Morlet Family Vineyards Coteaux Nobles Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Very intense raspberry and kirsch flavors with earthy notes (graphite), rich, round and seamless with a very fruity lingering finish. Will age gracefully for a decade.
Located on the Sonoma Coast, on the Eastern slope of the second ridge from the Pacific Ocean, this unique hillside vineyard benefits from both the cool maritime breeze and the mild and sunny mountain climate. Handcrafted by using classical Burgundian techniques, it is the ‘Noble Hillsides’ or ‘Côteaux Nobles.’
Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2017 Pinot Noir Coteaux Nobles comes from the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA and is one of the more complex, nuanced wines in the lineup. Classic notes of kirsch, blueberries, incense, candied violets, and kisses of cola and cedary spice all flow to a medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced Pinot Noir that has fine tannins and integrated acidity. Drink it over the coming decade.
-Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
The Coteaux Nobles Pinot Noir comes from 27-year-old vines planted at the Nobles Ranch vineyard in Fort Ross-Seaview AVA. Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2017 Pinot Noir Coteaux Nobles has the most intense, fragrant perfume of warm cranberries, redcurrant jelly and fresh raspberries with hints of cinnamon stick, wild sage, underbrush and damp soil plus a waft of candied violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate bursts with vivacity and freshness, offering layers of red berry and earthy flavors and a very finely grained texture, finishing long and perfumed. 400 cases were made.
-Wine Advocate 96 Points
Morlet Family Vineyards En Famille Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
For generations our family has been growing the Pinot Noir grape in France. Each harvest, we love to celebrate this time-honored commitment while our children stomp a small vat of Pinot Noir from California’s Sonoma Coast. As for any family celebration or casual gathering, this handcrafted wine is to be appreciated ‘En Famille.’ Intense raspberry, wild strawberry, forest floor and earthy notes (graphite), very rich and complex with a leathery lingering finish. Will age gracefully for over a decade.
Propietary Name En Famille
Name Meaning With the family (with kids’ help) 5 generations with Pinot Noir
Varietal composition Pinot Noir (100%)
Type of wine Vineyard designated
Appellation Fort Ross-Seaview
Vineyard singularity On the 2nd ridge off Pacific Ocean 1,100 feet of elevation Goldridge sedimentary soil
Typical harvest date October Picking Manual, small lugs, refer truck Sorting Cluster by cluster, berry per berry
Fermentation Through native yeast Punch downs Puncheons only Upbringing 14 months French oak from artisan coopers
Cellaring time 10+ years
Serving Slightly below room temperature No decanting
More black fruits, smoked earth, baking spices, and earthy, saddle leather notes emerge from the 2017 Pinot Noir En Famille, which comes from a warmer, south-facing vineyard in the Fort Ross-Seaview region. This ripe, powerful, full-bodied Pinot Noir has an incredible texture and a huge core of fruit, yet it stays balanced, pure, and elegant, with plenty of tannic structure. Give bottles a year or two.
-Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
Patz & Hall Gaps Grown Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Gap's Crown Pinot Noir.
This vineyard sits high on a rock strewn, windswept hill directly overlooking the Petaluma Gap, the coastal mountain feature that feeds the cool Pacific air into the Russian River basin. Usually the last vineyard we pick each year, this extremely slow ripening site shows deeply fruity aromas of black cherry, plum, and cassis. Notes of sandalwood, moist fresh earth, and a faint waft of ocean spray define this wine as one of the most unique in our lineup. A crowd-pleasing richness is tempered by a fresh beam of mouthwatering acidity. Gap's Crown Vineyard is a very long-lived wine that rewards patient cellaring.
Classy forest floor, mulberry, black raspberry, spice, and incense notes emerge from the 2017 Pinot Noir Gap's Crown, a beautifully elegant, seamless, classic Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. This is a great vineyard.
- Jeb Dunnuch 94 Points
The nose here is brilliantly red fruited, with layer upon layer of subtle spice, bright floral notes, herbs, and stone. Its not all poetry and pageantry, though, and the first impression of the wine was simply, “oh that’s goooood.” A fair assessment, and sometimes that it all one requires. Further tastes show fine tannin throughout, a juicy, vibrant mouthfeel that is very likeable, and deft, long-developing layers of fruit that reveal themselves severally.
