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_274969Bottle Size: 750MLGreat value! A particularly wonderful vintage of this wine. Aromas and flavors of strawberries and raspberries are joined by anise and clove notes with mouth filling intensity.
- Item #: i_204050Bottle Size: 750MLClark and Telephone Vineyard, located near the corner of Clark Avenue and Telephone Road in the Santa Maria Valley, is cooled by wind and fog that snakes in from the Pacific Ocean along a channel of the Santa Maria River. Established in 1972, the Clark & Telephone Vineyard was planted "own root" to the Martini clone. This heirloom clone of Pinot Noir, one of the first to grace the California coastlands, has become something of a lost treasure.
In the winery, the clusters were de-stemmed and the must underwent a cold soak. Fermentation began with the inoculation of yeast strains matched to each lot of grapes. The maceration process during fermentation consisted of a combination of punch-down and pump-over techniques, each day the techniques would be reassessed to ensure that we were riding the line between over extraction and under extraction. The wine was aged in French oak (60% percent new) for nine months and was racked once upon completion of malolactic fermentation and again upon blending.
Scarlet in color; bursting with aromas of cinnamon, caramel and hints of ginger-spiced tea. On the palate, the plush weight coats the mouth with more brown spice and sweet oak flavors, layered into the deep blueberry and strawberry base. The viscosity paired with the flavors and lively acidity lead into a long finish with supple tannins.
- Item #: i_234270Bottle Size: 750MLJulia's Vineyard, named for Julia Jackson in 1988, consists of ancient soils with fossilized seashells, shale, limestone and sand, with fog-swept vines that have endured since the 1970s. This unique piece of land thrives in the cool, maritime influences that funnel in from the Pacific Ocean, allowing for the longest growing season in the state.
Winemaker's Notes: "Ripe blackberry and blueberry flavors are followed by notes of cranberry, cherry and pomegranate. With a balance of earth and baking spice, this wine offers firm tannins and a long finish."
- Item #: i_212900Bottle Size: 750mlCosta de Oro's Estate Pinot Noir is a blend of all the picks from their Gold Coast Vineyard. Each year they harvest the Pinot Noir in as many separate lots as possible in order to get different levels of acidity, potential alcohol, and a variety of flavor profiles. Each lot is destemmed, fermented, and aged separately so that its individual characteristics coan be evaluated. Early picks are dusty strawberry, lower in alcohol and higher in acidity. Later picks are darker in tone and heavier in weight. Once a blend is made, the resulting wine is a more complete pinot noir, with layers of flavor and complexity.
The grapes are primarily Martini clone Pinot Noir - a traditional California clone that expresses itself in a more feminine style (soft, spice, floral, and layered). 2016 is a very elegant and pretty vintage. The wine has classic Martini clone Pinot Noir earthiness blended with aromas of strawberry/raspberry, cinnamon, clove and earth. Red berry/cherry flavors are on the palate first, followed by orange/citrus, cola, tea leaf, and white pepper. The wine's finish is long, silky, and smooth with berries, sage, clove, and citrus.
- Item #: i_215530Bottle Size: 750mlANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2016 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County) is a blend of the sites Ryan Deovlet works with, namely Zotovich, La Encantada, and Sanford and Benedict. Plump, juicy and forward, with lovely berry fruit and terrific freshness, the 2016 is a gorgeous wine to drink now and over the next few years. Moreover, it is an overachiever in its category. Once again, Ryan Deovlet has turned out an absolutely sublime appellation-level wine. "
- Item #: i_215515Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 92 PointsDierberg has been on a roll the past few years! Other wineries have sourced fruit from this prominent vineyard and received high scores for their superbly crafted wines. Dierberg still sells much of their fruit, but they have begun to keep some of the better sections for themselves. That being said, their own label hasn't skipped a beat, and is receiving the same high scores as their customers!
Located 13 miles from the Pacific Ocean in one of the coolest wine-growing corners of California's Central Coast, Dierberg Vineyard is on the western edge of Santa Barbara County's Santa Maria Valley appellation, which is world-renowned for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their vineyard is planted to newer "Dijon" clones, as well as other "heritage clones"; heritage clones whose roots go back to the Burgundy area of France, offering a clonal diversity unlike almost any other Pinot vineyard in California.
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2015 Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard is a real standout. Plush, dark and expressive, the Dierberg is an explosive wine that shows this Santa Maria site off at its best. Floral and spiced notes wrap around a core of intense inky blue/purplish fruit. Time in the glass brings out a more delicate side. There is just so much to admire in the 2015."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "The 2015 Pinot Noir Dierberg Vineyard comes from the estate vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley and was aged 14 months in 25% new French oak. Medium ruby-colored, with notes of cherries, mulberries, forest floor, and spice, it's silky, lightly textured, and elegant on the palate, with the charming nature of the vintage balanced nicely by plenty of tannins and acidity."
- Item #: i_222990Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Vinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 92 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "Racy, silky and beautifully nuanced, the Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Block 8 captures all the richness of the year while retaining terrific energy. The red berry and floral notes show quite a bit of nuance and silkiness in a Pinot that manages to be both powerful and refined. The aromatic, highly expressive finish adds to the wine's considerable beauty."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2015 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard Block 8 is quite Burgundian in profile, wafting from the glass with aromas of wild berries, grilled game bird, spice and rich soil. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, sappy and savory, with fine tannins and a penetrating, sapid finish. 800 cases were produced."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "A big step up over the Santa Maria Valley release, the 2015 Pinot Noir Block 8 Bien Nacido offers a terrific bouquet of black cherries, saddle leather, spice-box and dried herbs. It's fresh, nicely concentrated and textured, with good acidity, and will benefit from short term cellaring."
