Pinot Noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Pinot Noir grapes are grown around the world, mostly in the cooler regions, but the grape is chiefly associated with the Burgundy region of France. Other regions that have gained a reputation for Pinot Noir include the Willamette Valley of Oregon, the Carneros, Central Coast and Russian River AVAs of California, the Walker Bay wine region of South Africa, Tasmania and Yarra Valley in Australia and the Central Otago, Martinborough and Marlborough wine regions of New Zealand. Pinot Noir is also a primary variety used in sparkling wine production in Champagne and other wine regions. It is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine. The grape's tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot that require diligent canopy management. The thin-skins and low levels of phenolic compounds lends Pinot to producing mostly lightly colored, medium bodied low tannin wines that can often go through dumb phases with uneven and unpredictable aging. When young, wines made from Pinot Noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wines age, Pinots have the potential to develop vegetal and "barnyard" aromas that can contribute to the complexity of the wine.
- Item #: i_213760Bottle Size: 750mlANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 93 POINTS - "Vivid red. Expansive aromas of ripe red berries, candied flowers and baking spices, with a smoky mineral topnote that gains strength as the wine opens up. Coats the palate with appealing sweet raspberry and cherry liqueur flavors that tighten up and become spicier on the back half. Shows excellent clarity and floral lift on an impressively long finish that's shaped by fine-grained, even tannins."
- Item #: i_220720Bottle Size: 750mlANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "Failla's 2017 Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard is powerful and deep on the palate, with tremendous resonance that carries through to the super-expressive finish. Succulent dark red fruit, hard candy, leather and exotic spice notes build in this potent, beautifully textured Pinot, with a dollop of whole clusters perfume that adds nuance. The Seven Springs is a wine of real distinction."
- Item #: i_230990Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 92The actions of the San Andreas and the heavy rains and high winds, assisted by the chainsaws of man and sharp hooves of sheep, have created the current landscape on which the Hirsch Vineyards are planted. Gone are the deep soils and compost of the rain forest, all washed away into the creeks, leaving thin soils over sandstone based assemblage of intermixed heavy clays, sandy loams, and clay loams. Blended into this mix in random ratios is a melange of rocks varying in origins and type from igneous to metamorphic to sedimentary shale so degraded it can be crushed by hand.
The diversity of this vineyard, emphasized and cared-for by David Hirsch, have made this property a beacon for wineries searching out the best Pinot Noir fruit in Sonoma, including the likes of Williams and Selyem, Failla, Lioco, and Siduri.
The San Andreas Fault is Hirsch Vineyards' signature Pinot Noir and is crafted to give the drinker a complete picture of this complex vineyard. The 2016 San Andreas Fault has fruit from 27 distinct farming blocks within Hirsch Vineyards, more than any wine produced from this site. It is named for the fault-line which marks the meeting of the North American and Pacific tectonic plates, snaking its way up the California coast and passing less than a mile from Hirsch.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Pale to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir San Andreas Fault has a delicately played nose with touches of cinnamon stick, dried leaves, perfumed earth and a mineral vein plus rose petal perfume, red berries and black fruit sparks. The palate is light to medium-bodied with delicate intensity and well-balanced fruit and earth character, knit by grainy tannins and juicy freshness, finishing long and nuanced. 3,740 cases produced."
- Item #: i_241240Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The 2017 Pinot Noir Anna's, from one of the loamier sites on the property, naturally shows more richness and broader shoulders, along with a profile of purplish/blue fruit. Sage, lavender, mint and sweet tobacco all develop in the glass. Firm tannins need time to soften, but there is a lot to look forward to in this virile, potent Pinot from Melville."
JEB DUNNUCK 93+ POINTS - "Coming from clones 667 and 114, the 2017 Pinot Noir Anna's was also brought up all in neutral oak. It offers slightly more classic fruit-driven notes of black cherries, wood smoke, cedar, and floral notes. Clean, balanced, straight, and lively on the palate, it's very much in the style of this focused, classic vintage. It will benefit from 1-3 years of bottle age and keep for a decade."
