry and red plum fruit with a slight green edge. Silky in the mouth with
harmonious acid and tannin interplay. Doesn’t excite upon opening but
becomes more giving the next day from a previously opened and re-corked
bottle, offering more fruit aromatically and more intense pure fruit flavors. Like
so many 2008 Pinot Noirs from Oregon, this wine needs time to come together
and may eventually titillate. Good.
Other 2008 Arterberry Maresh wines available include: Chardonnay ($75), Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($25), and
Juliard Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50). A second label, D.H. Proth Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is a value priced, early
drinking bottling ($15 for the 2009 vintage).
Big Table Farm
Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon
This outstanding producer burst on the Oregon wine scene in 2006. A collaborative effort between winemaker
Brian Marcy and artist Clare Carver, the pair are another one of a long line of California emigrants who arrived
in the Willamette Valley to farm grapes and craft wine. The pair compliment each others' talents, with Brian the
experienced winemaker, and Clair the marketer and manager of their 70 acres in Gaston. He studied
fermentation science at University of California at Davis and apprenticed in California at Turley Wine Cellars,
Neyers Vineyards, Blankiet Estate and Marcassin, and in Australia at Trevor Jones Fine Wines. She has won
multiple awards for wine label design which adorn the wines of notable wineries like Beaux Freres, Phelps
Creek and Miner Family Vineyards.
Beyond making remarkable wines, the couple have established a working farm where they raise pigs, cows,
meat and egg-laying chickens, and have working horses. The name, “Big Table Farm,” reflects the owners’
desire to provide a welcoming table for themselves and their friends, laden with artisan foods and wine. Some
of the farm-raised animal products will eventually become available commercially.
The lineup of wines have varied each year and the 2009 Laughing Pig Pinot Noir Rosé, 2008 Willamette Valley
Pinot Noir and 2008 Resonance Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir have been previously reviewed
(www.princeofpinot.com/winery/964/). Most labels feature a drawing of a single farm animal and are quite
stylish. They are fashioned by hand using a letterpress, then cut and glued onto each bottle. Besides the
wines reviewed below, a 2009 Riesling from Brooks Estate Vineyard and a 2007 Syrah from California’s White
Hawk Vineyard are offered. A 2009 Willamette Valley blend will be released in the spring 2011.
Big Table Farm wines are sold primarily through a mailing list at www.bigtablefarm.com. The website is very
informative and one of the most modern and well-designed winery websites I have ever visited. The winery
and farm are open only by appointment (503-662-3129).
I must admit to being smitten by not only the quality of Big Table Farm wines, but the way the owners stand out
as truly personal and talented individuals with generous joie de vivre, and a commitment to sustainable farming
traditions. This is the type of small producer we want to, need to, and have to support.
2009 Big Table Farm Cattrall Brothers Vineyard Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc, 100 cases, $45. Label features a grape delivery
truck owned by the Cattrall Brothers, a 1947 Ford. From the oldest certified
organic vineyard in Oregon, planted in the 1970s. Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of cherries,
strawberries, red roses and sandalwood. Delicate but tasty core of red fruits with
strawberry flavor at the forefront and toasty oak and baking spices adding interest
in the background. A charming wine with admirable balance that is drinking
nicely now. Very Good.
2009 Big Table Farm Resonance Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.8% alc., 190 cases, $48. Label sports
picture of Haley the cow with first calf born at Big Table Farm spring
2010. Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon 777 clones. Fermented with
natural yeast, some pigeage, and aged sur lie in French oak. Unfined and
Moderately deep garnet hue in the glass. Boisterous and
alluring aromas of dark, rich Pinot fruits that just won’t quit. Delicious attack of
dark berry jam with ever changing additional layers of flavor that include anise,
lavender and Asian spice. This is a wine of discovery, revealing more interest
with each sip. The tannins are reigned in making for approachability now and
the succulent fruit is hard to resist, but this wine will get better with cellaring. Fabulous goût de terroir.
Two novice, but enthusiastic winemakers, Kerith and Brian Overstreet, debuted their label beginning with the
2008 vintage. I have never seen a couple having so much fun in launching a wine business. Brian is the CEO
of fast-growing Sagient Research Systems, a leading provider of proprietary independent research and data
services to the financial and institutional investment communities, and Kerith, a former surgical pathologist,
manages the family of three kids. Their occupational success allows them to donate 100% of their profits from
their wine sales to the Overstreet Family Foundation which has multiple charitable beneficiaries.
Their name and label is a colorful play on The Periodic Table of Elements (remember your high school
chemistry?). Kerith and Brian consider wine elemental to their life. Bruliam is an amalgamation of the names of
the three young Overstreet children.
The inaugural release from Bruliam was a 2008 Doctor’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir which was
crafted at Crushpad in San Francisco (previously reviewed - www.princeofpinot.com/winery/621/). For 2010,
production was moved to Mauritson Winery on Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg. The Overstreets conveniently
have a second home in Healdsburg so they have easy access to the Mauritson production facility. Winemaker
Clay Mauritson acts as the consultant for Bruliam wines. He is an accomplished vintner who has made
distinguished wines under his Mauritson Winery, Rockpile and Loam brands and has teamed with restaurateur
Charlie Palmer to craft the Charlie Clay and Duelist brands of Pinot Noir. Kerith recently worked harvest at
Mauritson and her amorous escapades with the heartbreak grape are chronicled in a video posted on the
I recently attended a lively release party for the 2009 vintage Bruliam wines at Cucina Urbana Restaurant in
San Diego. I sampled the three Bruliam Pinot Noirs offered and was impressed by the easy approachability of
the Anderson Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands bottlings. All three wines have much to recommend. The
wines are sold through a mailing list at www.bruliamwines.com.
Bruliam wines are made in traditional fashion. After hand sorting and de-stemming and a 5-day cold soak,
whole berry inoculated fermentation is carried out. The barreled wine is 70%-90% free-run. Malolactic
fermentation is initiated with inoculated yeast and the wine is aged for 11 months in 33% to 50% new French
oak barrels. The wines were bottle aged 3 months before release on December 5, 2010.
The Bruliam blog is penned by both Brian and Kerith and is one of my favorite reads on the internet. My wife
has curiously checked on me a few times after hearing me burst out laughing while reading the blog.
2009 Bruliam Hayley Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.73, $52. Unusual wine in that
it is 100% clone 114.
This Pinot is the most feminine, the angel of the lineup. Very pretty perfume of cherries,
strawberries and spice echoed in the flavors on the palate. Soft, forward and charming, with a spark of acidity
to enliven the cherry driven finish. Very Good.
2009 Bruliam Doctor’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.55, $52. Aged for 11
months in 50% new Franch oak from Remond. Clones 828, 777, 667 and Swan.
This is a crowd pleaser and
a little more substantial tease with its exuberant scent of black cherries, dark red berries and forest floor. The
tasty fruit is well robed in suede tannins creating an invitingly smooth mouth feel. Like eating kirsch-soaked
cherries on a velvet blanket. Very Good.
2009 Bruliam Split Rock Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.82, $52. Fermented as
100% clone 667 with small amounts of clones 115 and 828 added at blending.
Rugged and muscular, this wine
offers a bold array of earth-kissed, fleshy and savory dark stone fruits. As is typical for clone 667, the color is
strong and intense and the tannins are firm and angular. Will appeal to fruit hedonists. Put this one in your
cellar while you drink the Hayley and Doctor’s wines. Good.
de Coelo by Benziger Family Winery
Sonoma Mountain, California
Benziger Family Winery is a very large producer, but the de Coelo (day-chay-lo) label is a small project within
the winery that is centered on the estate de Coelo Vineyard located in the true Sonoma Coast. Perched on a
rugged hilltop five miles from the Pacific Ocean, the rocky, shallow soils and the cooling fog off Bodega Bay
create ideal conditions for growing Pinot Noir. The 25-acre, Biodynamic® certified de Coelo Vineyard is truly
on the edge of where Pinot Noir will grow. The vineyard name means “that which is from heaven,” a name
befitting an estate that nurtures intensely flavorful fruit and a wine of rich concentration and complexity.
Rodrigo Soto, the Vice President of Winemaking at Benziger Family Winery, is spearheading the winery’s
certified organic and biodynamic Signaterra and de Coelo Pinot Noir labels. A graduate of the agronomy
program at Chile’s Catholic University, he has extensive international winegrowing experience with organic and
biodynamic wineries including work at Matetic Vineyards in Chile and Fetzer Vineyards in California.
The de Coelo vineyard is a project still in development. The lower 5-acre section, called Quintus, is planted to
Dijon clones 667, 828 and a Swan selection. The upper steeper 10-acre section, named Terra Neuma,
contains Dijon clones 115 and 777. A distinct de Coelo Pinot Noir is made from these two parcels of the
vineyard. A third, more exposed and windy site, consists of 5 acres of younger vines (Dijon clones 115, 777
and 828) that will eventually provide a third wine from the property.
The de Coelo Pinot Noirs are serious wines of the earth, full of intrigue and nuance that are worthy of their
origin and provide a unique drinking experience. Benziger touts them as more Old World or Burgundian in
style than Caliesque, and I think that is a good fit.
Soto’s winemaking is traditional using some whole cluster, indigenous yeast fermentations, and aging for 12
(Terra Neuma) to 16 (Quintus) months in 50% new French oak barrels. The wines are unfined and unfiltered.
Production is about 550 cases of each de Coelo wine.
The wines are sold on the website at www.benziger.com. Prices are in line with the tremendous cost of farming
this marginal Sonoma Coast site. The impressive Sonoma Mountain Benziger tasting room is open daily and
special vineyard tours and tastings are available by appointment (707-935-4527).
2008 de Coelo Quintus Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $69.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Remarkably nuanced aromatic profile
featuring scents of black cherries, spices, mocha java, smoky oak and exotic
purple flowers. A wine of the earth with loam-infused black cherry and berry
flavors, a hint of tar, dusty tannins and bright acidity that lifts the rustic finish.
Clean and silky with many years of life ahead. Very Good (+).
2008 de Coelo Terra Neuma Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Moderate reddish-purple in the glass. Exotic and complex nose
offering scents of wild berries, truffle, wine cask and forest floor. Luscious
core of dark berries that cling to the finish. Earth, mineral, oak and cola
undertones add interest. The fruit is vivid, framed by soft tannins and complimented by
crisp acidity. A seamless wine that picks up interest over several hours in
the glass. A Pinot Noir unbridled by convention.
