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31 May 2021 | Jessica Martinez



Samuel Louis Smith 2019 Pinot Noir Montanita De Oro, Monterey County

A 50/50 blend of two of the most pristine mountain sites of Monterey County, the Pelio and Coastview vineyards. With ocean views and an average elevation of 1,700 ft, Montañita de Oro presents a perfect combination of feminine lift and mountain structure. Pelio Vineyard is located next to Albatross Ridge, northwest of the Carmel Valley appellation of Monterey. At 1,000 feet and six miles from Monterey Bay, this site is truly on the edge of viticulture. Clay loam is littered with diatomaceous shale, evidence this area was under the sea until about 12 million years ago. Organically farmed. Coastview Vineyard is located on a ridgetop 2,300 feet up the Gabilan Mountains, and is one of the most dramatic sites on the Central Coast. Thin soils of decomposed granite and limestone are planted to chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, and grenache. Organically farmed. Medium garnet and medium bodied. Tart cherry, blood orange, white pepper, and crushed rose petal on the nose are supported by cinnamon and red fruit on the palate.

$32.99 per bottle


Wait Cellars 2015 Pinot Noir Devoto Garden Vineyard

Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma County

The 2015 Wait Cellars Green Valley Pinot Noir is made from 100% hand-picked and hand-sorted fruit from the Devoto Garden Vineyard.  Devoto Garden sits on a windy ridge west of Sebastopol in the Green Valley AVA of Sonoma County, California: a sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley AVA, renowned for its cool temperatures and fog, and sought after for its sandy, well-drained Goldridge soil. 2015 was the fourth in a series of very warm, dry growing years.  Berries were very small, yields way down — not great for growers, but auspicious for winemakers.  Wait Cellars picked the younger block at Devoto Garden (Dijon clone 115) more than two weeks before Labor Day at 22.5 brix, and the older block (Dijon clone 828) the day after Labor Day at 23.5 brix.   The vines showed good lignification and its grapes were fermented 15-20% of the fruit as whole clusters. Fermentation was conducted solely by wild resident yeasts. We pressed into 20% new French oak barrels, stirred the wine sur lie through the winter, and bottled at the end of the following summer without fining or filtration. The result is a profound, honest, terroir-driven wine of remarkable focus and appeal.

$14.99 per bottle


Big Basin Vineyards 2016 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains

2016 was a beautiful vintage - good yields, a moderate growing season and decent weather through harvest - that allowed Big Basin to nail the pick dates perfectly and make wines with minimal intervention. In fact, they were able to ferment the 2016 Lester Pinot with 100% whole clusters and absolutely nothing else added, with the exception of minimal SO2 after the completion of malolactic fermentation. Big Basin's vintners found that the use of whole clusters amplifies aromatic complexity and adds a layer of texture. The aromatics are lifted and expressive while the wine has an underlying structure that will gain body over the potentially long life of this wine.

$51.99 per bottle


Chamisal Vineyards 2019 Pinot Noir, San Luis Obispo County

For this wine, a combination of hand picked and fruit harvested with the very latest machine harvesting technology was used. The fruit was handled with care to maximize the whole-berry component and minimize oxidation. This technique allowed the process of carbonic maceration, where fermentation occurs in the absence of oxygen, to occur. The carbonic fermentation produces an abundance of fruit aroma and flavor which Chamisal tries to retain using a cooler fermentation temperature. Following fermentation, this wine was aged in stainless steel and oak with minimal new oak component to allow the focus to be on the fruit. Partial malolactic fermentation was used to round the acidity but maintain a bright, fresh-tasting Pinot.

$19.99 per bottle


Dragonette 2019 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

A few years ago, Dragonette began working with the historic Sanford & Benedict Vineyard fruit, employing organic farming in its blocks and evaluating the grapes for its various Pinot Noir programs. By 2018, S&B was responsible for 40% of the Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir. When Dragonette's vintners began tasting the 2019 Pinot Noirs, it became clear the S&B wine deserved to be bottled on its own. The cool 2019 vintage was excellent, and the grapes enjoyed extended hangtime into mid-September. More importantly, the barrels of S&B were simply dripping with terroir, contrasting sharply in character (though of similarly excellent quality) from the wines that come from Fiddlestix, only a few hundred yards away. Was it the vine age? Soil differences? Row spacing? Row orientation? Slight elevation differences? Probably all the above, and Dragonette found the wine complete and fascinating, with deep, concentrated red fruits, earth and spices, fine tannins and great persistence. So here it is. We think you will love this wine. The wine was aged on its lees for 16 months in French oak barrels (40% new) and bottled without filtration.  Extremely Limited. Only 120 cases produced.

$69.99 per bottle


Black Kite 2016 Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown Vineyard, Sonoma Coast

Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir is one of Black Kite's newer wines; the 2013 was its first vintage.  This large vineyard is at the base of Sonoma Mountain, and is part of the proposed Petaluma Gap appellation, as suggested by its name.  Black Kite has 23 rows at the end of Block 2B, which are planted with the Dijon 777 clone.  This Pinot Noir is stunning in its generous and mouthfilling entry, with flavors of black cherry, sweet vanilla and cranberry, and a velvety, lingering finish. Approximately 250 cases are made each year.

$56.99 per bottle

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