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K&L Staff Recommendations
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A smokin' effort, as well as a terrific value, the 2014 Pinot Noir Hahn SLH (mostly from the Smith Vineyard) offers classic notes of forest floor, toasted spice, licorice and tons of Pinot Noir fruit in its medium-bodied, textured and layered profile. At 30 bucks, I'm hard pressed to come up with a better value in Pinot Noir. Drink this pleasure bent beauty over the coming 4-5 years. An estate that has hit another level of quality over the past few vintages, Hahn Family Wines focuses on estate vineyards in both the Santa Lucia Highlands and the Arroyo Se ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is such a good offering at this price, or many other prices, that it would be a worthy house wine to stock for regular consumption. Richly luxurious and softly layered, its texture stands out among well-integrated jolts of earth, black tea and strawberry-rhubarb." (6/2016)
The 2014 Rickshaw Pinot Noir is the sixth vintage from the team at Banshee Wines, known for elegant, food-friendly coastal Pinot and Chardonnay. Via the Rickshaw bottling, Banshee can offer a phenomenal value, thanks to relationships they've built with growers over the years from the finest AVAs in California. The largest share of fruit is sourced from the Sonoma Coast, followed by Anderson Valley and the Central Coast. The appeal of the wine is driven by its balance of fruit and earth tones, so just 10% of the juice sees new oak (the remainder being onc... Read More »
James Suckling: "A bright and fresh pinot noir with sliced lemon, strawberry and flower character. Medium body, crisp and clean. Light tannins and clean and fresh finish. Drink now." (6/2016) K&L Notes: Olema is produced by the folks at Amici Cellars. Fruit for their 2014 Pinot Noir is 50% Russian River Valley, 25% Sonoma Coast, and 25% Sonoma County. The wine was aged in 35% new French oak barrels before bottling. From the winery: " A burst of fresh black cherry, ripe strawberry and cola spice on the nose lead to deep flavors of red fruits with hints of earth, warm spice and vio... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This lower-priced Pinot from the Center of Effort team punches way above its weight in the vintage, showing light cherry-blossom and black-cherry aromas mixed with gamy meat and wet slate. Blackberry pie is cut with orange rind on the sip, with an earthy grip showing flavors of juniper, crushed clove and pipe tobacco." (10/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I found the 2014 Pinot Noir Fossil Point to be straightforward and a touch simple, but at 19 bucks, who can argue. Medium-bodied, well made and with pretty notes of sweet cherries, framboise and spice, this value ...Read More »
As difficult as it is to produce excellent Pinot Noir, it is even more difficult to do so at a fine value. In their development of the Banshee label, the winemakers gained a stable of quality sources for Pinot fruit from the finest AVAs in California. The 2014 Sonoma County Pinot Noir is the sixth vintage from the enterprising team at Banshee Wines. A large percentage of it is still sourced from the Sonoma Coast, often declassified barrels from vineyards that close followers of top-tier West Coast Pinot may recognize. From the producer: "As with past vin... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This amazing wine can match up against wines double the price. Brawny red berries and wild cherries mix with cut sagebrush, eucalyptus and crushed graphite on the nose. The palate combines bright red, acid-driven raspberry fruit with the darker structure of elderberry. Throw in thyme and bay leaf for the complete package." (12/2016) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Very proper, nicely ripened, red cherry fruit is joined by subtle notes of tobacco and sweet oak in both the mid-density aromas and flavors of this measured middleweight, and, while never an espec ...Read More »
91 points Vinous: "Translucent red. High-pitched red berry, cherry and rose pastille scents are lifted by blood orange and mineral nuances. Silky, weightless and focused on the palate, offering juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that become deeper and sweeter with air. Shows impressive depth of flavor but comes off lithe, even delicate. Clings with serious tenacity on the gently tannic finish, which strongly echoes the red fruit and floral notes. Talley's side project, which is not exactly a second label as the wines may include fruit that is sourced from outside Ar ...Read More »
This small-batch, hand-crafted Pinot is made with sustainably farmed grapes from small vineyards that surround the Monterey Bay.
Deep, dark ruby in color, this wine offers aromas of ripe fig, pumpkin seed and strawberry coulis. The palate is tightly focused with flavors of bright currant, cola and a hint of pungent, wild mushroom. The mouthfeel is supple yet structured with well integrated tannins that provide the integrity for this charming wine.