Sta. Rita Hills, California
Over 100 years ago, the first known woman winegrower in California, Dona Marcelina Felix Dominquez,
farmed Mission vines on her Santa Barbara County property. The vines survived after years of neglect, and
when Deborah Hall, a former nurse, and her late physician spouse, William, bought the secluded property in
Gypsy Canyon off Highway 246 in Lompoc in 1994 as a retirement retreat, they discovered the vines under a
heavy cover of brush. Hall has named the 3-acre ancient Mission vineyard Dona Marcelina’s Vineyard
(pictured below), and today, it is the oldest producing vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Using a recipe for
fortified dessert wine written in 1891 by Emile Vache, Hall crafts a Gypsy Canyon Ancient Vine Angelica, a
similar, rich wine from her Mission grapes. This is one of the most distinctive, limited and meritorious wines
being produced in California today.
The Gypsy Canyon property consists of 130 acres with 6 acres of vines in the Santa Rita Creek Vineyard
planted to Pinot Noir (Dijon clones 115 and 777) and Pinot Gris. The site has an exceptionally cool
microclimate compared to other vineyard sites in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Farming is challenging with local deer
and birds eager to feast on the grapes. The 2007 vintage was completely lost to deer. Most work is done by
hand and is both organic and biodynamic.
Hall is grafting Pinot Noir onto a few select ancient Mission vines, creating the oldest known California Pinot
Noir vineyard. The wine produced will be named Nineteenth Century Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. The very
limited availability will be sold to current subscribers.
Hall crafts her wines at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria. She says, “I don’t set out to make a
specific style of Pinot Noir, but rather let the nuances of nature guide me.”
The first release of Gypsy Canyon Pinot Noir was in 2004. The Gypsy Canyon package is striking and shows a
nod to early California history. Hall uses a hand blown glass bottle of historically correct shape with an
embossed glass seal, a handmade paper label, and a beeswax seal. Each bottle is signed by Hall. Magnums
are particularly impressive. The historical aesthetic adds to the appeal of the wine inside.
Beginning in the spring of 2011, Hall will offer a Collector’s Edition of Ancient Vine Angelica presented in
museum quality antique bottles ranging from 300 to 400 years old. The history of each bottle as well as a
certified appraisal will be included. Subscribers will be given priority.
The 2008 Gypsy Canyon “Trois” Pinot Noir reviewed below consists of just three barrels of purchased grapes
from an unnamed but prestigious Sta. Rita Hills vineyard and three barrels from the estate Santa Rita Creek
Vineyard. The finished wine is a 50/50 blend of the two lots. The wine immediately sold out, but you can sign
up to receive an offering of Trois 2009 which is to be released in the fall of 2010. I was really taken by the Trois
2008 and shared it with some friends and a sommelier who were also stoked.
Gypsy Canyon wines are sold exclusively through a mailing list. You may join the waiting list by e-mail
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (805-737-0204). The winery website is www.gypsycanyon.com.
Tasting of the winery’s Pinot Noir and Angelica are available by appointment for a small charge. The wines are
expensive, but their unique historical background and expense involved in production certainly justify the cost.
2008 Gypsy Canyon Trois Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 75 cases, $95.
Bottled in a newer more substantial glass than previous vintages.
Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Very lovely perfume of
black cherries spiced with coriander, savory and sweet smoke.
Superlatives don’t do this wine justice. Luscious melange of dark berries
and plums with a subtle underpinning of oak and tobacco. A welcoming
silky texture and a bombastic peacock finish adds to the pleasure. Quite
different from previous Gypsy Canyon bottlings with more backbone and fruit
intensity but still showing plenty of feminine charm. Great winemaking at work
here. Man, what a wine.
NV Ancient Vine Angelica Dona Marcelina’s Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Mission Dessert Wine
17% alc., 9%
residual sugar, 25 cases, $130 (375 ml). Raised two years in neutral barrels.
wine for a special cool evening by the fireplace. Flavors of root beer, roasted nuts and caramel toffee seem to
last an eternity on the finish. Drinks more like a dry wine than a dessert wine with refreshing acidity. Pair with
5-year-old Gouda cheese for an orgasmic experience. This is surely one of the most exotic and rare beverages
I have ever drank. Very good (++++).
San Francisco Bay, California
Proprietor and winemaker Bryan Harrington hand crafts small lots of vineyard-designated Pinot Noir from
purchased grapes in an urban warehouse winery located in the Produce District of San Francisco. I first
became enamored by Harrington Pinot Noirs after tasting them at the World of Pinot Noir in 2006. The wines
stood out for their individuality and deft winemaking.
While working as a bartender in San Francisco, Harrington traveled to Europe and was captivated by the very
small producers of wine who were tending tiny vineyard plots and crafting a few barrels of wine. It was a model
that he eventually was to pursue. He began making wine in his basement, attended several University of
California at Davis classes, and moved on to a cooperative winemaking facility in Berkeley. He launched his
own label in 2002 and later settled into his present location in San Francisco.
Harrington wines are crafted in an artisan fashion with no wine made in larger than a 300 case lot. All
production decisions, the majority of labor performed, and the ownership of the means of production are under
the control of one person. Bryan says, “It is my responsibility each year to use every means possible to bring a
fruit-full and authentic wine experience to your glass.”
Most Harrington vineyard sources are aged and planted to California’s older heritage clones. Vineyard sources
have varied in different vintages, but they have all been exemplary. “Vineyard sources have been chosen not
only for their age and quality, but also for their ability to convey those characteristics that typify the particular
Pinot Noir appellations, whether it be the firm structural elements of wine from the limestone of Chalone, the
dark fruit flavors of the Sonoma Coast rocky ridge tops, or the racy Bing cherry profiles from the Goldridge soils
of the Russian River Valley. The winemaking approach is biased to accumulate the particular flavors and
aromatics natural to each site.”
Harrington promises and he delivers. Each wine speaks of its terroir and has a distinctive personality. Beyond
this, the wines retain an appealing finesse that makes Pinot Noir irresistible. There is no heavy handiness at
work here. All the 2008 wines are very approachable. Prices are sensible. The wines are sold by e-mail or
phone at www.harringtonwine.com (415-824-1824). There is a growing list of wine bars, restaurants and
retailers that carry Harrington wines and the list is offered on the website. Winery open houses are offered
periodically as well. In 2008, Harrington has added a Nebbiolo which is also reviewed here. Bryan is pictured
below left pouring at the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival.
2008 Harrington Paso Robles Nebbiolo
14.3% alc., pH 3.57, 60 cases, $30.
Sourced from two Templeton Gap vineyards (Luna Matta and AJB). Aged 16
months in neutral French oak barrels.
Moderately light ruby color in the glass.
Aromas of black berries, dried herbs, tar and mushrooms. Lightly weighted
and delicately spiced tart cherry, berry and cola flavors with forceful tannins
and a brisk charge of acid on the finish. A nicely flavored early drinking type of
Nebbiolo rather than a big Barolo style. One of the better examples I have
tasted from California and shows that Nebbiolo doesn’t have to come from
Piedmont. Pair with lighter meat dishes and charcuterie. Good.
2008 Harrington Krause Vineyard San Francisco Bay Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.50, 175 cases, $35. This Krause Vineyard was planted
in 1998 and covers 1.75 acres of Pinot Noir. The clones are Martini,
Calera, Mt. Eden and Dijon 115. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels.
Aromas of earth-kissed dark cherries and berries with hints of tea and
seasoned oak. Intense and pleasing cornucopia of black cherries and
ollaliberries lingering on the dry and fruit-filled and generous finish. Very
smoothly textured and a delight to drink. Still great two days later from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2008 Harrington Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.36, 175 cases, $40.
This well-known vineyard is located at the southeastern edge of the Petaluma Gap in the town of Penngrove.
The soil is extremely rocky which stresses the vines. The prevailing wind and fog keep the grapes high in
acidity while flavors develop. Clones are Dijon 828 and 115.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass.
A cherry themed nose offers added nuances of dark rose petals and exotic roasted coffee. Bright and hightoned
flavors of dark red cherries and berries are sweetened with oak and end with a citric peel and cherry skin
finish. More restrained and delicate than the other 2008 Harrington Pinot Noirs, achieving more interest over
time in the glass. Very Good.
2008 Harrington Iund Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., pH 3.41,
100 cases, $35. Martini clone. Aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels.
Moderately intense reddish-purple hue in the glass. A wonderful potpourri of
ripe dark berries accented by notes of spice, dark chocolate and oak. The fruit
is strikingly vivid and is encased in silky, fine-grain tannins. There are plenty of
oak-derived flavors here but they compliment the fruit nicely. The whole
package is very soft in the mouth and finishes on a very clean note. Very Good.
2008 Harrington Brousseau Vineyard Chalone Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.54, 125 cases, $40. This
vineyard is located within a mile of the Pinnacles National Monument and is known for the limestone strata in
the soils. Clone 538. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels.
Moderately dark ruby color in the glass. Aromas
of blackberry jam, bay leaf, cut flowers and green garden. Rugged core of blackberry and black plum fruit with
underpinnings of earth, cola and seasoned oak. The unbridled tannins are typical of this vineyard as is the
unshaven character. The wine shed its whiskers and drank much better with softening of tannins and
emergence of more charm two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle indicating this wine
should be decanted if opened now. Very Good.
Drinking Small Part 2
Green Valley of Russian River Valley, California
Keefer Ranch is located near the headwaters of Green Valley Creek in Sebastopol, consisting of 45 acres of
Pinot Noir and 10 acres of Chardonnay. Part of the Green Valley appellation located within the Russian River
Valley appellation, Keefer Ranch is planted on well-drained Goldridge loam soil with a favorable south-facing
exposure. The Green Valley is usually the first place where the fog arrives through the Petaluma Gap, and the
last place where the fog burns off, making it the coolest and foggiest part of the Russian River Valley.
Marcy Keefer, a former nurse, and her spouse, Robert Keefer, MD, now deceased, purchased the former apple
orchard property in 1985. The original plantings date to 1988. The vineyard is now farmed by Marcy and her
son Craig Strehlow. The clonal mix is diverse including Dijon 114, 115, 777, Pommard 5, Mariafeld (23),
Wädenswil (2A), and Swan and Calera selections. In 2010, phased replanting of the estate Chardonnay was
completed and 2 acres of Calera selection and 3 acres of Swan selection, both of which perform well on this
site, were planted. Some of the newer Pinot Noir plantings will eventually go into the Keefer Ranch Estate
For many years, Keefer Ranch has supplied grapes to notable Pinot Noir specialists including most recently,
A.P. Vin, Failla, Freeman, Kosta Browne, Loring Wine Co., Pali Wine Co. and Siduri. Beginning in 2006, the
Keefer Ranch label was launched. The first two vintages included Swan and Pommard 5 clones and beginning
in 2008, Dijon 115 was added to the blend.
Craig handles the winemaking duties, crafting an exemplary estate Pinot Noir that offers a charming, delicate
style that has bright acidity. The Keefer Ranch Vineyard is truly a Russian River Valley treasure.
Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir is sold through a mailing list at www.keeferranch.com.
2008 Keefer Ranch Green Valley of Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 241 cases, $42.
Released June 20, 2010. Swan, Pommard 5 and Dijon clone 115. 20% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 12
months in 40% new French oak.
The nose blossoms over time offering lovely scents of black cherries, nutmeg,
cut flowers, and underbrush. A little darker and more intense than the 2007 offering, but remains a feminine
style with pleasing delicate dark red cherry fruit, gossamer tannins, an alluring silkiness, with an intense cherry
flavored finish. Beautifully balanced. Not offering all it is capable of now, this wine deserves further cellaring
for at least a year. Very Good.
2007 Keefer Ranch Green Valley of Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.42, 243 cases, $42. Swan and Pommard 5 clones.
20% whole cluster fermentation. Aged 12 months in 25% new French oak
Bright Bing cherry aromas with a complimentary accent of spices
including nutmeg leading to crisp and satisfying flavors of black cherries,
strawberries, and raspberries with hints of spice box, cola and green tea that
fan out nicely on the pleasing finish. A seamless wine with silky tannins and no
discernible oak. A treasure of a wine that really delivers the goods.
Kelley Fox Wines
Carlton, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Winemaker Kelley Fox has been crafting wines in Oregon for over ten years including terms at Hamacher, The
Eyrie Vineyards and Torii Mor. Since 2005, she has been the co-winemaker with Scott Wright at Scott Paul
Wines in Carlton, where she emulates the elegant style of Pinot Noir that her mentor at The Eyrie Vineyards,
David Lett, taught her. She says, “What I love most about Pinot is its transparency. I prefer authenticity and
even grit to armchair idealism. Pinot does this. There is something so real about it, for the better or the
Beginning with the 2007 vintage, she partnered with her father, Gerson Stearns, and launched her eponymous
label, Kelley Fox Wines. The tiny production (about 200 cases) from Momtazi and Maresh vineyards has
caused quite a buzz among Pinot Noir aficionados in Oregon. Her wines are, in her words, “Genuine, truth telling,
Fox’s wines tend to be modest in alcohol with restrained use of new oak. The 2008 vintage wines are a touch
more structured and fruity, less approachable now, and probably more age worthy than their 2007 counterparts
which were previously reviewed by me with gusto (www.princeofpinot.com/winery/1033/).
Kelley Fox Pinot Noirs may be obtained through the website at www.kelleyfoxwines.com or from retailer
Michael Alberty, who considers Kelley Fox one of his favorite Willamette Valley winemakers, at
www.StorytellerWine.com in Portland.
2008 Kelley Fox Momtazi Vineyard McMinnville Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $39, screw cap. Sourced from an 11-year-old block of 113 and 115
clones. Aged in 30% new French oak.
Scents of green olive, mulberry and
pharmaceutical blow off over time to reveal subtle well-oaked fresh berry aromas
with a hint of pine pitch. The wine really pumps out a panoply of berry flavors
with a well-married oak component. Soft and demure, the wine is much better
integrated with more pure fruit aromas and flavors the next day from a previously
opened and re-corked bottle. Should blossom in a few years. Good.
2008 Kelley Fox Maresh Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $49, screw cap. From over 38-year-old non-irrigated Wädenswil
vines. Aged in 30% new French oak.
Enticing and effusive aromas of spiced
cherries, woodshed and evergreen. Very charming cherry, red currant and red
plum fruit with hints of cola and brown spice. A loamy note adds character.
Silky smooth with soft tannins and impeccable balance. Still a debutante and
best to keep your hands off this one for a couple of years. Very Good.
Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California
I was first exposed to a marvelous Pinot Noir fashioned by Eric Miller of Kokomo Winery at a Newcomers
Focus Tasting offered at the 2009 Pinot Days in San Francisco (2006 Kokomo Wines Peters Vineyard Sonoma
Coast). This was one of the better Pinot Noirs in the seminar which offered many bright new stars in the Pinot
game. Miller, a native of Kokomo, Indiana, studied at University of California at Davis and apprenticed at both
Belvedere Winery and Amphora Winery. Along with his best friend and college roommate, Josh Bartels, and
partner Randy Peters, a well-known winegrower, he launched Kokomo Winery in 2004 at Timber Crest Farms
in Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg. The Tiber Crest Estate is also home to Amphora Winery, Papapietro Perry
Winery, Peterson Winery and Family Wineries Tasting Room. Photo L to R, Randy Peters, Eric Miller, Josh
The Kokoma label logo sports a coastal Cypress tree, signifying Miller’s move to the West Coast from Indiana.
The focus is on Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast fruit and single-vineyard bottlings.
Multiple varietal wines are produced including whites (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc) and reds (Cabernet
Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah). Two Pinot Noirs are offered from Peters
Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA, and Windsor Oaks Vineyard in the Russian River Valley AVA.
Kokomo wines are sold online at www.kokomowines.com. The winery’s tasting room is incorporated into the
winery cellar and is open daily from 11-4:30 at 4791 Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg. The phone is
2008 Kokomo Peters Vineyard Gopher Hill Block, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 160 cases, $38. Peters Vineyard was planted on Goldridge
sandy loam soil in the early 1980s by Randy Peters. This wine is sourced from
a block planted to Wädenswil clone. Aged in 30% new French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Oak-kissed red fruit aromas
initially, developing more fruit intensity over time in the glass revealing scents of
cherry cobbler. A medium-weighted offering featuring a complex array of flavors
including tasty red cherries and berries, Red Vines, earth, tea and leaf. Silky
smooth with plenty of charm and delicacy. Good.
2008 Kokomo Peters Vineyard Winemaker’s Reserve Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 485 cases, $48. This wine is sourced
from a block planted to Pommard clone. 25% whole cluster. Aged in
100% French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the
glass. Toasty oak and spice-infused black cherry aromas really draw
you in. A panoply of dark red Pinot fruits coat the mouth with subtle oak,
spice and tar singing in the background. Without knowing this wine had whole
cluster when I tasted, I picked up immediately on the spice and soft mouth feel
that is characteristic of this mode of fermentation. For me, whole cluster, if
done right, adds a whole other dimension to a wine. In addition, this wine has
silky, soft tannins and complimentary acidity bringing you back for another sip.
Sonoma Coast, California
You are probably tired of reading about my hosannas to Ted Lemon, but I just can’t say enough good things
about this remarkably talented California winemaker. Along with his wife, Heidi, he founded Littorai in 1993
after spending a summer driving up and down the Pacific Coast tasting local wines and learning about the soils
and history of the local vineyards. Lemon had a firm belief in terroir, inspired by his years of studying and
making wine in France. According to Lemon, “I believe soil is of major importance in a wine’s character. It’s
clear there are tremendous differences between wines made from vineyards right next to each other even if
they are vinified and treated exactly the same way.” The Lemons settled on sourcing grapes from vineyards in
western Sonoma and western Mendocino counties. He was convinced that the finest Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay were grown along the true coastal zone of the continent. The couple named their new venture
Littorai, a pleural noun formed from the Latin word litor-, which means the coasts.
Lemon carefully supervises all vineyard sources and believes strongly in sustainability and biodynamie. His
vineyard sources are household names to pinotphiles and include Summa, B.A. Thieriot, Hirsch, Pratt, One
Acre, Savoy, and Cerise. Estate vineyards including The Haven and Pivot have been added to the mix in
Littorai Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are among the most age worthy wines made in California, a reflection of
impeccable winemaking and stellar balance of the finished wines. Consistency is also a feature. I have tasted
practically every wine Lemon has crafted, and some were certainly more outstanding than others, but a thread
of excellence was evident in the winemaker’s craft with each wine. I often get asked, “Who is your favorite
Pinot Noir producer?” The question is impossible to answer, but Littorai is always among the names that come
Littorai wines are sold exclusively through a mailing list with widespread distribution to fine restaurants
throughout the United States. Littorai wines are a favorite of sommeliers. The winery website is
www.littorai.com. Until recently, magnum formats were only offered after years of aging, but with the 2008
vintage, magnums have been made available upon release of the vintage. Some Littorai wines may be
available, including older vintages, by contacting Littorai directly at 707-823-9586,
A 10,000 square-foot winery was completed on the Lemon’s property located between Sebastopol and
Freestone in western Sonoma County. Tours and tastings are offered by appointment. The winemaking facility
is impressive and innovative, constructed of straw bales and using gravity flow for production. The winery
property is farmed as a self sustaining, integrated and diversified farm and offers a unique opportunity to tour a
biodynamic farm and vineyard.
Lemon is very high on the 2008 wines and as you can see from my reviews below, so am I. Very impressive,
polished wines, all with alcohols under 14.0% (a reflection of the effort expended in farming that allows for
phenolic ripeness at moderate brix), and the balance to carry them for years and years. Lemon sets the bar
very high for California Pinot Noir.
2008 Littorai Mays Canyon Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Moderately dark reddish-purple robe. Very expressive forward
nose that is constantly changing in the glass offering scents of spiced
Bing cherries, alpine strawberries, cola, mocha and toast. Crisp and
delicious on the palate featuring darker red cherries and berries with just
the right amount of oak and spice in the background. A cherry delight on
the bright finish. A kick-ass Pinot that displays the typically luscious Russian
River fruit beautifully. Can drink it now, but will further reward patience. Flat-out
great the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2008 Littorai The Pivot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $60. From young vines planted on
the Littorai Estate property.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. The alluring aromas black cherries and
raspberries with a hint of toasty oak sends a welcoming message. Light in intensity but pleasing with flavors of
cherries, red berries and oak-derived coffee. Demure and very approachable now, with silky tannins and a
good grip of acidity that frames the fruit and lifts the crisp finish. I would drink this early on. Good.
2008 Littorai B.A. Thieriot Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Moderately dark in color and in intensity. Very sexy perfume of
rose petals and fresh Pinot fruit basket. Would love to bottle this aroma.
I always find this wine seductive and this vintage is no exception. That is
not to say that it is ready to drink, for it is still somewhat ponderous, the
delicious core of purple berries and plums only teasingly apparent at
present. Thick with fruit wrapped in velvety tannins, this beauty wows you now
but will be more amazing in a few years. This wine is why Pinot is my paramour.
