13th Pinot Noir Shootout Results

In a distinctly different format and atmosphere from other wine-tasting events, the attendees blind tasted the wines and pitted their palates against the expert judging panel. The wines were divided into 2 groups of 23 wines each (the Black Group and the Silver Group). The wines were dressed in Vino Sleeves and identified by a random color. (Wines with colors after the price indicate that they were in the Blind Tasting) The male and female votes were tallied separately.

Awards by gender will be indicated on the Male & Female pages.

13th Annual Pinot Noir Shootout Results
Scores: Women Judges
Scores: Women Judges Bang for Your Buck
Scores: Men Judges
Scores: Men Judges Bang for Your Buck
Sparkling Wines

All wines reviewed indicate a numerical score and are awarded medals as follows:

Double Gold

92 or above from both Male and Female Judging Panels = Double Gold


90 or above from either Male or Female Judging Panel = Gold Medal


80-89 from either Male or Female Judging Panel = Silver Medal

3-Girls 2013 Maggio-Reynolds Family Vineyards 87% Pinot Noir -13% Zinfandel
Lodi, $12.99
6500 cases produced
Female: Intense black fruit profile with lots of edgy barrel spice notes on the nose. The black fruit aromas give way to warm lush blueberry and plum on the palate. Barrel notes again find their way into the flavor profile where they create a root beer touched by cinnamon presence. Interesting and tasty. 86
Male: Ripe black fruit with plum and lighter cola notes define the aromas. The palate is a interesting combination of dense dark berry and lush pomegranate with cedar tones on the back end. Oak tannins are prominent on the finish which has some nice length and grip. A Pinot Noir that would pair well with BBQ. 87
A Blooming Hill Vineyard 2013 Estate Pinot Noir
Chehalem Mountains AVA, $27.00
750 cases produced
Female: Fruit forward aromas of black raspberry, current, Plum, and black pepper notes. Weighty and fruit filled palate but feels slightly disjointed. Needs time. 88
Male: Blood red in color. Aromas of sweet blackberry and cherries with oak back notes. The aromas are replicated on the palate. Shows good acidity, good grip, and nice depth. Well balanced. Long, lingering finish. 90
Anam Cara Cellars 2012 Oregon Nicholas Estate Pinot Noir
Chehalem Mountains, $34.00 DUSTY ROSE
1700 cases produced
Female: Toast and vanilla scented red fruit with plum and cassis and light black currants on the nose creates a special perfume scent. Dried red cherry and savory herbs and Asian spice are wrapped in a blanket of elegant fine grained tannins. Lovely. 90
Male: Attractive cherry cola with sweet wild berry and floral notes on the delicate nose. Rose petals add to the allure. There are layers of thoughtfully restrained red and black fruit with ripe plum along for the ride as well. Elegant and restrained throughout. While delicate, the finish is long and precise. A well crafted wine with some unique subtleties. 91
Anderson Oaks Vineyard 2012 Estate Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $25.00 COBALT
284 cases produced
Female: Dramatic bing cherry and spice touched by truffles, forest floor and spiced barrel notes. Ripe strawberry and black fruit fill the palate which carries to a long finish showcasing silky tannins and bright acidity. A delight! 92
Male: Rich and inviting on the nose showcasing attractive notes of cassis, black cherry, mocha and secondary notes of coffee. As complex on the palate with a richly satisfying combination of black fruit and spice framed by well toned tannins and enough well placed acid to carry it all through nicely. Very appealing. 91
Angels Landing 2013 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $25.00
3000 cases produced
Female: Fruit compote aromas replicate on the palate with green tea in the interesting finish. Food will make this wine sing. 88
Male: Nicely forward black and red fruit nose well formed with lively spice. Full palate. Evolving tannins. 86
Armitage 2012 Dry Hole Vineyard Pinot Noir
Chalone, $32.00 BLACK
250 cases produced
Female: Warm and inviting on the nose with boysenberry and spiced black fruit with lovely floral notes. Palate is beautifully formed with dense black cherry that combines with red cherry and strawberry. Hints of cinnamon and fennel accent the dense fruit. Bright and alive on the finish. 92
Male: Lots of drama and fun in the aromatics on this wine with spiced blackberry, cedar, and mushroom. Palate replicates nicely from nose with pronounced blackberry and freshly picked strawberry accented by Asian spice. Lush on the palate but with enough structure and well placed acidity to make it all work very nicely. 93
Armitage 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir
Carmel Valley, $18.00
50 cases produced
Female: Fresh strawberries, rose petals and a touch of cinnamon as a back note. Lovely aromatics. Bright red fruit on entry, lovely fruit without sweetness. Complementing tannins. 89
Male: Beautiful floral nose with rose petals and strawberries. Cherries on the palate with a strawberry finish. 88
Asuncion Ridge Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir
San Luis Obispo County, $38.00
100 cases produced
Female: Aromas of cherries, strawberries, blackberries, stewed tomatoes, cloves, and earth notes. Juicy palate mirrors the aromatics with cinnamon joining mid-palate and a smoky note on the finish. 88
Male: Earthy notes, white pepper, black fruit, stewed tomatoes, and mint in the nose. The palate shows distinct and juicy black plum and blackberry flavors. Velvety texture. 88
Balverne 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00 LILAC
245 cases produced
Female: So inviting right from the start! Cherry blossoms and sweet black cherry aromas elevate in dramatic fashion from the glass. Lots of secondary notes that include baking chocolate and truffles. Soft and plush on the palate with a solid core of both black and red fruit with cassis and brown sugar as a back drop. Very tasty with great balance and discipline on the precise finish. This wine has beautifully integrated all the parts needed to offer up something special. 93
Male: There is enormous appeal from the start as the complex aromas pull you in quickly to taste this wine. Intense black fruit highlighted by cocoa powder and forest floor. Initial impressions from the black fruit give way to layers of cherry and raspberry that follow. Red licorice is noted. Vibrant and alive across the entire palate with remarkable length and depth on the finish. You'll want to be careful with this wine as it invites you to want to enjoy multiple glasses!! 94
Balverne 2013 Reserve Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $39.00
568 cases produced
Female: Ruby in color. Juicy blueberries, blackberries, sweet cola, and sweet vanilla aromatics. The palate is lighter than expected after the many layered aromas on the nose. Cranberry and light cherry flavors with a touch of orange peel. Medium acidity, body and texture. 87
Male: Blood red in color with a ruby rim. Wild strawberry, red cherry, red licorice, and subtle herbs on a gentle nose. Light entry of ripe cherry and strawberry with coffee and herbs mid-palate, leading into a viscous, finish of strawberry and herbs. 88
Balverne 2013 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $29.00
1432 cases produced
Female: Lovely restraint and finesse to the nose of this wine. Classic Pinot Noir profile of light cherry and strawberry jam with pretty vanilla spice tones. Palate replicates precisely creating a generously textured wine evolving with both red and black fruit lifted by young tannins. Stylish and honest. 91
Male: Nicely elevated with some good drama on the nose offering up spiced cherry fruit and wild berry framed by warm baking spice. Palate is nicely formed with a generous layer of red and black cherry working nicely together. A second layer of soft blueberry shows beyond midpalate. Nicely placed barrel tones help highlight the fruit. The finish has nice length with a refreshing dose of young strawberry framed by young tannins. Stays alive with good acidity. 90
Bar Z Wines 2013 Bayer Pinot Noir
Texas High Plains AVA, $32.00
90 cases produced
Female: Baking spice with black pepper accent an interesting combination of wild black berry and ripe black cherry. The palate is generous with nice layering of black cherry combined with and unique blueberry that is accented by the similar spice notes found in the nose. There's a linear sense to the palate with slightly tart black cherry and lighter flavors of raspberry. A touch of cedar and clove. The tannins do a good job of keeping this moving across the palate in a smooth progression. A unique style that is both interesting and pleasing. A bit of head scratcher on the origins of this wine. 87
Male: Firm and distinctive aromatics offer very expressive black currant and lighter notes of ripe black cherry. There are notes of black licorice and white pepper. Extracted black fruit palate of dark pomegranate and ripe plum. There's a minerality that helps keep the dense fruit in proportion with help from some modest tannins. The finish stays together well as there is sufficient acidity to carry this through to a balanced conclusion. A rustic style that works hard to stay varietal but pulls it off in the end. Distinctive and interesting, this could be fun with grilled meats and BBQ. 89
Barefoot Cellars Pinot Noir
California, $6.99
Female: Pronounced cherry with delicate Bing cherry and sweet cherry licorice on the nose. Lots of dense ripe blueberry with fresh squeezed cherry juice filling the mid palate. Lush and generous with the fruit. Soft plush finish with acidity that pulls it together. Would be fun picnic wine with a little chill added. 88
Male: Fresh ripe strawberry with a hint of pleasing sweetness combines nicely with Bing cherry to form a simple yet very inviting nose. The strawberry component on the palate shows richness and depth. A delicate balance between fruit and lighter spice tones. Fruit tannins provide structure on the finish with a surprising presence of acidity to make it all work. Very tasty and meant to be enjoyed now. 89
Bargetto 2013 Pommard Clone Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $35.00 PINK
276 cases produced
Female: Dusty red cherry, rhubarb, cedar, and cassis aromas are carried onto the palate. The red fruit dominates with lots of forest floor and mushroom back notes that persist through the long finish. Nicely balanced wine. 90
Male: Light ruby in color. Mixed berries, anise, black tea, violets, spice, and a bit of plum in the nose. Lots of red fruit on entry with herbs joining mid-palate. Coffee, berry and herbs on the finish. Needs aging but has incredible potential. 90
Bargetto 2013 Reserve Regan Vineyards Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $45.00 AQUA
301 cases produced
Female: The full spectrum of cherry both red and black plus some bright Bing cherry are all present in this wines very inviting nose. Notes of warm baking spice and a touch of cinnamon as well. The cherry component is followed on the palate by a solid presence of plum and lighter raspberry. Young, fine grained tannins provide a nice platform for this wine to move across the palate and add structure to the multiple layers of fruit. Just enough acidity to tie it all together and bring you back for more. 92
Male: The aromatics are fresh and very appealing as they combine a generous touch of young black cherry, black raspberry, and a deft touch of soft toasted barrel notes. The nicely textured palate showcases layers of both red and black fruit with sweet plum accented by cinnamon. While the tannins remain young, they are integrating nicely into shaping a graceful palate which will continue to expand with more time in bottle. The expansive fruit profile is carried nicely by the wines well formed structure. A generous amount of well placed acidity on the finish completes the full experience. 92
BARRA of Mendocino 2013 Estate Grown Pinot Noir
Mendocino, $20.00
858 cases produced
Female: There's a delightful complexity to the aromatics. Lush ripe cherry combine with black raspberry and cola notes with a hint of cassis. Palate is lush yet very well proportioned with nice layering of both red and black fruit and noted stonefruit with a hint of blood orange. Fine grained tannins give just enough structure to the fruit profile that moves effortlessly toward the back palate and a graceful finish that dances with lots of acidity. 90
Male: Fresh cranberry along with lively cherry and raspberry combine with a nice red licorice note on the nose. Secondary notes of cola noted. Nicely developed palate showcases cherry pie filling with lively raspberry and blackberry. Soft tannins move the graceful fruit profile nicely across the palate with lift provided by great acidity. 89
Baus Family Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir
Sonoma County, $18.00
2600 cases produced
Female: Lots of lavender on the nose with strawberry and oak back notes. The palate shows rhubarb and blackberry with coffee and mocha on the elegant finish. This is a very youthful wine. 89
Male: Muted nose at first then opens to candied fruit. Lively palate nose a lot of ripe fruit. Velvety texture and good acidity on the cherry and earth finish. Good varietal definition. 88
Beauregard Vineyards 2012 Estate Coast Grade Vineyard Pinot Noir
Ben Lomond Mountain, $60.00
450 cases produced
Female: Floral notes and soft lavender combine with blueberry and ripe black cherry on the nose. Palate is nicely layered with generous red and black fruit and hints of brown baking spice and cinnamon. Nicely wrapped together by soft tannins on the lengthy finish. 90
Male: Vibrant and alive on the nose. Very appealing notes of ripe blackberry and pomegranate with some distinctive smokey tones. Palate replicates gracefully the black berry and pomegranate with added layers beneath of plum, black currant, and layers of attractive spices. Mocha and blood orange. A complex palate that dances across the mouth with silky tannins and wonderful acidity that balances this wine with both precision and grace. 93
Beauregard Vineyards 2012 Estate Beauregard Ranch Pinot Noir
Ben Lomond Mountain, $50.00
264 cases produced
Female: A hint of lavender leads to nicely proportioned cherry and raspberry fruit on the nose. Lighter spice tones accent. The palate replicates nicely the cherry character with dark plum and a trace of brown baking spice and a dash of cinnamon. A refined finish of fine grained tannins around the solid fruit core along with well placed acidity make this a great sipper! 90
Male: Lots to like right from the start on this wine with classic Pinot Noir aromatics of fresh strawberry and cherry preserves with a floral element and works nicely with the fruit. Palate is well formed and graceful with a nice layer of fresh strawberries framed by wild berry with Asian spice and slight hint of close and black tea. The wine moves nicely across the palate with well developed tannins carrying the fruit and spice to focused finish. Graceful and unassuming best defines this offering. 91
Beauregard Vineyards 2012 Estate, 115 Clone Coast Grade Vineyard Pinot Noir
Ben Lomond Mountain, $60.00
120 cases produced
Female: Rich black cherry aromas are replicated on the dense and deep palate, accented by spearmint and cedar. Lovely gingerbread on the finish. 88
Male: The palate mirrors the fruit compote nose. Lovely acid. Well-made. 88
Beauregard Vineyards 2012 Mount Roberta Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $38.00
542 cases produced
Female: Spiced wild cherry with strawberry and rose petal aromatics. Black cherry and dried cranberry combine on the palate which is bright and fresh with very lively and lingering acidity. 89
Male: Light cherry and secondary notes of blueberry combine with hints of leather and sage on the nose. The palate is soft and pleasing with cherry and lighter dark fruit notes. Bright acidity works nicely on the finish. 88
Blair Estate 2012 Estate Grown Delfinas Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $45.00
