2010 Alta Maria Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1094085 90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Vivid ruby. Sexy red fruit aromas show good clarity and lift, with Asian spice and floral nuances adding complexity. The spicy quality carries onto the palate, which displays smooth raspberry and spicecake flavors and a touch of clove. Finishes silky and long, with lingering sweetness and soft tannins.  (12/2013)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 This harnesses dramatic ripeness without over-reaching, offering enough length and freshness to support its dense layers of blackberry-laden fruit. Grippy tannins provide a structural counterpoint to that sumptuousness, suggesting the appetizing bitterness of carob and setting the wine up for roasted pork loin.  (4/2013)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2010 Pinot Noir opens with an attractive, sweet bouquet. The fruit isn’t quite as radiant as the aromatics suggest, leading to an impression of compactness. Sweet red cherries and flowers linger on the perfumed finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.  (8/2012)


 Alta Maria's 2010 Pinot Noir bursts from the glass with a rush of red berries, sweet spices and vanillin. A juicy, fruit-driven Pinot, the 2010 is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit retains its vibrancy and freshness. The 2010 is forward and overt, but also very nicely balanced. Drinking window: 2013 - 2018  (7/2013)

K&L Notes

With 90% of the grapes sourced from the Bien Nacido Vineyard, this wine comes with some pedigree. Many 2010 Central Coast Pinot Noirs are beginning to stand out in the California crowd, and this just-released 2010 looks to be a standout at its very reasonable price point. 93 points The Pinot Report: "Deep ruby color; complex aromas of stewed cherry, spiceand herbs; rich and deep plum and cherry flavors with spice and herbal notes; some tannin and oak; good structure and balance; long finish. Full and complex Pinot that is a great match for grilled meats." (3/2013)

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Price: $23.99
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Staff Image By: Adam Parry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/14/2013 | Send Email
It's great when you really enjoy a wine and then you meet the winemaker and he is a totally sweet character. Alta Maria gets its name because owner/winemaker James Ontiveros's vineyard is one of the highest points in the Santa Maria valley. It's kind of like Rioja Alta. The majority of the fruit comes from famed Bien Nacido vineyard, spending 17 months in 33% new french oak. It has fantastic, lively acidity from the high-toned fruit, lots of red cherries and hint of rhubarb brimming out of the glass.

Staff Image By: Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/2/2013 | Send Email
I have a regular customer who is always looking for great values in California Pinot Noir in the $15 to $25 range. I sent her home with one bottle of the 2010 Alta Maria Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir and a week later she bought a case. Try it yourself and you will understand why. Intriguingly spicy nose with hints of nutmeg and allspice. Sweet black cherry and tart cranberry notes. Rich, ripe, and round, this is a generous but supremely balanced effort. Great wine. Great price. What's not to love?

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/30/2013 | Send Email
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Great Pinot from one of my favorite vineyards in CA, Bian Nacido. This wine has a great balance of rich fruit and concentration but has an element of restraint from its cooler climate origins. A touch of spicy oak rounds out the tannins and makes this wine a great early drinker.

Staff Image By: Christie Brunick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/3/2012 | Send Email
From one of the most amazing winemakers and Santa Maria Valley's 9th Generation Farmer James Ontiveros comes this exquisite and affordable cool climate Pinot Noir that carries itself above and beyond what you would expect from a central coast Pinot! Layers upon Layers of delicate yet intense dark cherry fruit, bright acidity and even a floral and spice component that mimics Burgundy. It's the most food-friendly, balanced Pinot I've ever tasted from the region and its really going places!

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.3