- Item #: i_222670Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsBill Wathen and Dick Dore have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen Vineyards and Winery at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in Northern Santa Barbara County. Since that time their dedication has remained the same: the creation of small production, sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a straightforward and minimalist approach to winemaking. They seem to be doing all the things right, as they now have an amazing following, and their tasting room has become a Santa Barbara Wine Country destination!
This bottling comes entirely from one of the more prized blocks within the famed Bien Nacido vineyard, in the eastern hills of the Santa Maria Valley. This 2.5 acre portion of the vineyard was planted in 2006, with a steep south-west exposure. This location gets cool mornings, and warm afternoons, making for generous fruit in the wine, while retaining freshness. The steepness of the vineyard helps to ensure low yields, which translates to high quality and intense flavors.
JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "The 2016 Pinot Noir Block 43 Bien Nacido comes from a single block in the Bien Nacido Vineyard and was aged 17 months in one-third new French oak. It's not far from the Block 8 cuvee yet has slightly more new oak as well as beautiful cassis and strawberry fruits, spice box, violets, and crushed rocks. Voluptuous and sexy on the palate, with a stacked mid-palate, this beauty fills the mouth with fruit and displays no hard edges, nicely integrated acidity, and a beautifully pure, balance style."
- Item #: i_222650Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Bill Wathen and Dick Dore have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen Winery & Vineyard at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in northern Santa Barbara County. Since that time, their dedication has remained the same - the creation of very small production, sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a "minimalist" approach to winemaking. Foxen is named in memory of William Benjamin Foxen, an English sea captain and Dick's great-great grandfather, who came to Santa Barbara in the early 1800s and purchased the Rancho Tinaquaic. Captain Foxen adopted the distinctive "anchor" as his cattle brand, which became the trademark of the winery. Foxen is at home on the history Rancho Tinaquaic with its solar-powered winery, tasting room and 7200 "shack."
- Item #: i_244820Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 96 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "Moving to the Pinot Noirs, the 2016 Pinot Noir Duende Gold Coast Vineyard comes from a site in the Santa Maria Valley and spent 15 months in 50% new French oak. Black cherry and raspberry fruits as well as lovely notes of underbrush, forest floor, white flowers, and hints of vanilla all emerge from this elegant, multidimensional Pinot Noir that has awesome purity and length."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Pinot Noir Duende Gold Coast Vineyard emerges from a parcel of own-rooted Martini clone Pinot. Gracious, aromatic and lifted, the 2016 is absolutely gorgeous. In the past, the Duende has at times been a bit vegetal. In 2016, however, it is the purity of the fruit that shines. Silky contours and impeccable balance round out this striking Pinot from Paul Lato. The 2016 may very well be the best vintage of the Duende yet!"
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "Paul Lato's recently bottled 2016 Pinot Noir Goldcoast Vineyard Duende is lovely, wafting from the glass with aromas of red and black cherries, burnt sage, incipient notes of loamy soil and a lavish framing of creamy new oak. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, with a succulent core of fruit, juicy acids and an elegant chassis of fine, melting tannins. Lato observes that these old vines are all clone 4 and that the gently-sloping site doesn't look propitious, but he's always been surprised by the quality that they routinely produce."
- Item #: i_251370Bottle Size: 750mlOn the nose this wine offers aromas of cherry cola and freshly picked wild strawberries with a lingering scent of lightly oiled rosewood. On the palate it shows the classic Santa Maria sandalwood spice, mixed with ripe red and black cherry, strawberry and huckleberry.
- Item #: i_258250Bottle Size: 750mlThe grapes for this Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir hail from two vineyards, both influenced by the cooling fog of the nearby Pacific and perfectly suited for growing Pinot Noir. Upon delivery to the winery early in the morning, the grapes were de-stemmed and placed into small 1-ton bins, where they were punched down by hand 2-3 times each day. The resulting wine was transferred into French oak barrels, of which 30% were new, and aged for 11 months. It was then bottled unfiltered, given a few months of bottle aging to allow the flavors to integrate, and released in spring 2019. 782 cases were produced.
The 2016 Rusack Santa Barbara Pinot Noir is a favorite. This wine is packed with bright juicy notes of strawberries, raspberries, and caramel, with subtle hints of orange meringue. Firm acidity and an elegant balance make for a very approachable food friendly wine.
- Item #: i_276350Bottle Size: 750mlWe strive each year to find a wine for November that will both fit the changing weather patterns and have the ability to stand tall at the Thanksgiving table. Pinot Noir, generally, has enough fruit, acidity and the right temperament to stand up to the stronger flavors of Thanksgiving while not overpowering the bird. This Three Saints 2013 Pinot Noir, in particular, is an ideal wine for the month and the holiday.
Three Saints is named for the three most dynamic wine growing regions in Santa Barbara County: Maria, Rita and Ynez. This 2014 is predominately from their Santa Maria Valley and Sta Rita Hills vineyards, and reflects the generous texture they've found often from their sites.
Red fruits like bright raspberry are evident in both aromas and the palate. While previous vintages have emphasized earthiness, the new vineyard components in this wine have brought more fruit forward without compromising the fresh and classic feel of Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir. Stock up and Reap the harvest!