International Wine Report



Chardonnay, Charles Heintz Vineyard

2018 – 94 points

“The 2018 Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay is a drop-dead gorgeous showing from LaRue in this vintage. This instatly impresseses with its inviting aromas of ripe apple, peach, citrus, creme brûlée, white flowers, honeysuckle, toasted brioche and crushed stones. The palate reveals a gorgeous creamy texture with a wonderful combination of ripeness, acidity and minerality with flavors of peach, Meyer lemon cream and orchard fruits that all collide on the finish. Simply put, this is a gorgeous Chardonnay that is beautiful today, but should also offer a drinking window that spans a decade.”

2017  – 94 points

“The Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay is a simply fantastic release from LaRue. As this stunning wine slowly begins to unwind it releases alluring aromatics of quince, pear, citrus and honeysuckle. On the palate this is absolutely gorgeous, showing lovely acidity and a textured mouthfeel that glides across the palate leaving behind flavors of citrus, apple and a touch of vanilla, that presisit through the bright finish. This stunning Chardonnay is hard to resist today and should continue to flourish beautifully over the course of the next decade.”

2016 95 points

“The 2016 Chardonnay from the historic Charles Heintz Vineyard is truly spectacular. This Chardonnay comes from vines that were planted back in 1982 and as you can imagine, access to this fruit is hard to obtain. As the wine slowly opens it delivers beautiful aromas of white peach, vanilla blossoms, lemon custard, tropical fruits, key lime and a touch of honeysuckle. It has a gorgeous texture, which is remarkably balanced, as it combines wonderful pure fruit and bright acidity leading up to the delicious finish. Absolutely stunning today and has the structure to last over a decade in the cellar.”

2015 – 92 points

“The 2015 vintage marks the second for winemaker Katy Wilson’s Chardonnay from Charles Heintz Vineyard. Its a small production wine with just 22 Cases made. The wine itself has an attractive nose delivering aromas of fresh lemon, white orchard fruit, flower blossom and hints of almond. It possesses an appealing texture and is remarkably well balanced between the fruit and acidity. Showing well today and will continue to gain complexity with some additional bottle age.”

2014 – 92 points

“2014 marks the first vintage of Chardonnay from winemaker Katy Wilson of LaRue Wines. The grapes are from the historic Heintz Vineyard, where the Chardonnay was planted in 1982. It is very aromatic with honeysuckle scents, apricot, quince, and pineapple, followed by some hints brown butter and ripe peach. On the palate this is vibrant, with great purity and balance, with lovely acidity and precision through the finish. This is an excellent effort and I certainly look forward to see more Chardonnay from LaRue in future.”


H. Klopp

2018 – 93 points

“This Chardonnay from LaRue comes from the Goldridge sandy loam soils and coastal climate of the H. Klopp Vineyard. It instantly impresses as it delivers a beautiful bouquet with green apple, pear, lime tart, and tropical fruits, coupled with a secondary layer of crushed rock, lemon zest, honey and spring flowers. Upfront it hits you with lots of orchard fruits that transition into citrus and fresh mineral as the wine flows into the delicious finish. Winemaker Katy Wilson as crafted a sensational Chardonnay that should drink beautifully upon release or over the course of the next decade.”


Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

2017 – 91 points

“Larue’s 2017 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir opens to inviting aromas of red cherries, red currant, strawberries, white pepper, and dried herbs, along with hints of mint, exotic spices and mushroom. On the palate this is medium-bodied and elegantly structured, with a bright core laced with flavors of sour cherries, red currants and spices framed by a lovey combination of acidity and minerality on the finish. This is another sensational Pinot Noir from LaRue, which should become even more compelling as it evolves over the course of the next decade.”

2016 – 92 points

“Larue’s 2016 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir comes from 20-year-old vines from the Rice-Spivak and Thorn Ridge Vineyards. This gorgeous Pinot Noir begins with beautiful aromas of strawberries and dark cherries are woven together with cranberry, spices, leather, floral and dark soil. On the palate this is medium-bodied and possesses striking finesse, balance and focus, giving way to flavors of bright red fruits, spices and earthy notes that work their way into the long, elegant finish. Overall, this is a simply fantastic Pinot, that is showing well today, however could certainly benefit from an additional year or two of bottle age.”

