2014 Comartin "R-Bar-R Ranch" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1323823 95 points Wine Enthusiast

 Adam Comartin heads 1,100 feet up into the mountains to source fruit for this tremendous wine, which offers wild cherry, sage, and eucalyptus scents on the nose. Ripe black plum and strawberry fruit lead the palate, followed by acid-driven waves of juniper, pine and bay leaf, finishing with a menthol-like sensation. (MK)  (7/2017)

K&L Notes

Winemaker's Notes: "A decadent Pinot Noir with rich aromas and flavors. Strawberry and cherry pie notes with hints of spice and nutmeg. A seamless finish with oak and vanilla tones. Santa Cruz Mountains has a long-standing history for producing world-class Pinot Noir. The steep terrain, high elevation, proximity to the ocean and maritime fog are the perfect combination for developing balanced wines. The R-Bar-R vineyard is perched at 1,100ft at the southern tip of the mountain range near Mt Madonna overlooking the Pacific Ocean (10 miles from ocean). This extreme location and climate produce a vibrant Pinot Noir with beautiful berry and earth flavors. The wine was destemmed only & fermented as whole berries to preserve fruit and not over extract the seed tannin. Fermentation was conducted cold to preserve aromas and malolactic fermentation completed naturally to add roundness to the palate. Lastly, giving the wine extended time in barrel (25% new French oak) allowed the wine to soften and create a beautiful finish."

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Price: $29.99
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By: Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/30/2017 | Send Email
While Comartin Cellars may not be a household name yet, it is sure to hit your radar very soon, especially by exhibiting wines like this phenomenal Pinot Noir. Winemakers are scooping up acres of Santa Cruz Mountains vineyards and tasting the wines makes it very clear why this is such a special area gaining fast recognition. Comartin Cellars exhibits the best of what the Santa Cruz AVA has to offer, with incredibly bright, vibrant fruit, subtle earthy undertones and a Burgundian-style leanness and elegance underlying. I'm so excited to see wines like this coming out of the area and know we will be seeing more great things from Adam Comartin very soon.

By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/30/2017 | Send Email
Here's a wine that appeared on our radar solely through a personal connection between our buyer Ryan Woodhouse and winemaker Adam Comartin, and in my experience these are often the most exciting deals we find (although, I won't lie: it helps when there's a 95 point review attached to the wine). True California Pinot Noir lovers will want to take note of what is perhaps the best under-the-radar gem we've uncovered in the state this calendar year. The Comartin is a dark-fruited, juicy, and fleshy wine with loads of Santa Cruz Mountain character, meaning herbs, brush, and hints of savory spice on the finish. Adam did whole-berry fermentation for the R-Bar-R, which added in a bright, lively fruit element that explodes on your tongue with the first sip. I'm glad there's a nice score to grab everyone's attention, but the truth is we would have featured this wine either way. It's a sensational Pinot Noir from a local site that will definitely have customers coming back for seconds!

By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/18/2017 | Send Email
For many years winemaker Adam Comartin was part of the team at Testarossa Winery in Los Gatos that has produced so many fantastic and highly acclaimed wines from some of California's top Pinot Noir vineyard sites. Now Adam and his wife have set out to forge their own path with the namesake label "Comartin Cellars." A Pinot Noir and Grenache enthusiast, Adam seeks out unique vineyard sites and makes tiny batches of wine in a small urban winery in San Carlos, CA. His intricate knowledge of California's Central Coast and wealth of local connections means that he has access to some stunning little vineyard blocks such as this one (R-Bar-R Ranch) in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Whole-berry fermentation keeps the wine bright, aromatic and pure. The palate has abundant silky, ripe fruit but there is also an energetic, vibrant feel about the wine with wild bramble and bay laurel lift. A lick of quality French oak frames the wine with delicate but exotic spice.

Additional Information:


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 Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some Rhône varietals prosper as well.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.2