497 cases produced
Female: Fresh plum and wild berry nose with a light dusting of toasted barrel notes. The plum replicates on the very focused mid palate with the addition of some tart red cherry and wild strawberry. Restrained yet honest throughout with a well measured sense of balance. Finishes bright and alive. 89
Male: There's a charming effect to the aromatic here with black cherry and an inviting scent of vanilla sugar cookies. There's a tight framework to the palate that deftly combines both red and black fruit with gravel and some fresh herbs. Light plum sits in the layer beneath. There is precision in the structure that lends itself to the lengthy finish that stays honest with some fresh acidity. 91
Blair Estate 2013 The Reserve Delfinas Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $75.00 NAVY BLUE
115 cases produced
Female: Bright and light smoky cherry aromas lead to a relatively lightweight but flavorful palate of cherry and red currant with hints of sandalwood. The palate is balanced and lengthy. Quite pretty! 90
Male: Strawberry, clove, dried herb with a touch of Brett on the nose. Strawberry and cranberry on entry with clove and herb mid leads to a smooth finish. 88
Block Nine 2014 Caiden's Vineyards Pinot Noir
California, $12.00
30000 cases produced
Female: Boysenberry, blueberry, dark fruit, and cola aromas with a touch of earthiness. Berry pie fruit flavors with cotton candy back notes. Some acid mid-palate. 88
Male: Cherry jam, cola and violet aromas with brown baking spices. Raspberry and cherry flavors with a soft and elegant finish. I'd love this if it had a little more backbone. 89
BONNEAU 2011 Sangiacomo Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $42.00
456 cases produced
Female: Forest floor, strawberry jam and floral aromas. Great layers of cooked fruit flavors with spice back notes. Nice balance and finish. 89
Male: The nose slants interestingly from sarsaparilla to forest floor with some strong spices thrown in. Nice mouth and palate. Well-balanced. Good finish. 87
Bonneau 2012 Sangiacomo Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $42.00 DENIM
300 cases produced
Female: Aromas of mildly sweet raspberry, rhubarb, tea, and floral notes greet you. Blue and red fruit on the palate with lovely savory notes. Nice texture. Long finish. Buy several bottles and age this baby for a year or two and watch it get better and better. 91
Male: Dark ruby rim with a medium red center. Bright cherry, cola, mushroom, and meadow herbs on the nose. Mushroom and cherry on entry with chocolate and herb joining mid through the big finish. Lovely. Modern style. 90
Bouchaine 2011 Pinot Noir
Carneros, $35.00
3200 cases produced
Female: Classic old world notes of cherry and forest floor with hints of mocha and black tea. The cherry combines with appealing ripe plum and light rhubarb to meld together into a well stated fruit profile. Young and tight right now but definitely evolving and going places down the road. 90
Male: Elegant and subtle red fruit with floral tones cast a nice first impression on the nose. Lots of bright, fresh cherry with back tones of rhubarb. The palate is equally reserved with nice layering of both red and black fruit with some light tones of fresh plum. Hints of licorice and crushed gravel work their way nicely to evolving tannins that will enhance this wine with added time in bottle. A nice wine to keep an eye on in the future. 91
Bouchaine 2012 Estate Terraces Pinot Noir
Napa Valley - Carneros, $60.00
370 cases produced
Female: Bright red and black cherry accented by savory herbs and light cedar and toasted barrel notes. Palate is nicely linear with both black and red fruit with a hint of soy. Nicely complex and inviting. Dried herbs and rosemary accent the fruit. Alive and fresh through the finish. 90
Male: Nicely elevated mix of aromatic elements including cola scented red fruit, smoke, black tea and friendly vanilla scented barrel notes. Taut core of red raspberry and wild fresh strawberry with savory herb notes. Fine grained tannins still evolving braced by lively acidity form a nice foundation for further development in bottle. 91
Bouchaine 2013 Swan Estate Pinot Noir
Napa Valley, $40.00
275 cases produced
Female: Complex and funky nose with pomegranate juice, raspberry cordial, blueberries, brown sugar, sarsaparilla, molasses, gingerbread, and smoked meats. Earthy entry evolving into a complex and wonderful palate. "I'd like to leave this in my glass and let it evolve for days." 90
Male: Dusty red fruit with flint and white pepper accents in the glass. Appealing mixed berry entry with berries persistent throughout. Brown sugar notes mid through the long finish when lively acid kicks in. 90
Bouchaine 2012 Estate Vineyard Pinot Meunier
Napa Valley - Carneros, $40.00
420 cases produced
Female: Sweet red cherry with earthy aromas at first. Opens to hints of cassis, sour cherry, orange peel, and hints of mushroom and earth. The palate reflects the nose. Mild tannins mid-palate. Solid structure carries through the pleasant finish. 89
Male: Pink/red rim with a light opaque center. Rhubarb, cherry, forest floor, strawberry, clove, and dried oregano on the nose. Strawberry, cherry and rhubarb entry. Juicy and herbal mid-palate. Delicate finish. Nice! 89
Bouchaine 2013 Estate Vineyard Pinot Gris
Napa Valley - Carneros, $30.00
440 cases produced
Female: Comice pear, honey and toasty oak notes in the glass. The entry is full with apple, pear, and white peach notes. There are soft barrel notes at the core. The long finish shows ripe pear notes and nice acidity. 90
Male: Honeysuckle, light toast and ripe peach aromatic. Soft full palate in entry with peach and apricot flavors offering honey and spice notes. Lush and long finish with just enough acidity to make it all work. 91
Brandborg 2012 Estate Ferris Wheel Estate Pinot Noir
Elkton Oregon, $38.00
195 cases produced
Female: Bacon fat, blackberry, black raspberry, tomato leaf, fresh herb, mint, basil, and a touch of jalapeno on the nose. The palate is restrained with a nice earth component. 88
Male: Maraschino cherry nose with floral accents. A bit light in body. Light strawberry flavors entry building to more depth on the finish. Light tannins and a tart strawberry finish. Simple but well made. 85
Brophy Clark 2013 California Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $34.00
264 cases produced
Female: Inviting aromatics add to the drama of wanting to taste this wine. Cherry, light raspberry and a touch of rhubarb combine with mocha and spiced barrel notes. Palate is soft and friendly with lots of red and black fruit but with enough acid to stay alive on the finish. Delicious! 91
Male: Unique and very appealing aromas showcasing dark cherry with cassis, caramel, and a touch of chocolate. Pretty! Palate offers up fresh cherry and wild berry with cola bean and toasted vanilla. Tannins are nicely evolved for a young wine at this stage making this very approachable and easy to enjoy. 90
Bucher 2013 Three Sixty Barrel Reserve Bucher Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $55.00
96 cases produced
Male: Floral and red berry notes are nicely accented by soft mocha and subtle vanilla toast and barrel elements. Palate is comprised of ripe black berry with noted cola flavors. Nice length with well evolved tannins. 90
Bucher 2013 Bucher Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00 HOT PINK
584 cases produced
Female: xxx 90
Male: Crimson in color with many layers on the nose. Aromas of strawberry, red cherry, black fruit, dried herbs, and a touch of mint. Pure strawberry flavors on entry with light spice and herb joining mid. The finish is spicy and smooth with nice acid. 90
Cakebread Cellars 2012 Two Creeks Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $42.00 BLUE GREEN
5000 cases produced
Female: A subtle blend of spice and black fruit on the nose highlighted by cranberry, black cherry and baking spice. The palate is nicely formed by the addition of sour cherry with the cranberry and black cherry noted on the nose. Fine grained tannins and lively acidity on the finish. 89
Male: Nicely melded aromatics of floral tones, wild black cherry and sweet oak. Palate combines black cherry with appealing strawberry jam. Dark tones and dusty tannins combine to create a vibrant and alive structure on the palate. 90
Canihan 2012 Estate Canihan Pinot Noir
Sonoma County, $50.00 BRICK
700 cases produced
Female: Aromas of dried red cherry combine nicely with pomegranate and ripe plum. Floral notes and a citrus character add depth. Nice complexity to the palate with pronounced dark berry, anise, and ripe red raspberry. The depth of fruit is carried nicely to the finish by the graceful tannins and fresh acids. 90
Male: Bright and alive aromatics showcasing a mix of red and black cherry with lavender and sweet spice notes. Nicely layered fruit on the palate with sweet cherry and wild berry followed by wild fresh strawberry. The complex fruit profile is well accented by highlights of Asian spice and cinnamon. Well balanced and very pleasing. 90
Carol Shelton Wines 2012 Larson Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sonoma/Carneros, $30.00 GREEN
382 cases produced
Female: Strawberry jam aromas open to layers and layers of red fruit lightly wrapped in oak. Well made! 91
Male: Intense spiced cherry fruit aromas and flavors. Light coffee and cola notes on the finish. The wine is rich, silky and smoky...very appealing! 91
Carol Shelton Wines 2013 Larson Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sonoma/Carneros, $30.00
379 cases produced
Female: Elevated lack cherry, cigar box, and earth are complemented by brown spice notes on the nose. Palate is nicely linear with well placed black and red fruit and a hint of watermelon. Baking spice and herbs. The finish gains momentum with young tannins that are well integrated with the solid fruit core. The layering and complexity that are underlying will step forward with further bottle development. 91
Male: A very nicely formed aromatic profile of cherry and black raspberry, saddle leather, and restrained barrel notes that show as a smokey spice character. The dark berry and wild berry core on the palate is accented by savory dried herbs and cola notes. A layer of tart red raspberry lifts the palate. There are chalky youthful tannins still evolving with the fruit that carry the palate and promise nice things to come with more time in bottle. 90
Cartograph 2012 Mariah Pinot noir
Mendocino Ridge, $48.00
112 cases produced
Female: Hmmm...strawberry pie just out of the oven! Cooked red fruit flavors on entry with cola notes mid and some nice smoky notes on the finish. Well balanced and well made! 89
Male: Woodsy aromas, forest floor, Alpine strawberries and a hint of mint. The palate is creamy with dark cherry layered with brown baking spices and a lovely herbal note on the long finish. 89
Cartograph 2012 Floodgate Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $44.00 PERIWINKLE
191 cases produced
Female: The nose is the very definition of Russian River Pinot. Ripe cherry aromas are enhanced by some nice Asian spice. The palate is well layered and velvety with crisp acidity on the finish. "I love this now but want to taste it again in 6 months, a year, 5 years, and 10 years from now. It has the structure to go the distance! This Pinot is gigantic in raspberry, cherry and cola fruit, and its silky texture and crisp acidity make it particularly drinkable. On the other hand, it’s rather forward and one-dimensional. Give it a good, long decant, and you might even want to pour the glasses an hour before drinking. Now–2015. pH 3.67, 196 cases, $40. • Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of red cherries, cranberry and sandalwood. Light and delicate, but flavorful, featuring dark red cherry and berry flavors backed up by brisk acidity. The pedigree of this established vineyard shows through. Very good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 91
Male: Wow! Ripe cherry, juicy raspberry and cola aromas deliver the same onto the palate. Silky and incredibly delightful. Yum! 91
Chaddsford 2013 Pinot Noir
Pennsylvania, $24.99
327 cases produced
Female: The nose is brambly with dried cherry, fresh cherry, cranberry, spice, and hints of coffee. The palate is lean and angular at first, but upon aeration opens to approximate the more complex nose. Nice acid on the finish. Well-made. 87
Male: Faint floral notes in the glass. The nose opens to cherry with earth, mushroom and a potpourri of spices. Predominantly juicy sour cherry flavors on entry with muted cranberry and raspberry elements. Spice notes join in on the finish. 88
Chesebro 2011 Cedar Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $23.00
148 cases produced
Female: Spiced cherry cobbler and a range of spice notes on the nose are very inviting. Added notes of blueberry and black berry carry through nicely to the palate to frame the fruit character on the palate. Cola bean and a pleasant sense of minerality accent the fruit. There's good balance to this wine with fine tannins and nice acidity. 90
Male: A lovely balance to the well-heeled aromatics showing sweet cherry and cedar notes. A distinctive jolly rancher presence on the nose makes this is a fun wine to explore. Cherry combines with raspberry and wild berry to offer a well balanced palate. Well structured with evolving tannins offering up a delightful wine with up side in the months and years ahead. 89
Chesebro 2012 Mission Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $25.00
118 cases produced
Female: Cherry, mint and mocha aromas are repeated on the palate. Oak and increased alcohol on the finish. 84
Male: Soft cherry and orange peel aromas and flavors. The palate is tangy and alive. 87
Cline Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $17.99
14100 cases produced
Female: Floral notes combine with wild berry and black cherry with secondary notes of strawberry and cola berry. Palate works nicely to replicate the nose on this wine with layers of both strawberry and black fruit. Spice and nutmeg accent the finish. 89
Male: Sweet strawberry pie filling with hints of dried herbs and earth form the aromatic on this wine. Secondary tones of cola and barrel notes of sweet toasted oak. Simple yet nicely varietal on the palate with melding of both red and dark berry fruit with lighter touches of baking spice and a touch of cinnamon. A touch of mint on the finish adds an interesting note. 89
Cloak & Dagger 2012 Foggy Bottom Reserve Hidden Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir
Paso Robles, $65.00
65 cases produced
Female: Appealing tart cherry aromas with cocoa and dusty mineral notes are replicated on the fleshy palate. Tarragon notes on the finish. Big and rich wine. 88
Male: Dark purple in color with rich and jammy blueberry aromas and flavors. Vibrant acidity. Fabulous finish! A great match for lamb or steak. 91
Cloak & Dagger 2011 Pseudonym Coeur Du Val Vineyard Pinot Noir
Paso Robles, $65.00
50 cases produced
Female: Strawberry jam, caramel and toasted marshmallows on the nose and in the mouth finishing with rhubarb flavors. Nice. 87
Male: Violets, spicy oak, red fruit, cola, and cinnamon aromas. Very attractive on the palate showing good balance and acidity with a nice finish. 88
Clos de la Tech 2009 Domaine du Docteur Rodgers Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mtns, $102
Female: Soft tones of red and black cherry with ripe strawberry keynote the nose. Forest floor and mushroom add a nice element to ripe fruit aromas. Palate is sleek and soft with lush pomegranate and plum. Notes of cinnamon, baking spice, and cassis on the finish. Well evolved tannins. 89
Male: Aromatics of warm ripe cherry with secondary notes of cinnamon. Earth and barrel notes provide a second layer. Palate is again defined by ripe red cherry and plum. Savory dried herbs and hint of black licorice. Tannins add lift to the palate with just enough acidity hold it all together on the back end. 87
