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From Pieces of Jewell Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

2020 Pieces of Jewell Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $50. Produced and bottled by Eden Estate Wines LLC, Saratoga, CA. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Beautifully perfumed with aromas of cherry reduction, spice and a hint of burnt tobacco. Light to mid-weight in style, with a gracious and refreshing core of black cherry, dark red berry, and spice flavors framed by redeeming acidity, a compliment of oak, and an earthy tone. Comforting and easy to cozy up to initially but considerably more enjoyable on day one and two after opening. A very young wine with plenty of promise and most certainly will be deserving of a higher score after 6-12 months in the cellar. A “jewel” of a Pinot Noir. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Three Sticks Wines: The Pinnacle of California Pinot Noir

2019 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.67, 580 cases, $75. Released August 2021. Diverse soils including cobble clay loam, volcanic and rocky loam. Known for Chardonnay, this vineyard has quickly gained recognition for exceptional Pinot Noir as well. Clones 115, 667, 943, Swan and Calera. 20% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Intoxicating aromas of black cherry, baking spices and cola. Easy to find superlatives for this wine that instantly enchants. Mid-weight in concentration, offering a juicy core of cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit flavors backed by a complimentary riff of oak. Elegantly composed, with a refreshing acid spine, and a finish alive with hi-tone, spice cherry goodness. The best Pinot Noir I have ever had from this vineyard. Score: 96. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 Three Sticks Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.66, 770 cases, $75. Released August 2021. Clones are Swan, 115, faux 828, 667, 777 and a Rochioli selection. 25% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 56% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Enticing aromas of black cherry, cardamom spice and sprightly herbs. Long and succulent on the palate, with an array of black cherry and berry fruit flavors. The sap grabs the palate and won’t let go. Silky and suave, with very modest tannins and an amazingly long finish. Even better when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle. Score: 94. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 Three Sticks Walala Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.66, 440 cases, $75. Released August 2021. Redwood forested location high on a hill above the town of Annapolis on the extreme West Sonoma Coast. I consider it one of my “elite” California Pinot Noir vineyards. Clones 115, 113 and faux 828. 25% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 52% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Reserved initially, but picking up interest over time in the glass, offering aromas of blue and purple berry and tilled earth. The boldest wine among the four tasted here but not imposing. Mid-weight plus in style with yummy flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, boysenberry and spice with an earthy undertone. Juicy and seamless with fine-grain tannins and a generous finish. “Great” when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle. Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 Three Sticks William James Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.69, 481 cases, $75. Released August 2021. The vineyard is located west of Sebastopol surrounded by apple orchards. The Goldridge fine, sandy loam soil, known as “moondust,” is ideal for Pinot Noir. Clones are Swan, Calera and 943, an unusual combination. 25% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 52% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Highly appealing aromas of dark cherry, cranberry, earthy flora and a hint of oak. Velvety on the palate in a middleweight style, offering giving flavors of black cherry, cola and tobacco oak. Impeccably balanced with graceful tannins and a noticeably long finish. Quintessential Russian River Valley black cherry goodness. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From 2018 & 2019 California Pinot Noir to Contemplate