2008 Littorai Platt Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Very shy and demure perfume of raspberry tart, vanilla and baking
spices elevating over time in the glass. A curvy, saucy wine that is
somewhat forward offering a lovely array of black cherry and berry fruits
with subtle spice and citrus in the background. Seamless, with a good
core of ripe tannins and balancing acidity that give the wine a caressing
sensation in the mouth. The best comes last, as the generous fruits cascade on
the amazingly persistent finish. Pick any superlative you want. My choice would
Sta. Rita Hills, California
I can remember way back in the early 1980s when I was becoming captivated by Pinot Noir, Longoria was one
of the labels I sought out as one of the few at the time to show the promise of California Pinot Noir that
eventually was to be fulfilled. Rick Longoria is now a veteran winemaker who first appeared in Santa Barbara
County in 1976 after spending two years at Buena Vista Winery where he developed a close friendship with
Andre Tchelistcheff. His first head winemaking job was at J. Carey Cellars which did not offer Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay. Longoria sensed that those two varieties were poised to become the signature varietals for the
Santa Barbara County wine region, leading him to seek an outlet for his expectations.
The eponymous Longoria label was established in 1982 by Rick and his wife Diana, releasing 500 cases of
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley vineyards. Longoria became the winemaker at Gainey
Vineyard in 1985 and in 1997, gave up his job to devote his full energies to his own label, moving his winery
operation to the Lompoc “Wine Ghetto.” This warehouse winery locale is well known now, but Longoria was
the first to make wine in this Lompoc location.
Although Longoria crafts 3,500 cases of several varietals from his winery in Lompoc, his featured wine is the
Pinot Noir sourced from his 9.75-acre estate Fe Ciega Vineyard located in the southwestern portion of the Sta.
Rita Hills appellation. The name, Fe Ciega, translates to “blind faith,” and it was blind faith that led him to plant
this vineyard originally in 1997 to Pommard and Dijon clones 115 and 667. Small amounts of Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay acreage were added in 2008. The vineyard is situated on a small mesa in the middle of a 40-acre
ranch owned by Hank and Brenda Klehn. Located at the western end of the Sta. Rita Hills viticultural
appellation, the vineyard’s cool climate, clay loam soil with shale fragments, and gentle southern exposure
combine to produce memorable Pinot Noirs.
Longoria buys Pinot Noir grapes from a number of other sources including Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard, Bien
Nacido Vineyard and Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, and crafts vineyard-designated wines from these sites.
The Fe Ciega Vineyard bottling, however, remains his signature wine.
Longoria wines are sold online at www.longoriawine.com. The tasting room at 2935 Grand Ave., in Los Olivos
is open daily. Older library wines are offered on the website.
2008 Longoria Fe Ciega Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
alc., pH 3.61, 616 cases, $48. Pommard, Dijon 115 and 667. Aged 11
months in 28% new French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish purple color in
the glass. A savory wine with aromas of berry jam, deeply colored red
roses, underbrush, herbs and toasty oak. Plenty of black raspberry and
black cherry fruit is front and center with accents of oak and grilled meat.
Supple in the mouth with fine grain tannins enrobing the hi-tone fruit that
persists with a vengeance on the great finish. Even better the next day from a
previously opened and re-corked bottle with better integration of oak-derived
flavors and aromas. This is a wine of character and interest that sings its own
tune. Further cellaring should enhance its pleasure.
Luminous Hills Winery
Yamhill-Carlton District, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Luminous Hills Vineyard is located in the southwestern corner of the Yamhill-Carlton District. The vineyard is a
unique high elevation site with both sedimentary and Jory volcanic soils. The planted clones have been
carefully matched to the different soil types, creating six different blocks containing Dijon clones 115, 667, 777
and Pommard clone.
The vineyard is dry farmed with irrigation available as a safety net for difficult vintages. Farmed sustainably,
Luminous Hills Vineyard is part of the Low Input Viticulture & Enology (LIVE) program.
Two wines are produced from this site: a Luminous Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir and a LUX Pinot Noir representing
a special selection of barrels representing a combination of Pommard clone planted on sedimentary soil and
Dijon 777 clone planted on Jory volcanic soil. The inaugural vintage from this vineyard was 2008.
Luminous Hills wines are poured at the Seven of Hearts Wine center at 217 West Main Street in Carlton. The
Luminous Hills Winery companion label, Seven of Hearts Wine, features wines sourced from several
appellations within the Willamette Valley and neighboring regions. Both labels are the work of Byron Dooley
and his wife Dana, escapees from Silicon Valley, who sold their house then the internet bubble burst in 2000
and moved to Napa’s Howell Mountain. Dooley earned his viticulture and winemaking degree at Napa Valley
College, interned at Williams Selyem and made his own Bordeaux-style wine from Napa fruit. In 2004, after
Dooley graduated from college, the couple located a property in the Yamhill-Carlton District and developed a
12-acre vineyard planted to Pinot Noir named Luminous Hills. Dana opened Honest Chocolates in
McMinnville, selling traditional-style chocolates and later another branch in Carlton which shares space with
the Seven of Hearts tasting room.
Seven of Hearts wines (www.sevenofheartswine) and Luminous Hills (www.luminoushills.com) wines are sold
on the respective websites.
2008 Luminous Hills Yamhill-Carlton District Estate Grown Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 142 cases, $30.
Plenty of oak character in the nose augmenting the
cherry and rose petal aromas. Tasty essence of raspberry coulis with some
oak-derived mocha and cherry Life Saver flavor. Soft in the mouth with the fruit
displaying a persistent grip and brightness from lively acidity. Good.
Carneros, Sonoma County, California
Forget small, we are talking tiny here. Only 70 cases were produced from the 1-acre Valerie’s Vineyard in
2008. This vineyard is a group managed affair, the result of a partnership between long time Sonoma County
public relations person Michael Coats, his wife Valerie, her parents and sister, and Chuck Hanson, a wine buyer for Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, California for 53 years, and Jerry Hanson. Each of the partners
share equally in the work of the vineyard which is organically farmed and overseen by viticulturist Phil Cotourri.
The vineyard, formerly the site of a plum orchard, was originally planted in 2000 by vineyardist Chuy Ordaz on
resistant rootstock and a secret Russian River Valley sourced clone. The land sits less than 500 feet from the
appellation line dividing Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Carneros. Yields are just under 2 tons per acre.
The Valerie’s Vineyard Pinot Noir is crafted by B.R. Cohn Winery winemaker, Tom Montgomery, at B.R. Cohn
Winery in Glen Ellen. Both of the previous two vintages of Valerie’s Vineyard Pinot Noir were stellar and were
reviewed previously (www.princeofpinot.com/winery/811/).
Valerie’s Vineyard Pinot Noir may be acquired by e-mailing email@example.com or visiting the Hit-Time
Cellars website at www.hitimewine.net. There is limited Sonoma Valley restaurant and retail distribution. The
Valerie’s Vineyard website is www.valeriesvineyard.com.
2008 Valerie’s Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., $40. Aged
18 months in new and two-year-old French oak barrels.
and flavors of dark berries, Mu Shu plum sauce, cassis, tea, brown spice,
and loamy earth. Very smoothly textured with finely ground tannins and
amazing persistence of perfectly ripe fruit on the finish. The wine really
grows on you over time. Will benefit from 1 to 2 more years in bottle.
Year in and year out, one of the best Pinot Noirs to come out of Carneros.
White Rose Estate Wines
Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Southern California businessperson, Greg Sanders, acquired the well-established 10-acre White Rose
Vineyard in the Dundee Hills in 2001. The self-rooted vineyard, originally planted to Pommard clone in 1980, is
well-positioned with several prominent producers nearby including Archery Summit, Domaine Serene, Domaine
Drouhin Oregon, DePonte Cellars, and the original vineyard planting of David Lett. Prior to Sander’s
acquisition, White Rose Vineyard had become famous for the quality of its fruit and supplied notable Pinot Noir
specialists such as St. Innocent, Panther Creek and Torii Mor, all of which bottled White Rose Vineyard
designated wines. St. Innocent continues to be a yearly recipient of White Rose Vineyard fruit.
White Rose Vineyard is planted on east-southeast facing slopes of volcanic Jory soil at 870 feet elevation. In
2009, an additional 4 acres of vineyard immediately north of the original site was acquired. This vineyard was
planted in 2001 to Dijon clone 115. Some fruit for White Rose Wines is also purchased from top growers in
Sanders devoted considerable time and money in upgrading the vineyard and building a small winery with a
tasting room directly above it overlooking Mt. Hood and the Willamette Valley. Sanders is a Burgundian
devotee who uses some of Burgundy’s top Grand Cru wines as his model in crafting his wines. He learned his
winemaking through University of California at Davis courses and extensive tasting, and started producing wine
in 2001. After seven vintages as the winemaker, Sanders appointed long time White Rose Vineyard Manager,
Jesus Guillen, also self-taught, as winemaker in 2007.
The 2008 growing season at White Rose Vineyard was very favorable, allowing fruit to be picked only when
flavors were optimal. Yields were 1.5 to 2 tons per acre and Sanders noted that the fruit could be the best ever
from this vineyard.
I have to hand it to Sanders. When he bought the White Rose Vineyard, he knew little about viticulture and
winemaking, and was something of an outsider in this region with some very well-financed wineries. He has
had a number of challenges along the way, but he has persevered, and today his Pinot Noirs are among the
best that Oregon has to offer. When Jay Miller of the Wine Advocate visited White Rose this year, he gave high
scores to several White Rose Estate wines and placed two of them among the top five Oregon Pinot Noirs from
the 2008 vintage. Sanders’ dreams of Grand Cru quality wines from Oregon have been realized.
Recently, Sanders undertook a modernization of the winery’s website and a significant redesign of the winery’s
label and logo. The package now is more flattering and more reflective of the excellence offered inside the
bottle. The only holdover of the previous winery label and wine naming is the 2008 Dragon’s Bluff Pinot Noir
The 2008 lineup of Pinot Noirs includes the White Rose Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($30), the 2008
White Rose Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($45), the 2008 White Rose Estate Whole Cluster White Rose
Vineyard Pinot Noir ($75), the 2008 White Rose Estate Sovarae White Rose Vineyard Pinot Noir ($75), and the
2008 White Rose Estate White Rose Vineyard Pinot Noir ($75). The wines are sold online and through a
mailing list at www.whiterosewines.com.
The tasting room at 6250 NE Hilltop Lane in Dayton is open 11-5 weekends and Monday through Friday by
appointment. The phone is 503-864-2328.
2008 Dragon’s Bluff White Rose Vineyard Hand-Select Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., $75. 50% whole cluster.
reddish-purple color in the glass. A bit funky upon opening, improving with
swirling to reveal aromas of black raspberries, candied apple, oak toast and
vanillin. Discreetly rich flavors of dark red raspberries and Red Vines with an
underpinning of vanilla oak and spice. The zingy acidity brightens the fruit and
the soft, dusty tannins allow for easy drinking. The wine finishes with a lingering
grip of generous fruit. Good.
