2015 Black Kite "Sierra Mar Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

SKU #1399560 93 points Vinous

 Brilliant red. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes ripe raspberry, cherry-cola, star anise and rose oil, along with smoky mineral and vanilla overtones. Shows deeper dark fruit character on the palate, offering sappy smoke-laced black raspberry, licorice and spicecake flavors that are enlivened by a spine of juicy acidity. Closes with repeating florality, fine-grained tannins and excellent, spice-tinged persistence. (JR)  (11/2017)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 There's a compelling mix of sweeter fruit and dry earth on the nose of this bottling, with strawberry compote and rusty rock aromas along with a vanilla-laced brioche. The palate loses the ripe fruit a bit, instead showing tighter and fresh flavors of black raspberry with anise, white pepper and sagebrush, proving quite sleek and restrained in style.  (3/2018)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Here, again, the ripeness and relatively open stance that typify Pinots from the Santa Lucia Highlands come through clearly, yet, for all of its immediacy and outgoing fruit, the wine shows a nice bit of balancing brightness that wards off any suggestion of heaviness. It has plenty of body and tactile weight, and, while arguably fairly direct, it is a well-made Pinot that should show a little more range and refinement if set aside to rest for a couple of years. *One Star*  (2/2018)

K&L Notes

Winemaker's Notes: "A stellar example of both varietal and vintage, our 2015 Sierra Mar Vineyard Pinot Noir makes an immediate impression with enticing aromatics that hint at the mouth-filling flavor to follow. A heady mix of red fruits and sweet florals gains Bing cherry, raspberry and enticing tropical notes once the wine opens up. The generous, concentrated palate is buoyed by bright acidity and firm tannins suggesting this might be one of our most age-worthy wines yet. Enjoy upon release or cellar for up to 15 years."

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Price: $49.95
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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 Lucia Highlands