2019 J. Cage Cellars Cuvée ’42 Sonoma County Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.70, TA 0.55, 693 cases, $42. Released July 2021. A blend of four Sonoma County vineyards. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The enticing nose offers aromas of red and black cherry, red licorice, cardamom spice and toasty oak. Crafted in a mid-weight plus style, offering vibrant flavors of dark red and black berries ad black cherry. A mouthful of fruit but discreetly concentrated. Excellent harmony, with tame tannins, a sleek demeanor, and a well-fruited finish of some length. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 J. Bucher Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.58, 563 cases, $45. Released October 2021. Sourced from 4 blocks in the estate vineyard and is composed of 7 clones (Pommard, Swan, Calera, Mariafeld, 37, and Dijon 115 and 943). Harvest Brix 23.9º (average). Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 20% new, 80% 1-5-year-old. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Reserved aromas of dark cherry, tilled earth and cow pasture. The wine is packed with darkest cherry cola flavor framed by gentle tannins, offering some persistence on the finish. There is a thread of pungent manure similar to ashen oak. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 Lombardi Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.54, 250 cases, $49. Sourced from Gantz, Gap’s Crown and Hill Justice vineyards. Clones are Pommard, 777, Swan, Calera and 23. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Delightful aromas of dark fruits, rose petal and peppery herbs. Judicious core of purple and black berry flavors with a soft oak shadow. Very soothing, polished texture, with modest tannins and a generous, fruit-driven finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 J. Cage Cellars El Coro Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.68, TA 0.55, 125 cases, $54. Released October 2021. Clones are faux 828, 777, 667 and a “La Tache” selection. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Upfront aromas of dark red cherry and berry, underbrush and cardamom spice. A flood of well-ripened and dark fruit floods the palate in a mid-weight plus style. An unbecoming flavor of raisin is present. Silky in texture, with minor tannins and oak in the background. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 J. Cage Cellars Hallberg Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.57, 169 cases, $54. Released December 2020. A co-ferment of equal parts Dijon 667 and 115. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Shy, but pleasant aromas of well-ripened black fruits and sweet pipe smoke. Voluptuous flavors of blackberry and boysenberry compote carry through to a generous finish that leaves behind mildly astringent tannins. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 J. Cage Cellars The Wedding Block Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.51, 169 cases, $54. Released October 2021. The Wedding Block Vineyard is located in the heart of the Russian River Valley and is farmed by Lee Martinelli, Jr. A co-ferment of Dijon clones 777 and 115. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The nose offers deeply perfumed black raspberry and blackberry fruits that veer to the cooked side. There is a savory spice aroma as well. The mid-weight plus black cherry and black raspberry fruit veers to the sweet compote side. The tannins are silky, there is a compliment of oak in the background, but the wine lacks acidic verve. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 J. Cage Cellars Van der Kamp Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.55, 213 cases, $54. Released December 2020. A blend of six clones. Aged in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of dusty black cherry, rose petal, chalk and musty herb garden. A middleweight style with a juicy core of black cherry fruit. Polished in the mouth, with modest tannins and a dry, earthy finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 J. Bucher Pommard Clone Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.54, 114 cases, $55. Released October 2021. 100% Pommard clone from 4 blocks in the Bucher Vineyard. Harvest Brix 24.0º (average). Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 60% new, 40% 1-2-year-old. · Dark garnet color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of earth-toned black fruits and a bit of mushroom. Mid-weight plus in a rich and bold style with waves of black cherry, black raspberry and blackberry fruit flavors. Silky on the palate, with gentle tannins and some finishing power. The barnyard trait is barely noticeable. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 J. Bucher Three Sixty Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.79, TA 0.54, 118 cases, $65. Released October 2021. Sourced from 4 blocks on the western edge of the vineyard. Harvest Brix 23.2º (average). Clones are Swan, Pommard, Dijon 943. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 80% new and 20% 1-year-old. · Dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of confected black cherry, sassafras, baking spices and fresh oak. Full-flavored, ripely-fruited, and full-bodied, offering flavors of darkest cherry, blueberry-pomegranate and cassis backed by modest tannins and acidity. There is only a hint of barnyard. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 Morgan Double L Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.58, 507 cases, $65. Clones 667 and 777. Certified organic grapes. Native yeast primary fermentation with 7% whole cluster. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 36% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The perfume bowled me over! Intoxicating scents of black cherry, blueberry and spice cabinet. An expressive attack of fresh black cherry fruit is annotated with anise and spice. The entry makes one sit up in their seat. Excellent cohesiveness, with a suave mouthfeel, a welcome touch of smoky oak, and a very long, cherry-fueled finish. Terrific! Score: 95. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 Lombardi Gap’s Crown Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.58, 87 cases, $68. 100% clone 777. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, once-used. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. A little volatile acidity on the nose blows off over time. Aromas of blackberry compote and bittersweet chocolate. Luscious black cherry and black raspberry fruits have a slight confected tone. Bold in style with a fat and silken fruit richness that cloaks the structure so the texture is sleek. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 Lombardi Giusti Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.59, 100 cases, $68. Dijon clones 667 and 777. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Frankly, the fruit in this wine is way too ripe. Overripeness is the point where dark berry flavors are transformed to flavors of dark chocolate and raisin. Beyond that, this wine is out of sorts with noticeable oak in the background, an unpleasant sweetness, and some drying astringency on the finish. Score: 88. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 Lombardi Hill Justice Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.56, 87 cases, $68. Swan and Pommard clones. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. The fruit-driven nose offers aromas of blueberry and boysenberry. Waves of purple and black fruits greet the palate. A bold, but pleasing expression of Pinot Noir with harmonic tannins and acidity, and a very satisfying, richly-endowed finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 CHEV Oregon Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $80. Fermented in 80% stainless steel open-tops and 20% in concrete open-tops. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. A complex nose offers aromas of black cherry, blackberry, baking spice, forest path and toasty oak. Discreetly concentrated core of black cherry, purple berry and spice flavors framed by integrated tannins. A tad boisterous by Oregon standards with exceptional mid-palate intensity and generous finish. Score: 92. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2019 CHEV Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., $80. Fermented in 75% stainless steel open-tops and 25% in concrete open-tops. 5% whole cluster. Aged 16 months in French oak barrels 44% new (5% aged in concrete tank). · Moderate garnet color in the glass. The nose opens slowly to reveal aromas of dark red and black berry fruits. Refined and silky on the palate, with a mid-weight array of dark cherry and berry flavors. A solid wine that requires time to share its charms. Nicely balanced with no alcoholic warmth, a compliment of supportive tannins and an black cherry driven finish. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2018 Domaine Anderson Estate Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.2% alc., $45. Sourced from three vineyard sites including Dach (64%), Walraven (29%) and Pinoli (7%). Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 30% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. There is a subtle green tone in this wine that reflects under-ripeness. Aromas of strawberry, cherry, spice and red rose petal. Red-fruit driven on the palate in a mid-weight style with gracious tannins and a red-cherry themed finish. Rather pedestrian and lacking in mid-palate fortitude. Less enjoyable with more oak in the forefront when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle. Score: 89. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2018 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.60, TA .57, 300 cases, $48. Released November 18, 2019. Sourced from Giusti Ranch and Gunsalus Vineyard. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 25% new. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of black cherry, ripe strawberry and oak lead to a light to mid-weight styled wine with flavors of black cherry cola and black raspberry. Somewhat elegant with good balance but lacking a bit of mid-palate generosity. The bright, quenching finish is very satisfying. Score: 90. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2018 Lombardi Hill Justice Vineyard Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.60, 100 cases, $68. This 9-acre vineyard is steeply sloped and sits at 1,100’ elevation on Sonoma Mountain. Swan and Pommard clones. Aged 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Reserved but pleasing aromas of blackest cherry, blackberry, spice and toasty oak. A mid-weight plus boldness with layers of boysenberry and blackberry fruit flavors framed by some noticeable but not aggressive tannins. Oak is well-integrated on the palate. A cohesive wine with saturating fruit on the finish. Score: 91. WINERY » ARTICLE »


