Chardonnay, Charles Heintz Vineyard
2017 – 95 points
Light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of yellow citrus and peach draw you into the glass. A wine of sophistication and breeding that pleases on entry, in the middle and on the finish. There is plenty of lemon and yellow apple flavor but the wine does not veer to tropical California ripeness. A spear of acidity adds vitality, the bashful oak adds nuance and the uplifting, lip-smacking finish is memorable. A perfect marriage of pristine and invigorating natural acidity.
2016 – 92 points
Moderately light but bright golden yellow color in the glass. Lovely aromas of lemon, stone fruits and alfalfa set the stage. Crisp and fresh in the mouth, with engaging flavors of lemon, white peach, buttered toast and pastry cream. Nicely composed, with some lingering fruit charm on the impressive finish.
2015 – 95 points
Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Heady aromas of orchard fruits, butterscotch, and floral goodness that reminds of a walk in an orchard in blossom. The wine really perks up the senses with flavors of lemon, peach, pear and subtle vanilla. A floral note and saltiness chimes in as well. Very comforting, with a velvety mouthfeel and a quenching finish. I can just taste the Wente clone in this classy wine that embraces with perfect harmony. Still terrific when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2014 – 91 points
Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Scents of golden apple, wildflower honey and oily oak lead to a bright core of golden apple flavor enriched with notes of white peach and table grape. Nicely composed, with briny acidity and a comforting baby oil mouthfeel.
Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
2016 – 90 points
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Fruit aromas of cherry and red berry along with the herbal character of whole cluster. Dark red and black cherry fruit flavors along with spice and savory herbs are featured in this mid weight styled wine. The wine is shot through with acidity creating plenty of energy.
2015 – 93 points
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. The nose is joyous, with aromas of cherry, pipe smoke, spice, and dried rose petal bringing more intensity over time in the glass. The core of cherry and pomegranate fruit flavors have impressive intensity and length and finish with uncommon generosity. Sleek, silky and balanced, finishing with juicy acidity. All you can ask for in an appellation wine.
2014 – 92 points
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Crisp and refreshing, with bright aromas of black cherry and exotic spices replicated on the palate with added nuances of earth, mushroom and umami. Exquisitely balanced, this wine speaks of nobility and finishes with an infusion of vibrancy. Still engaging the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. You won’t find a better Sonoma Coast AVA bottling in the marketplace.
2012 – 91 points
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Plenty of whole cluster goodness in this wine with aromas of cherry, raspberry, cola, rose and spice. An elegant wine. but packs plenty of flavorful spiced cherry and raspberry fruits with a note of pomegranate, cranberry and rose water in the background. High grade tension, nicely accented with oak, finishing with crisp, tart cherry goodness.
2011 – 95 points
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. An “Oh Man” nose with vibrant aromas of black cherry pie glaze, cranberry relish, spice cabinet and the slightest oak, picking up interest and intensity over time in the glass. Juicy and refined on the palate with a perfectly ripened, dark red cherry core and what seems like whole cluster spice. Slightly earthy with supple tannins, floating over the palate in an ephemeral jaunt, picking up power as it goes until the finish explodes in delightful exuberance.
2010 – 93 points
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Heavenly aromas of Bing cherry, mushroom, rose petal, underbrush, · spice and everything nice. Delicious essence of black cherries complimented by a hint of spice and herbs. Impeccably balanced with luxurious texture and a big, deeply flavored, cherry finish.
2009 – Very Good
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherries, plum sauce, violets, hay barn and spice. Intense presence on the palate without weight, offering flavors of black cherries and red and dark berries with an underpinning of savory herbs, finishing with a hint of citrus peel and impressive fruit presence. Very soft and seductive in the mouth with supportive tannins and lively acidity, all in balance.
Pinot Noir, Coastlands Vineyard
2014 – 90 points
Light garnet color in the glass. The nose is quite savory, featuring aromas of earthy flora, cigar box and toasty oak. Light to mid weight in composure, with dark cherry and dark berry fruit flavors that have an earthy and feral quality. Oak adds more seasoning than I prefer. The fine-grain tannins are evident but not intrusive and there is only modest finishing length. I re-tasted this wine several hours after opening and the following day and still felt the oak treatment dominated the delicate fruit.
2013 – 93 points
Moderate cherry red color in the glass. This wine is a whole cluster wonderland. Aromas of exotic spices, black cherry and wood sap lead to mid weight styled wine with many nuances including dark red raspberry, cherry, cranberry, tea leaf, gingerbread spice, bourbon and smoke flavors. Flat-out delicious, with a silky demeanor, tight acidity, cashmere tannins and welcome finishing interest. There is plenty to ponder in this elegantly styled wine that will especially appeal to whole cluster fans.
