- Item #: i_200660Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 92Bibiana Gonzalez Rave crafts her Alma de Cattleya wines as high-quality offerings representing the uniqueness of northern California's Sonoma County. Alma means "soul" in Spanish - and Cattleya is the national flower of her native country, Columbia. These wines are the perfect accompaniment to everyday meals and relaxing moments.
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "A blend of sites and clones, all from Sonoma County, the 2018 Pinot Noir was destemmed and brought up in neutral French oak. There were 2,000 cases made. Revealing a medium ruby/translucent purple hue to go with a beautiful nose of spiced strawberries, raspberries, crushed flowers, and violets, it's beautifully textured and medium-bodied, with good acidity and outstanding length. You're going to be hard pressed to find a better Sonoma County Pinot Noir at the price, and it's going to drink brilliantly for 2-4 years."
- Item #: i_274810Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 92Sean Capiaux launched his eponymous label in 1994 and he presently works as winemaker for O'Shaughnessy in the Howell Mountain appellation of Napa Valley. He has established a notable career that includes prominent wineries such as Jordan, Pine Ridge and Peter Michael. He specializes in small lots of vineyard designated Pinot Noir that express the unique location from which they came.
All the vineyards are contracted on a by-the-acre rather than a "per-ton" basis. This means he pays a set fee for the acreage guarantying the grower cash for his crop regardless of the tonnage. This allows him to prune, shoot-thin and drop crop for low yields that result in only high quality grapes. His winemaking style is a blend of classic and contemporary, utilizing cutting edge fermentation equipment paired with natural hands on winemaking, and an emphasis on balance. All the wines are naturally fermented and unfined and unfiltered to preserve their innate flavors and aromas.
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "Sean Capiaux's 2018s are some of the best wines I have tasted from him. I won't be surprised if they show even better with more time in bottle. Capiaux describes 2018 as a year with a moderate temperature and a harvest that was 2-3 weeks later than what has become normal in recent times."
"The 2018 Pinot Noir Chimera is compelling. Bright, sculpted and energetic, the 2018 is just singing today. Sweet red cherry, mint, blood orange, spice and rose petal all race out of the glass. The Russian River Pinot here has often been a bit juicier, but the 2018 is done in a style that emphasizes aromatic depth and focus. Of course, the wines were just bottled about six weeks ago, so there may be some bottle shock. In any event, the 2018 is superb."
- Item #: i_210180Bottle Size: 750mlSince its founding, Chalk Hill has been producing artisan wines from their Estate vineyards in the hills of northeastern Sonoma County. For four decades they studied, prodded, and coaxed their complex terroir to ensure that their Estate wines deliver vivid aromatics, commanding flavors, great character, and regional accuracy. While their 300+ acres of vineyards surrounding the winery will always be the cornerstone of their identity, starting with the 2012 vintage, they started producing our first Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This 2018 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir comes from extraordinary vineyards throughout Sonoma County, consisting primarily of Foley Family estate Vineyards and fruit from some of the best sites in Carneros, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Valley, and Sonoma Coast.
This wine is dark ruby in color and showcases strawberry, black cherry, oriental spice and toasty oak on the nose. Flavors of strawberry, and juicy cherry round out the palate with vanilla undertones and a bright acidity. The finish on this Pinot Noir lingers with a velvety softness and notes of maraschino cherry and sweet vanilla oak. Overall, this is a fruit-forward style that can be enjoyed in its youth or aged for another few years.
- Item #: i_213980Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91Jeb Dunnuck: 90This wine is Paul Hobbs' companion label that complements his eponymous line of wines. This Pinot Noir was produced using hand-harvested fruit from carefully selected vineyards within the Sonoma Coast region, and receives the same techniques as its big sister.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "Medium ruby, the 2018 Pinot Noir is made with about 72% estate fruit and very little oak. It's a fresh style with open-knit aromas of roast cranberry and rhubarb with touches of dried leaves, soil and tar. The palate is medium-bodied, bright and juicy with good concentration and spiciness and a lifted finish. Enjoy it over the next two to three years. 19,500 cases produced."