From Compton Cellars: Pinot Noirs Kissed by an Angel

2017 Compton Alpine Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $34. Release planned for 2022. A blend of two dry-farmed vineyards in the Alpine area that is about 20 miles south of Compton winery: Woodhall Vineyard planted in 1976 at Oregon State University and BoVine Vineyard planted in 2008 to Pommard and Wädenswil clones. Basalt, red Jory series soils. · Moderately light garnet color in the glass.The nose exudes red cherry goodness with a side of spice and red rose aroma. Easygoing in a harmonious, mid-weight style, driven by cherry and raspberry fruit flavors with a shadow of oak and a mossy, forestry undertone reflecting its Alpine origins, Focused tannins and a raspberry-themed finish of some length complete the picture. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Compton Llewellyn Cuvée Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $34. Release planned for 2022. A blend of three vineyards located about 1-2 miles from each other: Compton Family Farms Vineyard, planted in 1998, Hoot & Howl Vineyard planted in 1986, and Mary’s Peak Vineyard planted in 1977. Sedimentary soils. · Light garnet color in the glass. Wonderfully perfumed with scents of red cherry, cranberry, strawberry and spice cabinet. Juicy and bright in a middleweight style featuring plenty of unctuous red fruit flavors annotated wih spice and framed by suede tannins. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »

2017 Compton Mary’s Peak Vineyard Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $34. Released March 2021. This dryfarmed vineyard consists of 2.1 acres of Pinot Noir planted between 1977 and 1980 to the Wädenswil clone. Alluvial, sedimentary loam soil. · Light garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry juice, balsam and earthy flora draw you in. Graceful, silky and cohesive, offering flavors of red cherry, raspberry and spice. Gentle power that packs more punch than the light color and demure composure would suggest. The gossamer tannins provide enough support and the finish has persistence without weight. There is something about Pinot Noir old vine patina that grabs at your soul. Score: 93. WINERY » ARTICLE »


Robert Parker’s 100 point wine scoring system, which became popular in 1983 and adopted by the Wine Spectator in 1988, has been a homing beacon for consumers seeking to buy good wine. Currently, a majority of United States based wine critics and magazines use the 100 point scale.

The reality is that the 100 point scale is actually a 10 point scale. MORE»
A Note About Prices

Price shown in a tasting note is either the winery-direct price or the retail price paid by the Prince.