Clos de la Tech 2009 Domaine Lois Louise Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mtns, $42 GRAY
Female: Spiced cherries and ripe raspberry with toast and spice highlight the nose. Ripe cherry and black fruit toasted vanilla and spice carry the palate. Full and rich with soft tannins leading to a long finish. Begs for food and will work nicely with game and even beef dishes. 90
Male: Well developed aromatics showcasing a unique cherry cola character combining with bacon, brown spice, and leather. Richly layered, the palate shows nice development of complex black and red fruit. Ripe plum and and distinctive spiced black cherry are framed by mushroom and truffles. Richly textured on the finish with enough acidity to make it all work nicely. 90
Clos de la Tech 2009 Domaine Valeta Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mtns, $62
Female: Black fruit at the core of the aromas and flavors. Chocolate, mocha, and cherry add to the complexity of the palate. Nicely balanced. 87
Male: An opulent Pinot Noir with the ripe black fruit aromas that are replicated on the palate. The fruit mingles with licorice and slate notes in a delicate dance with the tannins and acid. lovely and persistent finish. 89
Comanche Cellars 2012 California Chareva Vinyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $34.00
90 cases produced
Female: The nose is very spicy and enticing. Asian spice, herbs, orange zest, ripe cherry, and juicy raspberry aromas are mirrored on the palate. Lovely and deft use of oak and acid. Well made wine! 89
Male: Earthy and brambly in the glass. The aromas pull you in. The palate is layered with juicy red fruit flavors accented by dried herbs and spices. Silky texture. Nicely balanced. 89
Comanche Cellars 2012 Pinot Noir
Santa lucia Highlands, $34.00 TEAL
200 cases produced
Female: Red cherry and boysenberry with lovely notes of vanilla, coffee and toast on the nose. Strawberry pie filling with layers of cherry and spice on the palate. Lots of length creates a satisfying experience with this wines well balanced finish. Enjoyable. A very nice food wine as well. 90
Male: Ripe tones of black cherry, mocha, and cinnamon create an attractive nose. Palate is richly layered with both black and red fruit accented by attractive cola notes. There's great structure to this wine with carries to well balanced finish. 90
Comanche Cellars 2011 Pinot Noir
Santa lucia Highlands, $34.00
150 cases produced
Female: Beautiful layered aromas of red fruit, nutmeg and cardamom. Delicious dusty strawberry and five spice flavors. Pleasant and well made. Yum! 89
Male: Cherry, rhubarb and light graham cracker crust throughout. Well constructed wine. 85
Consilience 2012 Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $43.00 TURQUOISE
195 cases produced
Female: Not a typical Pinot Noir. This a BIG wine. For those moving from Cabernet to Pinot, it's a good place to start. A touch of barnyard on the nose opens to layers of rich black fruit with baking spice back notes. Definitely New World. 91
Male: Brambly New World style. This is not a Pinot for the faint of heart. Intense jammy blackberry aromas are replicated on the palate Big structure and dense texture. 90
Coomber Family Ranch 2013 Private Reserve Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills, $74.99
199 cases produced
Female: Yhe nose is interesting…pleasant tart cherry and hot butter cookies at first, then vanilla, toast, and dulce de Leche. Wow! The palate is smooth and creamy, well formed, soft and satiny. Cherry and vanilla Coke on the finish. 87
Male: The color is a very dark and brooding. Eucalyptus, anise, leather, and bacon on the nose. Very fruit forward flavors with dark cherry at the core and vanilla surrounding the fruit. The palate is rich and full. The finish is big with lots of oak tannins. "Silver Oak" like Pinot. 90
Coomber Family Ranch Vintners Collection 2012 Vintners Collection Pinot Noir
California, $19.99
450 cases produced
Female: Warm spice and baked black cherry with a hint of vanilla and coffee on the nose. Easy on the palate with a nice array of cherry and strawberry flavors combining nicely with spice elements. Interesting notes of dill and mint linger on the finish. 89
Male: Bing cherry and mocha combine to create a simple yet nicely varietal aromatic. Palate is well defined and very nicely layered with a combination of black cherry, cinnamon, and an interesting minerality. Balanced and precise on the finish. 89
Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants Pinot Noir
American, $21.99
7200 cases produced
Female: Racy aromas that are bright and fresh from the glass with light rhubarb and distinctive pomegranate. Accents of cola and baking spice with a hint of sugar cookie vanilla. An expressive palate nicely shaped by taut dark fruit, pomegranate, and light red cherry. Moves across the palate in delicate fashion where the finish is surprisingly long and precise with showy acidity. A unique and distinctive Pinot Noir that should have fun with a wide range of food pairings. 90
Male: Gingerbread and vanilla with pleasing floral notes on the nose. Hints of jasmine and nice oak. Palate speaks of dark ripe cherry with blackberry accented by clove and anise. Graceful tannins and sufficient acidity to shape a nice finish. This wine speaks of Holiday dinners. 90
Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants Lux Pinot Noir
American, $37.99
7200 cases produced
Female: Bright tart cherry with lesser tones of young plum and wild berry. Violets and a hint of juniper. A nicely balanced palate of cherry and pomegranate with light toast and black tea. Young fruit tannins will add to the finish with further time in bottle. Distinctive and pleasing. 89
Male: Lavender and floral notes combine with red cherry and lighter tones of black raspberry on the nose. An interesting hint of pink grapefruit as well. A nicely linear wine on the palate with light cherry and a dusting of cinnamon on entry. Palate stays tight and firm through to the finish with evolving tannins and bright acidity. 88
Cru 2012 Richard's Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $35.00
220 cases produced
Female: Earth and floral notes give a lovely old world charm to this wine while combing with light plum, a touch of rhubarb, and some well place blueberry notes. Palate is true to aromatic form with some cola notes and warm spice. There's some nice mouth watering acidity on the finish that makes this wine easy to enjoy. 89
Male: A wonderful sense of place is offered by aromas of wild flowers with fresh strawberry and Bing cherry. Forest floor and sweet mushroom add to this nice reflection of the vineyard site. Palate is well formed staying on the lean side but with complex layering that is very satisfying. Black cherry and red raspberry form a solid core midpalate. There is vibrancy and lift to the finish with the wines lovely acidity. Showcases true varietal character to the fullest. 92
Cru 2012 Appellation Series Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $25.00
512 cases produced
Female: An attractive old world aromatic of roasted mushrooms, fresh earth, and secondary notes of coffee and savory herbs. Palate is nicely framed by the generous black cherry and ripe plum with wild berry and baking spice. There's a nice firmness to the palate the carries the fruit through to the finish. Pleasing acidity provides good balance to this offering. 89
Male: A glistening ruby color with aromas of truffle and earth with black cherry and rhubarb. Cola notes add lift. Palate expands out nicely across your mouth with a nice initial impression of rich black cherry and dark plum with anise and brown baking spice. Well balanced with bright minerality midpalate to the finish. Soft tannins and very nice acidity. 89
Cru 2012 Appellation Series Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $25.00
506 cases produced
Female: Barnyard aromas open to lovely red fruit. The palate deepens with black fruit mid and oak on the finish. 86
Male: Floral notes, black and red fruit, black tea, and leather aromas. The palate opens with black cherry and moves to sour cherry on the finish. Nice oak elements. 87
Cru 2012 Vineyard Montage Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $23.00 MAGENTA
4890 cases produced
Female: Lots of drama in the nose. Espresso and chocolate combine with intense black cherry and ripe strawberry. The black cherry replicates on a richly layered palate. The big fruit profile commands a well structured wine and this offering delivers nicely. A unique and exciting food wine. 92
Male: Toasted French oak elevates nicely with the intense wild cherry notes found in the nose. Secondary notes of saffron and leather. Rich and deep on the palate with intensely layered black fruit. The finish is graceful and balances nicely against the hefty weight of the palate. 92
Cubanisimo Vineyards 2012 Estate Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, $40.00
632 cases produced
Female: Mocha, anise, fennel flowers, deep red fruit aromas and flavors. Beautiful mouthfeel. Great balance. Yummy!! 93
Male: Dramatic aromatic with serious perfume, strawberry jam, violets, and light herbal scents. Jammy boysenberry on the palate. Silky smooth with a tart finish. A very inviting wine. 90
Cubanisimo Vineyards 2012 Rumba Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, $26.00
294 cases produced
Female: Light strawberry nose with citrus notes. Delicate on the palate showing nice acid. Pleasant. Not terribly complex but well-built. 87
Male: Very dark in the glass. Strongly shows baking spices, dark fruit and white pepper. Pretty mouthfeel, lots of soft fruit and spices. 85
D & L Carinalli Vineyards 2013 Estate D & L Carinalli Vineyards Pinot Noir 100%
Russsian River Valley, $25.00 RED ORANGE
305 cases produced
Female: Cherry with floral and earth and toasted barrel notes on the nose. Bright cherry, pomegranate, Kirsch, and anise flavors. Deep and long finish. 90
Male: Dark cherry aromas and flavors. This wine displays silky texture with good varietal definition. Subtle and elegant. Coffee notes on the slightly warm finish that shows plenty of fruit and length. Showing youth and strength with good things to come with further bottle development. 90
Davine Cellars 2012 Byington Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountain, $38.00
400 cases produced
Female: Black cherry and pronounced Asian spice with floral notes and spiced strawberries on the nose. Palate is lush and long with rich ripe red and black fruit all with a nice touch of spice and oak. Rich plum and cherry fruit. While the fruit profile is rich on entry, it has enough structure surrounding it to carry it through to an overall balanced profile. Big and balanced. 91
Male: Dark cherry with cola accents combine with fig, leather, smoked meat, and light mint. Lots going on with added notes of light forest floor. Big and bold on the palate. Dark black cherry and ripe plum with a layer of stonefruit beneath. Barrel notes of toast and soft vanilla and Asian spice. As it progresses across the palate a surprise layer of sour cherry helps balance the ripeness in a very pleasing manner leading to nice wash of fresh acidity that keeps it all in balance. 91
Davine Cellars 2012 Regan Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountain, $38.00
400 cases produced
Female: Barnyard, vanilla and black cherry aromas replicate on the palate. Dried herbs and toasted spice join in on the finish. 88
Male: Dark ruby in the glass with a pink/ruby rim. Earth and barnyard aromas at first sniff, then opens to add dark cherry and dried herbs to the mix. Dried red fruit on entry becoming juicier mid-palate, finishing with dark spices. 89
Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Soul Patch Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $55.00
577 cases produced
Female: Graham cracker with strawberry pie filling on the nose. Fresh herbs and floral tones add to the charm. Deft use of oak accents the nicely layered palate of firm black fruit and fresh cherry juice midpalate. Wonderful structure lends to this wines strong sense of balance and character. 93
Male: Glistening in the glass. Smokey black cherry and ripe black raspberry combine nicely with wild berry and forest floor on the nose. Layers of black and red fruit accented by toast and vanilla tinged barrel notes on the palate. Cinnamon and fresh earthen tones back up the fruit core. A solid structure supports it all with young evolving tannins and more than enough acidity to keep it all alive and together. 90
Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Starr Ridge Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $55.00
375 cases produced
Female: An inviting range of cherry and black fruit combine with spiced oak on the nose. Palate replicates from the nose but adds the benefit of fresh strawberry and baking spice. Dusty tannins invite food and hold nice promise with added time in bottle. 90
Male: Floral tones combine nicely with wild cherry and ripe raspberry on the nose. Secondary notes of cola bean. Black currant and spiced cherry palate fill the mid palate before carrying through to the young tannins which will evolve with added time in bottle. Polished and refined. 88
Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Horseshoe Bend Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $55.00
403 cases produced
Female: Smoky nose of charred meats with soft and sweet rich cherry, black currant, floral notes, and warm, sweet spices. Mouth filling fruit flavors with spicy and smoky back notes. Lushness on the finish. Lots of fruit and flavor. Tends toward a darker, more masculine profile. "I like!" 92
Male: Crimson with a dark ruby rim. Dusty strawberry, baking spice, black cherry, anise, and blue fruit aromas. Rich and voluptuous on entry. Layers of beautiful fruit. Big and bold finish. 92
Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $65.00
236 cases produced
Female: Dark purple in color. White pepper, plum and cranberry aromas deliver a juicy, fresh and supple wine displaying bright red cherry, raspberry, dried plums, fresh mushrooms, and leather notes. The finish is juicy and appealing. 90
Male: Forest floor aromas accentuate red and black fruit…Yummy! Layers of flavorful red and blue fruit with baking spices. Juicy finish. 90
Davis Family Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $45.00
517 cases produced
Female: Beautiful cool climate classic Pinot Noir aromas. Speaks of Russian River or perhaps even Santa Maria Valley. Complex cherry and light plum with lovely accents of both cola, vanilla toast, and brown baking spice. All of this carries through to the palate with the added attraction of ripe plum. Soft fine grained tannins with sweet barrel notes grace the finish. Great acidity. A very well made offering. 91
Male: Fresh picked strawberries and nicely evolved red fruit with cedar and allspice. The palate continues with nicely formed fruit accented by red ripe plum with cola notes. Finishes lush and long with sufficient acidity to pull it all together. 89
Davis Family Wines 2012 Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $55.00
227 cases produced
Female: The nose is enticing showing red raspberry, fresh strawberry, black cherry, a touch of smoke, and some nice forest floor notes. Focused ripe fruit flavors are accented by a myriad of spices...anise, cinnamon, clove, orange zest, and allspice on the silky palate. The mouthwatering acid on the finish bespeaks cool climate. Drink now or let it age, this is a keeper. 90
Male: This wine is obviously Russian River Valley, bright red berry and black cherry aromas with cola and baking spices. The palate is velvety with lovely acidity. The oak regime was skillful adding depth and spice without dampening any of the beautiful fruit. 90
Del Rio Vineyards 2013 Oregon Del Rio Vineyards Pinot Noir
Rogue Valley, $28.00
3587 cases produced
Female: Bright cherry cola and warm baking spice on the nose. Strawberry cream soda with dancing acidity on the palate. Pomegranate shows towards back palate. Nicely linear throughout. 89
