- Item #: i_202960Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Notes: "As in years past, this 2017 bottling is very dark and rich by Pinot Noir standards. But in this vintage, it's the complexity that is absolutely uncanny. In the nose, there is almost an extreme presentation of earth with gobs of spice. It's to the point where if I had to pin a single concept on it, it would be SPECTACLE. There is a sweetness in the nose that is like a baked, almost smoky mocha. I have never smelled anything quite like it. The fruit is identifiably cherries on the nose and palate, but it is enveloped by the beautiful French oak that was hand made for me by my buddy, Jerome Fouailly, in Burgundy. In the finish, there is a density of fruit and fineness of tannin that I find in very few Pinots. For a full presentation of how good this vineyard is, let the wine rest in the bottle for a few years or more. If, before then, your corkscrew calls, it is a rich wine, so you will definitely enjoy it. I recommend at least putting it in a nice big glass so it gets some air and a chance to wake up just a bit. Over the next couple years, decanting it would not be a bad idea."
- Item #: i_202990Bottle Size: 750mlWine Enthusiast: 92 PointsWINE ENTHUSIAST 92 POINTS - " Light in the glass, this bottling offers loads of heady sage, wild thyme and dried flower aromas, with dried cherry and subtle beef-jerky tones in the backdrop. The taut structure delivers brisk cherry and muddled red-plum flavors as well as wood spice and a pinch of herbs."
- Item #: i_206170Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91Vinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 92 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "One of the highlights in this range, the 2017 Pinot Noir (Sta.Rita Hills) is fresh, perfumed and wonderfully inviting. Rose petal, blood orange, kirsch and mint give the 2017 a decidedly exotic feel that is hugely appealing. In 2017, the Sta. Rita Hills Pinot is wonderfully lifted and nuanced, with terrific balance and class that will make it impossible to resist, even upon release. Machado and Hapgood are the core sources for this appellation Pinot."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "There are roughly 3,000 to 4,000 cases of the 2017 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills, which offers a beautiful bouquet of baked cherry tart, exotic orange rind, Asian spices, salty minerality, and forest floor. Elegant, medium-bodied, and silky on the palate, it has fine tannins and a great finish. Drink this classic Sta. Rita Hills over the coming decade."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "Pale to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills has a high-toned nose of cranberry, red cherry, licorice, woodsmoke, perfumed earth, black cherries and dried flowers with amaro hints. Light to medium-bodied with perfumed fruits, soft, grainy tannins and seamless acidity, it finishes on an earthy note. 2,500 cases produced."
- Item #: i_215440Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "Ryan Deovlet's 2017s are gorgeous. The Pinots and Chardonnays are all strong. As always, the wines here are understated and finessed in style, with a high degree of site character that makes them compelling. New oak is in the 20-30% range. Some of the Pinots are done with whole clusters, but stem character is nicely integrated and never overpowering. Deovlet always shows his appellation Pinot and Chardonnay after the vineyard designates, and they never suffer in comparison."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "I also loved the 2017 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard, a plusher, more sweetly fruited effort that has plenty of mulberry and raspberry fruits as well as more spice and salty nuances, medium to full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It's already drinking nicely yet should evolve for a solid 7-8 years or more."
- Item #: i_215930Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92On the nose, the wine is beautifully aromatic, combining notes of ripe, fresh cherry, rasberry, and strawberry jam, along with intense floral notes of hibiscus and orange blossom, baking spices of cardamom, cacao and vanilla, and a touch of fresh herbs (bay leaf, celery leaf). On the palate the wine is medium bodied and silky, with waves of complex ripe red fruits (cherry, raspberry, cranberry) complicated by notes of rhurbarb, fresh herbs and hints of wood smoke. The wine has ample, bright acidity, and sturdy tannins which provide structure, energy and cut on the long smooth finish.
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "This red is loaded with juicy acidity, backing the lively mix of cherry tart and dried raspberry flavors that are filled with savory richness. Mineral and hot stone notes on the toasty finish. Drink now through 2025."
- Item #: i_274798Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "Blair Fox makes a wide range of wines for the Fess Parker empire, but arguably his finest work is here, at the flagship. The top Chardonnays and Pinots I tasted are among the finest wines of the year."
"The 2018 Pinot Noir Ashley's is a classic Sta. Rita Hills Pinot. Juicy red cherry/plum fruit gives the 2018 is flashy, succulent personality. Cola, sweet spice and lavender add aromatic nuance, but this is essentially a bold, sumptuous wine that will drink well upon release. Like all of these wines, the Parker West has striking transparency."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "I loved the 2018 Pinot Noir Ashley's, which offers a pure, elegant, complex style that carries lots of red fruits, spicy incense, flowers, and a touch of briny, marine-like influence. Medium-bodied, nicely textured, and elegant, it has good acidity and fine tannins."
- Item #: i_249555Bottle Size: 750mlWith its garnet color, this Pinot Noir displays aromas of black cherry, sassafras, forest floor, baking spices, black tea, vanilla, and sandalwood, then transitions to flavors of black cherry, red plum, milk chocolate, cranberry, wild strawberry, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.
- Item #: i_222120Bottle Size: 750mlThis 100% Point Noir showcases dark and concentrated ruby hues which speak to this wine's Sta. Rita Hill's pedigree, bright aromas of raspberry, Bing cherry, leather and root beer. On the palate, this wines multiple layers speak to flavors of cherry cola, strawberry marmalade and forest floor. A luscious California Pinot Noir that pairs seamlessly with pulled pork sliders or chicken coq au vin.
- Item #: i_241240Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Vinous Media: 93+Jeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 94+ POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir Estate Anna's was two-thirds destemmed and has a brighter, crisp feel in its raspberry and wild strawberry fruits as well as spicy, herbal notes. Medium-bodied, fresh, and focused on the palate, with present acidity and tannins, it's going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for over a decade as well. It's a beautiful wine."
ANTONIO GALLONI 93+ POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir Anna's Block is one of the more reserved wines in the range today. Bright acids and veins of tannin are going to need a bit of time in bottle to integrate fully. Wines from this block rich in loam are often more forthcoming, but the 2018 needs time, which is likely a good thing for its long-term prospects."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Made with about 70% whole cluster, the 2018 Pinot Noir Anna's Block has a medium ruby color and delicate perfume of red and black berries with notes of dried flowers, nori and citrus peel. The palate has a singular contrast of broody character and bright, lifted freshness, finely grained and with a long, citrusy finish. 575 cases produced."
- Item #: i_241360Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsIn the wind-swept, rolling hills of western Santa Barbara County, you will find one of the best cool-climate growing regions on earth. And in this area, you will find one of the more consistent Pinot Noir producers in California!
Ron Melville and his family have been farming high quality grapes for over 30 years. After finding success in Sonoma County, Ron's desire to grow cold-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah brought Melville Vineyards to the Sta. Rita Hills. The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is unique, as it is one of the few grape growing regions in California whose valley runs west to east. In doing so, the cooling air from the Pacific Ocean is able to rush through the area, keeping the daily temperatures low, and providing a long growing season that maximizes flavors. The soils at Melville are a mix of sand and clay, giving Pinot Noir beautiful aromatics combined with ripe, but not overpowering fruit. In addition, Melville plants their vines at a denser spacing than most. In doing so, root systems must compete with each other, inhibiting rigorous growth, naturally lowering yields and furthering the development of flavor and concentration. Farming at Melville is sustainable at a minimum, but often done organically.
Melville's "Estate" Pinot Noir is a collection of 16 different Pinot Noir clones fermented in small 1.5 ton open-top fermenters. Yields were just 1.5 tons per acre! This is the type of small yields that you typically see for Pinot Noirs selling for $75-$100+...but Melville's wine sells for way less than that! Combine that with the stellar 94 point score from critic Jeb Dunnuck, and you'll see why this has been one of our favorite wines to sell for the past several years! This is the second vintage "from grape to glass" that Chad Melville has produced since taking over from Greg Brewer, and if this is any indication, the Melville wines are destined for continued greatness!
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "Starting with the 2018 Pinot Noir Estate Sta. Rita Hills, which comes from vines around the estate and saw 40% stems, it reveals a medium ruby hue as well as a great bouquet of ripe cherry and raspberry fruits intermixed with beautiful violet and floral notes. Showing the purity and elegance of the vintage, it's medium-bodied and has a silky texture, no hard edges, and a great finish. As usual, it's a screaming value."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir Estate is ethereal and nicely lifted, with terrific purity and tons of immediacy. Crushed raspberry and strawberry fruit lead into floral notes in a gracious Pinot that offers a striking window into the property, with its 17 clones of Pinot, and a house style that favors elegance."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Pale to medium ruby, the 2018 Pinot Noir Estate has very pretty aromas of charcuterie, rose petal, strawberry, tea leaves and earth. The palate is medium-bodied, silky and super juicy with earth and spice-tinged fruits and a long, perfumed finish. 4,132 cases produced."
- Item #: i_244790Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95+Jeb Dunnuck: 97 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "A great California success story, Polish immigrant Paul Lato started as a cellar hand in a Santa Maria co-op/custom crush and has worked his way up to being one of the leading producers of artisanal, world class wines in California today. Lato fashions a bevy of wines (I would normally say too many, yet given the quality he's able to achieve, the more the merrier) including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. These aren't lightweight wines, yet they never lose their sense of balance and elegance. I always describe the wines as having a slightly Old World style, but with one foot planted firmly in California. As I hope the reviews show, his 2018s are incredible wines across the board."
"Another Sta. Rita Hills release (I think this is the first vintage for this cuvee), the 2018 Victor Francis Peake Ranch Vineyard has a pure, nicely concentrated, full-bodied style with good complexity in its spiced cherry and blackberry fruits, chocolate, leafy herbs, and forest floor aromas and flavors. I love the overall richness and texture here, and it's one of the more meaty, powerful wines in the lineup."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "This is a new wine from Paul Lato, named after his son. Medium ruby-purple, the 2018 Pinot Noir Victor Francis Peake Ranch Vineyard is delicately styled with aromas of rosewater, saline, lavender, crushed raspberries and strawberries, with an undercurrent of fragrant earth. Medium-bodied, it's concentrated, broody and firm with seamless freshness and a long, perfumed finish. This has what it needs to age well in bottle, and I'd give it another two or three years in the cellar. 185 cases were made."
- Item #: i_249600Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsPeake Ranch is a boutique winery owned by John & Gillian Wagner. Like all of us who have visited Santa Barbara County, the couple fell in love with the beautiful country side and the friendliness of the people.. They purchased Peake Ranch with a vision of building a winery and a house on the property. Years later they are in their third vintage garnering rave reviews from the top critics. Paul Lato leads the team as winemaker and with nearly two decades of experience, has earned critical acclaim with top critics along with placements of his own wines in top restaurants in the United States, Europe and Japan!
JEB DUNNUCK 94+ POINTS - "A relatively new estate in Santa Barbara County, Peake Ranch was created by John and Gill Wagner, who released their first wines in 2015. The estate lies on the eastern end of the Sta. Rita Hills, and they pull from both their Peake Ranch Estate Vineyard around the property as well as the John Sebastiano Vineyard, which John partially owns. The wines have been made by Paul Lato since 2015, yet starting in 2017, the winemaking has slowly moved over to the current winemaker Wynne Solomon. Wynne worked with Lato on both the 2017s and 2018s and has been fully in charge since 2019. These are incredible wines, and as I've written in the past, readers need to get on this estate's bandwagon!"