2015 – 93 points

“The 2015 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from LaRue is spectacular. Winemaker Katy Wilson sources the fruit from Rice-Spivak and Thorn Ridge Vineyards to make this gorgeous wine. Aromas of wild strawberry,  dark cherries, intense florals, spices and forest floor jump from the glass. The fruit shows remarkable purity and simply delicious. It is beautifully balanced lovely acidity and tart red berries leading up to the long. This is completely stunning now, and it will certainly continue to age gracefully over the next decade.”

2013 – 92 points

“The Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from LaRue Wines is a top notch effort. Winemaker Katy Wilson blends fruit from the Rice-Spivak (located south of Sebastopol) and Emmaline Ann Vineyard (located outside of Freestone). It has gorgeous aromas, with cherry fruit characters, exotic spices, forest floor, black plum and hints of citrus zest. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and very elegant. The finish is soft with a zip of fresh acidity at the end.”

2012 – 93 points

“The 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from LaRue is a striking effort which was sourced from Rice-Spivak and Emmaline Ann Vineyards. As this opens in the glass it releases aromas of black cherries, red currant, dark soil tones, smoke, a touch of exotic coffee beans and toasty new oak. On the palate the wine is medium-bodied with impressive depth, focus and balance. It continues to show bright acidity and stunning length on the pure finish.”

 


Pinot Noir, Coastlands Vineyard

2017 – 93 points

“This stunning Pinot Noir from Katy Wilson comes from the famous Coastlands Vineyard, which was planted in 1989 by the Cobb family, overlooking the Pacific Ocean at 900-1,200 feet elevation and has some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines on the Sonoma Coast. The wine itself is fantastic, showing off wonderful red fruit profile along with an earthy character with nuances of fresh sage, mint all connecting beautifully. The palate is elegant and extreamely inviting, delivering delicious flavors of red berries, red currants, blood orange and dried herbal undertones which all continue to flow through beautifully into the long finish. The 2017 is already sensational, but it will ultimately benefit from a few years of cellaring and go on to drink marveously for well for over a decade.”

2014 – 96 points

“The 2014 LaRue Coastlands Vineyard Pinot Noir is an utterly fascinating wine in this vintage. It was aged for 30 months in barrel and is a blend of three different Pinot Noir clones, Pommard, Martini, and Wadenswil. The bouquet is simply gorgeous and wonderfully complex, with aromas of raspberries and cherries woven together with exotic spices, fresh cut florals, loamy soil, leather and hints of scorched earth. Remarkably focused and precise on the palate, this displays striking elegance and sheer class, as the beautifully pure red fruits and berries work their way into the mouth watering finish. This is a top-notch Pinot Noir from Katy Wilson which will continue to become even more compelling as it evolves gracefully over the next decade plus.”

2013 – 95 points

“This absolutely brilliant Pinot Noir comes from the Coastlands Vineyard, situated at 900-1,200 feet, overlooking the Pacific Ocean was started in 1989 by the Cobb Family and has some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines on the coast. As this begins to open it releases fantastic aromas of black cherries and red berries woven together with spices, rose petal, leather and even hints of citrus which all taking shape beautifully in the glass. On the palate this is very elegant and polished, coupled with a firm backbone and notable depth as it heads into the long finish. This will continue to evolve and gain complexity over the next decade.”

2012 – 95 points

“The Coastlands Vineyard Pinot Noir from LaRue is absolutely brilliant in 2012. As this slowly unwinds in the glass gorgeous aromas of black raspberries, wild berries, spices, blood orange, dried floral and even hints of dried sage all begin to take shape in the glass. On the palate this offers a wonderful silky texture, which is beautifully structured with excellent clarity and focus. This continues to deliver all the way though the vibrant finish. Overall, this is a stunning Pinot, but patience will be required.”