Patton Valley's flagship wine, The Estate is the most comprehensive expression of their vineyard site, and the wine that truly defines their place in a given vintage.
"Glistening red. Vibrant red fruit, floral and spice scents show very good clarity that picks up subtle hints of succulent herbs and smoky minerals with air. Juicy and energetic in the mouth, the 2017 offers gently sweet cherry raspberry and rose pastille flavors and a touch of spicecake. Smooth, well-integrated tannins make a late appearance on a long, floral-tinged finish that shows no rough edges. - Josh Raynolds" - Antonio Galloni's Vinous (August 2020), 92 pts
Bydand Pinot Noir Umino Vineyard is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
This small, sustainably farmed vineyard perches on a south-facing ridge in the Sebastopol Hills area of the esteemed Russian River Valley AVA, and has produced exceptional Pinot Noir for Bydand since their first vintage. Third-generation farmer David Umino rejected early assessments that the site was too cool for viticulture, and planted Pinot Noir there in 1996. The cold maritime winds in fact help to modulate ripening, and protect the grape’s natural purity and balance - resulting in fruit-driven wines with expressive red fruit and dark berry flavors, balanced with crushed rock and mouth-watering freshness. Velvety tannins coat the palate, providing an alluring and persistent finish.
This site combines the best of the earthy west Sonoma Coast and well-fruited Russian River.
"Dark and rich in blackberry and cherry, this wine is lightly dusted in cardamom and cinnamon, with bold intensity and lasting richness. The site shows through in its elegance
and power. - VIRGINIE BOONE"
- Wine Enthusiast (December 2020), 92 pts
As nursery owners in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Walt and Joan Flowers had long dreamed of combining their love of wine with their passion for agriculture. They knew they wanted to produce their favorite varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir; what they didn’t know was that their path would eventually lead them across country to Northern California’s rugged Sonoma Coast. After responding to a small classified ad in a national wine publication, that’s exactly where they landed.In 1989, after many information-gathering trips to Napa and Sonoma, Walt and Joan purchased 321 acres, including a ridge top, high above the Pacific Ocean on the northern Sonoma Coast. With the same determination they drew on to build their successful nursery business; the Flowers proceeded with the dream of producing their favorite cool-climate varietals in a place they believed uniquely suited to growing them.Today, Flowers Winery produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from its two estate properties, Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard and Sea View Ridge Vineyard, as well as select vineyards in the coolest regions of the Sonoma Coast AVA, which are farmed to Flowers’ specifications by their own crews. In addition to direct consumer sales, the wines are sold to fine restaurants and retailers in the US and overseas.
Offers a rich and lusciously spicy aroma, with flavors to match, as well as a deep core of cherry compote, berry, currant and red plum accents that glide across the palate. Unctuous midpalate, featuring a long, cream-filled finish. Drink now through 2026.
-Wine Spectator 94 Points
Fort Ross Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Bright aromas of raspberry and bing cherry meld with earthy spice and a hint of licorice. Cherry, raspberry and red plum greet the palate followed by savory touches. Refined, supple tannins and the Fort Ross Vineyard signature minerality are revealed through the layered, mouthwatering finish. With its vibrant acidity and extraordinary balance this classic coastal Pinot Noir will elegantly evolve.
Lots of redcurrants, mulled cherries, and spicy, dried herb-like notes emerge from the 2017 Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard, a medium-bodied, elegant Pinot Noir with ripe tannins and terrific overall balance. It shows the more savory, concentrated style of the vintage and is an outstanding, complex 2017 to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years or so.
-Jeb Dunnuck 92 Points
Scented of cranberries and red and black cherries with nuances of charcuterie, dusty earth and woodsmoke, the 2017 Pinot Noir Estate Fort Ross Vineyard has a light to medium-bodied palate with a good interplay of fruit, earth and meaty nuance. It has a grainy, fresh frame and finishes long.
