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With its maritime influence, California's Monterey region has an extended growing season that yields wines with full flavor development and great acid balance. Mandolin Pinot Noir is a rich wine that features bright cherry and raspberry fruit with hints of spice, leather and cedar.
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were sourced from vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA of Monterey County, where high winds, dry days, and bay fogs create a cool, but very long, growing season. These growing conditions are ideal for cool-climate grapes such as Pinot Noir, and lead to full, forward fruit flavors and ideal acidity. Grapes were harvested at an ideal balance of sugar and acid, and the wine was fermented in small open-top tanks. The wine completed malo-lactic fermentation in French oak barrels, where it aged for 8 months prior to bottling. TA .67 pH 3.50 Residual Sugar 0.052g/100ml
The Mandolin Estate
Mandolin is a collaboration between veteran winemaker Philip Zorn and longtime wine executive Brent Shortridge. Bringing together their previously established relationships with winegrowers in California's Monterey County, Zorn and Shortridge have created wines that stand out for their balance, finesse and distinct varietal character, as well as their sense of place. Mandolin wines are internationally recognized as outstanding values.
A mandolin is a member of the lute family; similar to a guitar, it is plucked or strummed.
The Mandolin Vineyard
The grapes for this Pinot Noir were sourced from vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA of Monterey County, where high winds, dry days, and bay fogs create a cool, but very long, growing season. These growing conditions are ideal for cool-climate grapes such as Pinot Noir, and lead to full, forward fruit flavors and ideal acidity. Grapes were harvested at an ideal balance of sugar and acid, and the wine was fermented in small open-top tanks. The wine completed malo-lactic fermentation in French oak barrels, where it aged for 11 months prior to bottling.
Dark cherry color. Complex and intense aromas of juicy red and black fruit combined with vanilla and toffee. Fresh, ample and round in the mouth, well balanced and harmonious with fruit flavors and ripe tannins.
Dark ruby color. Aromas of cherry, currant, vanilla bean and hint of tar. Full-bodied, with flavors of cherries, cocoa powder and oak. A touch of sweetness on entry with a little bit of air with soft tannins that are starting to integrate well.
The latest step in the project is Vinsacro (formerly Valsacro) Dioro. The earlier Valsacros were made from a field selection of the older vineyards. Now, thanks to the new facility Amador has been able to build an upmarket version of Vinsacro (formerly Valsacro) with a four-stage selection process that includes an initial field selection of the fruit followed by a second table selection as the grapes come into the winery. After fermentation wine from selected tanks is transferred to new French oak barrels for 12-14 months of barrel age. Finally, the best barrels are set aside for Dioro and the remainder used to "upgrade" the normal Vinsacro.
Vinsacro Dioro is a blend of grapes from 100+ year old "vidau" vineyards where many varieties were planted together in the same plot.
Today the grapes are harvested and vinified separately. The final blend depends on the vintage but typically it's Tempranillo (50%), Garnacha (20%) and remaining 30% is a mix of mainly Graciano (10%) & Mazuelo (10%) with a little of Monastrell (5%) & Bobal (5%).
"The top of the range is the 2015 Vinsacro Dioro, a wine that is only produced in excellent vintages. It's a blend of 40% Vidau (the old field blend) plus 45% Tempranillo and 15% Mazuelo, from a slope in the south of the Monte Yerga called Cuesta la Reina, from a big, 120-hectare plot that has been with the Escudero family for generations. It fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel with a long maceration. It matured in new French (70%) and American oak barrels for 18 months. It's still very young and a little shy, with a reticent nose where the lactic and spicy aromas are intermixed with earthy and dark fruit aromas. The palate is full-bodied but perfectly balanced, compact, powerful and serious, with abundant tannins, extract and clout. This should develop nicely in bottle, given its stuffing and balance. An excellent, modern version of a classical Rioja. 20,000 bottles were filled in June 2017. - Luis Gutierrez"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #235, February 2018), 92 pts
"(sourced from a 100+ year old plot of mixed varieties; aged in new and used French oak barrels for 14 months) Deep, bright-rimmed ruby. Ripe black and blue fruits on the expansive, spice- and smoke-accented nose, along with suggestions of vanilla, candied flowers and cola. The oak qualities recede quickly on the palate, which displays sappy, deeply concentrated boysenberry, black raspberry and spicecake flavors that show a suave blend of richness and energy. Supple tannins build steadily on the penetrating finish, which leaves cherry-cola and baking spice notes behind. - Josh Raynolds"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (February 2019), 93 pts
"I loved the 2015 Vinsacro Dioro Rioja, and this beauty is 50% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache, 10% each of Mazuelo and Graciano, and the balance Mourvèdre and Bobal, all of which spent 12-14 months in French oak. It boasts a deep ruby/purple color as well as smoking good notes of black currants, dried herbs, licorice, and background oak. Medium to full-bodied, seamless, and layered on the palate, with terrific fruit and impeccable balance, I suspect it will shine for over a decade."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 2019), 93 pts
Fullerton Bennett Vineyard Pinot Noir (magnum) is made from 100% Pinot Noir - 8 years old
18 months in 5% new French Oak and 95% neutral French Oak
Bennett Vineyard is grown in sedimentary Bellpine soil. A new and exciting site in 2015, this hidden jewel of a vineyard produced a graceful Pinot Noir and it is bottled exclusively in 1.5L and 3L magnums. The quality and value of this wine combine with the large format bottles to create an ideal wine for the upcoming fall and winter holiday seasons. Whether shared at your table or gifted to family or friends, this unique bottling is sure to please.