2008 White Rose Estate White Rose Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.45, 176 cases, $75. The
winery’s flagship wine. Fruit from blocks 2, 3 and 5 was 80% de-stemmed
with 20% whole cluster, and fruit from block 1 was 100% whole cluster
fermented. 20 to 26 days of skin contact, pressed off with a wooden
basket press. Aged 14 months in 13% new French oak barrels.
Moderately deep ruby color in the glass. Shy, but haunting aromas of black
cherries, grilled meat and spice. A black tie, sophisticated wine that is still a bit
stiff and formal and needs time to unwind. That said, it offers a perfect balance of perfecgtly
ripe cherry and berry fruit, vital acidity and refined tannins. The silky mouth feel
adds to the allure. The beauty of this wine grows on you over time in the glass and is spectacular the next day
from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Very classy juice.
2008 White Rose Estate Whole Cluster White Rose Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.8% alc., pH 3.51, 98 cases, $75.
100% whole cluster fermentation. 15 day post-fermentation maceration
yielding a total of 26 days of skin contact. Pressed off in a wooden
basket press and barreled down in neutral French oak for 14 months.
Racked once after MLF and again just before blending.
perfume of cherries flush with baking spices including cinnamon, with added
notes of rose petals and sandalwood. Happy to just smell this wine. Stylish and
expressive, the luscious fruit is alive with charm accented by exotic spices and
edible flower with plenty of firm tannin to balance the fruit. Never fades in the
glass, pumping out lively aromas and flavors until the glass is emptied. I am a sucker for whole cluster done
right and this wine really delivers.
Windy Oaks Estate Vineyards & Winery
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
Jim Schultze is the type of winemaker you come upon occasionally who strikes you as very accomplished.
Blessed with a charming calmness and trustworthy demeanor and armed with a meticulous and well-thought
out approach to winemaking, Schultze gives you the feeling that his grapes are in good hands.
Jim and Judy Schultze escaped from the corporate world and have used their twenty years of interest and
experience in artisan winemaking and winegrowing to create Windy Oaks Estate. They produce Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay from a 15-acre vineyard located at 1,000 feet on a ridge overlooking the town of Corralitos at the
southern tip of the Santa Cruz Mountain range.
Viticulture and winemaking at Windy Oaks Estate is very Burgundy-themed. The vineyard is farmed according
to sustainable, organic principles with every vine hand-tended and directly monitored for water status. The
vineyard sits above the fog line and enjoys modestly warm summers without heat spikes. Temperatures are
consistently in the 70s dropping into the 40s at night. The site is suited for Pinot Noir and yields physiologically
ripe grapes without high brix and with high natural acidity. The growing season is extraordinarily long, often
extending into late October or even November.
The planted Pinot Noir clones are Dijon 115, 667, 777 and 828, and 2A and Pommard. Chardonnay was
planted upon the insistence of Judy Schultze, and the 1-acre of Chardonnay provides a lovely compliment to
the range of Pinot Noirs.
Winemaking is non-interventional with no additives. Schultze crafts a variety of styles of Pinot Noir including
wild yeast, whole cluster and wood tank fermented wines. A special Burgundian clone Pinot Noir is particularly
noteworthy, made from a half-acre portion of the vineyard that Jim Schultze hand tends to personally and is
planted to a undisclosed clone from Burgundy that is rarely planted here.
The Schultzes travel to Burgundy yearly to meet with coopers. They use 3-year-old air dried and tight grain
French oak barrels and age their Pinot Noirs for 18 to 25 months with a relatively high percentage of new oak
(50% to 75%).
The small and modest winery on the estate property (see page 1 of this issue) is outfitted with all the latest
winemaking technology and is gravity-driven. A state-of-the-art bottling line is employed allowing for minimal
oxygen uptake that protects wines from bottling shock.
Windy Oaks Estate sells 85% of their wine directly to a mailing list at www.windyoaksestate.com. Wine club
members receive significant discounts. Nine different Pinot Noirs are currently offered. Tasting is available
periodically through special winery and appellation events, major Pinot Noir festivals and by appointment. The
phone is 831-786-9463. One of the Schultze’s sons is an aspiring winemaker who is becoming involved in the
business. Judy Schultze handles the marketing and business side of the winery.
Windy Oaks Estate has just released three wines from the 2008 vintage: Estate Pinot Noir Henry’s Block,
100% Whole Cluster, and Wild Yeast. The 2006 Special Burgundian Clone Estate Pinot Noir, the third vintage
from this special half-acre block, is also being released at this time ($95).
Some of the wines below have been previously reviewed but I thought it would be of interest to check in on
them again. Because the Schultzes are meticulous in their selection of French oak barrels, the wines are
never oaky although the wines are raised in a high percentage of new oak.
2008 Windy Oaks Estate One Acre Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
13.9% alc., 131 cases, $38
(Sold out). Aged 15 months in 33% new French oak. Unfined and unfiltered.
Light straw color in the glass. Interesting aromas of apple, brioche, oregano and
savory spices with subtle oak. Good richness of flavor offering citrus, Asian
pear, vanilla, banana, and oak-derived toffee in the background. An exotic
tasting Chardonnay that avoids the mainstream trap and I applaud the wine for
its uniqueness. Good.
2007 Windy Oaks Estate Cuvée Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 360 cases, $38 (sold out but the 2008
vintage has been released). A blend of all clones from the estate vineyard.
Aged 16 months in 55% new French oak. Unfined, unfiltered.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Very attractive perfume of spiced and
confected cherries, cherry cola and red berries. The flavors echo the aromas
and are offered in a lightly weighted style with soft, silky tannins. A very solid
easy drinker. Very good.
2007 Windy Oaks Proprietor’s Reserve Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 384 cases, $60. Primarily sourced from
the 1.5-acre Bay Block, part of the original 3-acre vineyard. Aged 23 months in
75% new French oak barrels.
Interesting disconnect between the reserved
earthy nose and the flavorful fruit core. Shy scents of damp earth, decay,
mushroom and oak. Intense flavors of dark red stone fruits and berries with
hints of lovely spice, cherry cola and oak. Picks up power and interest over time
in the glass offering a persistent tug of tasty strawberry fruit on the finish.
Similar to the Estate Cuvée in taste, but ramped up another notch. Very Good
2007 Windy Oaks Limited Release Wood Tank Fermented Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., $55.
Fermented in one-ton French oak open fermentation tanks. Aged 21
months in 75% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered.
garnet in color in the glass. A striking aromatic profile of cherries, berry
pie, sandalwood, spice and a touch of caramel. Charmingly delicate but
pleasingly flavored core of redder cherries and berries. Sleek and refined with
mild tannins and no oak intrusion, this is a lullaby.
2007 Windy Oaks Limited Release Wild Yeast Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., 133 cases, $55. A five barrel selection. Aged 17 months in 65% new French oak barrels.
Unfined and unfiltered.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Very reserved scent of black cherries and
dark red berries with a hint of mint. Pretty tasty black cherry and berry fruit, nicely spiced and earthy, clothed in
ripe firm tannins, and harmoniously composed. A solid drink, but doesn’t excite. Good.
2006 Windy Oaks Proprietor’s Reserve Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 345 cases, $60. Primarily sourced from a 1.5-acre block planted as part of the original 3-acre
vineyard. Aged 22 months in 80% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered.
Bright and intensely
perfumed berry and cherry fruit on the nose. Mouth filling core of ripe berry fruit with notes of dried cherry,
cassis and spice. A refreshing acid tang frames the aromatic finish. Very Good.
2005 Windy Oaks Proprietor’s Reserve Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $60. Unfined and unfiltered.
Intense aromas of deep, dark fruit with whiffs of savory herbs, cut
flowers and oak. Tasty core of cherry and berry melange that is on the verge of fading, taking on some
secondary characters of brown spice, mocha and raisin. Riper and lighter in weight than the 06 and 07
bottlings but with a similar prominent acid underpinning. Drink up soon. Good.
2005 Windy Oaks Special Burgundy Clone Schultze Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., $95. Unfined and unfiltered.
Shapely bottle with long cork and attractive embossed
label. Moderate burnished red rose color in the glass. Fresh aromas of mixed berries, chocolate truffle,
spice, flower garden and a hint of oak. Delicious strawberry and black cherry core nicely spiced with a
subtle kick of acidity on the amazing finish that seems to persist for a minute. The layers of flavor seem
to defy proper description. Very soft and plush on the palate. A very unique wine that is in a class of its own.
Using the term “big” when referring to Pinot Noir wineries is relative. The so-called big Pinot Noir wineries are
still very small compared to some of the giants in the wine industry such as E. & J. Gallo and Bronco Wine
Company. The larger Pinot Noir producers vinify Pinot Noir in the same fashion as the boutique wineries, but
do it on a larger scale, say with 60 large fermenting vessels versus 12 small ones, with access to more
vineyard sources (many of which are estate owned), and more man power. Often a value-priced line of wines
are produced in large quantities to compliment the small lot vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs. Total annual
production is often well over 5,000 cases, but the quality standards are high, and as in the case of the wineries
included below, the wines can equal or surpass those crafted by their small artisan brethren.
Sonoma Coast, California
In 1999, Joseph Phelps (known for Napa Valley Insignia), his son Bill, and the Joseph Phelps Vineyards
management team purchased a former dairy farm of 89 acres in Freestone, a hamlet in the true Sonoma
Coast. The site was well suited to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Planting began the next year with staged
replanting continuing until 2007.
Freestone Vineyard Estate consists of three distinct properties. The Pastorale Vineyard is planted to 34 acres
of Pinot Noir and nearly 22 acres of Chardonnay at the end of Freestone Flat Road adjacent the new
Freestone winery facility. The acquisition of additional property led to nearby Quarter Moon Vineyard (41 acres
of Pinot Noir) and a long-term lease was established for the fruit from nearby Ferguson Vineyard (6 acres of
Growing and ripening wine grapes in this very cool area has been a challenge from the beginning. Yields can
be very low due to poor berry set in the cool days of the spring growing season. It is not unusual to have 45
degree temperature swings in a single day here. There has been a huge financial commitment required to
The 40,000 square foot winery, completed in time for the 2007 harvest, is built into the hillside and employs
gravity-flow by its three level construction. The winery is not open to the public due to local environmental
concerns, but I have visited and found it to be impressive in every way.
The Director of Winemaking is Phelps veteran Damien Parker. The Winemaker is Theresa Heredia who is
assisted by Justin Ennis and consulting Burgundian Pascal Marchand.
The first vintage of Pinot Noir produced from Sonoma Coast grapes was released as the 2004 Fogdog Pinot
Noir from purchased grapes. Fog dog refers to a bright or clear spot appearing in a breaking fog and the name
has been retained for the solid, early drinking and larger production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. In
2005, 600 cases of Freestone Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir were produced and by 2006, 2,700 cases.