-Wine Advocate 92 Points
Suave, with a delicate mix of vibrant cherry, currant and huckleberry flavors that are backed by crunchy acidity. Shows minerally richness on the fine-textured finish. Drink now through 2025. 627 cases made.
-Wine Spectator 93 Points
In 1988 owners Lester and Linda Schwartz purchased a section of virgin forest and grasslands in the high coastal ridges of the Sonoma coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Told by academics that it was too risky plant a vineyard on these cool, foggy coastal ridges so close to the Ocean they were undeterred. After experimenting for several years with assorted clones, rootstocks and trellising systems they concluded that the property had the potential to grow exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In 1994, after carefully sourcing exceptional heritage clones whose attributes they believed would reveal the terroir and varietal typicity, they began to prepare and plant the first vineyard blocks. Lester and Linda spent many days personally digging plant holes and planting vines as they meticulously laid out their 53-acre vineyard with roads, underground drainage and irrigation systems while developing and building a reservoir and designing a custom trellis system.
In tribute to their South African heritage, they sourced Pinotage bud wood from the original founding blocks in that country, and became the first private growers to import grapevine cuttings through the Foundation Plant Services that operates alongside the U.C. Davis School of Viticulture and Enology.
Today, Lester and Linda work closely with Jeff Pisoni, who came to Fort Ross as winemaker in 2009. They regularly walk the vineyard, making viticultural decisions and ultimately determining when best to harvest each block. Lester and Linda continue to oversee the day-to-day vineyard operations. Having worked tirelessly to carve this spectacular vineyard out of an untamed, extreme location, they have proved the academics wrong.
Clinging to the steep ridgetops of the Sonoma Coast at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, the high elevation and diverse terroir of Fort Ross Vineyard set it apart in the world of fine wine. A mile from the ocean the vineyard is the closest to the Pacific Ocean in California. The 32 small, mountain-vineyard blocks traverse 53 acres that rise in elevation from 1,200 to 1,700 feet above sea level. These former grasslands spread north/south over a mountainous 975-acre area, an equation that leaves over 95% of the property’s native forest untouched. Varying in size from one-half to two acres, each small block has its own particular terroir and is planted with rootstocks, varietals, and clones, or field selections, best suited to reveal the terroir, varietal typicity, and clonal attributes. During the growing season the temperature ranges between 55 and 85 degrees. In response, Fort Ross Vineyard is planted to three varieties – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage. These heritage clones and field selections produce low yields with small bunches and berries that deliver wines of great fruit character and vibrancy.
The climatic and topographical conditions of Fort Ross Vineyard make farming a continuing challenge that requires a vine-by-vine approach with most work done by hand. Vineyard crews use narrow-gauge crawler tractors on some hillside areas, and even then, there are some blocks that are so steep they can only be reached on foot. Yields are naturally low, but in years when the berry set is higher, fruit is dropped to reach proper ripeness and balance. Sustainable growing practices ensure the health of the vineyard, including cover crops, integrated pest management, and erosion control measures. As the grapes ripen, netting is installed over each row to protect the fruit from birds that flock from the adjacent forests.
With its marine sedimentary soils, long, bright sunny days, gentle sea breezes, fog, and cool maritime-climate, these steep coastal ridges have become one of the most highly prized cool-climate growing regions in California. The vineyard benefits from the cool air and ocean breezes, is above the fog line during most of the daylight hours, and get enough sun and warmth to bring grapes to complete physiological ripeness.
In January 2012, Fort Ross Vineyard became part of the new, rigorously defined Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area (AVA) which established the region as separate and distinct from all other wine growing regions in California.
Philosophy: The approach to winemaking at Fort Ross is gentle and minimalistic, as the aim is to produce exceptional wines that truly express the terroir and topography of this unique coastal vineyard. The vision is to create wines that reveal their fruit with elegant structure, balance and finesse.
