2012 Brewer-Clifton "Hapgood" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1166461 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A big, rich effort, the 2012 Pinot Noir Hapgood (which lies close to Machado Vineyard) offers up loads of ripe red fruits, toasted spice, licorice and ground herbs to go with a medium to full-bodied, textured and expansive feel on the palate. It doesn’t skimp on texture and has plenty of sweet, velvety tannin that come through on the finish. While it’s hard to resist now, it will evolve nicely over the coming 5-7 years. Steve Clifton and Greg Brewer continue to produce a bevy of beautiful releases from the Sta. Rita Hills. Looking at their latest releases, their 2012 Pinot Noirs are superb and check in near the top of the vintage. While the Chardonnays are solid, and in some cases outstanding, I thought they lacked concentration and had too much acidity for their own good. Looking at the Pinot Noirs, which as a whole I found more successful than the Chardonnays, these were all harvested on the same date, fermented with 100% whole cluster and aged in neutral oak. (JD)  (8/2014)

93 points Vinous

 Vivid ruby-red. A highly expressive bouquet of fresh raspberry, cola, rose oil and incense, with subtle orange zest and Asian spice notes adding lift. Silky, sweet and precise, offering nervy raspberry and blood orange flavors that flesh out and deepen with air. Shows outstanding clarity and thrust on the long, spicy finish, with just a hint of fine-grained, nicely integrated tannins. The 2013 chardonnays here were being prepared for bottling and were not in a state to taste so I was only able to try Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton's entry-level bottling, which was perhaps the best "basic" wine I tasted during the course of my trip. Taking that into account, I expect that the single-vineyard offerings, which are scheduled to be released in January, should be high-priority buys for fans of this winery. As usual, the 2012 pinots were made entirely with whole clusters and show the flamboyant fruit of the vintage to full effect, but the wines have more than enough acidity and framework to suggest that they'll age gracefully. Brewer thinks that they'll be appealing to those "who drink pinot for its sex appeal" as well as those "who want them to show a little more mystery" down the road. (JR)  (12/2014)

93 points Wine Enthusiast

 A bit lighter in color than the producer's other 2012 bottling, this shows aromas of fresh-pressed raspberry juice, cola, white sage, graphite and a hint of wet asphalt. It's light and airy on the palate, with more raspberry and pomegranate fruit as well as sage, thyme and anise. It provides great balance between ripe juice and herbal seasonings. (MK)  (7/2015)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Aromas of fresh raspberry, blueberry and boysenberry are intense, snappy and vibrant, with zesty acidity, firm tannins and a stemmy edge that keeps the flavors on the palate. Drink now through 2023. (JL)  (11/2014)

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Price: $79.99
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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.


- 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.
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 (%): 15