- Item #: i_252620Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Racines is a collaboration of four great voices of wine. Justin Willett of Lieu Dit and Tyler has been joined in his home appellation, the Sta. Rita Hills, by Etienne de Montille and Brian Sieve of Domaine de Montille, and Rodolphe Peters of Pierre Peters. Together, they are marrying the time-honored techniques of Burgundy and Champagne with the pioneering energy of California-and, in the process, they are rediscovering the nuances of the appellation's most iconic vineyards.
Following the consolidation of Domaine de Montille, a family estate that dates back to the 1730s, Etienne de Montille looked to California, eager for an opportunity to engage new terroir with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as his lens. In 2016 he set off on a month of travel among the state's myriad appellations, meeting their winemakers, tasting their wines. In short order it became apparent that the promise he was seeking lay in the Sta. Rita Hills-and the partner for such ambition was already there.
By 2016 Justin Willett, a son of Santa Barbara and career winemaker, had over a decade of experience coaxing forth the character of the region's best vineyards. Etienne and Justin turned to compelling vineyard blocks that Justin had long coveted, and together they have presented refreshing new entries in the most important discussions of the appellation. And then, of course, there's Rodolphe Peters. In 2018, Rodolphe joined Racines in deepening their understanding of Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay. Their first sparkling wines, now en tirage, are likely to debut in late autumn.
The wines here possess more structure and resonance than encountered in Tyler's ethereal approach. New cooperage and custom vats, tailored to Etienne's technique, have been imported. The Pinots are composed using further stem inclusion, more extraction, and longer vatting. The Chardonnays are raised with more finessing of the fine lees and longer elevage. The results are immediately apparent in the glass: these are tensile and crystalline expressions of the Sta. Rita Hills- at once familiar and rendered anew.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Pale to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir has lovely aromas of orange peel, cranberry, rhubarb and mixed berry preserves with dust, sagebrush, tobacco, tea leaf and floral notes. It has a light to medium weight with intense spiced berry flavors, dusty tannins and juicy freshness, finishing long and spicy. This was bottled a week before I tasted it but is showing well."
ANTONIO GALLONI 91 POINTS - "The 2017 Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills) is bold, punchy and super-expressive, with lovely aromatic nuance to play off the dark cherry and plum fruit. Classy and layered, the appellation Pinot is a wine of real character and breeding. Then again, that is not surprising given that vineyard sites are La Encantada, Sanford and Benedict, La Rinconada and Bentrock. The 2017 is a gorgeous wine from Etienne De Montille and Justin Willett."
- Item #: i_252980Bottle Size: 750mlRaen is a new project put out by Carlo and Dante Mondavi, grandsons of the famed Robert Mondavi. Carlo and Dante are fourth generation vintners born and raised in Napa Valley who "cut their teeth" working under Tim Mondavi at the Robert Mondavi Winery as well as Opus One. The two brothers credit their dad Tim for the passion they share for Pinot Noir, as Tim is a big Burgundy fan and was a pioneer for California Pinot Noir through the '70s. Raen's Sonoma Coast bottling has been named Royal St. Robert Cuvee, in the honor of Carlo and Dante Mondavi's grandfather (Robert Mondavi) who taught them to be committed to excellence.
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2017 Pinot Noir Royal St. Robert is absolutely gorgeous. A wild array of floral and savory notes make a strong opening statement. Expressive and multi-faceted, the Royal St. Robert is positively dazzling from the very first taste. The interplay of fruit, whole cluster savoriness and structure results in a captivating Pinot that has more than enough pedigree to reward a number of years of cellaring. This is a brilliant showing. Wow!"
- Item #: i_269720Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94+ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94+ POINTS - "Pale to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard Block 5 opens with scents of rhubarb, raspberry, red berries and blueberries with herbs, tobacco leaf, orange peel, cinnamon stick and amaro. The palate is light to medium-bodied, silky and intense with gently chalky tannins and integrated freshness, finishing long and layered. 282 cases produced."
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "Tyler's 2017 Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard - Block 5 is dark, juicy and exuberant. One of the more forward, lush wines in the range, the 2017 impresses with its fruit density and breadth. Clay-rich soils on gravel and fully destemmed fruit, with small berries, yield a Pinot endowed with notable depth and textural resonance. Black cherry, plum, dried herbs and leather build into the potent finish."