2015 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir

SKU #1305884 90 points Vinous

 The Banshee 2015 Pinot Noir (Sonoma County) is gorgeous. Ripe dark cherry, plum, spice and leather are front and center. Drink this juicy, exuberant Sonoma Pinot over the next handful of years. This is a fabulous wine for the money and one of the best values in California Pinot readers will come across. Once again, I was quite impressed with the wines I tasted from Noah Dorrance, Baron Ziegler and Steve Graf at Banshee. As terrific as the single vineyard wines are, I find nearly as much pleasure in the appellation level wines and the Rosé, all of which remain very fairly priced. The wines show a little less reduction than they used to, which in my view allows the personality of each site to really shine through. Unfortunately, only one of the 2015 single vineyard Pinots was bottled at the time of my tastings, but I hope to taste the rest of the Banshee lineup soon. (AG)  (3/2017)

K&L Notes

With every new release of Banshee we become more and more impressed with just how dedicated to quality these three young men, and the team around them, are. This year sees the Banshee family of wines moving their production into a new winemaking facility in Sonoma, adding even more well known, "name brand" vineyards into their mix and fleshing out their already robust amount of releases with a few new gems. But the thing that started it all for them, the Sonoma PN, is back and better than ever. From 17 different vineyards, numerous clones and 81% Sonoma Coast fruit, this Pinot rests for 11 months in 20% new oak. As typical with the 2015 vintage the production was considerably down due to the small berry size and uneven fruit set but rest assured that the fruit that did come in was concentrated, flavorful and of the highest quality.

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Price: $23.99
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Staff Image By: Elsa Baez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/25/2017 | Send Email
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This is the best value California Pinot you'll find at K&L. The winemakers at Banshee deliver, yet again, a fantastic Pinot from the Sonoma Coast. Notes of dark fruit, baking spices, silky tannins and a juicy wine to boot! You'll be drinking this phenomenal Pinot beyond holiday dinners.

Staff Image By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/15/2017 | Send Email
Beautiful and reserves, for California Pinot. Red fruits, floral hints, touch of spice, easy soft tannins. It is hard not to like this wine.

Staff Image By: Joe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/19/2017 | Send Email
Another great vintage of Banshee Pinot Noir. The 2015 vintage was marked by lower harvest yields due to drought; the quality of fruit was still superb. Most of the fruit is sourced from the Sonoma Coast appellation, with a multitude of single-vineyard sites being featured in the final blend. In doing so, this provides a high-quality California Pinot Noir for under $25. Initial notes of intense raspberry and fresh cranberry. Underlying Saigon cinnamon and rose petals following. Palate leads with bold cranberry, dark cherry, hibiscus, and subtle hints of vanilla and baking spice. Dark berry and plum as well.

Staff Image By: Jim Barr | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/7/2017 | Send Email
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We have a string of great vintages taking place this decade, starting with 2012 harvest and up to 2016 that I honestly believe has been unmatched in the history of California winemaking. The closest decade that gave us close to the strength of these five vintages was the mid-1990s (1994 to 1997) with some real exceptional wines being produced. Again, starting with 2012 and thus far ending with 2016, the wines that are coming from the one vintage that I have anxiously been waiting for is 2015, which I consider is the best of those five years and, in particular, the Pinot Noirs from the cooler coastal appellations (Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, and Santa Lucia Mountains). The Banshee Pinots have always been outstanding productions and at very reasonable prices, but this 2015 is breathtaking and an absolute steal at the price we are offering it for. Deeply colored, although it is only 13.6% alcohol, the nose gushes forth opulent aromas of dried rose petals, strawberry, black cherry, and plum-like characteristics with undertones of truffles, structured by forest floor to stone-like slate minerality. All of this carries over to a broad, viscous, concentrated, fleshy mouthfeel that is amazingly deep and complex with finely etched tannins, leading to a silky, round, and elegant finish that refuses to go away. Although this Gem drinks incredibly well now, especially with decanting and airing, Rusty and I plan to put several cases of this great Pinot down for another eight to fifteen years or longer; it will only get better, believe it or not. A GREAT VALUE!!! ***** 13.6% ABV *****
Drink from 2017 to 2030

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/5/2017 | Send Email
This year’s Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir is somewhat of a departure from the norm-- not in quality, as this is still at the epitome of quality for Pinot Noir of this price point--but in style. In 2015 Mother Nature gave everyone in the wine business a challenge, but Banshee passed the test, making an ethereal, feminine styled Pinot Noir that bucks the trend of super concentrated and sometimes overly intense young wines from this vintage. They managed the tannins and fruit concentration to near perfection in this difficult year and produced a wine of delicacy and freshness. Supple and lacy on the palate, this wine has a wealth of floral undertones and well-placed blue fruits, all the while running a ribbon of cardamom and fennel spice through the appealing blueberry-driven finish. Banshee 2015 Pinot is less about bombast and primary fruit as has been the case in the past and is a more fully formed, and realized, Pinot at the highest level of quality on the market for under $25.

Staff Image By: Jim Boyce | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/5/2017 | Send Email
The team at Banshee has exceeded all expectations yet again for their Sonoma County Pinot Noir! How they are able to add more high quality sites each vintage, yet keep the price under $25, is a feat itself, but means nothing if the wine isn't good. This 2015 is beautiful, with less forward ripe fruit than past vintages, instead showing a prettier, floral and spicy side of coastal Pinot Noir.
Top Value!

Staff Image By: Mari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/2/2017 | Send Email
While the guys at Banshee are light-hearted and like to have a lot of fun, they also know how to make a seriously great wine! We've been following the Banshee story from the very beginning and while all of the Sonoma County Pinots have been great, I think this is my favorite vintage to date! This Pinot hits all the notes for me; it's expressively aromatic with beautiful high-tone floral and red fruit notes, there's plenty of ripe, sweet fruit on the mid-palate, there's spice and copious amounts of it, but what strikes me the most about this wine is the purity and honesty of this wine. This Pinot Noir is one of the most well-rounded and balanced Pinots under $25 that I've ever had!

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/2/2017 | Send Email
Banshee truly delivers top quality Pinot Noirs that I love drinking and I love handing to customers. This 2015 Pinot is beautifully elegant with feminine and floral notes that just jump out of the glass. Rose petal, plum and red cherries are paired with black pepper, baking spice and well-integrated oak. Delicious and drinkable now!

Staff Image By: Ivan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/1/2017 | Send Email
Banshee consistently makes impressively concentrated Pinots at disproportionately low price points. For under $25, the entry-level 2015 is a seriously focused Pinot with the power, complexity, and simultaneous finesse that defines excellent California Pinot. Showing great complexity at the entry level, it delivers a vivid core of tart cherries and black raspberry, pie crust, subtle herbs, dried flowers, warm spice, and subtle pepperiness. Acidity is integrated and bracing while silky tannins keep the finish persistent. Deeply enjoyable, especially for the price!

Staff Image By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/20/2017 | Send Email
Banshee wines are always of exemplary quality, but this particular vintage of the Sonoma County Pinot Noir is special. The palate is intense and bold, with bright floral notes of rose and hibiscus. Deep smoky aromas of white pepper and paprika and tart cherry-plum create an immersive, sensory experience to relish!

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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:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 13.6