Steve's new winery is a slight diversion from his prior one. The Kistler wines come from prime vineyards throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties, but the name Occidental (which comes from the Latin word for "western") gives a clue to the difference in these wines, as the vineyards for Steve's new project come from vineyards that lie in the far western reaches of Sonoma County, near the coast. The vineyard sites were chosen so the grapes would achieve total maturity at lower sugar levels, yet maintain fresh acidity.
Steve Kistler had already taken notice of this cool, wind-swept region in the early 2000s, as he planted two vineyards in the area and bottled them under the "Cuvee Elizabeth" and "Cuvee Catherine" designations for the Kistler wines. The microclimate of this area results in a wine with more moderate alcohol levels, more freshness, yet continue to be full-flavored. This Occidental bottling comes from 3 of his other vineyards: Bodega Headlands, Occidental Station, and Bodega Ridge. This wine shares the same winemaking techniques as his vineyard-designated pinot noirs, and is fermented with native yeasts and native Malo-Lactic bacteria.
We have been touting this latest label from Steve Kistler for several vintages, but now the critics are beginning to take note. Wine Spectator has just given this wine 95 points, and named it as one of their "Hot Wines" in their latest Insider Weekly publication.
WINE SPECTATOR 95 POINTS - "Offers lots of energy, with a burst of plum and blackberry fruit backed by bouncy anise and bramble accents, all carried by fresh, lively acidity. Light savory details add range on the finish, as the fruit takes an encore. A bit showy in style, but most folks won't complain about that. Drink now through 2030."