Beginning with the 2007 vintage, full production ensued, with premium Chardonnays under the Ovation,
Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast and Freestone Vineyards Pastorale Vineyard labels, and premium Pinot
Noirs that include Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast and vineyard designates from Quarter Moon Vineyard
and Pastorale Vineyard.
The 2008 Freestone wines were unaffected by the smoke from fires, possibly because the Freestone vineyards
sit in a fog layer.
The Freestone Vineyards Guest Center is open for tasting Thursday through Monday from 11-5, located at the
corner of Bohemian Highway and Highway 12 (Bodega Highway) in the stylishly remodeled Pastorale building.
The Fogdog and Freestone wines are particularly popular at fine restaurants. These wines, along with the
vineyard-designated Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs are sold through the tasting room, the website
(www.freestonevineyards.com) and the winery’s wine club (Freestone Private Collection).
2008 Fogdog Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.5% alc., 2,500 cases, $35. 14% estate vineyards and 86%
Light straw color in the glass. Appealing scents of creme brulee, butter, willow bark and
honey. Moderately rich on the palate with crisp flavors of white stone fruits, apple pie, honey, melon, spice and
a hint of bourbon. I like the fact that this wine is not burdened by oak as so many lesser priced Chardonnays
are prone to be. This wine is very user friendly and will have widespread appeal. Buy this by the case to drink
2008 Freestone Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.5% alc., 800 cases, $55. Composed of 100% estate
Light straw color and clear in the glass. Demure scents of spiced apples and white
peaches. The apple, peach, citrus and pear flavors flood the mouth with flavor, but the wine has an
appealing modesty. Slightly viscous in texture, there is no oak intrusion, and bright acidity brings the
fruit into focus. A very classy Chardonnay with modest alcohol that adds to the appeal.
2008 Freestone Pastorale Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.5% alc., 50 cases, $100. Before pressing, the whole grape clusters
were lightly crushed by stomping on the grapes in the bins to liberate
some grape solids and facilitate the extraction process during pressing.
After native yeast fermentation, the wine was aged 16 months in a large
oak puncheon, with bi-monthly bâtonnage.
Light golden, clear straw
color in the glass. Needs some coaxing to open in the glass, but over time offers
an alluring perfume of apple pandowdy, Asian pear and buttered toast. Similar in
flavor profile to the Sonoma Coast bottling, but with added notes of roasted nuts,
minerals and lemon zest. A sneaky wine that picks up intensity and interest with
swirling in the glass and provides a full-on explosion of flavor after 30 minutes. A subtle creaminess and hi-tone
acidity add to the appeal. Worth the tab for serious Chardonnay aficionados and in the same class as
other top producers of Chardonnay in California such as Peter Michael, Kistler, Littorai, Hanzell and Ramey.
2008 Fogdog Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 8,000 cases,
$35. A blend of fruit from all three of the Freestone estate vineyards.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Highly perfumed out of
the bottle with bright aromas of black cherries, berry jam, rose petals,
spice, caramel and toast. Achieves more aromatic interest over time
in the glass. Hi-tone and moderately intense blueberry, raspberry and
cranberry fruit flavors with notes of pomegranate, framed by bright
acidity. Still sporting dusty, dry tannins that will integrate over time. A solid daily
drinker that will work beautifully at the dinner table for the next few years. A
wine to buy by the case for the Holidays. Very good.
2008 Freestone Quarter Moon Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 120 cases, $120. For
winemaker Theresa Heredia, this is one of the most naturally made wines she has produced. Picked at 23.5º
brix with a minimal acid addition. The wine was 100% whole cluster fermented in an oak tank. 80% new oak.
A cornucopia of bright berry aromas is highlighted with scents of alluring exotic spice, sweet pipe tobacco and
toasted oak. The purple fruit flavors are vivid and high-strung, fueled by vibrant acidity with toasted oak playing
a background role. Noticeable tannins provide good structure, and the overall experience improves with time
in the glass. Very impressive the next day from a previously opened bottle with more expressive fruit in the nose,
and ramped-up fruit flavor. A special occasion wine.
2008 Freestone Pastorale Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
alc., 143 cases, $100.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Great
nose indicating something serious is to follow. A chameleon of a wine that
changes constantly in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, exotic spices
including cardamom, red rose petals and the slightest sweet oak. You
would need to empty your entire spice cabinet into a bin of grape juice to
duplicate the complex nuances and mysteries in this wine. The core is a mix of
berries and stone fruits with an edgy, sauvage character from the whole cluster.
Brisk and bright, satiny in the mouth, this wine is flat-out great. Tasted over the
next two days from an opened and re-corked bottle, the wine held forth its allure
indicating a long life ahead. A connoisseur’s Pinot Noir.
Anderson Valley, California
The Duckhorn Wine Company purchased the former Obester Winery in Anderson Valley in 1997 and planted
57 acres of Pinot Noir (Confluence Vineyard). The premier vintage of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir was 2001.
Later they added other Anderson Valley properties including The Narrows Vineyard, Gowan Creek Vineyard
and Split Rail Vineyard, and, also farm 20 acres of Chardonnay. Goldeneye now has a total of 207 acres in the
valley, second only to Roederer Estate’s 580 acres. A new LEED certified production facility at Gowen Creek
Vineyard was open in time for the 2009 vintage. The new winery and expanded vineyards have allowed the
winery to increase production, but the overriding theme is still quality-focused wines and a small winery
mindset. The new winery and Gowen Creek Vineyard are pictured below.
Goldeneye (named for a yellow-eyed waterfowl that occasionally calls Anderson Valley home since the region
lies in the bird’s migratory path) sources fruit from both estate and non-estate vineyards, a total of twelve
different vineyards. The lineup of wines include Goldeneye (a blend of all vineyard sources in the Anderson
Valley) and Goldeneye single vineyard estate and reserve Pinot Noirs. A lesser-priced, but quality second
label, Migration, composed of declassified juice from the Anderson Valley, was offered previously. This is now a
separate winery under the direction of winemaker Neil Bernardi featuring Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from
multiple cool-climate winegrowing regions. In 2008, Migration produced its first Chardonnay from the Russian
River Valley, representing the first Chardonnay in Duckhorn Wine Company’s 30-year history. A companion
wine, a Migration Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is also offered. A value-priced Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is also
produced under a third Duckhorn Wine Company label, Decoy.
The Goldeneye winemaker, Zach Rasmuson, apprenticed with Warren Winiarski, the founder of Stag’s Leap
Wine Cellars. Intrigued by the challenge of producing Pinot Noir, he left Stag’s Leap in 1998 to become
assistant winemaker at Robert Sinskey Vineyards. In May 2000, he was hired as winemaker of Husch
Vineyards in the Anderson Valley, finally joining Goldeneye as winemaker in August of 2003. Owner Dan
Duckhorn looks for a big, richly fruited style of Pinot Noir and Rasmuson delivers. The latest releases are
voluptuous wines that deliver plenty of power, but are displaying more nuance compared to previous vintages.
Rasmuson says, “2007 was one of those special vintages where the wines seemed to effortlessly reflect their
The estate program offers 96 individual blocks of Pinot Noir and 49 unique combinations of clone and rootstock
material. Though spanning only eight miles, the vineyards often display a temperature difference of as much
as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, in 2007, PInot Noir was harvested over a seven week period and over
170 individual fermentations were carried out producing 1,200 barrels of wine. The favorite ten barrels, chosen
for their extraction, ripeness and weight from Gowan Creek, Confluence and The Narrows vineyards, went into
the Goldeneye Ten Degrees bottling. It is the most rich and powerful Pinot Noir produced at Goldeneye.
Goldeneye wines are sold through a mailing list with widespread distribution of the Goldeneye Pinot Noir. The
single vineyard and special bottlings are sold through the tasting room and to mailing list members. A
comfortable visitor center and tasting room is open daily 11-4 on Highway 128 in Philo. An outdoor area with
the Confluence Vineyard in the background is perfect for picnics and relaxing. Special vineyard tours and
tastings are available by appointment (800-208-0438). The website is www.goldeneyewinery.com. Beyond the
wines reviewed here, Goldeneye offers the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, an Estate Grown Confluence Vineyard
Lower Bench Pinot Noir, an Estate Grown Confluence Vineyard Hillside Pinot Noir, and an Estate Grown
Gowan Creek Vineyard PInot Noir (previously reviewed - www.princeofpinot.com/winery/562/).
2007 Goldeneye The Narrows Vineyard Estate Grown Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 506 cases,
$75. The coolest estate vineyard, planted in 1991 and situated on a narrow ridge top in the northern end of the
Anderson Valley. This is typically the last-picked and lowest-yielding property. The majority of this wine is from
block 20, planted to a mix of Pommard and Dijon clones, a section that the producers are particularly fond of.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Brooding aromas of black cherries and oak bark. Rich with
concentrated ripe, sweet darker fruits which have some charm but are buried in tannins now. Impressively
smooth on the palate. This wine will appeal to fans of full-bodied Pinot Noir and would make a perfect
transition wine for an ex-Cabernet drinker. A good cellar candidate. Very Good.
2007 Goldeneye Confluence Vineyard Estate Grown Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 516 cases, $75. This vineyard is located in the
heart of the Anderson Valley at the headwaters of the Navarro River and
displays a range of soils and exposures.
Moderately garnet in color in the
glass. Amazingly aromatic with a potpourri of cherries, brioche and
sandalwood. Delicious red cherry and raspberry flavors accented with
spice and restrained oak. Not all about fruit, with some edgy earthiness adding
character. Mild dry, suede tannins make for easy drinking now. The lightest in
weight of the four vineyard based wines and the most charming now. A great
expression of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.
2007 Goldeneye Ten Degrees Estate Grown Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 222 cases, $100.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color
in the glass. Very hard to coax much out of the nose after opening. The
next day the wine had taken on much more aromatic interest with scents
of berry jam, cassis and spiced plums. A robust, deeply flavored, tannic
wine that has a good lift of complimentary acidity to bring everything into
balance. Much better tasting over time in the glass and spectacular the next day
where a stunning fruit core arrives at the forefront. This is not a wine for the
timid, but for those who yearn for this hedonistic style, this is your Holy Grail.
Definitely decant this wine if you open it now.
Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California
The story of this fabled winery has been well-chronicled in the pages of the PinotFile over the years. In 1997,
businessperson John Dyson bought the Williams Selyem Winery from Burt Williams and Ed Selyem, who were
among the first garagiste Pinot Noir producers in Sonoma County. Bob Cabral was hired as winemaker, a
28,000 square foot winery and hospitality center opened on Westside Road in 2010, new estate vineyards
(they now own 70 acres) were acquired or planted, new vineyard sources were obtained, and the Williams
Selyem flag remains flying high.