Field Recordings is a small winery in Paso Robles that was started by Andrew Jones, who began his wine journey as a nursery vine grower and has stepped foot in nearly all the vineyards on the Central Coast of California. All his vineyard expertise is translated into his bottled wine, Field Recordings and Wonderwall (and also wine-in-a-can under the labels Alloy Wine Works and Fiction). Wonderwall focuses on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from extreme Central Coast vineyards.
Kalinda can be a lot of things. It can be really good bulk wine that is available to us. It can be a wine that we help create from scratch from a winery we have a great relationship with and wants to work with us. Or in the case of the NV Kalinda North Coast Pinot Noir it can be from a famous and elusive winery that had some extra bits and pieces that they pieced together not because they didn't work for them but because the recent vintages just didn't produce enough fruit to make to make them financially viable for the "secret" winery. Bottom line is th... Read More »
Named for founder Rudy von Strasser, the "Rudy" label is best known around here for top-quality, well-priced Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. Look for fine tannins that complement good acidity and rich, red fruit flavors. 2014 is the 25th vintage for the von Strasser winery, during which time they've won the "Winery of the Year" award from Wine and Spirits magazine an astonishing 12 times.
Producer notes: "The 2014 Luli Pinot Noir has a beautiful combination of aromatics and texture. Deep ruby in color, the wine starts out with an exuberant display of wild strawberry, rich raspberry, earl grey tea, and dried rose petals. The cool summer temperatures of the Santa Lucia Highlands create these expansive aromatics. While the rugged, granite soils deliver the wine's texture - layers of tannins unfold into a broad finish with great depth of flavor and bright acidity."
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* A complex and complete wine with everything in place, this tastes delicious from the first whiff to the lingering finish. It has fresh-baked bread and light peach aromas and white-cherry flavors. Well balanced, it’s layered on a subtle level and harmonious." (12/2015) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Vibrant and focused, with aromas of strawberry and mineral leading to crisp flavors of raspberry, nectarine and spice." (12/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale orange. Orange zest and rhubarb on the spice-accented nose. Dry and chewy, with good clarity to its bitter red fruit and citrus pith flavors. ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Simple but classy aromas of red currant and raspberries show on the nose of this bottling from an all-star team of the appellation. The palate is light and easy, with tart cranberry and a large boost of tannic grip, a surprise for how light it feels. (MK)" (12/2015)
Grapes from sites throughout Central Coast were harvested at optimal maturity, then de-stemmed and gently placed into open-top stainless steel fermenters and cold soaked for 3 days prior to initiating fermentation. During fermentation, each tank is punched down two to three times per day. The fermented wine then was racked to oak for aging. During the aging process the wine lots were tasted throughout and blended back together.
Poppy hails from Monterey County, one of the coolest climates in California, where the long, slow growing season results in fragrant and supple Pinot that really stands out from the competition in the under $15 category. A long-standing staff and customer favorite, Poppy Pinot is typically fruity and easy to drink, perfect for entertaining or for Tuesday night takeout.
Ruby hued with aromas of fresh strawberry and jammy fruits. Boysenberry, blackberry and dark cherry envelop the palate with a supple and silky texture.
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is an impressive wine at the price and production level. Well made and light in color, it has streaks of cool-climate sandalwood, floral spice and soft blueberry and cherry marking a medium bodied palate." (10/2016) K&L Notes: Producer Notes: "Our Carneros Pinot Noir is medium-bodied with rich aromas of dark berry, plum, leather and tobacco. On entry, the wine displays plum and dark berry flavors with earthy and sweet oak notes throughout the mid-palate. The spicy finish lingers on the palate framed by fresh fruit and silky round tannins. Our Pinot Noir fruit ... Read More »
This wine takes its name from the son of Robb Talbott. The winery was purchased by Gallo in August 2015.
Robert Parker writes: "This fine winery continues to turn out well-made, fruity, mid-weight wines that are elegant, vibrant, and immensely satisfying."
For everyday drinking, JackHammer is your go-to Pinot Noir. Founded by California wine industry veterans Stephen Dooley and Sandy Garber with the express purpose of making delicious wine that won't break the bank. Juicy, fruity, and not to be missed!