"Moving to the Pinot Noirs, the 2018 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is 100% Pinot Noir from the Peake Ranch and John Sebastiano vineyards and was all destemmed and aged 18 months in 40% new French oak. Tart Bing cherries, raspberries, forest floor, and sappy flower and violet notes all define this beauty. It has a clean, focused, yet concentrated style that will benefit from a year in bottle."
- Item #: i_252620Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 91Racines 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_260240Bottle Size: 750mlSourced mostly from their Domaine de la Cote estate (70%), the blend is buttressed by old vines fruit from Sanford and Benedict (20%) and a touch from the newcomer, the Patterson Vineyard (10%). The wine was fermented 30% whole bunches and raised in neutral barrels for 14 months.
This deeply colored wine is brimming with aromatic intensity and notes of focused, dark fruits like plum and berry compote with an undercurrent of nori. On the palate the wine possesses great density and a silky texture with resolved tannins.
- Item #: i_257580Bottle Size: 750MLThis Pinot is bright red ruby in color and is bursting with black raspberry and orange peel, along with savory notes of lavender and white pepper. The palate delivers dense dusty, berry flavors with balanced acid and tannin structure, which carries on with a long and lovely finish.
- Item #: i_268210Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 95Jeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The 2017 Estate Pinot Noir is super-impressive, especially as the estate's entry-level Pinot. A rush of sweet red and purplish berry fruit, lavender, blood orange, exotic spice and licorice all race out of the glass in an expansive, beautifully resonant Pinot that dazzles from start to finish. Quite simply, the 2017 offers unreal quality at this level and price. Vineyard sources are 45% Radian, 30% Bentrock and 25% Sanford and Benedict. Don't miss it!"
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2017 Pinot Noir Estate reveals a deeper ruby/purple-tinged color as well as a ripe, sexy bouquet of black raspberries, cassis, scorched earth, violets, and background oak. Rounded, medium to full-bodied, textured, and just loaded with dark fruit on the palate, it's beautifully balanced and will drink fabulously well for at least 7-8 years."
- Item #: i_268320Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 97ANTONIO GALLONI 97 POINTS - "A stunning bottle, the 2018 Pinot Noir Radian brings together all the elements that make the Hilt wines so compelling. Rich, deep and beautifully resonant in the glass, the Radian has so much to offer. A rush of dark red/purplish berry fruit, rose petal, lavender, mint and sweet spice build in a dramatic, statuesque Pinot loaded with character and personality. The interplay of textural richness and energy is simply breathtaking."
JEB DUNNUCK 95+ POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard is a more chiseled, focused wine. Racy black cherry and mulberry fruits, lots of candied violets and blood orange notes, medium-bodied richness, and present yet fine tannins all make for a brilliant, racy, singular Pinot Noir that will benefit from a year or three of bottle age and keep for a decade."
- Item #: i_295790Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 90Jeb Dunnuck: 91 PointsZotovich Cellars is a family owned and operated boutique winery located in coastal Lompoc, California. Winemaker, Ryan Zotovich is coming most recently from Sea Smoke where he began working with Kris Curran. Prior to working at Sea Smoke, Ryan was the assistant winemaker at Palmina. With Ryan’s help, Zotovich Cellars is proud to offer small, closely monitored lots of estate wine. 100% of the grapes crushed into Zotovich wine are grown on the 35 acre Zotovich estate vineyard located off of Route 246, between Melville and Foley wineries.
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "Brought up in 50% new oak, the 2018 Pinot Noir Estate offers more complexity in its black raspberry fruit and notions of toasted spices, flowery incense, and subtle oak. It's medium-bodied, textured, and straight-up delicious."
ANTONIO GALLONI 90 POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir is soft, succulent and inviting. Ripe dark red/purplish fruit, hard candy, spice and licorice all meld together in a Pinot full of soft curves and forward appeal. This is an especially ripe style, but it works well. The 2018 Pinot Noir from Zotovich is a winner."