Aromas of cherry and raspberry fold into layers of rhubarb, clove, and pipe tobacco. The lengthy, mineral-driven palate showcases the captivating elegance of Pinot Noir.
Upon arrival, the grapes were immediately de-stemmed into open-top fermenters. Following a seven-day cold soak, the wine started fermenting slowly at a cool temperature. To manage extraction, we utilized one to two punch-downs and one pump-over per day, with two rack- and-returns at the beginning and middle of fermentation. Following two days of seling, the wine was racked to barrel and aged for 18 months in 5% new French oak and 6 months in tank prior to being bottled.
Fullerton Five Faces Pinot Noir 100% Pinot Noir - 7-40 years old
FIVE FACES is an acronym for the five members of the Fullerton family - Filip, Alex, Caroline, Eric and Susanne.
A blend from Fullerton's best vineyard sources, Five FACES Pinot Noir always showcases the breadth of the terroir in the Willamette Valley with the inclusion of both volcanic, basalt-based soils and sedimentary, sandstone-based soils. The fruit hails from geographically diverse sites within the valley, each with their own unique micro-climates.
Lovely ruby with aromas of cherry, strawberry, cinnamon, bramble, and brooding humus. Fresh on the palate with nice persistence leading into the soft, noteworthy tannins. Drink now or hold for up to 5 years.
In order to build a complex and layered Willamette Valley blend, we used open-top, closed-top, and barrel fermentation. For the open-top tanks, we favored punch-downs, whereas the closed-top tanks received pump-overs exclusively. The rotator barrels spun on a schedule yielding a gentle extraction. All methods also received a minimum of two rack-and-returns at precise times during the fermentation process. Nearly all lots were cold-soaked for up to 10 days, and ambient yeasts carried out the fermentation. In total, we utilized 15% whole clusters. The wine was aged for 11 months in 20% new French oak barrels.
"The 2015 'Five Faces' Pinot Noir shows deep profile with aromatics leading to wild mushroom, black cherry and wild blackberry. The palate displays a medium weight with flavors of orange zest, black truffle, wild blackberry cobbler and a hint of cola. This is delicious and shows excellent balance. (Best 2017-2027) - July, 2017 (OB)"
- International Wine Report (July 2017), 91 pts
Kershaw Smugglers Boot Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir made from French clones PN667, PN115 and PN113.
The name derives from the time of trade embargoes in South Africa when growers & winemakers smuggled grapevine material into the country by hiding the cuttings in Wellington boots. The Smuggler’s Boot range celebrates that ingenuity.
Attractive strawberry, savory and star anise spice linger on the nose. Juicy and sumptuous on the mid palate with breadth of flavor offset by a nimbleness of fresh acidity, friable tannins and sinuous mouthfeel, this Pinot unwraps to earthy, fennel, chocolate and a hint of incense to a long supple finish.
Handpicked grapes were first bunch sorted on a conveyor before the stems were removed and the destemmed berries sorted to remove jacks and substandard berries. After a 3-day maceration in 500kg open-topped fermenters, the uncrushed grapes began a spontaneous fermentation. A gentle pigeage program was charted and the grapes remained on skins for 10-16 days.
The free-run wine was racked to a combination of 50% French oak barrels (10% new) and 50% breathable plastic eggs with the remaining pomace basket-pressed. Malolactic then proceeded followed by a light sulphuring after which the wine was racked off Malolactic lees and returned to cleaned barrels for an 11-month maturation. No finings, simply racked and light filtration prior to bottling.
Richard Kershaw’s personal suggestions for dishes include charcuterie, its salt and fat being complemented by the delicate spicy notes and fruit; Pork loin with honey, pepper, and lemon-zest glaze; Carpaccio; duck cassoulet; ovenroasted monkfish with garlic mashed potatoes; seared tuna; wild mushroom risotto; a simple beet salad with some hazelnuts and ricotta cheese; a slice of Brie or Gorgonzola dolce.
Siegel Pinot Noir Reserve is made with 100% Pinot Noir
Viña Siegel is a family operated winery with a well-established tradition and long history. For generations we have been dedicated to the art of crafting wines with strong identities.
Our Special Reserve wines represent the union of tradition and innovation in two generations. The grapes are sourced through careful selection of our best vineyards. Their ripe and round tannins clearly express the terroir of Colchagua. Siegel Special Reserve Pinot Noir is Casablanca Valley.
This Pinot Noir is characterized by its deep cherry red color with notes of ruby red and aromas of roses and fresh fruit such as strawberry and cherry.
12 months in French oak barrels.
Deep ruby color; dense, deep, herbal berry aromas; deep, ripe, forward berry flavors with moderate oak and tannin; good structure and balance; long finish. Dense and deep Pinot.
Russell Family Vineyard in located in the Templeton Gap area of Paso Robles. It's a relatively warm site for Pinot Noir, but the amazing amount of limestone in the soil allows the vines to retain great acidity.
All traditional Pinot pairings as well as steak and lamb
Deep ruby color; dense, deep, herbal berry aromas; deep, ripe, forward berry flavors with moderate oak and tannin; good structure and balance; long finish. Dense and deep Pinot that needs a good two hours of air to open up.
Pinot Report 93 Points
"Red cherries laced with crushed allspice and cloves also benefit from dried violets, graphite and loamy soil on the nose of this rare Pinot from Paso. The palate is not quite so boisterous but quite good still, with a bit of concentrated plum juice, Bing cherries, raspberry and a tinge of sagebrush throughout. - Matt Kettmann"
- Wine Enthusiast (August 1st 2015), 93 pts
Argot Mosaic Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Sourced from both high-elevation and valley floor vineyards, located in the cool-climate AVAs of Sonoma Mountain, Bennett Valley and Petaluma Gap. A drama-free growing season allowed for a leisurely harvest of perfectly ripe, healthy fruit. Low-stress, clean ferments, led to an exceptionally pure Pinot Noir, laden with fruit, earth and spice.
"Medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Mosaic has a pretty nose of pink peppercorn, herbs and dusty earth over a core of savory black fruit and spices. Medium-bodied, it gives good layers of flavors in the mouth with concentrated black fruits and loads of spice, grainy tannins to support and a long, lingering finish. Yum! 600 cases produced.. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown" - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 92+ pts
Alain Jaume Lirac Rouge Roquedon is made from 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Carignan.
Inky color. The nose is dominated by aromas of wild fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry) and spices. Long and balanced mouth.
"Roquedon" deliver more of the "round"- "sweet" body from the Grenache, and cherry-red fruit expression. It is dark in color, almost black.
Traditional wine-making in stainless still vats. Crushed and destemmed grapes. Fermentation temperature : 30°C. 18 days of vatting with pigeages. Ageing mainly in vats and about 10% in oak barrels. Bottling 15 months after the harvest.
"Based on 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and the rest Mourvèdre and Carignan, the 2016 Lirac Roquedon offers more black (and even some blue) fruits to go with complex white pepper, garrigue, and new leather aromas and flavors. Ripe, opulent, and fleshy on the palate, this medium to full-bodied Lirac has loads of character."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 2019), 92 pts
Johann Michel Cornas Cuvee Mere Michel is made from 100 percent Syrah.
Cuvee Mère Michel was first introduced in 2016 and is not produced every year. This wine is a tribute to Johann Michel' wife, Emmanuelle, and a nod to the French song, La Mere Michel. This wines comes from Selection Massale (replanting new vineyards with cuttings from exceptional old vines from the same property) cuttings of Serine off the 1947 Yves Cuilleron vineyard at Chavanay. The vineyards are located in the lieu-dit "Les Cotes" at an altitude of 230 meters and benefiting from a southern sun exposure.
"A new cuvée (at least for me), the 2017 Cornas Mere Michel comes from sandy, granite-laced soils and was brought up in new demi-muids. It's largely in the same mold as the traditional cuvée yet has another level of richness, depth, and texture. Blackcurrants, scorched earth, graphite, burning embers, and a kiss of bloody meat all flow to a rich, powerful Cornas that has ultra-fine tannins, beautiful mid-palate depth, and a great, great finish. It's unquestionably a candidate for the wine of the vintage in Cornas. Bravo!"
- Jeb Dunnuck (December 12th 2019), 98 pts