JEB DUNNUCK 90 POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast comes from multiple sites on the Sonoma Coast and saw a touch of stems and 9 months on lees in 11% new French oak. Its ruby hue gives way to a pretty, strawberry, spice, and brambly, forest floor-laced Pinot Noir that has good acidity, plenty of sweet fruit, no hard edges, and a clean finish. It's well worth seeking out."
- Item #: i_220700Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 96ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "The 2018s at Failla are off the charts. These might very well be the finest wines I have ever tasted from Ehren Jordan and his team. The Sonoma Pinots in particular are just remarkable for their depth and site expression. Readers who want to explore the specific attributes and nuances of the vineyards will flip out over the 2018s."
"The 2018 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard is a wine of dramatic and exquisite beauty. Soaring aromatics lead into a core of sweet red/purplish berry fruit. There is a level of depth to the Hirsch that is just remarkable. If opened young, the 2018 needs a good bit of air to allow a hint of reduction to blow off. The Hirsch is deceptive in its mid-weight feel, but it has tremendous depth and structure to burn. I especially admire its crystal-clear focus and transcendental beauty."
JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "Closed and in need of 2-3 years of bottle age, the 2018 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard reveals a medium ruby hue as well as a savory bouquet wild strawberries, mulled raspberries, dried earth, and flowery incense. With medium-bodied richness, a layered, balanced mouthfeel, ripe tannins, and a great finish, I don't think it's going to match the 2017, but it certainly has plenty of potential."
- Item #: i_220120Bottle Size: 750MLThe Sonoma Coast's rocky, well-drained terrain and elevated proximity to the cool Pacific Ocean allow Flowers Winery to grow Pinot Noir with fresh, bright red fruit flavors, soft tannins, complex minerality and brilliant acidity. Their Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is sourced from some of the finest family owned vineyards within the extreme Sonoma Coast appellation including Flowers' Sea View Ridge Estate Vineyard. The grapes are harvested in the early morning hours to ensure the fruit arrives cool and freshly intact.
This wine has a deep garnet hue, along with aromas of wild strawberry, pomegranate, cranberry, savory dried herbs, violet and forest floor lift elegantly from the glass. On the palate, layers of blood orange and hibiscus are framed by fine-grained tannins, coastal minerality and brilliant acidity that culminate in a lengthy finish.
- Item #: i_228430Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Tasting Notes: "Lovely aromas of rose petal, sage and blood orange zest elevate the core juicy fruit of pomegranate, Bing cherry and guava. The flavors echo the aromas with the addition of cranberry, pink grapefruit and an elegant minerality. Balanced acidity and fine tannins along with red fruit and earth flavors unfold across the palate, ending with a long, mineral-driven finish."
- Item #: i_235510Bottle Size: 750mlSonoma Coast Pinot Noir has a ruby color with red tints. Fruit aromas in this bottling are more subdued with hints of white cherries and strawberries. There is a savory component to this wine on the palate. Nuances of dry green herbs and black olives combine with a layered red fruit profile. There is a freshness in the finish reflecting the wines vibrant natural acidity. This wine will age and develop for 5-7 years.
- Item #: i_242480Bottle Size: 750mlFloral notes, highlighted by heritage rose petals, are offset with white pepper and a touch of vanilla and oak spice. Silky tannins, with medium weight, it once came with a warning: beware, a glass of this wine seems to empty faster than most.
- Item #: i_239885Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 94The name Martin Ray resonates deeply in the history of California Winemaking. Martin Ray was a pioneer, dedicated to crafting single varietal, region specific wine from 1943 through 1972 in Saratoga, the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mentored by Paul Masson, he took a burgundian approach to his winemaking and developed what is now one of the most historical properties in California, known as Mount Eden.