Male: Cherry and rhubarb followed by smoke and earth tones create an attractive and nicely varietal aromatic range. Secondary notes of barrel and spice. Red fruit and cassis on the palate are accented by baking spice and light cinnamon. Finish shows some nicely developed fine grained tannins and enough acidity to keep it alive and balanced. Need time. 87
Double Bond 2010 Wolff Vineyard Pinot Noir
Edna Valley, $48.00
400 cases produced
Female: Black cherry and cassis with cedar, spice and exotic floral notes on the nose. Nicely layered in the mouth with sweet and sour notes, a bit of Yin and Yang. Intriguing. 87
Male: Classic Pinot nose… black cherry, cedar and cola. Complex palete with layers of fruit, earth and spice. Great structure and firm finish. Delicious. 89
Double Bond 2012 Wolff Vineyard Pinot Noir
Edna Valley, $48.00
400 cases produced
Female: Warm spice combines with a delightful range of red cherry, raspberry and tones of ripe red apple. Vanilla accents to the black and red cherry palate that is nicely framed by graceful tannins. Will evolve further with sufficient time in bottle. 91
Male: High drama right from the start! Wild cherry and bing cherry combine with cola bean, vanilla scented toast and caramel. Replicating nicely on the palate with the addition of raspberry to the cherry profile. Mocha and baking spice grace the deep fruit nicely. The tannins are showing the early stages of that special pinot velvet. A sumptuous and delicious offering. 88
Double Bond 2011 Wolff Vineyard Pinot Noir
Edna Valley, $48.00 RED
350 cases produced
Female: A world of cherry, both black and red, create a very inviting aromatic that elevates nicely from the glistening wine in the glass. Nicely structured and great complexity of both red and black fruit with several layers of the noted cherries showing great varietal character. Juicy without being overly ripe all presented in a reserved fashion. A lovely finish. 92
Male: Generous and very inviting range of aromas offering bright Bing cherry and freshly picked ripe cherry followed nicely by accents of cocoa, cinnamon, and well proportioned barrel notes. Palate is equally complex with the aromatic profile well stated in the beautifully layered palate. The addition of blueberry shows nicely. Just enough earth and forest floor to keep it real. The fine grained tannins lend a silkiness to the long, graceful, and well balanced finish. Lots to like here. 94
E16 2012 California Trenton 1880 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $45.00
320 cases produced
Female: Yum…serve with grilled venison. Strawberry jam aromas. Silky mouthfeel with full red fruit flavors accented by white pepper. Long finish showing well integrated tannins. Great balance! 89
Male: Cherry pie aromas lead to blackberry flavors surrounded by herbs with some licorice notes. Lovely long finish. Well-balanced. 88
E16 2012 The West End Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $50.00
220 cases produced
Female: Intense vibrant nose of blue and black fruit with hints of fig and herbs de Provence. Tons the minerality give added interest to the weighty palate and long finish. 90
Male: Candied cherry, dusty herbs, baking spices, and red plum aromas. Big and bold opening with sweet cherry and sour plum flavors. Herb and baking spices joining in mid. Persistent fruit throughout. Great acidity and balance...harmonious. Lingering finish. 91
Elkhorn Peak 2011 Estate Grown Fagan Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir
Napa Valley, $36.00
395 cases produced
Female: Nicely elevated black cherry with lots of spring flowers and a dash of mint on the nose. Very inviting cola notes as well. Great layering on the palate showcasing sour cherry, Bing cherry, pomegranate,and blueberry. Asian spice and ginger. Generous acidity carries the complex palate to a fresh and lasting finish. 90
Male: Intense black fruit combines with blueberry and brown sugar on the nose. Warm earth and gravel provide definition the the fruit. The lengthy palate offers nice layering of both red and black fruit and some noted black currant. Spice and a pleasing dash of black pepper. Lighter tannins work in towards the finish which also shows some blueberry. Enough acidity to keep it working together all very nicely. 88
En Garde 2012 Olivet Court Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $48.00
100 cases produced
Female: Floral notes, black cherry and pomegranate aromas lead to a ripe fruit entry exhibiting red and black fruit which carries through to the finish. There is a nice wash of acid in the aftertaste. The oak is still quite prominent but this well-balanced wine will age beautifully. 91
Male: Intense cherry and black cherry is framed by aggressive barrel notes that accent with toast and spice the aromatics. Lovely depth of fruit on he palate. The red cherry on the front palate leads to deeper more intense black cherry and ripe plum. This is a big wine that is still in it's early stages of development as the fruit and oak tannins will continue build upon one another. There's plenty of well placed acidity on the back end to carry it all through. 90
En Garde 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $60.00
150 cases produced
Female: Complex and inviting on the nose with wild strawberry, cola notes, forest floor, and floral tones. Old world charm shows through on the palate with elegant strawberry and crushed wild dark cherry. A delightful finish with subtle spice and precise acidity. A very appealing wine. 92
Male: An enticingly seductive nose showcasing lovely fresh ripe cherry and distinctive floral notes. Secondary tones of orange blossom and rose petals add to the complexity of the nose. That complexity continues through to the palate with a delightful range of cherry, black cherry and sweet cranberries. Great structure carries all of the fruit to a satisfying finish that is long and precisely balanced by fresh acids. A uniquely expressive wine. 93
En Garde 2012 Starkey Hill Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $54.00
125 cases produced
Female: Enticing nose of orange peel, tart cherry and licorice. Pleasant and complex. Intense in the mouth with lots of fruit and grainy tannins. A very pretty wine with a nice finish. Well-balanced and yummy! 92
Male: Aromas of sweet cherry, raspberry and strawberry with caramelized sugar and black pepper notes. Fruit forward, silky and weighty on the palate with lovely mineral elements. Cinnamon and cola accent the long finish. 89
Exuberance by Canihan 2012 Estate Canihan Estate Pinot Noir
Sonoma County, $70.00
170 cases produced
Female: Warm ripe strawberry and lively rhubarb with notes of black cherry define the aromas. Barrel notes create a smoked spice accent. The palate offers up generous amounts of both red and black fruit with a bit of floral context. Stonefruit and baking spice create a second layer. Nice consistency between fruit and tannins on the finish shaping this into a well balanced wine that will appeal to many. 90
Male: Red cherry with mocha notes with added wild berry and rhubarb grace the nose. There is nice layering of fruit on the well formed palate offering strawberry, baked cherry cobbler and hint of sweet mushroom and allspice. Notes of orange and tangerine midpalate. Finish is balanced and precise with nice restraint on the tannins which give length followed by good acidity. Easy to drink. 90
Fleur de California 2012 Pinot Noir
Carneros, $18.00
11000 cases produced
Female: Simple and pleasant. Strawberry and sour cherry from start to finish. Lovely picnic wine. 88
Male: Sweet cherry nose continues onto the lively palate. Lovely minerality. Great quaffer. 86
Fleur de California 2014 Pinot Noir Rose
North Coast, $16.00
650 cases produced
Female: Inviting aromas of fresh cherry and ripe freshly picked strawberry. Spring flowers with a hint of plum. Palate dances across the mouth with fresh cherry juice and tasty young strawberries. A nice touch of rhubarb adds bounce to the palate. Finishes bright and fresh. Perfect picnic wine. 90
Male: Lovely fresh picked strawberries on the nose with a hint of lavender and floral notes. Palate captures the fresh strawberry seen in the nose and adds a lovely layer of raspberry. Alive and fresh on the palate with a touch of pink grapefruit as it finishes with lively acidity. 88
Fog's Reach 2011 Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco Monterey, $35.00
2824 cases produced
Female: Freshly cut red ripe cherry and ripe plum are accented by leather, cedar, and a dash of inviting chocolate notes. Palate brings forth both cherry and plum from the nose and combines it with raspberry. Juicy and lush with an interesting hint of molasses surrounding the fruit. Well developed tannins provide a long finish with the depth of fruit present throughout. Leaves an appealing spice element lingering on the palate. 90
Male: Opulent and very expressive aromas of ripe black cherry and black plum highlighted by smoke, earth, and lovely forest floor. Saddle leather. Delicious describes the palate with nice layering of both red and black fruit centered around the cherry world. Flavors of rhubarb and spice show through and provide lift as it moves towards the nicely refined tannins that grace the finish ending crisp and fresh. 92
Fontes & Phillips 2010 La Encantada Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills, $47.00
276 cases produced
Female: Leather, candied cherry, earth and a touch of tar. Less sweet candied fruit on the palate with some spice and earth notes in the background. Lots of cranberry on the finish. With all the layers and flavors, this would be great as a Thanksgiving wine. 88
Male: Violets, cherry and very meatyy aromas and flavors cherry. Silky texture. Some VA here but definitely on the acceptable side. Lots of oak on the mid-palate, but the finish is long and lovely. An angular and intense wine that is still integrating. It's very satisfying now but will get better in the future. 90
Foppiano Vineyards 2012 Estate Foppiano Vineyards Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $35.00
714 cases produced
Female: Light strawberry, root beer and cola aromas. The fruit on the palate is subdued at first showing light strawberry and sour cherry. Nice lingering flavors from start to finish. Well-balanced. Solid but simple. 88
Male: Aromas that elevate nicely from the glass of ripe cherry and strawberry jam aromas with a deft touch of graham cracker and soft vanilla toast barrel notes. The aromas replicate on the fruit forward palate with lots of baking spice and nutmeg to complement. Alive and lovely with a refined structure that offers up balance and restraint on the tasty finish. 91
Gallegos Wines Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2012 Boekenoogen Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $42.00 LIGHT YELLOW
250 cases produced
Female: Alluring from the start with aromas of pomegranate, ripe cherry and hints of caramel and spice. The drama continues through to the palate where the aromatics replicate nicely your first impressions and then some. Cranberry, strawberry, cola, and mocha flavors. Beautifully integrated right through to the long finish that is delicious and precisely balanced with graceful tannins. A special new world rendition of this classic varietal. 93
Male: Inviting with a lovely complexity on the nose. Black currant , dark cherry, and spice touched by a hint of expensive leather. Palate is graceful and deep with a range of black and red fruit all wrapped in beautifully integrated tannins. A special wine. 92
Girasole Vineyards 2013 Estate Pinot Noir
Mendocino County, $16.00
5700 cases produced
Female: Dusty red fruit on the nose leads to fresh raspberry and strawberry flavors moving into a long fruit driven finish. 88
Male: Garnet red in color. Bing cherry and cardamom aromas lead to light red berry fruit on entry. Soft and simple fruit is joined by spice notes mid-palate. The finish is dry with cedar and earth accents. 87
Gloria Ferrer 2012 Sparkling Wine Blanc de Noirs
Carneros, $28.00
9171 cases produced
Female: Lavender and dark cherry aromas invite you in. Lovely ripe cherry jam flavors accented with baking spices. Velvety texture, soft tannins and perfect acidity. Elegant and alluring. 93
Male: Lovely cherry nose leads to a rich palate of cherry and subtle minerals. Soft tannins, silky texture, chalky tannins. Fruity finish of great length. Very elegant. "This is a resting, alluring and sexy wine!" 93
Gloria Ferrer Pinot Noir
Carneros, $22.00 TAN
35000 cases produced
Female: Dark and rich on the nose creates an immediate strong first impression showcasing lovely wild berry and hints of Asian spice. A well formed palate shows an array of blackberry, red ripe cherry, and spices including nutmeg and light cinnamon. Palate is well framed and nicely carried by the graceful tannin profile and lively fresh acidity. 90
Male: Graceful and alluring aromatics offer up a unique combination of blueberry and soy followed by secondary tones of wild berry and light plum. There is lovely integration on the palate with even handed layering of both red and black fruit combining very nicely with the well evolved fine tannins. Polished and refined in every way capturing the grace and elegance that this varietal has to offer. 92
Grady Family Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir
Lodi, $20.00
140 cases produced
Female: Cranberry, read currant, savory smoked meats, and pine forest aromas. Strawberries and cooked strawberries in the mouth with baking spice accents. Nicely balanced. 87
Male: Warm baking spice aromas leaning towards Christmasy scents. Intensive rhubarb strawberry fruit with earthy pine and forest floor notes. 89
Graton Ridge Cellars 2012 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $45.00
212 cases produced
Female: Sweet and your strawberry, raspberry and spice aromas. Nicely elevated flavors displaying light strawberry moving to cranberry and rhubarb with baking spice notes. Richly textured with a long finish. Nicely balanced. 90
Male: Very light ruby in color. Strawberry aromas, bright and lively. Silky texture. Strawberry flavors with nutmeg and vanilla accents. Rich and concentrated on the palate. Lingering finish that is super long and elegant. 91
Graton Ridge Cellars 2012 Estate Paul Family Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $55.00 DARK GREEN
150 cases produced
Female: The bouquet is beautiful and many layered showing soft and smoky cherry, raspberry, mushroom, fig, orange peel and herbal notes. Balanced mouth feel from beginning to end. Fruit, earth and spice are in just the right proportions. Nice weight, texture and balance. Just the right amount of structure. Lovely finish. 97
Male: Light strawberry, subtle cloves, cardamom and violets on the nose. Nice entry of strawberry, cherry, dried herb, and baking spice with cocoa joining mid. Nice finish of fruit and herb. Beautiful balance. 92
Graton Ridge Cellars 2013 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $45.00 GOLD
497 cases produced
Female: Deep and layered on the nose with lots of ripe black fruit and strawberry jam. Alive with spice tones with a hint of cedar and bacon. Dusty tannins integrate nicely on the palate featuring layers of both red and black fruit. Goes to edge on bigness but stays restrained and alive with lively acidity to carry all the fruit and charm. 92
Male: Dramatic black currant with floral notes and toasted vanilla scented oak. Secondary notes of bacon and leather. Richly layered on the palate showcasing black cherry and ripe strawberry. Fruit is nicely textured and well evolved with well integrated tannins. Long and lush on the finish but with enough acidity to keep it all honest and true. Well made. 92
Halleck Vineyard 2010 The Farm Vineyards Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $67.00
260 cases produced