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "Editors’ Choice 0 Another stunning deal on this annual bottling, this wine is jammy and fruity on the nose with buttered cherries and berry jam, yet layered with baking spice and wet clay minerality. Dried strawberries, black cherries and plums show on the palate, enhanced by a toasted clove, graphite, juniper and forest floor mintiness. (MK)" (8/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the reds, the 2014 Pinot Noir Huntington comes from various vineyards in Santa Barbara County and saw ten months in 30% new French oak. It’s a rock solid value that offers lots of spice box, cherry ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* Offering gorgeous floral scents of lavender, plum, smoke and raspberry, this casts a wide net of red and dark fruit, veering toward toasty oak on the finish. A nice ride from start to finish. (Web-2016) (JL)"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Pinot Noir is a bright ruby color and exhibits nice, straightforward cherry and strawberry notes as well as medium body, good purity and ripeness. (RP)" (3/2016)
Outlier is a fitting name for this outfit run by winemaker/owner Derek Rohlffs, who orchestrates his unique efforts from his home base in the middle of the San Francisco Bay on Treasure Island.
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* Red cherry, vanilla, chaparral scrub and cranberry puree show on the nose of this bottling from the longtime estate, and then come the intriguing olive and Middle Eastern spices. The palate hones in on that Mediterranean spice character, with Kalamata olives blending into lavender, exotic mulberry and thyme-laced cherry-plum sauce." (7/2016) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A well made, charming effort that offers lots of raspberry, cherry and spice aromas and flavors, the 2014 Classic Estate Pinot Noir (from various clones) is forward, nicely textured and ready to go. I ...Read More »
The Cherry Tart bottling pulls fruit from three distinctive vineyards in different parts of California: Sonoma Coast, Santa Lucia, and Santa Barbara. From the winery: "The 2014 Cherry Tart Pinot Noir jumps from the glass with aromas of raspberry, nutmeg, sandalwood and light smokiness, lifted by a floral note. Silky and delicate up front, with ripe acidity framing the rich, sweet flavors of red berries, red cherry and earth. Offers good fat without excess weight, finishing with a fine dusting of tannins and very good length."
The "Overlook" Pinot Noir is meant to capture the essence of that year's vintage by sourcing and blending the grapes from the finest cool climate vineyards in California. The 2013 is rich with cherry, spearmint, black tea, baking spice, raspberry and forest floor.
Toulouse’s scenic vineyard is established as a proven site that has produced 94 point wines. Their fruit is purchased by some of the most renowned winemakers in Anderson Valley, such as the McPhail Family Wines, Phillips-Hill Estates, and Baxter Winery.
Founded in 1972, the home base of Clos du Val has always been the Stags Leap District but they source Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from an estate property in Carneros. A perfect growing season in 2014 was only marred by an earthquake that left a large crack running through the middle of this estate vineyard, but the damage was only cosmetic. From the winemaker: "Brilliant red in color, this Pinot Noir has great clarity. Clove, nutmeg and bayleaf absolutely leap from the glass. This wine is just loaded with an array of spices. The complex nose leads to bold ... Read More »
Vinous: "Crushed flowers, sweet tobacco, dried cherries and mint are some of the notes that lift from the 2014 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard. Distinctly savory and aromatic, the Pinot is a very pretty wine. Ideally, it might have a bit more mid-palate richness to fill out its frame, but nevertheless, this is a strong debut from the Varner brothers. And the price? A steal in the realm of handmade wines. (AG)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: About the producer: "Varner Wine is devoted to the production of handmade Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Barbara and Paso Robles wines."
Allen Meadows - Burghound: "A cool, pure and restrained nose offers up appealingly fresh aromas of various red and dark berries that exhibit gentle hints of spice, floral and tea. There is good verve to the lighter weight (though by no means dilute) flavors that possess a lovely sense of detail, all wrapped in a dusty, clean and delicious finale that displays just a hint of austerity. I like the delivery and while there is the barest hint of a backend edge, this is really quite good in the context of a larger production volume wine." (4/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* From multiple vineyard ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir is a seductive style of Pinot, with a medium ruby color, notes of black cherry and raspberry, light tannin, and not much depth, but it is superficially attractive and supple. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (3/2016)
Named for founder Rudy von Strasser, the "Rudy" label is best known around here for top-quality, well-priced Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. This is the winery's first Pinot Noir from the Paicines, in the Central Coast. "This delightful Pinot Noir has a bouquet of fresh blackberries and blueberries," according to winery tasting notes. Look for fine tannins that complement good acidity and rich, red fruit flavors.
