Red, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sonoma County, WINE

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Pinot Noir is widely considered to produce some of the finest wines in the world, but is a difficult varietal to cultivate and vinify. The grape's tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards, and the thin-skins and low levels of phenolic compounds result in mostly lightly colored, medium-bodied, low-tannin wines. The tremendously broad range of bouquets, flavors, textures and impressions that Pinot noir can produce lends to its overall popularity but also to its misunderstanding. In the broadest terms, the wine tends to display aromas reminiscent of black and/or red cherry, raspberry and to a lesser extent currant and many other fine small red and black berry fruits. Traditional Pinot Noir is famous for its savory fleshiness and 'farmyard' aromas, but changing fashions, modern winemaking techniques, and new easier-to-grow clones have favored a lighter, more fruit-prominent, cleaner style.

Like many other red varietals, the character of the wine depends heavily on where the grapes are grown and how they are vinified, and these distinctions are largely reflected in a New World/Old World dichotomy. The Burgundy region in France, Pinot Noir's place of origin, is renowned for producing the most complex, ageworthy, and esoteric versions. These can range from dark, brooding, densely tannic wines to light, ethereally elegant wines of intensely perfumed character. Fruit profiles often differ as well, but the common denominator in all Burgundy Pinot Noir is the essence of the place in which it grows, coined as the term terroir. The finest examples, after years of proper aging, display haunting aromas and flavors that defy description using refrences of common reference points. The grape has also found highly unique expression in the vineyards of Germany, where it's known as Spätburgund. From the steep slopes of the Ahr Valley to the rolling, pastorl hills of the Pfalz, the country is producing wines with notably vibrant fruit and deep savory character, but also a rugged edge in which the stamp of terroir is also evident.

New World styles of Pinot Noir also vary in their specifics, but in general they are built on a bright, expressive fruit profile. California has several regions that excel with the varietal, most famously the Sonoma Coast AVA and its sub-AVA Russian River Valley. The wines typically display exuberant red cherry and strawberry notes along with the occasional savory spice elements. While these are cool climates by New World standards, Pinot Noir still achieves more consistent ripeness and more viscosity and body as a result. The AVAs of Santa Barbara County also produce outstanding versions with more concentrated savory profile, while Mendocino County's wines tend toward the dark-fruited, earthy profile. Oregon's Willamette Valley is perhaps the most old school of the New WOrld profiles, where fruit is less pronounced and an herbacious forest floor component imparts a touch of terroir on the wines. Perhaps the most exciting New World Pinot Noir wines are now coming from New Zealand, where the Central Otago and Martinborough regions are producing wines of dark fruit character with essentially cool-climate structure and texture, an intriguing, if non-traditional, combination.

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98 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2016 Pinot Noir Le Caprice is flat out gorgeous! Black cherries, currants, toasted oak, caramelized raspberries, and exotic flower notes all soar from the glass of this rich, full-bodied, yet elegant, seamless Pinot Noir. It has fine, fine tannin, no hard edges, beautiful… ...
JD 98
WA 93-95
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Peter Michael Pinot Noir Fort Ross-Seaview Le Caprice 2016  (#334105)

Pinot Noir from Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma County, California

98 points Jeb Dunnuck: The 2016 Pinot Noir Le Caprice is flat out gorgeous! Black cherries, currants, toasted oak, caramelized raspberries, and exotic flower notes all soar from the glass of this rich, full-bodied, yet elegant, seamless Pinot Noir.…

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 1 available
97+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard bursts forth with baked cherries, red currant jelly and mulberries with touches of cinnamon stick, violets, baking spices and potpourri. Full-bodied, opulent and wonderfully spicy in the… ...
WA 97
JD 96
AG 95
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Aubert Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast CIX Vineyard 2016  (#333654)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

97+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard bursts forth with baked cherries, red currant jelly and mulberries with touches of cinnamon stick, violets, baking spices and potpourri. Full…

1.5L Magnum | In stock, 1 available
WA 97
JD 96
AG 95
97+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard bursts forth with baked cherries, red currant jelly and mulberries with touches of cinnamon stick, violets, baking spices and potpourri. Full-bodied, opulent and wonderfully spicy in the… ...
WA 97
JD 96
AG 95
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Aubert Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast CIX Vineyard 2016  (#333653)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

97+ points Lisa Perrotti-Brown (Wine Advocate): Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir CIX Vineyard bursts forth with baked cherries, red currant jelly and mulberries with touches of cinnamon stick, violets, baking spices and potpourri. Full…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
WA 97
JD 96
AG 95
98 points Robert Parker: This wine reminded me of my earlier days in Burgundy tasting the Grand Cru Musigny. Incredible floral notes, sweet raspberries and blueberries as well as wet rocks soar from the glass of this profound, medium to full-bodied, gorgeous Pinot Noir made from 100% Calera clone.… ...
RP 98
AG 97
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Occidental Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvee Elizabeth 2012  (#322023)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