Female: Classic cool climate Pinot Noir aromatics that speak of serious pedigree. Forest floor and truffles with lighter spice notes. There's generous raspberry and wild black cherry on the palate with lovely barrel notes adding a touch of sweet vanilla to the mix. Well developed with fruit and tannins having joined together nicely creating a satisfying silkiness to the mouthfeel. Lovely length to the finish is no surprise given this wines nice development. 92
Male: Beautifully formed aromatics of elevated black cherry, forest floor, and lighter mocha and coffee notes. Graceful and elegant on entry. Ripe plum and and elegant cherry meld together with fine grained tannins to lift and carry the depth of fruit. Accents of baking spice and allspice with a deeper layer of red raspberry. Moves across the palate effortlessly to a long finish with just enough well placed acidity to draw it all together. Nicely made. 91
Halleck Vineyard 2013 Clone 828 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $58.00 ORCHID
130 cases produced
Female: The aromas are nicely focused and immediately attract you into wanting to explore this wine further. Plum, black cherry, and spice scented raspberry. Asian spice and freshly turned earth. The palate is a complex framework of black cherry and wild berry with black plum. Nicely placed barrel notes grace the fruit with baking spice and toast. Expressive and young, this wine is sure to develop nicely in the years ahead. 91
Male: Fragrant dark cherry and young plum elevate nicely from the glass. Fresh earth and light mushroom. The palate is nicely layered with lean dark cherry against a back drop of riper plum and black raspberry notes. Asian spice and a touch of black licorice add drama. Young tannins are slowly working their way into the fruit profile and provide structure. Young and alive with lots of well placed acidity to this wine. 91
Handley Cellars 2012 Reserve Estate Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $52.00 PUMPKIN
339 cases produced
Female: Strawberry, cherry, lavender, and butterscotch aromas replicate on the yummy palate where they are deftly wrapped in oak shown in baking spice accents. "This is awesome!" 93
Male: Delicate strawberry and red rose aromas. Lovely and delicate mid-palate. Great spice and acid on the long perfumed finish. Wonderful soft tannins. Wonderfully balanced wine exhibiting very deft and skilled wine making. 95
Handley Cellars 2012 RSM Vineyard Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $52.00
386 cases produced
Female: Blue and red fruit aromas with tar and mineral notes. The palate reveals lush, dark fruit, black pepper, and earth notes. Some tar and minerality peek through. Bold but elegant. 87
Male: Fresh spiced cherry nose. Lovely whole cluster mix of red fruit flavors. Dense. Lush. Balanced. Yummy! Drink and enjoy in its youth. 90
Handley Cellars 2012 Helluva Vineyard Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $42.00
192 cases produced
Female: Classic Pinot Noir nose with strawberry and forest floor notes. Ripe cherries on entry finishing with quite a bit of oak. 87
Male: The restrained nose exhibits pomegranate, a touch of earth anda slight woodsy character. Soft texture and mellow fruit are enhanced by good acid. Nicely integrated. Lovely lighter style with soft, fine tannins. 88
Handley Cellars 2011 Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $32.00 WEDGEWOOD
2563 cases produced
Female: Aromas of strawberries and strawberry jam arise from the glass. Lovely fruit red fruit on entry carrying through on to the mid-palate. Sour cherry on the finish with some tarragon notes. Great acidity. 89
Male: Inky dark ruby in color. The nose is muted and closed at first but opens to cranberry and rhubarb with back notes of mint. Red fruit in the mouth. Lovely finish with beautiful acid. 91
Harmonique 2009 Delicace Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $46.00
420 cases produced
Female: Exotic aromatic profile exhibiting dark cherry, tea and spice. Lovely textured palate with smoky red cherry, cranberries and pomegranate with herbs and spices. Hint of orange zest in the aftertaste. 87
Male: Classic Pinot Noir perfume. Nice combination of black cherry, cola and cedar that persists from start to finish. Great texture. 88
Harmonique 2009 The Noble One Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $39.00 GOLDENROD
711 cases produced
Female: Lots of rich dark berry and strawberry jam accented by herbs and light forest floor on the nose. Palate is richly fused with a wide array of black fruit with added notes of pomegranate and ripe plum. Tannins are sufficient to support the depth of fruit. The weight of this wine is attractive with just enough acidity to carry it forward to the long finish. 90
Male: A fully evolved array of well defined aromatics consisting of ripe cherry pie filling plus lighter tones of black raspberry jam. Barrel notes meld nicely with the fruit. Palate continues the theme with ripe cherry and black fruit followed by a layer of ripe blueberry that shows best towards the finish. The fine grained tannins are nicely in tune with the deep fruit. Notes of baking spice and cinnamon. There's just enough acidity to make this big boy an enjoyable experience. Drink within the next 12 months. 91
Harmonique 2009 Elegance Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $48.00
374 cases produced
Female: Cooked black fruit cobbler with notes of fig and baking spice. A distinctly Old World character to the palate with lovely integration of ripe black fruit and soft yet pronounced tannins. Easy and inviting. 91
Male: Well developed and evolved notes of ripe black fruit and boysenberry with distinctive mushroom and earth accents combine on the nose. Black cherry with baking spice and hints of cinnamon frame the palate which shows nice integration of fruit and tannins. Soft and friendly, drink now. 88
Harmonique 2009 Oppenlander Oppenlander Pinot Noir
Comptche & Mendocino County, $52.00
443 cases produced
Female: Aromatics of mushroom, cinnamon, tea, and dusty strawberry. The entry reflects the nose moving to sour cherry on the finish. Lovely acidity. 89
Male: Dark baked cherry aromas. Bright red fruit in the mouth. Light barrel elements enhance the red fruit. Nice acid on the finish. Evolving. This wine will improve with more bottle aging and/or decant and let it breathe. 86
Helena Ranch 2013 Maggio - Reynolds Family Vineyards 75.4% Pinot Noir & 24.6% Assorted Varietals
California, $8.99
2300 cases produced
Female: Red cherry raises its head and peeks out in the aromatics. Lush mouthfeel with ripe dark cherry and pleasant acid. 85
Male: Nice nose! From the ethereal aromas to the mid range flavors, the overall impression is soft. Nice wine. But broader and riper than one expects in Pinot. 88
Highlands Bench 2012 Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands Monterey, $35.00 CORAL
2089 cases produced
Female: A delightful aromatic nicely layered with and array of dark fruit with violets and light spice tones. Cherry and sweet cranberry grace the palate with dusty tannins that combine nicely with more than enough acidity. Very enjoyable. 91
Male: A charming aromatic of cassis and black cherry with hints of rhubarb and cola. Secondary notes of bacon. There's a lush palate of ripe black fruit and ripe wild berry with elements of vanilla and warm baking spice. Nicely structured with evolving tannins and enough well placed acidity to carry it through to a complete finish. 90
Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery 2010 Hunter's Cuvee Block 5 Pinot Noir
Carmel Valley, $41.00
450 cases produced
Female: Spring flowers scented with lavender and fresh strawberry. A solid core of pretty strawberry with plum and added notes of blueberry compote. There's a nice framework here with soft graceful tannins that add to this wines great length on the finish. 90
Male: Wild black cherry with lovely floral notes and hints of earth and dried herbs elevate nicely giving indications that some nice whole cluster manipulation was done on this wine. Richly layered with evidence of black cherry, raspberry and a little watermelon for good measure. The tannins are well evolved and have added an appealing softness to this wine while still maintaining structure. A complete Pinot experience with lots of appeal. 92
Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery 2011 Heather's Hill Blocks 1 & 2 Pinot Noir
Carmel Valley, $38.00
440 cases produced
Female: Barnyard, pine and earth are the primary aromas. Nice fruit on entry with cherry and raspberry dominating. Nice finish. 85
Male: Barnyard and sour cherry aromas. The silky palate shows black cherry and cherry with an underlying black pepper character. Nice acid on the finish. Pleasant. 85
Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery 2012 Kelly's Press Pinot Noir
Carmel Valley, $26.00
475 cases produced
Female: The intriguing nose exhibits black and red fruit enhanced by "brown aromas:" bark, tea, cola, baking spices, and butterscotch. Bing cherry, blackberries, licorice, toast, and cranberry flavors. The finish is slightly tannic. Bottle age at least a year for all to meld. 88
Male: Gorgeous color. Baking spices and cinnamon dominate the nose with red fruit in the background. Raspberry flavors with tangerine notes that characterize the acidity. Black and red fruitSoft and delicate fruit over the mid-palate with a somewhat angular and defined finish. 85
Holman Ranch Vineyards & Winery 2011 Pinot Noir
Carmel Valley, $34.00
587 cases produced
Female: There's a pleasing old world edge to this wines aromatic. Forest floor, wet gravel,and pine combine nicely with soft black raspberry. Palate displays wild berry and dark red cherry with sweet raspberry accented by coffee and black pepper. Pronounced tannins carry the fruit profile forward to the pleasant finish with just enough acidity to keep it fresh. 88
Male: Earth, forest floor, and mushroom combine with soft cherry on the nose. Barrel notes add spice elements with fennel to the profile. Palate showcases distinct layers of black and red cherry fruit with accenting flavors of brown sugar and mocha. Well structured and balanced. A showy wine with some distinctive traits. 89
J. Lohr 2013 Falcon's Perch Pinot Noir
Monterey County, $17.00
35000 cases produced
Female: Intense dark cherry and plum aromas with hints of rhubarb and cola. Seductive fruit forward palate with dusty floral notes surrounding blue and red fruit flavors. There is a wonderful explosion of fruit flavors toward the end of the palate. 90
Male: Ruby rim with a medium dark center. Baking spices, sour cherry, wild strawberry, rhubarb, mushroom, and dusty herbs on the nose. Smooth entry of black cherry, cocoa, powdered sugar, mushroom, and herbs which carry through to the mid-palate. The silky finish is awesome. 90
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $20.99
886 cases produced
Female: Dried cherry, cola and blackberries on the nose. The palate is chalky around the core of red fruit with cola and baking spices coming through on the long finish. 90
Male: Deep garnet in color. Cherry, kirsch and sweet Double Bubble aromas. This is a robust wine with a big opening showing sweet red fruit mid palate. Full-bodied, with a big finish. 87
James Family Cellars 2012 Estate Stony Point Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $36.00
450 cases produced
Female: Sweet Alpine strawberries and a touch of cola on the nose. Bright red fruit on entry through mid-palate where cola and cocoa join in. Lovely balance. A great wash of acid on the finish makes this a delightful wine. 90
Male: The nose displays rich cherry with a bit of orange peel. Lush cherry and strawberry flavors. Soft tannins with firm acidity. This wine has the ability to go the distance. Enjoy for the next 5 to 10 years. 89
Karmen Isabella 2012 Estate Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $42.00
1803 cases produced
Female: A refined aromatic profile elevates nicely from the glass showing both red and black cherry with warm baking spice. There's firmness and vibrancy to the palate as it offers up nicely textured black cherry with plum and cola notes adding depth. A nice burst of fruitiness on the lengthy finish as it moves across the palate. Generous acidity provides a fresh ending. 90
Male: Lovely aromas of bright cherry and light plum accented by warm toasted barrel notes with a touch of vanilla. Palate evolves nicely from cherry to black cherry to ripe plum. A solid core of fruit nicely accented by nutmeg, dried herbs, and a hint of red licorice. The palate becomes expansive as it moves towards a finish that is well structured with great length. The nice balance to this wine should allow for further development. 92
LaMontagne Winery 2012 THERON Kessler-Haak Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $65.00 LIGHT BLUE
75 cases produced
Female: Lush dark cherry moving to tart and crisp acid on the finish. Complex and balanced this is well crafted and elegant. Lovely melding of both red and black fruit with dried herbs and a hint of vanilla barrel toast that is very appealing and brings character and warmth to the solid fruit and spice core. 92
Male: Rich cherry and rhubarb nose showing wonderful restraint and complexity. Great varietal definition. The well placed graceful tannins offer a silky texture on a complex palate displaying vibrant acidity on the long and satisfying finish. A strong and lovely effort. 93
LaMontagne Winery 2012 Sierra Madre Pinot Noir
Santa Barbara County, $48.00
100 cases produced
Female: An inviting deep, dark crimson color. Bright red cherry with light cola and a touch of baking spice. Nicely reminiscent of Smith Bros. cherry caughdrops. A firm black cherry palate with touches of rhubarb and coffee lead to a bright finish of well placed fine tannins and racy acidity. 90
Male: A nice fullness and depth to the aromas with nicely elevated red cherry, dried herbs, and anise. Nice secondary tones of forest floor and some mushroom. Dense black cherry on entry moves to a brighter fresh and slightly tart red cherry towards the finish. Great acidity keeps this wine fresh and dancing on the palate. 90
LaMontagne Winery 2012 Rancho La Vina Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $55.00
100 cases produced
Female: Light strawberry and spice notes invite you in. Cooked strawberry with well-placed oak elements. Nice mouthfeel with a persistent palate of concentrated fruit and spices. Very youthful. 90
Male: Soft cherry and spice come together in the enticing nose. Graham cracker flavors surround a core of lovely black fruit. Will get better and better with time. 89
LaMontagne Winery 2012 Buona Terra Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $55.00
100 cases produced
Female: Intense and dramatic on the nose. Cherry pie filling with sugar cookies. Citrus and anise. Fresh herbs. The same intensity is transferred to the soft complex palate. Silky tannins glide the rich fruit structure across your entire palate. Spiced strawberries with racy rhubarb. Long, lush, and lingering on the finish. 90
Male: Lots of drama in the nose on this wine with rich black cherry and lots of ripe plum well accented by earth, savory herbs, and baking chocolate. Nice layering of fruit centered around both black and ripe cherry on entry plus lots of dramatic strawberry carrying across the midpalate. Stone fruit and earth with sweet mushroom. Lots of length on the palate which carries through to a luxurious finish. Yum! 93
LaMontagne Winery 2012 John Sebastiano Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $55.00
175 cases produced
Female: Intense smoky red fruit aromas with tar and black pepper notes. The attributes carry through to the palate, which is weighty and persistent. The wine is delightfully bold with a long deep finish. 88
Male: Red cherry, wild strawberry, baking spices, and green herbs on the nose. Strawberry, cherry and cola on entry. Chocolate and herbs join in mid-palate as the wine moves into a smooth, balanced finish. 90
Lenne 2012 Estate Estate Pinot Noir
Yamhill-Carlton, $45.00
495 cases produced