Annual production has gradually increased to over 14,000 cases and prices have crept up but quality remains
top notch. Cabral (photo below) has gradually found his footing since his arrival as he has gained familiarity
with the winery’s vineyard sources, backing off on alcohol and fruit extraction in favor of more charming and
nuanced Pinot Noirs. 40% of production is estate grown. The winery produces a variety of blended and
vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs as well as Chardonnays and Zinfandels.
Williams Selyem wines are sold exclusively through a large mailing list of faithful customers. In the last year or
two, small amounts of wine have been made available to those not on the list who call to purchase. Once a
purchaser buys at least one bottle, they become a friend of the winery, stay on the mailing list, and have
access to the winery’s hospitality center and tasting room which is not open to the public. Friends of the winery
may also enjoy tours of the property and have access to some of the small production wines only available at
the winery. The winery website is www.williamsselyem.com.
Along with the 2008 vintage Pinot Noirs reviewed here, two additional wines were included in the last issue in a
feature on the Middle Reach sub-region of the Russian River Valley and I have added them here again for
completeness. I loved the 2007 vintage Pinot Noirs from Williams Selyem and found the 2008 vintage wines
more inconsistent in quality, but some bottlings are first rate. Beyond the wines reviewed below, the following
were offered in 2008: Westside Road Neighbors, Flax Vineyard, Peay Vineyard, Weir Vineyard, Ferrington
Vineyard, Coastlands Vineyard, Hirsch Vineyard, Litton Estate Vineyard, and Precious Mountain Vineyard.
Appellation wines included: Central Coast, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley.
2008 Williams Selyem Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.49, $54.
Released fall 2010. This heavy limestone vineyard is located near Hollister in the Central Coast. Clones are
Calera, Canada and Pommard. Aged 18 months in 70% new and 30% 1-year-old French oak barrels.
aromas of dark red fruits, plum sauce, rose petals and oak. An individualistic wine sporting bright acidity to
bring the berry and red plum fruit to life. A subtle spice cake component adds interest. Very smoothly textured
with slippery tannins making for an easy and pleasurable drink. Good.
2008 Williams Selyem Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.50 $54.
Released fall 2010. This vineyard is located 1.5 miles north of Williams Selyem winery on Westside Road.
Planted primarily to Dijon clones 667 and 777. Aged 17 months in 70% new and 40% 1-year-old French oak
Aromas of Bing cherries, tarry oak, spice and oil. A medium-weighted cherry-driven wine with an
herbal oak and smoky underpinning that I find unpleasant. Soft and delicate, with fine dry tannins and a
respectable grip of acidity on the finish. I suspect I got a bad bottle. Decent.
2008 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., pH 3.49, $78. Released fall 2010. Aged 18 months in 70% new and
30% 1-year-old French oak barrels.
Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the
glass. Brooding nose with reserved array of dark Pinot fruits. The following day,
the wine had blossomed with considerable more aromatic interest including
scents of ripe dark berries and currants, spice and cola. Luscious core of classy
fruit enhanced by notes of brown spice and cherry cola. Smooth and appealing
in the mouth with restrained fuzzy tannins and a lively acid lift on the intensely
fruity finish. Much better tasting the next day with an impressive array of broad
flavors that could only come from the Rochioli Vineyard. Hold this one for a few
years in the cellar and then party on. Very good.
2008 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.50, $78 Released fall 2010. From a vineyard planted in
the early 1970s. Aged 18 months in 60% new and 40% 1-year-old French
Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Shy, but
very bracing aromas of red cherry and berry fruits with a hint of cut
flowers and wintergreen. Flat-out delicious core of strawberry and black
cherry cola flavors that saturate the mid-palate. Very smooth and sexy with a
proper acid backbone to pitch the fruit. A seductive wine now, but needs more
time to fully mature. All you can ask for in a Middle Reach Pinot Noir.
2008 Williams Selyem Eastside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.4% alc., pH 3.60, $49. Released fall 2010.
Composed of fruit from vineyards located along Eastside Road including
Calegari Vineyards, Black Rose Vineyard, Lone Oak Vineyard and Foss
Vineyard. Aged 16 months in 65% new and 35% 1-year-old French oak
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Wonderful aromatics
flush with spicy cherries and strawberries. Delicious dark red fruits with nuances
of Coca-Cola and spice, lingering on the finish. Very smooth and seductive in
the mouth with enough tannic backbone to support longevity. No oak crops up
to spoil the party. Very close to the old Williams Selyem style and a wine that
speaks Middle Reach loudly.
Details of Classic Wines Auction Announced Based in Portland, Oregon, First Growth
Children and Family Charities is a nonprofit organization that produces the Oregon Classic Wines Auction. The
27th Annual Auction will be held February 28 through March 5, 2011, at the Oregon Convention Center. The
program includes Taste Walla Walla, Spring Winemaker Dinners at 28 restaurants in Portland and SW
Washington, the Ambassadors Dinner at the Portland Art Museum (Honorary Wine Ambassadors are Dennis
Cakebread of Cakebread Cellars, Bill Hatcher of Rex Hill, Marc Perrin of Château de Beaucastel and
Christophe Hedges of Hedges Family Estate. The Gala Auction on Saturday, March 5, 2011, features guest
chefs Cory Schreiber and Adam Sappington. For tickets, visit www.classicwinesauction.com.
RRV Winegrowers Presents a Wine & Cioppino Dinner On Saturday, March 5, 2011, a
Russian River Valley Wine & Cioppino Dinner will be held in Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County
Fairgrounds. Tasting of RRV wines, crab cioppino dinner, music, silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $55 per
person at www.rrvw.org.
Rippon Vineyard Opens The Rippon Hall For several years, Nick Mills of Rippon Vineyard at
Lake Wanaka in Central Otago, New Zealand, has hosted musical festivals. On January 23, 2011, The Rippon
Hall will have its first live music concert featuring Warren Maxwell. Limited to 200 attendees, tickets are now on
sale. Visit www.rippon.co.nz. The official opening ceremony will be on Saturday, January 22, 2011, including
words from James Millton, ribbon cutting, tree planting, and guided tours of the building.
Gift the World of Pinot Noir Looking for a unique gift for a pinotphile? Consider
a gift of WOPN at Shell Beach, California, March 4-6, 2011. The tickets can be mailed to
you with a gift card or sent directly to your gift recipient with a personalized note. To
purchase, visit www.wopn.com, select the WOPN Store tab, and for each ticket you order,
enter the name of the recipient and the word “Gift.” After completing your order, send an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your instructions on where to send the tickets, your text for
a personalized note, etc. You can also order by phone: 805-489-1758.
Fundraiser for Oral Cancer Foundation at Estate in Sonoma John Kelly, winemaker at
Westwood Winery, informed me of an event on December 18, 2010, at Estate Restaurant in Sonoma. Sondra
Bernstein has opened her restaurant for the event, providing tasty edibles. Kelly will be pouring Westwood
wines and representatives from Tesla Motors will be there to give guests rides in the new Tesla Roadster 2.5.
For more information: www.westwoodwine.com/Electrifying
Noble Rot Attracts Millenial Wine Drinkers The Noble Rot is a mobile wine tasting
saloon. So far, offbeat wine tasting education events have been set up in New York City in private
spaces such as Manhattan rooftops and lofts. Entertainers and chefs are invited. The whole idea is to
shed pomposity and pretension and make learning about wine enjoyable. Jonathan Cristaldi and Brian
Quinn, both in their late 20s, who head up The Noble Rot, offer a millennial's view of wine enjoyment.
Events are planned for Los Angeles and California. Visit www.thenoblerot for information. The Noble
Rot Blog is at www.winetology.com.
West Sonoma Vintners Unite The newly formed West Sonoma Coast Vintners Association (WSCV)
consists of founding wineries Failla, Freeman, Freestone Vineyards, Peay and Red Car. The WSCV was
formed to protect the history, landscape and culture of the West Sonoma Coast and promote the wines,
vineyards and culture of the region to media, trade and public. A website is planned and the group will
coordinate and promote sub-appellations to the TTB, media, industry and consumers. A yearly event is
planned in Occidental on the weekend of August 5-7. Another West Sonoma County group, West Sonoma
County Wineries, consists of 10 members within 10 miles: Balletto, Dutton Estate-Sebastopol Vineyards,
Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Freestone Vineyards, Graton Ridge Cellars, Hanna Winery, Iron Horse, Marimar
Estate, Russian River Vineyards, and Taft St. Winery. This group all have tasting rooms and are co-marketing
quarterly tasting room specific events.
Check Out Grape Radio There are several good recent podcasts posted in which I participated.
Check them out at www.graperadio.com: “The 2010 World of Pinot Noir,” “20 Years of Williams Selyem - Parts
1 and 2,” “The Wines of C.P. Lin of Mountford Estate in New Zealand,” and “Tasting 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir.”
Days of Affordable Burgundy May Be Near an End Decanter.com reported that record prices
were paid at the annual Hospices of Beaune auction. This is a bit surprising considering that the 2010 vintage
in Burgundy is very uneven. The event organizers are interested in establishing Burgundy interest in Asia and
Asia had more registered bidders than the United States. Asian buyers accounted for 12.5% of total sales.
Many lots exceeded prices for the 2005 vintage. The small amount of top Burgundy wine produced will surely
become more inflated in price as competition for the wines heats up as wealthy Asians entering the fray.
Josh Jensen Reveals Startling Facts In the latest newsletter from Calera, Josh
Jensen wrote to his mailing list shortly before leaving for a sales trip to Tokyo and South
Korea. He noted that Calera sells to about 25 “entities” abroad and for the first 10 months of
this year, they accounted for an incredible 42.7% of total sales. Last year, in 2009, they
accounted for 40% of sales. Calera’s biggest export market by far is Japan. Much of the
sales success in Japan can be traced to 1996 when a major Japanese adult newspaper ran
a strip called The Sommelier and featured Calera Pinot Noir.
Lou Foppiano Turns 100 Iconic winemaker, Louis J. Foppiano, celebrated his 100th birthday last
month at a party held at the Healdsburg Golf Club. Foppiano Vineyards is Sonoma County’s oldest
continuously operated family winery. Probably the most famous historical event in Foppiano’s career is
preserved in memory by a photograph in the tasting room dating to 1926, when during Prohibition, federal
authorities forced young Foppiano and his family to dump 100,000 gallons of red wine into a ditch along Old
Redwood Highway. The winery’s signature wine has been Petite Sirah. Recently a new winemaker has been
hired, the winery facility upgraded, and modern viticultural methods instituted in the vineyards.