Inventory: Redwood City
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "While their generic cuvée, the 2014 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, comes from multiple cool-climate sites, the wine offers Burgundian, earthy forest floor notes, with hints of red cherries, pomegranate, raspberry, a touch of earth, underbrush and forest floor. Vibrant red fruits dominate in this elegant, medium-bodied style. This is their largest cuvée of Pinot Noir at 11,300 cases. Drink it over the next 3-4 years. (RP)" (4/2016)
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Pinot Noir is one of the most expressive wines in the La Crema range. Succulent black cherry, smoke, leather, licorice and menthol are all fused together in the glass, while firm beams of supporting tannin give the wine its energy and overall sense of proportion. The is a real overachiever, not to mention one of the gems in this set of terrific new releases from La Crema. (AG)" (8/2016) 91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This is an impressive wine at the price and production level, a great go-to for multiple occasions. It delivers earthy, candied strawberry around ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "Freshness rather than fruity volume is the major message here, and, if the wine is light on richness, it gets good marks for vigor and its close-to piquant, red cherry and strawberry traits. Its acidy inflection becomes more pronounced at the finish, and it may prove to be a little too tart for some tastes, but it will make useful drinking with entrees that call for a crisp Rosé with decidedly zesty acidity as a mate." (7/2016) Vinous: "The 2015 Rosé Hopkins Ranch is crisp and refreshing, with plenty of cranberry, orange zest and floral notes. The 2015 is absolutel ...Read More »
Sourced from Mendocino's Yorkville Highlands, the Sonoma Coast, and a hillside vineyard in the Russian River Valley, this cool climate Pinot Noir reflects winemaker Derek Rohlffs' classic approach. The three lots are vinified separately and the approach in the cellar is low-intervention. According to the winery: "Aromas of cherry, herbs, and rose petal dominate the nose, while on the palate the wine is medium bodied with a silky smooth texture and a refreshing acid on the finish. Enjoy with pork tenderloin, salmon and poultry dishes where the crispness ... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Moving to the reds and offering good Pinot Noir typicity, for not much buck, the 2014 Pinot Noir from Nielson offers forward notes of cherries, strawberries, spice and dried herbs in a medium-bodied, supple, thoroughly enjoyable package. Drink it over the coming couple of years. (JD)" (8/2016) Wine Enthusiast: "Fairly light in aromas, this bottling shows red cherry and raspberry fruit lifted with an herbal edge of crushed thyme. The palate is also dainty in flavors, clinging to wet slate and cement minerality more so than fruit, although touches of cranberry and hibiscus no ...Read More »
Bottled unfined and unfiltered, this wine finds its roots on the 18-acre ranch that sits in the foothills of the Los Padres Mountains--a cooler site that boasts loamy soils accented with gravel. This wine was made 50% whole cluster in neutral French Oak barrels.
Move over Bacchus, Oeno is here and she's ready for her time in the sun. The Greek goddess of wine is this project's spiritual patron, created by industry pro Amy Atwood. Unable to find affordable domestic wines made with native yeasts and neutral oak, she sought out California winemakers who would make these wines to her specifications.
Poppy Reserve hails from the Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the coolest climates in California and in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The long, slow growing season results in a fragrant and complex Pinot that really stands out from the competition in the under $20 category. Fruity and spicy, with a hint of earth, this is a versatile and food-friendly wine.
With fruit sourced from three vineyards, this wine spends 11 months in neutral French oak barrels before bottling. 13.8% ABV
Vinous: "The 2014 Pinot Noir Hometown is a refreshing, light-weight wine to drink now and over the next few years. Crushed flowers and sweet red cherry fruit are the signatures. In 2014, the Hometown is on the lighter side. As such, I would prefer to drink it sooner rather than later. In 2014, the blend includes a dollop of Valdiguie. (AG)" (9/2016)
90 points Vinous: "Deep red with a bright rim. Aromas of fresh red berries, blood orange and mace, with floral and spice nuances coming up in the glass. Lively, focused redcurrant and bitter cherry flavors show good clarity and a seamless texture, with a hint of white pepper adding bite. The taut, racy finish repeats the red fruit note and shows just a trace of dusty tannins. (JR)" (9/2015) K&L Notes: From the Winemaker Larry Brooks; The 2013 vintage strongly favored the Winery blocks as 70% of the wine is from there. These are the youngest vines on the Estate, so that may be the corre... Read More »
As the name indicates, this Pinot Noir is vinified entirely in stainless steel. After hand sorting and destemming, the berries are fermented a style similar to carbonic maceration, resulting in a very aromatic, bright wine.