Female: Distinctive violet, spearmint and lively cherry cola notes on the nose. Boysenberry and black fruit layer nicely across the palate with light touches of cedar and spice. Classic elements of old world charm add interest to this wine. 90
Male: Black currant and young black cherry elevate nicely from the glass with secondary tones of cedar, leather and a hint of mushroom. Fruit character of palate steers toward strawberry and raspberry with nice touches of judicious use of new oak. Well balanced and alive as it moves across the palate. Reserved and sophisticated best describe this offering. 90
Lenne 2012 Jill's 115 Lenne Pinot Noir
Yamhill-Carlton, $55.00
125 cases produced
Female: Pretty aromas of red fruit accented by spices, forest floor more intense earthy notes. Subtle oak is deftly wrapped around a core of strawberries and strawberry jam. Lovely finish with earth notes, spices and great acid. 90
Male: The nose is reticent at first but opens upon aeration...strawberries, red cherries, earth, and baking spices. The palate mirrors the nose with subtle oak tannins. Nice wine! 89
Lennox Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $32.00
177 cases produced
Female: Blackberry, black cherry and spice aromas replicate on the palate. Lots of oak here. Needs time, but there's enough fruit to carry this wine to maturity. 88
Male: The nose is warm and inviting, complex and complete exhibiting game baking spices and green tea. Extremely attractive mouthfeel. The palate is somewhat restrained and a bit simple but subtle and promising. 89
Lennox Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $32.00
180 cases produced
Female: Tart red cherry and brown baking spice nose. Nice light bodied wine showing fruit forward red raspberry and cherry flavors. Round and spicy with tobacco and cigar box elements on the mid-palate. Acid and tannins are balanced on the long finish. Lovely wine! 90
Male: Candied strawberry aromas and flavors. Fruit forward wine with a lovely silky texture. Tart acidity on the long warm finish. 87
Longoria 2012 Estate Vineyard Fe Ciega Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $55.00 BURGUNDY
360 cases produced
Female: Tart tangy red fruit, currant, blueberry forest floor, and mushrooms on the nose. Nice mouthfeel. Spiced cherry flavors linger on the palate. Well balanced. 89
Male: Dark ruby rim with a medium dark center. Plum, cherry, spice, and subtle dried herbs on the nose. Plum and tart cherry entry with a hint of oak. Mid-palate continues with the addition of light herb and spice. Good depth to finish. 90
Longoria 2012 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $50.00 ORANGE
103 cases produced
Female: A full bouquet of lovely black fruit with highlights of roses and cinnamon spice. Palate is deep and complex with blueberry, deep black cherry and hints of dried cranberry. The finish is long and satisfying. This wine should become more refined with added time in bottle. 90
Male: Black cherry and baking spice combine nicely with toasted oak on the nose. Palate is complex and complete showcasing black cherry, cola, clove, and a touch of wild cherry. The finish has wonderful length with a touch of orange peel lingering behind the fine tannins. 89
Lucas & Lewellen 2013 Estate Vineyards Goodchild High 9 Pinot Noir
Santa Barbara County, $30.00 CRIMSON
975 cases produced
Female: Delicate cherry, berry and star anise aromas at first. As you aerate the wine, sweet and smoky cherry with pronounced sandalwood notes emanates from the glass. The flavors are consistent with the aromas. The palate is balanced and even through to the long finish. 92
Male: Ripe and dried cherries with dried spices on the nose. Vicous entry of red fruit with cedar notes. Well-balanced wine. The tannins are there but nice and soft. The mouth feel is balanced from beginning to end. 92
Lucas & Lewellen 2013 Estate Vineyards Pinot Noir
Santa Barbara County, $20.00
5222 cases produced
Female: Soft raspberry aromas lead to a silky palate with plenty of the zesty blueberry and raspberry notes. Just a hint of white pepper in the finish. Very well-developed and pleasing. 89
Male: Subtle and delicate nose of Cacao nibs, violets, plum, and earth. balanced and elegant palate with layers of red fruit complexity with spice and vanilla notes. Nice finish. 88
Lucas & Lewellen 2014 Estate Vineyards Rose of Pinot Noir
Santa Barbara County, $18.00
582 cases produced
Female: Subdued floral nose with cranberry back notes. Pretty, tart red fruit on entry moving to light strawberry flavors. Great food wine. Nice acid. 90
Male: Aromas of ripe cherries with a strong minty note. Pomegranate ripe and full on the palate, juicy watermelon in the finish. Ripe and delicious. 90
Lula Cellars 2012 Costa Vineyard Pinot Noir
Mendocino, $45.00
600 cases produced
Female: Pomegranate, cassis and fresh strawberry aromatics. Dried strawberry palate with assertive tannins but everything comes together nicely and will continue to improve with age. 90
Male: Floral notes, a touch of sea air and tart black cherry aromas. Black cherry carries onto the palate with a touch of spice and smoked meats on the finish. Pleasant acid. Tannins are quite present right now but there is enough fruit to age gracefully. 86
Lula Cellars 2012 Peterson Vineyard Pinot Noir
Mendocino, $45.00
600 cases produced
Female: Graham cracker and light strawberry jam aromas open to lovely big fruit on the creamy palate. Nice acid and tannin balance on the finish. 87
Male: Plum, caramel and baking spices on the nose lead to juicy lip smacking fruit with great acidity. Pleasant chalky tannins. 88
M Cellars 2012 Pinot Noir
Grand River Valley, $27.17
342 cases produced
Female: Soft nose of black cherries mixed with some leather, white roses and a hint of oak. Spicy flavors with good tannin structure. 89
Male: Violets, fraise de bois, a hint of rose, cherry, and earthy aromatic. Creamy texture with sour cherry fruit up front and coffee notes on the finish. 86
Mahoney Vineyards 2012 Las Brisas Vineyard Pinot Noir
Carneros, $38.00 DEEP PURPLE
300 cases produced
Female: The aromatics are nicely proportioned with ample dark fruit and fresh raspberry combining with toasted oak and black tea. Palate works in harmony with the nose with nice depth centered around black cherry and delicate strawberry flavors accented by anise and dark spice. Subtle and refined on the finish. 91
Male: A delightful combination of ripe cherry and wild berry accented by brown spice and toasted vanilla oak. Secondary notes of bacon fat add to the complexity. Palate reflects the aromatics very nicely and ends with an engaging finish of soft tannins and well placed acids. 89
Mahoney Vineyards 2012 Mahoney Ranch Pinot Noir
Carneros, $38.00
300 cases produced
Female: Initially subtle aromatic profile opens up to a palate of soft cherry, roasted tomato and smoky herbal notes. The fruit intensifies mid-palate through the long finish. Weighty and persistent with good acidity. 90
Male: Cherry, mint, forest herbs, dark plum, and white spice on the nose. Lovely strawberry and cherry on entry. Smooth mid-palate with subtle herb and spice. The finish is fruity with chocolate accents and good acid acidity. Nice depth. 90
Mahoney Vineyards 2012 Estate Pinot Noir
Carneros, $28.00 WHITE
700 cases produced
Female: Black cherry and ripe red cherry elevate nicely from the glass with accents of vanilla and spiced barrel elements helping along the way. A hint of tobacco. Well proportioned ripe cherry combines with tasty strawberry to form a nicely layered mid palate. Roasted meat and mocha notes follow the deep fruit. A unique wine that will please both the purists and those looking for a little hedonism. 90
Male: Very inviting aromatics that are nicely restrained yet showing lovely and true varietal character. Bing and black cherry followed by distinctive floral notes. The palate captures both the red and black cherry with the addition of blueberry adding a nice layering effect to the palate. Earth and hints of truffle follow up nicely on the fruit. The prominent elegant French oak integrates very nicely to create a solid package on the palate. Restrained and complex and showing great potential with added time in bottle. 92
Manzoni 2013 Home Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $35.00
708 cases produced
Female: Peppery nose of rhubarb, plum, currant, and floral notes. Mouth filling, intriguing palate revealing layers and layers of flavors. Fun and engaging. 89
Male: Spicy black cherry, burnt sugar, cedar, and earth on the nose. Lovely palate, complex and layered. A balanced and vibrant wine, persistent with a long finish. 89
Marr Cellars 2012 Mendocino Ridge Mariah Vineyards Pinot Noir
Mendocino Ridge, $36.00
200 cases produced
Female: Orange peel, bacon, red fruit, savory spices, and black pepper aromatics. Complex and interesting flavors reflective of the aromas. Lovely balance between the fruity and savory elements. Long finish. 90
Male: Crimson in color. Blackberry, fig, kirsch, pine, and forest floor aromas. Deep cherry and chocolate entry leads to a harmonious mid-palate. Voluptuous. Opulent with a rich, lingering finish. 90
Masterpiece 2013 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $14.00 YELLOW
581 cases produced
Female: Dusty cherry aromas with orange zest and coffee notes. Cassia and sage flavors on the palate. Lovely balance. 90
Male: Bright strawberry, subtle spice, pine needles, and cherry on the nose. Balanced entry of strawberry and spice. Nice herb and forest floor accents mid-palate lead to a balanced finish. 91
Mercy 2012 Riverbed Piont Noir
Arroyo Seco, $28.00
839 cases produced
Female: Soft floral tones featuring rose petals accented by ripe black cherry and cassis create an attractive aromatic. Flavors of soft red cherry with cedar and dill combine with the still evolving tannins to create a dramatic finish. Enjoy with BBQ and spicy Asian food. 87
Male: Attractive aromatics of ripe cherry and lighter plum are accented nicely by sweet scented vanilla oak and brown baking spice. There's a richness to the lush palate that that favors dark berry flavors with cola and light cinnamon. Anise and blackberry emerge on the finish. Ends with a firm tannic grip. 89
Mercy 2012 Cedar Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $38.00
130 cases produced
Female: Dark, smoky cherry aromas are replicated on the palate. Balanced finish. 86
Male: The nose is gamey with cherry and leather notes. Cool entry with a nice mouthfeel. Very spicy with lots of fruit. Complex wine that will improve with bottle age. 90
Mercy 2012 Griva Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $38.00 BROWN
155 cases produced
Female: The earthy with the nose with raspberry, some black cherry, and vanilla carries through onto the palate. This is a wine with big shoulders. Enjoy with grilled meats. 90
Male: Warm, toasty nose with a bounty of brambly fruit. Dark chocolate, blackberry and cherry flavors abound. Muscular Pinot Noir. 90
Mercy 2012 Zabala Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $38.00
157 cases produced
Female: Strawberry jam nose with cooked berry compote on the juicy and smooth palate. Spicy finish showing cloves and black pepper. Nice! 88
Male: Black cherry, forest floor and vanilla aromas open to a velvety textured palate with good minerality and acid. 87
Merriam Vineyards 2013 Cuvee Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $28.00
325 cases produced
Female: Strawberry jam aromas and flavors. Very pleasant wine with a core of showing juicy red fruit. A real crowd pleaser. 87
Male: Light strawberry with aromas with dusty strawberry jam flavors. Yum! Nicely balanced with oak wrapped gently around the fruit core. 89
Merriam Vineyards 2013 Estate Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00
158 cases produced
Female: Expressive and intense aromatics with lovely black fruit notes graced by rose petals and earth tones. Mocha and spiced barrel notes follow. Ripe plum combines nicely with rich black cherry cola flavors on the palate. There's a deeper layer of ripe raspberry showing early stages of emerging as well. Elegant and graceful on the finish with fine toned tannins working their way nicely into the core of this wine. 90
Male: Aromas of richly layered black fruit with alluring spice and hints of bacon create a strong initial impression to this wine. The palate continues the appeal with generous layering of black fruit with black cherry and black raspberry combining nicely. Anise and nutmeg meld nicely with the complex fruit profile. Expressive and very alive on the finish showing great structure and depth. 92
Merriam Vineyards 2013 Three Sons Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $75.00
90 cases produced
Female: Masculine style. Toasty notes with blackberry jam…aromas remind of a blackberry Pop-tart. Intense blackberry fruit with oregano and tarragon back notes. Lots of oak, but will age nicely. 90
Male: lively aromas of cola and red berries. Lush and alive on the palate with graham cracker and spice accents. Interesting wine. 89
Oak Ridge 2013 Maggio-Reynolds Family Vineyards 84% Pinot Noir-16% Zinfandel
Lodi, $12.99
850 cases produced
Female: Nicely elevated black fruit notes of black cherry and plum with ripe strawberry and soft notes of baking spice. A back drop of floral notes and rose petals. An exotic palate of rich fruit centered around blood orange and ripe black raspberry. Ripe cranberry flavors towards the finish. A silky mouthfeel with very soft tannins providing just enough structure to keep it moving towards a bright finish that is very pleasing. Different but very appealing. Lovely picnic or brunch wine perhaps with a bit of a chill. 90
Male: Aromas that seem to speak of prominent whole cluster development give this wine a distinctive "New World Beaujolais" character. Fresh and juicy with young cherry and ripe strawberry. Interesting flavors of tropical fruit including mango and passion fruit create an interesting palate when combined with the more typical black cherry flavors. Very soft tannins but adequate for the job of lifting the fruit. A very unique example of Pinot Noir that is decidedly fun. 88
Old Soul 2013 Maggio-Reynolds Family Vineyards 87% Pinot Noir-13% Zinfandel
Lodi, $13.99
2743 cases produced
Female: If your like chocolate covered cherries than this is your wine. Aromas of sweet cherry and intense black fruit. Lush and dense on the palate with great depth of black fruit and ultra ripe plum along with a supporting cast of chewy tannins and surprising acidity. A very tasty out of the box style for Pinot Noir. 87
Male: Immensely fruity with BIG black cherry and some interesting secondary notes of baking spice and anise. Palate replicates the generous fruit profile with some added cocoa and mocha flavors. Still shows some respectable balance to carry the gobs of fruit. Unique and interesting and will find an appreciative audience for the bigness of fruit. 87
Panthea Winery & Vineyard 2010 Estate Panthea Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $38.00
200 cases produced
Female: Black cherry, classic spice box, cola, and cinnamon notes arise from the glasses. Earthy and dark in the mouth showing layers of flavors. A very savory Pinot Noir. 90
Male: Strawberry, blackberry, toasted baking spices and herb aromas. Juicy strawberry and blackberry flavors with a myriad of spices. Great acid. 87
Panthea Winery & Vineyard 2010 Londer Vineyard Londer Vineyard Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $38.00
200 cases produced
Female: Cherry, strawberry, dusty raspberry, and cassis aromas are replicated on the lovely round, creamy and rich palate. A touch of spice and light acidity on the finish. 89
Male: Black cherry, peppermint and hints of vanilla on the nose and in the mouth. Silky smooth. No tannins are apparent yet there is a firm structure here. Lovely, warm finish. 89
Panthea Winery & Vineyard 2010 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $28.00
800 cases produced
Female: Nicely restrained nose with strawberry notes. Lush mid-palate, soft tannins and nice acidity. 87
Male: Cola, truffle, cherry and forest notes on the nose. Very pretty on the palate. Subtle, soft tannins. 88
