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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine Spectator: "Light and sleek, with pretty raspberry and orange tea notes wafting through the silky texture and lingering gently. Drink now through 2018." (8/2015) K&L Notes: The 2013 A to Z Pinot Noir leads with aromas of cherries, raspberries, and blackberries, developing to iris, blueberries, strawberries and minerals. A beautiful attack has vibrant red fruit flavors and floral ntoes, then deepens with hints of blood orange and blueberry jam. Ripe tanins are balanced by perfect acidity and the mid-palate reveals spice, tobacco and earth notes adding richness and complexity. The... Read More »
In 1971, Ginny and David Adelsheim purchased the 19 acres that would become Quarter Mile Lane Vineyard. They shared a dream with a handful of families that Oregon’s climate and land could one day produce serious wines. A home was built, vines planted, and in 1978, the first commercial wines were produced. Over four decades, Adelsheim Vineyard grew up with Oregon’s wine industry.
This is a lovely pinot noir from Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery. They're located in the up-and-coming Corralitos area in the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation and close to the cool Monterey Bay. One-time residents of the area might recognize this as another delicious product from the founders of the original Alfaro's Bakery! From the producer: "Ruby in color, medium in body. Bright cherry and raspberry on the nose, with abundant Bing cherry, spice and vanilla flavors on the palate. This wine has well-integrated tannins and refres... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Winemaker's Notes: "Destemmed in 1¼ ton lots, Jim’s light touch in the winery allows the intrinsic character of the wine to blossom. Passive temperature management ensures spontaneous fermentation proceeds and is monitored and guided by sensory analysis, gentle extraction techniques and low peak temperatures. Immediately upon reaching dryness, the lots are gently pressed in a half-ton wood bladder press and settle 2-4 weeks before being transferred to 5%-10% new French oak barrels for twenty months. They are only racked to prepare for bottling. Maresh Vi... Read More »
Excited by the quality of their 2013 Pinot Noirs, the winery describes this multi-vineyard blend. "Strawberries and raspberries aromas slowly climb out of the glass. Overtime more of the anise and clove will mix with these other aromas. Currently the wine is young with mouth filling intensity. Complexity will increase as the wine ages, but this wine should stay youthful for 6 or 7 years. Like all Au Bon Climat wines, this is a food wine."
According to the winery: "Great value! A particularly wonderful vintage of this wine. Aromas and flavors of strawberries and raspberries are joined by anise and clove notes with mouth filling intensity."
Antonio Galloni: "Banshee's 2013 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is supple, racy and flat-out delicious, especially for the money. Raspberries, crushed flowers and soft spices linger on the effortless, gracious finish. Drink this soft Pinot over the next few years. This is one of the best values readers will find in Sonoma Pinot Noir. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015) K&L Notes: 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 fro... Read More »
Bench is one of the labels of Brack Mountain Wine Company, which sources this Pinot Noir mostly from the renowned Sangiacomo vineyard in the Sonoma Coast AVA. From the winery: "Deep ruby purple in color, this wine offers intense, dark forest fruit and notes of plum on the nose. The palate is tightly focused with bright currant, cola and cedar. The mouthful is supple with well integrated tannins that provide the integrity for this noteworthy wine."
Antonio Galloni: "Vivid red. High-pitched red berry and floral pastille scents show a spicy overtone. On the palate, peppery redcurrant and strawberry flavors deepen and stretch out with air while retaining an urgent character. Closes clean and lively, leaving a subtly sweet red berry note behind. This label, which owner Brian Talley is quick to say is not a second label for Talley, has steadily improved in recent years and the wines, without exception, deliver big bang for the buck. While it might not be exactly correct to call them mini-Talleys, the comparison is apt as ...Read More »
According to Rusty Gaffney at the Pinot File: "Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Subdued, but pleasant aromas of lemon tart, pastry cream and nutty oak. Nicely composed with charming flavors of lemon, peach and pear with a kiss of oak. Silky in the mouth, with lingering fruit presence on the uplifting finish. Score: 90" (07/2014)
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "* Editors' Choice * This is made from Pinot Noir grapes grown in two unlikely places in the Napa Valley: the Foss Valley near Atlas Peak and Spring Mountain. There is incredible deliciousness going on in this ever-so-lightly hued wine that is vibrantly crisp in grapefruit rind and earthy cranberry and raspberry. With the slightest salinity on the back palate, it remains thirst-quenching and memorable from start to finish." (6/2015)
From the winery: "The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a blend from highly regarded vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Black raspberry, anise, and spicy notes of nutmeg,cinnamon. Mid-palate burst of balanced acid and tannin with flavors of black cherry, cranberry and spice with a crisp full mouth finish. A successful blend from the best of the Willamette Valley 2013 vintage."
