2012 Mail Road Wines "Mt. Carmel Vineyard-Blocks 2, 3, 5" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1226444 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Leading off the reds, the 2012 Pinot Noir Mt. Carmel Vineyard 2 3 5 is up with the creme de la creme of the vintage. Completely destemmed and aged 11 months in 42% new French oak, it has awesome purity and vibrancy, with classy blackberry, raspberry, rose petal and assorted spring flower-like aromas and flavors. Give this beauty another year in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2022. Another Matt Dees project, with Ruben Solorzano managing the vineyard, Mail Road Wines is focused exclusively on the Mount Carmel Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills, and they have long-term contracts on 3-4 different blocks. These beauties will knock your socks off and they were easily some of the top wines I was able to taste for this report! The 2013s, which were all tasted out of barrel, should be close in quality to the 2012s. (JD)  (8/2014)

95 points Vinous

 The 2012 Pinot Noir 2,3,5 Mt. Carmel Vineyard bursts from the glass with a rush of dark red and blue fruits. Spice and floral notes appear later, adding depth and nuance. Overall, the 2,3,5 is deep and explosive to the core, with quite a bit more ripeness and pure resonance than Matt Dees's other wines. Then again, this sun-drenched, south-facing site is clearly suited to making wines of superb textural richness and pure depth. Still a bit reticent, the 2012 could use another year or two in bottle. There is so much to like here. The 2,3,5 is a blend of fruit from Blocks 2, 3 and 5. Mail Road Wines is the new project of Ronald Piazza and Michael Palmer, who own Mt. Carmel Vineyard, one of the most dramatic, rugged sites in the Sta. Rita Hills. Piazza and Palmer brought on winemaker Matt Dees, who has turned out an absolutely spectacular set of wines that might very well redefine what this site is capable of. The Mail Road Pinots are a bit riper in style than what readers have come to expect from Dees. Most of the fruit is destemmed, while new oak is around 33-50%. I only tasted one Chardonnay, the 2013, but it was enough to get a sense of what is to come from this site, which was originally developed by Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton. I can't say enough good things about these new releases from Mail Road. Readers who can source the wines are in for a thrilling experience. It's as simple as that.  (6/2014)

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Price: $89.99
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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 RhĂ´ne blends.