Pinot Noir, Emmaline Ann Vineyard

2017 – 94 points

“The 2017 Emmaline Ann Vineyard Pinot Noir is another sensational showing from LaRue in this vintage. The aromatics are sensational, with nuances of fresh cherries, wild strawberries, cranberries and blood orange, followed by hints of violet, leather, damp soil, lavender, mint and spices. On the palate this offers outstanding balance and focus, with a beautiful core of ripe red berries, forest floor and hints of citrus rind flavors the persist through the finish. This is fascinating today, especially with some air contact, but it should become even more compelling as it evolves over the next few years.”

2014 – 94 points

“This striking Pinot Noir comes from LaRue is sourced from the Emmaline Ann vineyard. The 3-acre vineyard is located near Firestone and situated at an elevation of 800 feet, and also benefits from the cool marine influence from the Pacific. As this begins to open it releases vibrant aromatics of ripe strawberry and red cherries along with hints of citrus, dried herb and floral. This possesses a soft and supple texture on the palate along with expressive fresh red fruits and a lovely touch of acidity keeping this fresh and inviting through the finish. This will benefit from some bottle age and continue to flourish over the next decade plus.”

2013 – 95 points

“The 2013 Emmaline Ann Vineyard Pinot Noir is an exceptional effort from this 3 acre vineyard located near Freestone. The vineyard is positioned with a close proximity to the coast and the Dijon clones benefit from the marine influence resulting in a wonderful elegant vibrant wine. As this gorgeous wine begins to open it releases a beautiful aromatic nose of red berries, smoke, exotic spice, followed by fresh mineral, herb, and dried floral notes. It has remarkable texture with intense berry, earth and fresh mineral flavors through the palate and into into the long finish. This needs 2-3 years to develop and will continue to evolve over the next decade and even beyond.”

2012 – 95 points

“As this begins to open, it releases gorgeous aromas of red cherries, raspberries, wild strawberries, dark soil, chalk dust, leather and fresh mineral, which leap from the glass. The palate is beautifully textured, backed by wonderful acidity and bright, juicy fruits. This remains focused and precise through the harmonious finish as it constantly continues to improve with each second of air. Overall, this young Pinot Noir shows tremendous Potential for evolving more than a decade.”


Pinot Noir, Rice-Spivak Vineyard

2017 – 93 points

“The 2017 Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir from LaRue is simply gorgeous. It opens with lovely aromatics of pretty red fruits and citrus rind that mingle with flowers, mint, herbs and black tea. The palate has a gorgeous mouthfeel and wonderful silky, refined texture, with a core red currant, bing cherry and blood orange zest flavors that are underlined by beautful acidity keeping this fresh and inviting through the finish. Sensational now with extended air contact, however I can only imagine this will continue to evolve exceptionally over the course of the next decade.”

2016 – 94 points

“The Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir is yet another delicious offering from LaRue in this vintage. With some air contact, this is begins to burst open with beautiful aromatics of dark cherries, red berries, floral and lavender along with sweet and exotic spices. On the palate this demonstrates both remarkable elegance and depth, with beautiful soft tannins and a gorgeous texture. It continues to impress all the way through the finish, as it shows excellent focus and complexity until the very end. Today, this is already showing flashes of brilliance, however there is no doubt it will also evolve gracefully over the next decade and beyond.”

2015 – 94 points

“The 2015 Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir is an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous wine from Katy Wilson. This simply riveting Pinot Noir begins with inviting aromas of sour black cherries, ripe blackberries, orange peel, damp forest floor and violets which hints of cacao. On the palate this possesses a gorgeous medium-body, with silky, yet firm tannins backed by delicious flavors of tart red and black fruits with a hint orange citrus on the finish. This is absolutely outstanding today and will develop even more complexity as it evolves over the next decade and beyond.”