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir aims to be a representation of the Willamette Valley, the fruit sourced from 12 vineyards. It has a pretty strawberry and red cherry-scented bouquet that is simple but nicely focused. The palate is quite pointed on the entry with tart red cherries and quite high acidity, fresh in the mouth, but needing a little more substance on the lightly spiced finish. (NM)" (3/2015)
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This single-vineyard selection from the Jackson Family’s Santa Maria Valley winery kicks off with scents ranging from red, blistered tomato to pomegranate reduction and mole sauce. On the palate, flavors vary from sweeter berry to tart cherry, with a savory, roasted pork element rounding out the wine." (10/2014)
According to the winery: "All wines at Chalk Hill are estate bottled, but our philosophy goes beyond the conventional definition. Each of our 60 vineyard blocks are tended throughout the year individually. The grapes are then hand harvested, parcel by parcel and fermented in small, distinct lots. This meticulous handling of the vines, grapes and finished wine allows the ultimate expression of Chalk Hill's many and varied terroirs."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Three Vineyard is much more refined on the nose compared to the 2012, with well-behaved crushed strawberry and Morello scents neatly aligned. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit, moderate acidity and a slightly chewy but appealing finish." (3/2015)
Wine Spectator: "Intense and concentrated, with dark berry, earth, graphite and cedar pushing in several directions. Fans out and gains tannic muscle on the finish. Drink now through 2025." (3/2015)
From the winery: "The 2014 vintage boasts a clean and refreshing mouthfeel, full of delicious strawberry and raspberry flavors, with hints of green tea. It’s hard to resist the bright cherry and rhubarb aromas that leap straight out of the glass. This flavorful rosé is sure to pair well with grilled chicken thighs, asparagus-cheese tartines, herb-infused flatbread or roasted beet salad. With just over 250 cases produced, it’s best to stock up before it’s too late!"
Inventory: Redwood City
Founded in 1983 by Claiborne (Clay) Thompson and Fredericka Churchill, former teachers at the University of Michigan (Clay specialized in Old Norse Languages and Literatures and Fredericka taught German), the winery focuses on Alsatian varietals in the first straw bale winery in California. Grapes are purchased from premium growers around the cool Edna Valley, with 2/3 of the production being Dry Riesling and Dry Gewürztraminer. At Claiborne & Churchill, traditional European winemaking techniques prevail, including extensive use of barrel-fermentation an... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Lovely aromatics introduce this approachable young Pinot. Scents and flavors of strawberries, raspberries and cherries abound, coming into focus in a generous midpalate. The flavors hang on beautifully, set against framing tannins and supporting acidity. The finish brings a pretty touch of baking spices." (6/2015)
From the producer: "Our 2014 Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir’s aroma is layered with fresh red fruits, rose petal, and vanilla. The body is redolent of damson plums, red apple skin and bing cherries, with a silky texture and smooth tannins."
From the winery: "With a gorgeous hue of pale pink, our 2014 Rosé jumps out of the glass with crisp red fruit flavors. The supple texture is backed by a vibrant freshness and appealing acidity, making this a wonderfully versatile food wine. The 2014 vintage started dry but abundant February rain came just in time to break the winter draught. Warm spring temperatures encouraged an early budbreak that kept vineyard development ahead of schedule through the entire season. Our harvest was condensed beginning September 3rd and concluding on September 24th. Fo... Read More »
Two of three sites sourced for this wine were farmed specifically for rosé, not as a riper, saignée cuvée. The winery's notes: "We are very pleased with the result from our firth rosé of Pinot Noir. We are again reminded of the more Sancerre style Loire rosé wines with the distinct mineral and briny profile. The wine is showing floral and spice nose with savory and wild strawberry aspects. The palate mineral rich, like wet rock, and intense in strawberry and Rainier cherry. The wine is light and crisp and has an intense wild pink salmon color. Out of the... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A new, lower-priced cuvée for DDO, this uses both estate and purchased grapes. Chocolaty, soft and fresh, it is a graceful wine with generous raspberry and cherry fruit. Moderate acidity leads into flavors that are elegant and bright, with a gentle, lingering finish. Let it breathe for at least an hour for best results." (4/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is matured 100% in oak for 11 months of which 20% is new. It is a little more backward on the nose compared to the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir '13, probably because it had only recently been bottl ...Read More »
According to the winemaker: "Always one of my favorite bottlings, this year's Eola Amity blend greets one with dense and pure black and red cherry and hints of cinnamon. Those cherry flavors follow through to the lively mid-palate where fresh herbs and plum flavors join, followed by a silky finish."