Harvest to Barrel: Winemaker, Jeff Pisoni, and Owners Lester and Linda work closely together, repeatedly walking the vineyard, carefully tasting the grapes from each block. During the cool morning hours, each block is hand-picked into small trays, sometimes with several passes through a single block to ensure ideal fruit ripeness and acid balance. Grapes are hand sorted, destemmed, cold soaked for several days then fermented in simple open top fermenters and manually punched down. Shortly after pressing, the wines are aged in a combination of new and neutral French oak barrels. All of the wines – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage – are fermented using native yeast, which lengthens the process and changes its dynamic. It takes longer to initiate fermentation with native yeast, and the progression is slower, but according to winemaker Jeff Pisoni, “the results are more distinctive and complex.”
Art of Blending: Throughout winemaking, clones and blocks are kept separate to maintain their distinct flavor profiles and structural components. Blending trials determine how to combine the different clones into distinct wines that best reflect their component flavor profiles. Bottling the wines unfined and unfiltered is another minimalistic choice that helps to preserve vineyard expression and the wines’ pristine fruit, as well as contribute beautiful texture. Pisoni acknowledges that it’s not always the easiest road but he insists that the less intervention the better. “You have to be really cautious and careful, just as with native fermentation. It takes constant observation, both through tasting and under the microscope, but bottling without filtering results in a purer, fresher expression of the vineyard.”
Maggy Hawk Unforgettable Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
The 2018 Unforgettable was harvested and vinified separately for its unique qualities. After an initial five-day soak, the fruit fermented in three-ton fermenters with pump overs twice daily. Freshness, power and persistence. Unforgettable offers up a delightful balance of jammy blackberry, boysenberry and blueberry with lively aromas of violets, lilac and pennyroyal.
A dark heart of black fruit centers this complex and well-balanced wine. Enticing, spicy clove, cedar and earth aromas lead to a supersmooth but well-structured palate that reveals black-cherry, rhubarb and black-tea nuances. It's distinctive and should age well in the mid-term. Best from 2023. Jim Gordon
-Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
The 2018 Pinot Noir Unforgettable is built on texture and creaminess. It offers a bit more mid-palate structure than some of the other wines in the range. The mix of mostly Pommard and Wadensvil clones works so well here. Silky and open-knit, the 2018 can be enjoyed with minimal cellaring.
-Vinous 93 Points
Penfolds Bin 149 Wine of the World Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
AVA Blend: 85.1% Rutherford + Oakville, 14.9% South Australia
Aromas, are focused, with sweet iced tea, savory caperberries, French polish, and heady barrel ferment characters of mocha and kirsch tapering to a precise point. Further notes include grated ginger, cola, green olive, caraway seeds, and a Bordelaise sauce richness. Classically Penfolds in character, yet altogether different in structure, the palate features fine, close-knit tannins and a menthol lift with flavors of cedar, sandalwood, and roasted meats. Bright acidity provides succulence and a sustained finish.
Penfolds Bin 149 derives its name from the percentage of South Australian Cabernet Sauvignon that’s woven into the blend. Its unique worldly disposition sets it apart from other California wines and is a testament to the power of the legendary Penfolds House Style. A wine both distinctive and of distinction, Bin 149 showcases a multidimensional palate of strong Napa Valley tannins and intense dark fruit, with an Australian twist.
Lots of blackberry, currant, light chocolate and hazelnut. This is rather dense and plush, but shows impressive layers of tannins that have a rough-velvet texture. Juicy and intense fruit. The grapes come from the AVAs of Rutherford, Calistoga, Oakville and then spread across Napa. 14.9% comes from South Australia. A global wine. In the end, it’s nicely toned and curated. Needs three or four years to come together. Try after 2025.
-James Suckling 97 Points
Two Paddocks The Last Chance Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Spice, wild thyme and Cuban coffee bean aromatics give way to gorgeous fully textured mouthfeel showing great tension and drive. The palate is elegant and flavoursome with a long lingering mineral finish showing poise, memory and site.
This parcel from Earnscleugh is always elegant and fragrant and has performed well in 2020. There are light red florals of roses, some violets, wild red cherries, raspberries and a fine, spicy layer, as well as sappy elements. The palate has finely layered tannins that anchor in a central red-cherry core of flavor nicely. Fresh, elegant and drinkable, the flavors accumulate in impressive form, really moreish. Fresh acidity, too. From organically grown grapes. Drink or hold.
-James Suckling 96 Points