Pedroncelli 2013 Signature Selection Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $20.00
3239 cases produced
Female: Strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, cinnamon and a hint of anise aromatics lead to a light strawberry entry building to cherry and black cherry mid with light brown sugar and fig accents. Tart cherry with lovely cinnamon accents on the finish which shows great acid. A well made showy wine. 90
Male: Intriguing black cherry, vanilla and fennel seed aromas invite you in. Very juicy fresh young strawberry on entry becoming bolder mid-palate. Silky texture with a nice touch of minerality on the finish. A lot to like here. 90
Philo Ridge Vineyards 2010 Mendocino Marguerite Vineyard Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $50.00
175 cases produced
Female: Forest floor combines with red fruit and truffles on the nose. Raspberry jam with toast and spice with lighter notes of cranberry on the palate which leads to a well defined and lengthy finish which stay very alive with lots of well placed acidity. A lovely food wine that will pair with a wide array of dishes. 91
Male: Soft and graceful aromatics of cranberry, cigar box, and mocha. A nice hint of perfumed violets and a touch of forest floor. Black cherry, lively cranberry, and red delicious apple balance nicely on the palate with an accent of ginger spice. Bright and fresh on the finish. 89
Philo Ridge Vineyards 2011 Mendocino Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $36.00
250 cases produced
Female: Bing cherry, raspberry, cola, vanilla, and oak aromas. The palate is lovely with red fruit, forest floor notes and a hint of mint. Enjoyable smokiness on the finish. 89
Male: Raisins, creamy caramel, raspberry and green pepper aromas. Young and light bodied wine. Raspberry, strawberry, red apple, sour cherry, and tangy melon...delicate and layered flavors give way to a lovely finish with racy acidity. 88
Pleasures 2013 Pinot Noir
Califonia, $10.00
3800 cases produced
Female: Soft smoky red cherry, candied cherry, strawberry, and graham cracker aromatics. Cloves and nutmeg surround the cherry flavors on opening through mid-palate with a soft finish. 88
Male: Wild strawberry, clove, white spices, and a slight bourbon note on the nose. Wild strawberry entry with clove and herb joining mid. Lovely acid and spice on this medium bodied wine. Fruit and oak on the finish. "Nice tension!" 92
Plum Hill Vineyards 2012 Barrel Select Forest Grove Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, $26.00
100 cases produced
Female: Soft touches of both red and lighter black fruit aromas with hint of tea and dill. Light red cherry on entry moves towards black cherry on the finish. Strength on the finish from the delicate balance of tannins and acidity. 89
Male: Bright cherry fruit against a backdrop of lighter coffee notes and herbs. A soft palate comprised of rhubarb and light cassis and a pleasing slight sweetness. Tannins are well placed and stay consistent through the finish. 87
Poiema Pinot Noir 2012 Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $19.99
400 cases produced
Female: Dusty red cherry and roasted tomato aromas lead to a velvety textured palate where black pepper and herbal accents complement this wine. Would pair well with the Margherita pizza. 86
Male: Blood red in color with an orange rim. Strawberry, gentle spices and herbs integrate on the nose. All come together and replicate on the smooth palate. The mid-palate shows red fruit with light herbs and spice. Sweet oak and acid integrate into the long finish. 90
Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery 2012 Estate Pomar Junction Vineyard Pinot Noir
Paso Robles, $34.00
293 cases produced
Female: Light garnet in color with a clear rim. Caramelized blue fruit with hints of molasses on the nose. Much lighter on in the mouth than the nose portends. The palate is predominantly lovely pomegranate with a long finish. 87
Male: Light ruby rim with a light opaque center. Strawberry, mushroom, forest floor, chocolate, berry, and oak on the nose. Oak and good fruit on entry. Smooth and silky mid-palate with spice and herb integrating with the fruit, oak and vibrant acidity to carry the finish. 88
Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery 2012 Reserve Garey Vineyards Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $54.00
94 cases produced
Female: Cherry jam aromas are replicated on the palate showing lots of sweet and ripe fruit. A nice combination of spice and fruit shows well on the mid-palate and carries through to the finish. Well placed fine grained tannins and lively acidity. Well-made. 90
Male: Ripe cherry character on the nose and in the mouth with well placed spice and fine herbs. Wonderful vibrancy and good acidity mid-palate through the finish which is enhanced with cocoa, spices and a touch of coffee. 90
Portalupi Winery 2013 Russell Family Vineyard Pinot Noir
Paso Robles, $65.00
240 cases produced
Female: Dried cherry and sweet raspberry are followed by hints of cedar and dill. Ripe black cherry is fully extracted with savory notes and cedary oak. Well developed tannins carry the weight of the ripe fruit profile melding into acidity that carries through nicely to the finish. 90
Male: Vibrant and alive on the nose with layers of both nicely ripened black and red fruit. Notes of minerality and earth give a nice sense of place and authenticity. Ripe plum and raspberry are accented by fresh cut herbs and vanilla tinged oak. Lush and long but with plenty of structure to carry it through to the a satisfying finish that stays lively and fresh. 91
Portalupi Winery 2013 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $32.00 KHAKI
273 cases produced
Female: Mixed floral aromas envelope the dark and tart cherries on the nose. Delicate flavors of raspberry, cranberry and rhubarb with clove notes on the finish. Fine grained tannins and well placed acidity great a solid framework. 90
Male: Nicely elevated and very appealing floral aromas…violets with citrus zest notes, subtle leather, black cherry, and a hint of brown spice (cinnamon and nutmeg). Restrained yet complex. This wine reveals itself slowly and elegantly through the long expressive finish. Not a workhorse, a true thoroughbred. Will continue to evolve nicely in bottle for years to come. 92
Portalupi Winery 2013 Dolinsek Ranch Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00
192 cases produced
Female: Dark ruby in color. Aromas of brown sugar, sweet dark cherry and plum, vanilla, pomegranate, and cardamom. The palate is smooth showing chocolate and cherry flavors. Beautifully balanced wine. Lots of lovely minerality. 90
Male: Crimson in color with the pink/ruby rim. Brown sugar, caramel, forest floor, cherry, and plum aromas. Cherry and plum entry with caramel joining mid with some herb on the finish. The wine keeps evolving in the glass showing more and more layers. An intriguing wine. 89
Prodigal Wines 2013 Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $49.99
245 cases produced
Female: Black cherry soda pop with lavender and powdered sugar aromas. The palate is so ripe as to be sweet showing black cherry soda with blueberry notes turning to sour cherry on the finish. 89
Male: Very ripe red and black fruit aromatics with back notes of rose and mint. Juicy raspberry flavors moving to sour cherry on the finish. 87
R2 Wine Company 2013 Signature Series Release Day Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $38.00
430 cases produced
Female: Nice ruby red color. Smokey aromas with hints of violet, lavender, and a touch of barnyard. Back notes of spice and black pepper. Elegant dark fruit on entry. There is a lovely velvety texture to this medium bodied wine. Raspberry and cherry flavors mid-palate through the finish. Well-balanced. 90
Male: Clove, smoke, floral notes…the nose is a bit odd. Cherry flavors throughout with vibrant acidity and minerality. Not a lot of tannin here, but the structure is really fine. Balanced. 88
Redwood Creek Pinot Noir
California, $8.00
Female: Sweet plum and blackberry jam aromas are surrounded by baking spice and citrus notes. The palate is lush and smooth with a dark fruit profile. 87
Male: Cherry, cherry cola, Jolly rancher cherry candy in the nose and in the mouth. Simple and fun. 85
Rizzo Winery 2009 Pinot Noir
Eola-Amity Hills, $28.00
430 cases produced
Female: Mint, cedar, and pine notes combine with lighter cherry and rhubarb notes on the nose. Notes violets and secondary floral tones. Palate offers up cherry pie filling flavors. A touch of nutmeg. Long on the finish. Straightforward Pinot Noir. 87
Male: Ripe plum nose accented by distinctive mint aromas and light rose petal. Some nicely evolved barrel notes add warmth and depth to the nose. Palate displays ripe red cherry and pomegranate with a touch of cassis and black pepper. Tannins are well formed and carry the palate forward to a pleasant finish. 88
Rizzo Winery 2011 Estate Pinot Noir
Eola-Amity Hills, $28.00
498 cases produced
Female: Forest floor and gravel with secondary tones of light raspberry and cassis. Palate stay linear and bright with a core of both red and black cherry followed by firm tannis and lively acidity. 85
Male: Light red cherry and rhubarb with forest floor and freshly turned earth. Secondary notes of cola berry. Light red cherry and hints of raspberry on the palate with leather and light spice notes. 86
Ron Rubin 2012 Pinot Noir
Green Valley, $40.00
2293 cases produced
Female: Cherry jam, forest floor and sarsaparilla aromas. Lush Bing cherry flavors accented by interesting spices. Pleasant finish. 89
Male: Graham cracker crust and cherry jam nose. The palate is very nice with some unique spice notes. Pleasant spicy finish. 90
Ron Rubin 2013 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $25.00
3098 cases produced
Female: Savory aromatics of smoked meat, smoked cherries, white pepper, a little tea, rhubarb, and a bit of earth. Flavors of strawberry jam with cedar in the background and a touch of leather on entry. Sour cherry and dusty mushroom/forest floor flavors mid to late. Finishes with spice and oak notes. Very fruit forward style with nice acidity on the long finish. 89
Male: Pink/ruby rim with a light opaque center. The nose is muted at first, but opens to cherry and cola which replicate on the palate. There is a very appealing minerality here. Clove comes in on the finish. Nicely structured with perfect acidity on the long finish. 87
Russian Ridge 2012 Kent Berry Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $30.00
164 cases produced
Female: Mocha and fresh garden herbs meld with lighter tones of cassis and plum. Flavors of ripe red cherry and black raspberry are accented by cedar and baking spice. Evolving oak tannins combine nicely with this wines fruit tannis to form the framework of this wines structure. 88
Male: Distinctive aromas of dark chocolate and cocoa powder with spice scented oak on the nose. Lighter notes of wild berry and sweet plum. Alive and satisfying on the palate with well developed black cherry fruit accented by cinnamon and cola notes. There is nice balance and structure to this wine with a good mix of tannins and acidity. 90
Sante Arcangeli 2013 Split Rail Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $36.00 BLUE
400 cases produced
Female: Pretty raspberry and blueberry aromas with hints of pepper. Balanced high tone palate with soft fruit and floral flavors complemented by mild spice and supported by good acidity. Delicate, yet powerful..."a woman of substance!" 90
Male: Pink/ruby rim with a medium opaque center. Forest floor, dried leaves, strawberry, and light, crisp spice on the nose. Light entry of strawberry with black tea notes into a mid-palate with clove joining in and carrying nicely into a viscous finish of all components. Smooth with good acidity. 90
Sante Arcangeli 2013 Clone 32 Split Rail Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $45.00
98 cases produced
Female: Holiday spices in a glass…cherry and baking spices. The palate leads with loads of black pepper moving into pretty red cherry and brambly fruit with earth notes. Lively taste experience. Great food wine. 89
Male: the nose is ephemeral, but the flavors intensely ripe exhibiting strawberry, Cherry, fresh raspberry, and brown spices. Rich and powerful ending with lingering spiced fruit. 88
Schug 2013 Pinot Noir
Carneros, $30.00 LIME GREEN
6243 cases produced
Female: a beautifully complex wine from start to finish! The nose displays fresh strawberry, cherry, floral notes, and subtle spices. The lovely palate is well integrated with a texture is almost creamy that expressively covers all the senses on the palate. Great finish with nice acidity. This wine is just a baby and shows even greater things ahead. 95
Male: Lovely forest floor and cherry aromas with a sweet scent of truffles and mushroom. The flavors mirror the nose. Further evaluation brings out subtle, dried flower impressions. Voluptuous texture, perfect balance and structure. Long, subtle, complex, and vibrant finish. A strong wine making effort has crafted a distinctive and inviting wine. 93
Schug 2011 Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir
Carneros, $40.00
605 cases produced
Female: Firm and vibrant with an edge of dark cherry and wild berry fruit touched by savory notes of dried herbs and flowers. Earthy. Palate shifts towards black cherry with hint of rhubarb and mocha on the back end. The tannins are evolving nicely in this wine adding to the long finish that ends with nice acidity. 89
Male: A lovely since of place and authenticity are provided by the forest floor, mushroom, gravel, and ripe black cherry aromas. Secondary notes of caramel and vanilla add to the aromatic profile. The noted well developed black cherry melds with sweet cranberry plus savory herbs and toasted barrel spices on the palate. The finish works well with well placed acids keep it all in balance and friendly. 88
Ser 2012 Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $36.00
200 cases produced
Female: Red and black raspberry with blueberry jam meld a alluring aromatic that spells nice things ahead. The raspberry and blueberry combine with fresh strawberries on the palate all of which is framed beautifully by fine grained tannins and beautiful acidity. Lots to like here! 93
Male: Light ruby color glistens. Cherry cola with rich ripe strawberry forms a very appealing and nicely restrained aromatic. Complex and layered. Black and red fruit are nicely enhanced by gravelly tannins and spiced barrel notes that leave a lasting and very enjoyable impression on the palate. Still young and evolving with great upside. Wonderful structure and balance. 92
Six Sigma Ranch and Winery 2012 Kaj's Reserve Pinot Noir
Lake County, $45.00
150 cases produced
Female: Red and blue fruit aromas with a quiet back note of coffee. Deep, dark and rich black cherry on the palate imparts just a bit of heat. Beginning to reveal its layers with sour cherry on the finish. Quite a bit of oak here, but there's enough acid too. Needs time. 90
Male: Lovely nose of toast, cardamom, creamy cherry, and blueberry. The flavors mirror the aromas. Nice balance and acidity. 88
Spell 2012 Weir Vineyard Pinot Noir
Yorkville Highlands, $48.00
194 cases produced
Female: Strawberry and lime aromas lead to a pleasant palate of strawberry with back notes of mushroom. Lovely! 89
Male: Ripe plum, black cherry, and smoked meats on the nose and in the mouth. Good depth and length. Balanced. 89
Spell 2012 Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $58.00
149 cases produced
Female: Medium ruby in color with a clear rim. Light cedar notes, cinnamon, red and black plum on the nose. Bright plum and cherry entry. Cherry with lovely earthy notes on the palate with violet, vanilla and graham cracker accents on the palate with a smooth but intense finish. 90
Male: Blood red in color. Cherries and a touch of sweetness on the rich opening with tangy fruit mid-palate. Nicely balanced with a long linear finish. 87