Nearly twenty years later, Courtney Benham stumbled upon 1500 cases of Martin Ray wine in a San Jose warehouse. Recognizing his good fortune, and his intent and drive to produce terroir driven wines, Ray's historical significance and philosophy resonated with him. Courtney purchased the brand, and since 1990 has been committed to the production of artisanal wines worthy of the Martin Ray name.
Carefully chosen from various vineyards throughout the Russian River Valley and Carneros, this wine's largest components are grown only feet from the river itself, coming from Richioli, Cartan, and Tina Marie. The grapes were fermented separately in small open-top fermenters with gentle punch-downs. The fermentations were carefully maintained at moderate temperatures until dry, when the must was basket-pressed then pumped into barrels for completion of malolactic fermentation. Lots were aged for eleven months in new premium French oak barrels, along with more nuanced 1-2 year old barrels.
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This is really fresh and clean with sliced dried strawberries, flowers and citrus. Medium-bodied, very poised and refined with a long, crisp finish. California brightness with French sensitivity. Drink or hold."
- Item #: i_252930Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94Raen 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 2018 Pinot Noir Bodega is the clear stand out in this range from Raen. Pliant and deep, with terrific presence, the Bodega is impeccably balanced from start to finish. I imagine it will be an even more compelling wine in another few years' time. Bright red cherry fruit, pomegranate, mint, spice and blood orange all infuse the 2018 with tons of character. This is such a pretty and expressive wine, but it needs time in bottle for some of its youthful austerity to soften."
- Item #: i_252940Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93Raen 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 93 POINTS - "Raen's 2018 Pinot Noir Royal St. Robert is a fabulous introduction to these wines. Airy, gracious and beautifully perfumed, the Royal St. Robert is especially lifted in this vintage. Intense floral, savory and spice notes give the 2018 striking aromatic presence. The 100% whole clusters are evident, but also nicely layered into the wine's fabric. This is an especially ethereal style. I would prefer to give the 2018 a year or two in bottle, as it is a bit clenched, especially on the finish."
- Item #: i_252830Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir Sea Field is not fully expressive today. The bouquet is promising, but the 2018 is much less forthcoming on the palate. It will be interesting to see if time in bottle helps things come together more fully, as the 2018 is pretty hard to read at this stage. Even so, it does appear to be rather light in structure and depth."
- Item #: i_277481Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94If you want to talk about the upper echelon, crème de la crème Pinot Noir producers from California, you simply cannot leave Williams Selyem out of the conversation. From the very first time Burt Williams and Ed Selyem made wine as a hobby, people flocked to the guys for a chance to buy their wines. The winery focuses on only the highest quality vineyards, and take the utmost care of the grapes upon arrival. Current winemaker Jeff Mangahas (who was formerly winemaker at Hartford), continues to focus on these exceptional vineyards, and had the know-how to bring out the best from each parcel. The Williams Selyem wines drink beautifully upon release, and we have opened up bottlings that were close to 20 years old that were magical! For years, we have received very small quantities of the Williams Selyem wines (often as little as 1 bottle of certain vineyard designations) but after a trip to NorCal earlier this year, our buyer was able to finally secure enough to where we could place Williams Selyem on our Top Red list for 2020!
This Sonoma Coast bottling is comprised of fruit from five key vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast AVAs. The wine was aged for 12 months in a combination of new and used oak, so as not to overpower the nuances of the wine.
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast comes from a mix of vineyards and was 75% destemmed and spent year in 40% new French oak. It has a beautiful bouquet of ripe red (and some black) raspberries as well as complex bay leaf, bouquet garni, allspice, and hints of violets. This carries to a medium-bodied 2018 in the supple, elegant style of the vintage, with nicely integrated acidity, no hard edges, and a great finish. It's just a complex, complete, and satisfying Pinot Noir from this estate that will evolve for a solid 8-10 years."