2014 – 95 points

“The 2014 LaRue Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir is an utterly captivating wine from Katy Wilson. This outstanding Pinot Noir comes from the Rice-Spivak Vineyard, which is influenced from its coastal location, as well as some volcanic ash. The wine itself offers vibrant aromas of wild cherries, dark forest floor, exotic spices and spring flowers which all come together beautifully in the glass. It also begins to take on secondary characteristics of fresh orange blossom, red currant and cocoa, all adding even further complexity. This has a tremendous balance of pure fruit with lively acidity through the finish. While this is drinking well today, I only expect this to continue to evolve and become even more appealing over the next decade.”

2013 – 95 points

“This 2013 Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir from LaRue is simply fantastic. This opens with flat out gorgeous notes of fresh raspberries, wild strawberries, ripe plum, dark soil, exotic spice, mint and fresh spring flowers all come together to form the complex aromatics. On the palate this offers wonderful pure fruit combined with layers of fresh red berries, wild cherry and earth characteristics. This is a simply remarkable Pinot Noir and will continue to flourish over the next 10-15 years.”

2012 – 94 points

“The 2012 LaRue Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir comes from a 6 acre vineyard just south of Sebastopol. The soils are mainly Goldridge sandy loam with some volcanic ash. The wine itself has exotic nose which combines aromas of fresh raspberry, crushed redcurrant, strawberries, pomegranate and rose petal, accented by fresh herbs and white pepper. This is pure and focused showing a lovely balance of fruit and acidity which carries on into the long mineral driven finish. Overall, this is an age worthy Pinot Noir that is still very youthful and will demand a few years of bottle age.”


Pinot Noir, Thorn Ridge Vineyard

2017 – 94 points

“The 2017 Pinot Noir from Thorn Ridge Vineyard is a sensational showing from LaRue. The aromatics are simply stunning offering nuances of dark cherries, strawberries and pomegranate that combine with, black truffle, tilled soil and cola which all come together beautifully. The palate is just as impressive, displaying a gorgeous seamless quality, along with a fabulous core of red berries and earthy characteristics. This is an utterly stunning Pinot Noir, which will cellar beautifully over the next decade.”

2016 – 94 points

“The Thorn Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir from LaRue and winemaker Katy Wilson is absolutely stunning in this vintage. As this gorgeous Pinot Noir slowly begins to unwind it releases striking aromatics of beautiful pure red fruits, cranberry and exotic spices, along with wild flowers and an earthy character all taking shape. On the palate this shows incredible focus and balance, with a wonderful elegant mouthfeel and a core of delicious fruit that is framed by lovely acidity leading up to the mouthwatering finish. Overall, this is a simply fabulous Pinot Noir that should evolve gracefully for over a decade, however it will likely require a few more years in bottle before it begins to hit its stride.”

2015 – 93 points

“The Thorn Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir begins with striking aromas of blackberries and raspberries followed by floral, sweet spices, eucalyptus and dried florals which all come together beautifully. Medium-bodied and beautifully textured, this displays incredible purity and core of ripe juicy fruits which expand across the palate. The possesses excellent structure, supported by fine silky tannins which are simply gorgeous, as this contines to impress all the way through the long velvety finish. This is a completely fabulous wine from Katy Wilson, which should continue to drink beautifully over the course of the next decade and beyond.”

2014 – 96 points

“The Thorn Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir from LaRue is a complete standout and one of the most impressive wines from the vintage. This wine is a blend from two blocks, that are planted to Pommard and 115 clones. It is a bit restraint at first, but it slowly reveals pretty aromas of red cherries, raspberry and florals. After a few hours of air it begins to blossom with exotic spices, smoke, fresh roasted coffee and minerals. The refined and elegant texture and shows great overall balance and focus through the long, pretty finish. Overall this is a simply dazzling wine, however patience will be required and this needs to be cellared for a few more years and will continue flourish over the next decade.”


Top 100 Wines

2018 – #53

2016 Chardonnay, Charles Heintz Vineyard

2017 – #54

2014 Pinot Noir, Thorn Ridge Vineyard

2016 – #28

2013 Pinot Noir, Rice-Spivak Vineyard

2015 – #48

2012 Pinot Noir, Coastlands Vineyard