St. Joseph Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir
Grand River Valley, $29.99
500 cases produced
Female: Graphite and wet gravel offer an interesting sense of place and origin to the red cherry and lighter plum aromatic profile. Palate is well formed between lighter notes of cherry, rhubarb, and a splash of blueberry. Leather and brown baking spice. Finish offers up a touch of orange peel but works well topping off this interesting wine. 90
Male: Nice depth of both black and red fruit with rich plum being the center of attention on the nose. Nicely accented by warm baking spice with secondary notes of green herbs but not vegetal. Blueberry and stonefruit with light Bing cherry for a restrained and nicely layered palate. Accents of fresh cut herbs and savory notes. There's a minerality that shows on the finish of modest but fine grained tannins. Ample acidity ties it all together. A distinctive offering and slightly different slant on Pinot Noir. 90
Stephen's 2012 Estate Pinot Noir
York Mountain, $30.00
230 cases produced
Female: Juicy floral nose with a touch of yeast. The palate is sophisticated, nicely layered with red fruit and herbal accents. Lovely acid on the cleansing finish. 88
Male: Burgundian edge to this wine. Intense red fruit, baking spices and barnyard aromas. Rich and delicate layers in the mouth, showing raspberry with cola, brown spices, and earth notes. Well-balanced with a long finish. 90
Summerland Winery 2012 Reserve Theresa Noelle (Estate) Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $70.00
72 cases produced
Female: Forest floor, mushroom, cooked red fruit compote with a touch of lavender here. Elegant entry with lively red fruit turning to sour cherry on the complex and layered finish (fig, thyme and lovely savory notes of tomato). Nice acid. 90
Male: Candied cherry, apple. flint, and espresso beans show in the nicely elevated aromatics. Racy start showing rhubarb and black cherry with spice notes. Juicy and well balanced. Good fruit and acidity. Nice finish. 88
The Winery SF 2013 Pinot Noir
North Coast, $29.99
1700 cases produced
Female: Aromas of sweet baked cherry, currant, black pepper, an array of spices, and mineral notes. Firmly structured palate exhibiting vibrant fruit and spice flavors. Nice texture, great length and balance. 88
Male: Sweet cherry, blackberry and flint aromas. Silky smooth on the palate with lively black fruit, spice and touch of earthiness. Complex and lovely. 90
The Winery SF 2013 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $45.00
250 cases produced
Female: Strawberry soda pop, rhubarb, cranberry, and cedar on the nose. Delicate and elegant on the palate with predominantly strawberry flavors that are nicely layered. Soft and subtle but with great structure and balance to keep it all working. Well-made. 90
Male: Cherry and raspberry pie aromas with cedar and toasted barrel notes. The palate is nicely consistent with the nose. This wine whispers, doesn't shout. It says, "Pinot Noir." Pure and straight forward. 90
Thomas Road 2013 Estate Thomas Road Vineyard (yes) Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $54.00
124 cases produced
Female: Floral notes in the forefront with blackcurrant, raspberry, plum, pepper, and cedar notes. The aromas carry onto the palate. Long finish. 90
Male: Elegant cherry, plum, baking spices, and subtle herbs on the nose. The entry reveals intense sour cherry and red plum flavors. Balanced oak and acid on the finish. 90
TR Elliott 2013 Queste Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $44.00
585 cases produced
Female: sultry, smoky nose of black cherry, with hints of cocoa and glasses. The palate is lean with cherry, root beer, and cedar with a clean finish. 87
Male: Santa Rosa plum, dark cherry, forest floor, cola, tar, and dried leaves on the layered nose. Bright red fruit on entry with forest floor joining mid-palate and cocoa oak and berry on the finish. 87
TR Elliott 2013 Three Plumes Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $47.00
192 cases produced
Female: Stylish and friendly on the nose as lively notes of fresh cherry and fresh cut strawberries provide nice varietal definition. Cola notes and a hint of allspice. The palate is well proportioned with nice layering of fruit and spice working together. Black cherry beyond midpalate. A fresh style that would be a delight on a warm Summer evening with a slight chill. Well made. 89
Male: Precise notes of fresh picked strawberries and raspberry graced by delicate floral notes that include rose petals and young plum. Cola and root beer add to the attractive and restrained nose. Simplicity with elegance on the palate with straight forward fresh strawberry flavors and a dash of cherry juice. There's a nice spice edge complementing the fruit as it progresses to a finishe framed nicely by young tannins and good acidity. Will develop further. 88
TR Elliott 2013 Burgonet O'Connell Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $47.00 PEACH
130 cases produced
Female: Violets and dark berry showing true sense of place with mineral notes accented by forest floor and truffles. Black cherry, fresh raspberry and pomegranate accented by cola bean and spiced barrel elements grace the attractive palate. Wonderful balance and depth. A great wine to pair with a wide range of dishes. 92
Male: Sophisticated and alluring from the start. The aromatics tell you there's something very special awaiting. Black cherry, forest floor, clove and cola bean. LOTS of layers on the palate with a wild cherry, fresh raspberry, and pomegranate playing nicely off of one another. Refined and elegant on the finish. A beautiful example of the true potential of New World Pinot Noir. 96
TR Elliott 2013 Bootlegger's Hill Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $60.00 LIGHT PINK
70 cases produced
Female: Lovely spice cabinet aromas… allspice, pumpkin pie spices, an assortment of dried herbs, and a touch of citrus, enhance the delicate red fruit aromas and flavors. Great texture. Lemon zest on the elegant and finish which shows perfect acidity. 93
Male: Blackberry and allspice on the nose, (reminiscent of Tempranillo) but with an unmistakable Pinot Noir texture. Rich and full-bodied. Lovely ripe fruit on the dramatic palate which is deftly wound with barrel elements. 90
Trecini 2012 Estate Vicini Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00
1000 cases produced
Female: Pronounced violets and floral notes combine with lighter cherry and red fruit notes. Palate offers up cranberry and pomegranate with clove and green olive accents on the finish. Would be enjoyable with Asian cuisine. 87
Male: Nicely elevated black cherry combines with toast and warm spice with a touch of clove on the nose. Rich and extracted with cherry and pomegranate accented by baking spice. Finish is nicely formed and full on the palate with just enough acidity to carry this wines weight. 90
Trecini 2013 Estate Vicini Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00
1000 cases produced
Female: Appealing aromas of forest floor, cedar, and cola with added depth from young early Spring cherry blossoms. Strawberry pie filling with a distinctive rhubarb flavor on entry with accents of mushroom and coffee. Mid palate shows some nice plum before finishing with young tannins and gracing acidity. 89
Male: Floral notes and wild berry against a backdrop of young fresh strawberry aromas. Secondary notes of leather and tobacco. Fresh cherry juice depth of fruit on the palate followed by cola notes and light blackberry. Palate is simple yet well formed and honest to varietal character. Some notes soft tannins add structure. Finishes fresh and alive. A very nice picnic or brunch wine. 88
Truscott 2012 Pinot Noir
Mendocino County, $14.95
1297 cases produced
Female: The nose is reminds me of the candy store when I was a kid, very sweet, candy-like...gummy red raspberries or red Dots. The palate too is sweet with juicy red fruit. A picnic wine. 83
Male: Sweet candied nose…Jolly rancher cherry. Simple juicy palate. A sipper. 80
Turning Leaf Vineyards Pinot Noir
California, $8.00
Female: Candied sweet cherry with a hint of chocolate. Palate is soft and lush with lots of sweet ripe cherry and black cherry fruit. A touch of spice and black licorice towards the finish. Just enough acidity and structure to make the rich fruit profile work. 87
Male: Cola notes help elevate the nicely ripened and sweet black cherry fruit aromas. A hint of smoke and mint. The ripe cherry centered flavors create a tasty palate. Light cranberry notes help balance the ripe cherry base. Lighter spice notes add definition to the palate. Tasty and straightforward. 87
Venteux Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir
Paso Robles, $38.00 SEA GREEN
235 cases produced
Female: Boysenberry, strawberry, and alluring cotton candy aromatics. Secondary notes of wild strawberry. The nicely layered palate combines black and red fruit with an interesting array of spices and earth. Finish is bright and fresh with evolving acids combining with the noted fine tannins. 90
Male: A beautiful and very appealing nose comprised of rich ripe strawberry framed by lush vanilla tones. The drama continues on the palate with black cherry defining the fruit profile with lovely accents of of cinnamon, clove, and cedar. Finish is restrained, precise and balanced. 92
Weibel Family 2012 Pinot Noir
Mendocino County, $16.95
380 cases produced
Female: Lavender and strawberry aromatics. Cooked strawberry flavors throughout. A touch of acid on the finish. Simple and easy to enjoy. A lovely picnic wine. 89
Male: Tart strawberry and a hint of forest floor aromas are mirrored on entry. Mouth coating cherry flavors join in mid with light mineral and earth on the finish. No noticeable tannins. 87
Westerly Wines 2012 Westerly Wines Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills, $45.00
754 cases produced
Female: Lush bouquet. Sweet, jammy raspberry and cherry with warm spices, hints of cola and cedar on the nose. Intense mouth filling fruit flavors replicate the aromas with hints of fig, cinnamon, clove, and chalky textural notes. Soft and lovely finish. Chalky tannins. 92
Male: Pink/ruby rim with a light center. Aromatics of ocean, baking spice, sour cherry, strawberry, dried oregano, and basil. Sour cherry and strawberry on entry with dried herb and oak joining mid, leading to a juicy finish of fruit, herb and oak. "Nicely done!" 92
Willowbrook 2012 Estate Grown Estate Pinot noir
Russian River Valley, $36.00
622 cases produced
Female: A beautiful clear ruby color. Fresh cherry and soft tones of strawberry and a touch of smoke. Strawberry flavors are the hallmark of this wines well formed palate from entry to finish. Fresh and lively on the finish. Should evolve further with more time in bottle. Nicely made. 90
Male: Aromatics of bright red cherry with a touch of cedar and lighter spice tones followed by black tea. Palate nicely replicates the aromas with bright and pleasingly tart cherry and a nice touch of light strawberry on entry. Fresh and alive with gracefully refined tannins and bright acidity. 91
Willowbrook 2012 Kaufman Sunnyslope Vineyard Pinot noior
Sonoma Mountain, $42.00 CHARTREUSE
197 cases produced
Female: Appealing aromas of raspberry and plum with secondary notes of cherry and cola bean. A lush mouthfeel of strawberry, black raspberry and fine grained tannins all backed by attractive acidity. Nice! 92
Male: Lively and inviting aromatics with wild berry, fresh strawberry, floral notes and spiced vanilla oak. The palate is seamless and complex with black cherry and ripe strawberry accented by a touch of light black pepper and earth. The finish shows nice length leaving a pleasing strawberry aftertaste which combines nicely with the well placed acids. 89
Windsor Oaks 2013 Reserve Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $35.00
97 cases produced
Female: Warm spice and rose petals accented by baked strawberry cobbler on the nose. Rich strawberry and black fruit are nicely accented by barrel elements of baking spice and vanilla. A big wine that takes time to fully evolve in the glass. 90
Male: Forward notes of violets and red cherry with secondary notes of cranberry combine on the nose. Black fruit accented by coffee and clove form a dense and elegant palate with nice length and balance. 89
Windsor Oaks 2013 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $28.00
95 cases produced
Female: Sour cherry, light strawberry and mixed dried herb aromas lead to strawberry and rhubarb flavors with sour cherry on the finish. 85
Male: Aromas of smoke, forest floor, ripe cherry, and tomato open to cherry, baking spice, and sage flavors. Interesting and pleasant wine. 87
Wollersheim Winery 2013 Pinot Noir
American, $17.00 GUNMETAL
1800 cases produced
Female: Aromas of baked pie crust, raspberry, cassis, warm spice, rhubarb, strawberry, and tangerine sections open to a lovely Pinot Noir with lots of red fruit, spice complements and orange zest back notes. The long finish shows tangy pomegranate with touches of cola and smoked tea. "The judging panel was shocked and delighted to discover the origin of this wine. What fun!" 90
Male: Tangy cherry and currant with orange zest and earth notes on the nose. Tea and tar emerge on the juicy palate and complement the fruit flavors. Deft oak notes show on the long finish. 90
Woodworth Vineyards 2012 Estate Pinot Noir
Temecula Valley, $33.00
150 cases produced
Female: Ripe sun raspberry with savory herbs and a hint of smoked meat. A unique nose to Pinot Noir but appealing. There's a richness to the palate with some nice layering of red and black fruit with a noted touch of ripe heirloom tomato. There's nice structure from the chewy tannins that seem to work within the framework of the rich palate and enough acidity to finish it all off. 90
Male: Distinctive earth and floral accented cherry and red raspberry aromas. Barrel notes add a bit of brown baking spice and savory herbs. Sun dried tomatoes add to the aromatics. The palate offers up richness formed by dark cherry and wild berry with accents of bacon. A distinctive combination. Tannins remain young but seem ready to evolve in step with the palate. 88
Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery 2012 Far Away Block Estate Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $44.00 BRONZE
349 cases produced
Female: Great aromatic profile… fresh and delicate raspberry nose, cinnamon, candied ginger, and orange zest. Raspberry and rhubarb pie aromas and flavors. Lovely and elegant wine with crisp acidity. 94
Male: Very light color in the glass. Burnt sugar, cinnamon, candied orange peel, and red fruit aromas and flavors. Velvety smooth with crisp acidity on the long warm finish. 92
Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery 2012 Arena Block Estate Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $39.00
222 cases produced
Female: A whiff of coconut at first with light floral, dried fruit and red fruit aromas showing upon aeration. Tart and light palate with dried fruit, sour cherry and tart rhubarb. Baking spices kick-in on the finish. Nice acidity. Well-balanced. 88
Male: Light, bright nose with berries, brown spices and back notes of menthol. Cola, cherry and cinnamon flavors with earthy accents. Well-balanced with good acid on the long finish. Very pleasant wine. 89
Wrights Station Vineyard & Winery 2012 Cave Block Reserve Estate Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $49.00
134 cases produced
Female: This wine leans toward a Burgundian profile with earthy and savory notes supporting the understated red fruit. The palate mirrors the aromas. Fairly weighty wine with good acidity on an enduring palate. Mushroom notes on the beautiful finish. 90
Male: Cherry, orange rind, dusty spices, dried oregano, cedar, and vanilla on the nose. Juicy cherry on entry. Smooth mid-palate with oak and herb notes forming a dry edge that moves to a nice acidic finish. 87

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