New Winemaker at Pfendler Vineyards John Raytek, who has his own label, Ceritas, and has
worked as an assistant at Flowers, Copain and Rhys Vineyards, has assumed the winemaking role for Pfendler
Vineyards beginning with the 2010 vintage.
¡Salud! Oregon Pinot Noir Auction Raises Over $650,000 Proceeds from the annual
¡Salud! Oregon Pinot Noir Auction increased 7% over 2009. The money raised covers essential medical care
for thousands of seasonal vineyard workers and their families. Held November 12 and 13, 2010, at Domaine
Drouhin Oregon and Portland’s historic Governor Hotel, the auction included unique 2009 Pinot Noirs from the
42 “Vintners Circle” of top Oregon wineries. The ¡Salud! Oregon Pinot Noir Auction will celebrate its 20th
Anniversary on November 11 and 12, 2011. For more information, visit www.saludauction.org.
New Releases of Note 2008 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and 2007 Domaine
Drouhin Oregon Lauréne Pinot Noir. 2007 The Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Reserve Pinot Noir, 2008 The
Eyrie Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir, 2009 The Eyrie Vineyards Original Vines Reserve Chardonnay. 2008 Dusky
Goose Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. 2009 Et Fille Kalita Vineyard, Maresh Vineyard Pinot Noirs. 2009 Red Car The
Aphorist (Bartolomei Vineyard), Dreamland (Platt Vineyard) and Heaven & Earth (Bohemian Station Vineyard)
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs. The new Red Car tasting room in Sebastopol at the corner of Gravenstein
Highway and Graton Road is now open by appointment, with regular hours to come. Next door is the new
Dutton-Goldfield tasting room pouring their new releases of 2008 Freestone Hill and 2008 Devil’s Gulch Pinot
Noir. Dutton-Goldfield is offering magnums of their wines for the holidays. 2008 Bonaccorsi Sta. Rita Hills and
Santa Barbara County Pinot Noirs, 2007 Bonaccorsi Melville Vineyard and Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noirs.
Winebreather Carafe From a Danish company, Creative Danes, headquartered in
Carlsbad, California, the Winebreather carafe aerates wine quickly by channeling the wine
through the carafe’s long neck and down the sides to the broad base of the carafe. The wine is
thoroughly aerated in less than 2 minutes. Testing shows that after 2 minutes in the
Winebreather, the young wine contains 740% more oxygen. This appears to be a very nifty way
to decant and aerate wine at home. Simply press the decanter onto the top of an opened bottle
of wine, and flip it over so the wine pours into the decanter. You can then serve the wine from the
decanter or flip it back once it is aerated and pour the wine back into the bottle and serve it from
the original bottle. The company makes plenty of other innovative wine and beverage use items.
Visit www.creativedanes.com. Buy from www.winestuff.com for $69.99, with custom engraving
South Willamette Wineries Association (SWWA) Wineries in Southern Oregon organized last
year to promote this wine growing region and distinguish itself from the Willamette Valley AVA, which it has
been lumped with since 1984. Although not an official distinction, many wine enthusiasts divide the Willamette
Valley into northern and southern regions, the dividing line being the approximate latitude of Salem
(approximately 45 degrees north latitude). Most of the 16 member wineries are within an easy drive of
Eugene and include Pinot Noir producers Benton Lane Winery, Chateau Lorane, Domaine Meriwether
(sparkling wines), High Pass Winery, Iris Vineyards, King Estate Winery, LaVelle Vineyards, Noble Estate,
Pfeiffer, RainSong Vineyard, Saginaw Vineyard, Sarver, Shadow Mountain Vineyards, Sweet Cheeks Winery,
Territorial Vineyards, Capitello Wines. Trip planning to this region is offered on the association’s website at
Oregon Wine History Project™ Students and faculty at Linfield College, the home of the annual
International Pinot Noir Celebration, have begun to research Oregon’s wine history. Supported by a grant from
the Erath Foundation, interviews have been conducted with wine pioneers Dick Erath, David Adelsheim, Diana
Lett, Dick and Nancy Ponzi, Susan Sokol Blosser and Myron Redford. Their comments are part of an exhibit at
Linfield’s new Center for the Northwest (www.digitalcommons.linfield.edu/wine_project/). The exhibit is open
to visitors and includes videos devoted to “Sustainability and the Early Years of Oregon Wine,” “Oregon Wine:
The Early Community,” and “Oregon Land Use Planning: Saving the Hills for the Vines.”
SFMOMA Exhibit: “How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now The
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art featured program now on display explores the visual culture of wine and
its transformation over the last 30 years. The exhibition combines historical artifacts, architectural models,
design objects, newly commissioned artworks, with a “smell wall,” a wall displaying the art of the wine label,
and film screenings. On display are bottles of the two wines that won the 1976 “Judgment of Paris,” the 1973
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and 1973 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. Visitors are urged
to bring used natural corks to SFMOMA’s exhibit for recycling and enter to win monthly prizes including a
Grand Prize of a Northern California Luxury Wine Adventure. The Museum’s Store offers wine books, wine
accessories and wine gifts. Visit www.sfmoma.org.
Wine Books to Savor and to Gift
Vertical Rex Pickett’s follow-up novel to his novel and film Sideways. Miles and Jack are back seven years
later and headed on a journey that takes them to the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon where
Miles is the master of ceremonies. As good as the movie Sideways was (grossing $250 million), I enjoyed the
book more and I plan to read Vertical over the holidays with a glass of great Pinot in hand, well before the
proposed movie debuts. Buy the book at www.verticalthenovel.com (softcover, $15 including shipping).
The Pearl of the Côte The Great Wines of Vosne-Romanée Allen Meadows is a highly
respected authority on Burgundy whose many years of scholarly devotion to the region have culminated in this
highly acclaimed work. This very special 350 page book explores the most legendary region in Burgundy,
covering the fascinating history and the terroir of each of Vosne’s grands and premier crus, brought to life with
original modern maps, creative art work and beautiful photography. This is the ultimate gift for a Burgundy
lover. Buy the book at www.burghoundbooks.com (hardcover, $59.99).
Inside Burgundy 30-year Burgundy resident and Master of Wine Jasper Morris has published a 656
page tome that is the definitive reference work on the vineyards, wines and producers of Burgundy. It is the
most accurate and up to date work of its kind ever. Currently, it is not released in the United States (release is
scheduled for next year), but can be ordered directly from the UK at www.bbr.com or the Athenaeum bookstore
in Beaune at www.athenaeumfr.com. (hardcover, $84).
The Art and Design of Contemporary Wine Labels The author, Tanya Scholes, is a floral
designer who worked in the advertising and design industry for years and gained an appreciation for graphic
design, typography, photography, branding and packaging. Her beautiful 288 page 8.5” x 11” book is an
illustrated survey of the labels produced by over two hundred international wineries. Interviews with
winemakers and designers reveal the stories behind the four hundred labels included in the book. A history of
label design is included as well. Several well-known North American Pinot Noir producers have labels featured
including Antica Terra, Big Table Farm, Eric Kent Wine Cellars, Longboard Vineyards, Radio-Coteau, Red Car
Wine, Road 31 Wine Co., Sine Qua Non, and Van Duzer Vineyards. Curiously, no Burgundy labels are
included. Buy from www.santamonicapress.com (hardcover, $45).
Wine Tasting Uncorked: Guided Tasting Courses and Tips Written by Michael Schuster,
this is a series of cards that the wine novice will find very useful. The cards provide the basics of how to taste,
observe, describe, evaluate and enjoy wine. The different major wine varietals are detailed. Tasting
techniques are reviewed and a glossary of wine tasting terms is provided to learn and use. At the end, a series
of cards detail a “Do-It-Yourself” wine tasting course that allows one to practice all the tasting techniques
learned. The package is informative, succinct, unpretentious and practical. This is a great gift for your brother-in-
law who seems to be stuck on Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck. Order from www.amazon.com or any book
retailer (2010, $14.99).
Still more great wine books to recommend that are widely available in the retail marketplace.
Pacific Pinot Noir: A Comprehensive Winery Guide for Consumers and Connoisseurs John Winthrop
Haeger, University of California Press, 2008.
Passion for Pinot: A Journey Through America’s Pinot Noir Country Written by Jordan McKay,
photography by Robert Holmes and Andrea Johnson, Ten Speed Press, 2009.
Wine Atlas of New Zealand Michael Cooper and John McDermott, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2nd Edition,
Essential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest Cole Danehower, photography by Andrea Johnson,
Timber Press, 2010.
A wonderful wine magazine for the serious wine enthusiast is The World of Fine Wine published in the UK.
Some of the world’s greatest wine writers including Jancis Robinson MW, Andrew Jefford, Clive Coates MW,
Michel Bettane, and Serena Sutcliffe MW contribute articles in this lavishly illustrated magazine that has been
awarded the title of World’s Best Wine Magazine. I eagerly look forward to each quarterly issue when I can
spend hours relaxing with a glass of wine and read in depth journalism of unmatched quality. It is like receiving
a book every three months as each issue is well over 200 pages. Visit www.finewinemag.com for a sample of
the editorial content, complimentary article downloads, index of past content and a weekly blog. Distribution in
the United States is limited so best to subscribe ($169 for one year 4-issue subscription including shipping).
Gift subscriptions are available.
The Bucket List
The following is a carefully prepared list of classic wines, many with a historic pedigree, that should be on every
pinotphile’s bucket list of Oregon Pinot Noirs to try before you, well, stop drinking.
Adelsheim Elizabeth’s Reserve
Anam Cara Reserve
Anne Amie L’iris
Antica Terra Botanica
Archery Summit Estate
Arterberry Maresh Maresh Vineyard
Beaux Freres Estate
Bethel Heights Flat Block Reserve
Brick House Wine Company Evelyn’s
Cameron Clos Electrique
Cristom Vineyards Eileen
De Lancellotti Family Vineyards Estate
Domaine Drouhin Oregon Lauréne
Domaine Serene Evanstad Reserve
Elk Cove Vineyards Roosevelt Vineyard
Et Fille Maresh Vineyard
Ken Wright Shea Vineyard
Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards Estate
Laura Volkman Rachel Estate
Patricia Green Cellars Notorious
Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard
Phelps Creek Vineyards Cuvée Alexandrine
Ponzi Vineyards Abetina Vineyard
Privé Vineyard Joie de Vivre
ROCO Private Stash
Scott Paul Audrey
Shea Wine Cellars Homer
Sine Qua Non Shea Vineyard
Sinean Cellars Wyeast Vineyard
Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Vineyard
St. Innocent Shea Vineyard
The Eyrie Vineyards Original Old Vine Reserve
The Four Graces Estate Reserve
Westrey Oracle Vineyard
White Rose Vineyard Estate