★ 95 Points Rober Parker
95 Points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "The 2018 Pinot Noir Moonshine Ranch is laced with an exotic mélange of game, spice, blood orange, mint and dried flowers, all of which give it a distinctly savory, potent feel to match its brooding personality. I would give it a few years in bottle to soften. Time in the glass brings out a whole range of rose petal and lavender nuances, along with a good deal of lift as well."
...One of the great families of Northern California, and of course, one of the highest quality producers, the Martinellis – and rather remarkably so – only estate-bottle 15% of their production from over 300 acres of beautifully situated vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. No doubt Helen Turley, who worked at Martinelli and mentored its winemaking team, left a profound influence on the quality of the Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Syrahs and Zinfandels, a fact that can’t be overstated. The Chardonnays all go through full malolactic fermentation and tend to see about 50% new oak. The Pinot Noirs are always 100% destemmed and largely spend no longer than ten months in about 60% new French oak...As good as 2013 is for Pinot Noir in Sonoma, 2014 actually eclipses it."
North is the new Pinot Noir from the Central Coast Rhone Master John Alban. Extremely limited.
Starting in 1985, John Alban planted grapes for other people until he bought an estate in 1989. With a focus on creating wines made from Rhône Valley varietals, Alban came to be a pioneer of the Rhone Rangers movement, and is considered one of the most influential American Rhone producers. Though the focus is on rhone varieties, the Alban pinot noir is a beautiful, fill flavored wine. The richness of the wine is emphsized, which is typical of Alban wines, and the pinot is beautifully balanced.
New Pinot label from Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne and partner Emeril Lagasse!
The 2016 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is medium-bodied, offering subtle fruit flavors, bright acidity and structure that sing in intricate harmony. Inviting aromas of firm blackberry, cedar and pitted cherry are accentuated with floral notes. The nuanced palate balances bright cherry, blackberry and pluot fruits with hints of savory fennel fronds and sea mist. This wine is medium-bodied and typical of Sonoma Coast with bright acidity, subtle fruit flavors and elegant structure. The winemaker is Shane Finley, formerly an assistant winemaker at Kosta Browne for many years.
AldenAlli is the culmination to two families’ expertise in combining superior food, wine, and hospitality to create a sense of place and tradition. The place is Sonoma Coast, above the western most part of the United States, pushing the limits of viticulture where land meets sea. The tradition is our love of Pinot Noir and the ongoing pursuit of the most elusive reward. The creation of AldenAlli wine began with the convergence of friendship, families, and culinary passions. Both the Kosta and Lagasse families have a long history with one another and with Pinot Noir. Dan Kosta was introduced to Burgundy wines at the young age of five, and an abundant array of Pinot Noir in the Lagasse restaurants has long been a favorite with diners. The nightly presence of Sonoma Pinot Noir at their family dinner tables has been a standing tradition for years. AldenAlli Pinot Noir tells the story of these two families’ talent for combining world class wine with great food.
One of the best new Pinot Noir producers in California! The partners, who all previously worked at Williams Selyem, are deeply committed to crafting high quality, cool climate single vineyard Pinot Nor, Syrah and Chardonnay sourced from vineyards in Northern California. Limited.
96 Points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "Another stellar wine in this range, the 2018 Pinot Noir Comptche Ridge is fabulous. In this vintage, the Comptche Ridge is a bit richer and deeper than it has been, while avoiding some of the austerity this wine can show. Beguiling in its aromatics and finely sculpted, the 2018 is marvelously complex. There is plenty of tannin, and the acids are bright (as they are for all these wines), but the 2018 is deep and so multi-faceted. It will appeal most to readers who enjoy taut, structured reds."
94 Points Robert Parker: "Medium ruby-purple, the 2018 Pinot Noir Comptche Ridge opens with leather, bay leaves, fir, turned earth and garrigue with a core of fresh black fruits. The medium-bodied palate is concentrated with its earthy character accented by floral notes. It's refreshed by juicy acidity and finishes long and nuanced."
Located a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, this vineyard sits near the tiny town of Annapolis, and is farmed by Steve Campbell. At approximately 750 feet above sea level, it sits right at the boundary of the marine layer, ensuring that the cool, coastal climate delays ripening well beyond the warmer vineyards to the east. The two-decade-old vines grow on sandy, low-vigor Goldridge soil, which helps reduce yields to near two tons per acre.