98 points Robert Parker: This wine reminded me of my earlier days in Burgundy tasting the Grand Cru Musigny. Incredible floral notes, sweet raspberries and blueberries as well as wet rocks soar from the glass of this profound, medium to full-bodied,…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
98 points Robert Parker: With a dark ruby color like its siblings, it is made from 100% Calera and sees only about 30% new French oak. This wine offers a copious mouthful of red, blue and black fruits, medium to full body, terrific acidity, and intense black raspberry and black cherry fruit along… ...
RP 98
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Occidental Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast SWK Vineyard 2012  (#322024)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

98 points Robert Parker: With a dark ruby color like its siblings, it is made from 100% Calera and sees only about 30% new French oak. This wine offers a copious mouthful of red, blue and black fruits, medium to full body, terrific acidity, and…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
96-97 points James Suckling: Beautiful, dark berries, strawberries and perfume. Flowers, too. Full bodied, very tight and chewy with polished tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Give this time to show it’s true glory. (11/22/18) ...
JS 96-97
WS 95
WA 95
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Aubert Pinot Noir Sonoma Coat UV-SL Vineyard 2017  (#335211)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

96-97 points James Suckling: Beautiful, dark berries, strawberries and perfume. Flowers, too. Full bodied, very tight and chewy with polished tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Give this time to show it’s true glory. (11/22/18)

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 3 available
JS 96-97
WS 95
WA 95
PRE-ARRIVAL
97 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): Whereas the Cuvée Catherine is built on fruit, the 2011 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is a much more inward, structured wine. Here the flavors are bright, precise and endowed with considerable energy. Cranberry, pomegranate, crushed rocks, rose… ...
AG 97
RP 95
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Occidental Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvee Elizabeth 2011  (#319480)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

97 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): Whereas the Cuvée Catherine is built on fruit, the 2011 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is a much more inward, structured wine. Here the flavors are bright, precise and endowed with considerable energy.…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 2 available
96-98 points Robert Parker: The Cuvee Cathleen is amazing stuff, only to be eclipsed by the 2007 Pinot Noir Cuvee Elizabeth Bodega Headlands. Sweet black raspberries, camphor, and forest floor notes intermixed with a cocktail of spring flowers all jump from the glass of this full-bodied, gorgeously… ...
RP 96-98
IWC 94
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Kistler Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvee Elizabeth 2007  (#306807)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

96-98 points Robert Parker: The Cuvee Cathleen is amazing stuff, only to be eclipsed by the 2007 Pinot Noir Cuvee Elizabeth Bodega Headlands. Sweet black raspberries, camphor, and forest floor notes intermixed with a cocktail of spring flowers all…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
96 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine has closed down significantly since I last tasted it a few months back, which is probably good news for its long-term potential. Deep veins of underlying minerality give the Cuvée Catherine its structure,… ...
AG 96
WS 93
RP 93
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Occidental Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvee Catherine 2012  (#332202)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

96 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine has closed down significantly since I last tasted it a few months back, which is probably good news for its long-term potential. Deep veins of underlying…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
AG 96
WS 93
RP 93
99 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...flirts with perfect and is another incredible effort from the Sonoma Coast. Deeply colored, with ripe cherries, underbrush, black currants, graphite, blood orange, and forest floor notes, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, ample tannin, a big mid-palate, and a… ...
JD 99
WA 94
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Aubert Pinot Noir Sonoma Coat UV-SL Vineyard 2016  (#333660)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

99 points Jeb Dunnuck: ...flirts with perfect and is another incredible effort from the Sonoma Coast. Deeply colored, with ripe cherries, underbrush, black currants, graphite, blood orange, and forest floor notes, it hits the palate with full-bodied…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
96-97 points James Suckling: Very pretty red with dried berry and strawberry character. Soy sauce. Some fresh floral and mushroom character. Full bodied, round and layered with chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Lovely length and structure. (11/22/18) ...
JS 96-97
AG 96
WA 95
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Aubert Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast UV Vineyard 2017  (#335210)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

96-97 points James Suckling: Very pretty red with dried berry and strawberry character. Soy sauce. Some fresh floral and mushroom character. Full bodied, round and layered with chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Lovely length and structure. (11/22…

750ml Bottle | Pre-arrival, 3 available
JS 96-97
AG 96
WA 95
PRE-ARRIVAL
97 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2011 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine is a real stunner. Still incredibly primary, the 2011 is built on a serious core of fruit. Voluptuous yet medium in body, the 2011 impresses for its balance and sheer purity. The 2011 has developed quite a bit… ...
AG 97
RP 93
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Occidental Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvee Catherine 2011  (#319481)

Pinot Noir from Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, California

97 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): The 2011 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine is a real stunner. Still incredibly primary, the 2011 is built on a serious core of fruit. Voluptuous yet medium in body, the 2011 impresses for its balance…

750ml Bottle | In stock, 1 available
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