2012 – 96 points
Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. The nose is somewhat subdued but very pleasing, offering aromas of darker red fruits, balsam, vanilla and sous-bois. Very intense and saturating on the palate with an explosion of fresh cherry and raspberry fruits that are flat out delicious. A little more structured, sappy and masculine with a touch more oak overlay than the Rice- Spivak bottling. The finish is remarkable for its persistence, generosity and juicy acidity. This wine was even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, displaying the fat, silken richness that only Pinot Noir can achieve.
Pinot Noir, Emmaline Ann Vineyard
2014 – 94 points
Moderately light ruby red color in the glass. Fruit-driven aromas of dark red cherry and berry with a hint of sarsaparilla and floral intricacy. Impressive fortitude on the palate with mid weight flavors of an array of well-ripened cherries and berries. The wine sports gentle tannins and an extremely long finish. Very soothing, offering power in a velvet glove character
2013 – 93 points
Very pleasant aromas of red berry, rose petal, burnt tobacco, spice and Herbs d’ Provence. Light in weight but imposing black cherry and raspberry flavors with a hint of tobacco and spice. Excellent harmony with a very generous and lengthy finish. Definitely some whole cluster input but integrated.
2012 – 94 points
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Similar to the Sonoma Coast bottling, but a step up in nuance and sophistication. Wondrous aromas of wilted rose, red cherry and spice led to a delicious palate of crisp, juicy red plum, cherry and red raspberry fruits. A faint note of oak and floral bouquet lurks in the background. Refined and classy, with a mouthwatering finish.
Pinot Noir, Rice-Spivak Vineyard
2016 – 93 points
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Seductive aroma of fresh cherry and baking spices. Delicious flavors of cherry and raspberry with an appealing accent of spice. Silky tannins, with concealed oak and an extremely long finish that seems to last a minute.
2015 – 94 points
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Inviting aromas of black cherry, BBQ spice rub and floral perfume. Refined and gracious on the palate, with an amazingly generous core of black cherry fruit that seems to persist on the finish for minutes. A bit of spice and tobacco flavor adds intrigue. Not perfect, as some tannin shows up on the slightly tart finish, but this is still a very compelling wine. This vineyard is always my paramour among the LaRue stable of wines.
2014 – 94 points
Moderate garnet color in the glass. This wine is exotically spiced as typical for this vineyard. The aromas arrive over time in the glass to accolades, offering hi-tone aromas of dark cherry, burnt tobacco, vanilla, rose petal and spice. The whole cluster character infuses the mid weight core of cherry, raspberry and blueberry fruit flavors. The polished mouthfeel appeals, and the citrus imbued finish is up lifting. The wine seems to gain traction over time, releasing its charms in steps. Glorious when tasted the following day from a previously opened and recorked bottle.
2013 – 93 points
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass with an unfiltered appearance. Intoxicating aromas of sweet cherries, exotic spices and rose petal. Admirable richness and fullness on the mid palate with saucy flavors of cherries, spice, smoke and jerky. A floral note lurks in the background. Melded tannins, vivacious acidity and long on the finish. Amazing phenolic concentration at this low ABV. Did I mention superb balance?
2012 – 97 points
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Very exotic aromatic profile brimming with alluring scents of black cherry, spice, rose petal and a hint of sweet oak. The nose reminds of one that reflects whole cluster fermentation. This is a special wine of charm and character, offering juicy cherry fruit that dances across the palate. Accents of spice and flower bouquet add interest. The experience is bright and energetic with great harmony and elegance. The wine offers a refreshing cut of acidity on the long finish that seduces with spiced cherry and red berry fruits. Very difficult to keep from drinking the whole bottle
2011 – 97 points
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A high brow nose featuring scents of cherries jubilee, baking spice and dried rose petals. Charming in every way, with fresh, bright cherry and raspberry flavors accented with spice. Noticeably seamless and elegant with an endlessly long peacock finish that lasts over a minute. Totally amazing and impossible to score.
Pinot Noir, Thorn Ridge Vineyard
2016 – 93 points
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Forward aromas of dark cherry and gentle oak are enticing. A mid weight plus styled wine with features of black cherry and blueberry and a complimentary, subtle earthy tone. A little more ripeness and concentration than the Rice-Spivak bottling but equally enamoring. Commendable balance with a satiny mouthfeel. Even better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.
2015 – 93 points
Moderately light garnet color in the glass. Both red cherry and red berry fruit aromas along with earthy flora and mushroom aromas combine beautifully on the inviting nose. Comforting in the mouth, with good harmony, in a mid weight style featuring dark red fruit and savory herb flavors. The very long finish is notable for its generosity and refreshing cut.
2014 – 94 points
Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of ripe berries, black cherry, spice and fertile earth lead to a middleweight fashioned wine with a solid grip of black cherry and black raspberry fruits. Very engaging on the mid palate and finish, with a silk and satin mouthfeel, a deft touch of oak, and up lifting acidity on the WOW finish. Noticeably better when tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle.