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Sinor-LaVallee Estate Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Sinor-LaVallee Chardonnay reflects a maniacal attentiveness only possible through sole proprietorship from viticulture through winemaking. The aim was to create a singular Chardonnay that expresses the totality of Bassi Ranch’s ultra-coastal terroir.
The wine Chardonnay offers fragrant aromas of tropical fruit with notes of butterscotch, apricot and crème brûlée. The palate is rich and viscous, yet never loses its energy or focus. Flavors of pear, pineapple and peach show trailing notes of vanilla, mineral and spice. A luscious, full-bodied mid palate yields to a sense of balanced sleekness on the finish.
Sinor-Lavallee is owned by Mike Sinor and Cheri LaVallee and has been in operation since 2013. Sourced exclusively from the Bassi Vineyard near Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo Valley (though not within AVA boundaries), the grapes are planted just 1.2 miles from the Pacific Coast. The wines are classically Central Coast in their expression (Especially the Chardonnay) and offer a nice note of terroir.
Mike Sinor has always been a grinder, a way of life he learned at a young age while working in his father’s auto wrecking yard. He brought that mentality to his first wine harvest in 1993 and never looked back. Through grit and determination, and without formal training, he ultimately became one of the Central Coast’s most decorated winemakers.
Mike married Cheri LaVallee in 1996 in Burgundy, soon after they started their own label. In 2013, Mike and Cheri put everything on the line to acquire the ocean-view Bassi Vineyard near Avila Beach. It was the destination they’d always been seeking—a singular vineyard that they could steward with holistic and meticulous viticulture.
Bassi Vineyard soils are marine in origin. These soils are low in organic material. The underlying bedrock is hard marine sandstone through which the vine roots can barely pass. Yields are inherently limited, producing fruit with natural intensity and vivid site expression.
Bassi Vineyard is farmed organically with biodynamic inputs. These practices are observed, first and foremost, because they help make better wine. No stone is unturned in that pursuit. What is great for the wine is also good for the land and the surrounding environment, so the rewards are ample for keeping everything in balance. No certification has been pursued. All recent plantings have been own rooted.
Sinor-LaVallee Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Sinor-LaVallee Pinot Noir reflects a maniacal attentiveness only possible through sole proprietorship from viticulture through winemaking. The aim was to create a singular Pinot Noir that expresses the totality of Bassi Ranch’s ultra-coastal terroir.
The wine presents jammy red fruit aromas with earth-driven notes of black tea and smoke. The varietal character is deep and pure, while the vineyard’s terroir is undeniable with savory notes of stem and sage. Supple plum and black cherry flavors engage the palate with a trailing suggestion of mixed berry pie. The structure is elegant and unquestionable, carried by mouthwatering acidity and concluding with a rounded, cedary finish.
Gaja Gaia & Rey Langhe Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
The winery's historic Gaia & Rey Chardonnay is a wine that not only reshaped the legacy of the house itself, but also redefined Piedmont as one of the truly great winemaking regions of the world. Named after Lucia and Angelo Gaja's daughter, Gaia Gaja, and Angelo Gaja's grandmother Clotilde Rey (the family's great matriarch and one of its most forward-thinking visionaries), Gaia & Rey was first bottled in 1983 and released the following year. With this historic bottling, Angelo Gaja showed the world that exceptional white wines could be produced in the Langhe Hills, where red wines had been produced almost exclusively before. He also delivered to the world what is now considered one of the greatest white wines of Europe, a truly remarkable accomplishment in a country where red grapes have historically dominated the realm of fine wine. The 2017 vintage proves that great quality sometimes comes from scarcity. Three days of frost at the end of April set back the crop size by 10 percent, then high heat in summer and lack of rainfall presented challenges in managing the vineyards. The good news is that with strict selection and our no-compromise approach, the fruit harvested was healthy and excellent white wines were the result, despite the drop in production.
This wine was first made in 1983, and back then, no malolactic fermentation occurred. Jump forward in time to the 2017 Langhe Gaia & Rey, and this is another vintage in which malo did not start. (Partial malolactic returns in 2018). Since those first years of production, the oak usage has also been tweaked, now with less barrique in favor of more botte grande. Thanks to these changes, the aromatic profile of this wine veers toward citrus and rich tropical fruit, especially in a warm vintage such as this. However counterintuitive, this edition also shows a very bright and precise touch of acidity that serves to give the wine balanced and mouth-cleansing salinity.
- Wine Advocate 93+ Points
Kershaw Chardonnay GPS Series Lower Dulvenhoks is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
During the year, I have the opportunity to visit a number of areas outside of Elgin. Occasionally, I come across something so fascinating that it deserves a closer look.
In 2016, I discovered a small parcel of Chardonnay grapes growing on limestone soils – a rarity in the Western Cape. With limestone often touted as beneficial for Chardonnay grapes, it made sense to grasp this opportunity with both hands. The GPS Series is testament to these special places and celebrates them.
Restraint, minerality, freshness of fruit and a chiselled edge reflect limestone’s soil properties. This 2017 vintage reveals clean, bright aromas of lemon blossom, wet chalk and powdered stones. Penetrating intensity, animated acidity with a rich mid palate weight, this wine has purity of fruit (orange peel, yellow cling peaches and grapefruit peel) lemon cream biscuits and crème fraiche textures with a long finish.
Grapes were hand-picked in the early morning, placed into small lug baskets and tipped directly into a press before being gently whole-bunch pressed up to a maximum of 0.6 bar or until a low juice recovery of 590 litres per ton was
obtained. The juice gravity-flowed directly to barrel (no pumps were used at all) without settling. The unclarified juice had no enzymes or yeast added to it and therefore underwent spontaneous fermentation until dry, with malolactic discouraged. The wine rested in barrel for 4 months prior to judicious sulphuring and a further 7 months’ maturation in barrel before racking, blending and bottling.
"Delicate, precise nose with hints of lemon and flint. A finely sculpted wine that evokes oyster shells, savory sage. Mandarin pith and lemon zest notes persist on the extended finish. Made entirely from Dijon clone CY95. Part of the GPS Series, the vineyard lies east of Agulhas and 5 km from the sea on an escarpment of clay over limestone. Sees about 40% new 228L oak."
- International Wine Review (Richard Kershaw Lifts Elgin To New Heights, February 2019), 93 pts
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
Lismore Chardonnay Reserve made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Shows intense citrus and soft fruit layered with honey and vanilla carried by a distinct minerality and crisp acidity with a lingering citrus finish.
Coming from a 13 year old vineyard with decomposed shale oiver clay soils.
Fermented and aged 11 months in 500 liter French Oak Foudres (40% new).
Wine was slightly filtered before bottling.
Delightful with warm curries which lift the aromatics or a traditional pairing of smoked salmon highlighting the fresh acidity.
"Sam O'Keefe's Reserve bottling all comes from her picturesque estate in Greyton and is an impressive wine in 2018. The wood is better integrated than it was in the previous release, possibly because of the use of 40% malolactic fermentation. Citrus, pear and passion fruit flavors are supported by minerality, stony acidity and subtle wood spices. Delicious. 2019-25 Greyton (13.5%)"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2020 Special Report), 95 pts
The 2018 Estate Reserve Chardonnay is aged for 11 months in 500-liter barrels, 30% new oak. It has a little more amplitude on the nose compared to the 2017 Chardonnay, and its aromas of citrus fruit, wet limestone and orange zest unfold gently. The palate is very well balanced with a fine line of acidity that cuts through the intense orange zest, apricot and white peach fruit. This is taut and wonderfully focused with just the right amount of salinity on the finish. Outstanding.
-- Neal Martin Vinous 95 Points
Yellow with green hints Pineapple aromas with toasty notes and a fresh mineral character and finish.
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
J Lohr Signature Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon 6% Cabernet Franc 6% Saint Macaire 4% Petit Verdot 4% Malbec.
1,600 three-bottle cases, bottled June 201
J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon was first produced to honor the 80th birthday of founder Jerry Lohr. This limited release was specially selected and blended from the exceptional 2016 vintage in Paso Robles. It is both a tribute to Jerry's pioneering efforts in the region and our red wine portfolio's ultimate expression of Cabernet Sauvignon. VINEYARDS & CELLAR Beck Vineyard, in the Creston District of Paso Robles, is a unique, high elevation site that sits at 1,700 feet above the early morning fog line. Its calcareous soils and cooling afternoon winds are perfect for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet from this vineyard ripens early with excellent color, purity of fruit, and phenolic maturity. Incorporation of Cabernet Franc brings freshness to the blend, while the rare Bordeaux variety, Saint Macaire, brings density and a savory character. Petit Verdot and Malbec add structure, color, and a component of bright fruit. The hand-harvested grapes were held separate at harvest and berry-sorted into six-ton open top tanks for fermentation. Maceration took place on the skins for five days, before early pressing to achieve ideal tannin extraction. Aged 19 months in 100% new French oak from coopers Nadalie and Sylvain.
The most expensive release is the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature, which is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, and 2% Saint Macaire aged 19 months in 100% new French oak. Its saturated purple hue is followed by powerful notes of blackcurrants, scorched earth, chocolate, white truffle, and chalky minerality, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a concentrated, stacked mid-palate, building tannins, and a great finish. It's a beautiful wine. I'd give bottles 2-3 years to shed a touch of baby fat and develop more nuances, and it should keep for over a decade. -Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points