Elegant and Burgundian in style, organically and dry-farmed, Evesham Wood's wines are simply gorgeous examples of Oregon Pinot. From the winery: "Very forward with plum, dark cherry, red cherry with a slightly sweet smokiness reminiscent of a toasted marshmallow. It will be fun to watch this wine evolve over the next five years."
According to the winery: "This rosé is vinified differently from most: fully barrel fermented in neutral oak, it is aged 6 months before bottling. Full-flavored and rich, with creamy strawberry notes. It is balanced with a lingering finish that lasts just long enough for you to pour yourself another glass.
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is a pretty, forward and classy effort that gives up plenty of strawberry and sweet red berry fruit, spice and hints of flowers to go with a medium-bodied, supple, beautifully textured feel on the palate. Aged 12 months in 46% new French oak, it won-t make old bones, but will dish out plenty of pleasure over the coming 3-4 years. This lineup, made by Blair Fox, is packed with outstanding wines. Most represent superb values." (8/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Fess Parker's 2012 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is a supple, forward wine to drink now a ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "Quite dark in color and suggesting a fair sense of extract with a tilt to ripe cherries and plenty of size on the palate, this somewhat uneven youngster turns out to be a bit stiff in feel with obvious acidity providing a tart counterpoint to its short-lived sensations of suppleness. The richness first promised is hard to find at the finish, and, while it may find better integration with time, it is a wine that needs a few years of age and bit of good luck if it is to grow into real beauty." (2/2015) Wine & Spirits: "Ripe and grapey, this lasts on simple, sun-warmed blue f ...Read More »
On the other side of Mendocino County from Anderson Valley is Potter Valley, farther north and higher in elevation. Enormous blackberry bushes grow quite well here, and the grapes are pretty good, too. The winemaker's notes on this vintage: "I don’t believe in hands-off winemaking because I believe that growing grapes and making wine by nature is pretty hands-on, but when I see and taste good grapes, I feel a responsibility if not an obligation to stay out of the way. That is the case here. The 2014 Potter Valley Pinot Noir is 50% Pommard and 50% 115 fro... Read More »
From the winery website, "When we say Fossil Point rocks - we mean it! Calcareous shale and coarse sand were uplifted from the floor of an ancient ocean and then weathered into place over millennia. It became a place of deep beauty and vast potential. Fossil Point is a rugged headland with sweeping views of the coastline stretching from Port San Luis to the Guadalupe Dunes. The Point is just five miles due west of the vineyards that are its namesake. Sunny afternoons are cooled by marine breezes sweeping off the Pacific Ocean, along Fossil Point to the v... Read More »
From the winery: "Frank Family Vineyard’s 2013 Carneros Pinot Noir has a bright ruby core and opens with aromas of black cherries, sassafras, raspberry, dried fruits, mushrooms and spice. The palate is full-bodied, generously loaded with fresh blueberry compote flavors and lush savory notes that lead to roasted figs. The tannins are refined and provide elegance and structure."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Oaky and full bodied, this conveys a strong impression of big berry fruit. Spice and herbal components are underplayed, letting the fruit come forth in all its glory. This is an attractive and ready-to-drink wine." (3/2015)
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Small in production and clearly defined from Carneros, this Blanc de Noirs blends 92% Pinot Noir with 8% Chardonnay to great effect. Pretty in peach color, the intense flavors are a combination of fresh-cut herb and strawberry kirsch." (12/2014) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* On the one hand bright and fruity and on the other showing a bit of yeasty richness even as it flirts ever so slightly with candied cuteness, this effervescent offering is lifted by its youth and finds a very comfortable place in the mainstream of affable, easy-to-drink California Blanc de Noirs that a ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Impressive, showing density, concentration, depth and persistence, with layers of blackberry, mocha, cedar, spice and berry pie. Finishes with a strong presence." (10/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Brilliant ruby-red. Perfumed scents of raspberry, cherry, candied rose and peppery spices, with a smoky mineral undertone. Offers a gently sweet red fruit character on the palate, picking up a floral element with air. This pure, open-knit Pinot finishes with good sweetness and focus and gentle tannic grip. (JR)" (6/2015) Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Solidity and fruity muscle take precedence over anything ...Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Pinot Noir Hometown is a very pretty entry-level offering from Hitching Post. Partial aging in stainless steel keeps the flavors bright and nuanced throughout, with plenty of sweet red cherry, cherry pit, mint and spice nuances that come through. A dollop of Valdiguie rounds out the blend. At $21 a bottle, the Hometown is one of the best values in California Pinot Noir. Frank Ostini is quite humble in talking about how Sideways basically changed his life and made his Hitching Post II restaurant a hugely popular tourist destination, which in turn ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse