Stephen Ross Wine Cellars

San Luis Obispo Small Production Urban Winery

Pinot Noir Acclaim • 1998–2011

Acclaimiii Design

2011 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido

Pinot Report, September 15, 2014 - 90 pts.
Medium ruby color; deep, herbal cherry and anise aromas; deep, rich cherry flavors with oak and herbal notes; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Silky Pinot with complex herbal notes. Drinking well now.

2011 Pinot noir - chorro creek vineyard

Pinot Report, September 15, 2014 - 92 pts.
Medium ruby color; ripe cherry and cola aromas; bright, forward cherry flavors with some oak notes; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Bright, rich Pinot with nice texture.

2011 Pinot Noir -  Edna Valley

Wine Enthusiast, October, 2014 - 89 pts.
This appellation cuvée lures the nose with warm, inviting scents of a berry-laced balsamic reduction sauce atop an herbally oak backbone. It’s soft on the palate with rounded fruit flavors and dried Italian herbs in the background, finished with a zing of blackberry. —M.K.

Pinot Report, September 15, 2014 - 91 pts.
Medium-deep ruby color; deep cherry/berry aromas with some oak notes; ripe, rich dusty cherry flavors with oak and spice notes; good structure and balance; long finish. Earthy and forward Pinot with nice length.

2011 Pinot Noir - Santa Lucia Highlands

Pinot Report, September 15, 2014 - 93 pts.
Medium-deep ruby color; deep, rich dark cherry aromas with some earth and oak notes; rich, ripe earthy cherry flavors with oak and some tannin; good structure and balance; long finish. Big, deep Pinot with nice structure. Needs time in the glass and bottle to open up.

2011 Pinot Noir - Stone Corral Vineyard, Estate

Wine Enthusiast, October, 2014– 93 pts.
Showcasing the southeastern Edna Valley’s sandy loam soils, this begins with lush black cherry and sleek graphite aromas. On the palate, racy acidity precedes orega­no, licorice and rocky minerality, all painted across a canvas of boysenberry fruit. Acidity and tan­nins assure that this will last in the cellar as well; drink after 2018. Editors' Choice. - M. K.

Pinot Report, September 15, 2014 - 92 pts.
Medium-deep ruby color; tight, cherry and earthy aromas; rich, ripe cherry flavors with herbal and earthy notes; good structure and balance; long finish. Deep earthy and herbal Pinot that needs air to open up.


2009 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

Wine Spectator, April, 2012 - 89 pts. Distributes the loamy earth, dried berry, anise and subtle game meat flavors evenly and elegantly. Firms nicely, with structured tannins. Drink now through 2018. 712 cases made. -J.L.

Wine Enthusiast, December, 2011 - 88 points. One of the richer, riper Edna Valley Pinots, offering waves of raspberry and cherry marmalade flavors. It sure is delicious, if a little direct. Drink now with lusty fare, like cold smoked salmon or chorizo. -  S.H.

2009 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyards

Wine Spectator, February, 2012 - 91 pts. Savory juniper berry, dried berry, underbrush and cedar notes are firm and structured, fairly typical of this vineyard, gaining on the finish where the black cherry and crushed rock form a complex union. Drink now through 2018. 151 cases made. —J.L.

Wine Enthusiast, December, 2011 - 89 points. Nice and dry, with a silky texture and firm, fine acidity. Good application of oak, too. This elegant young Pinot Noir brims with raspberry and cherry flavors. A little direct now, but could gain traction with a few years in the cellar. - S.H.

2009 Pinot Noir - Chorro Creek

Wine Enthusiast, December, 2011 - 88 points. A bit light in body, but rich in raspberries, cherries, pomegranates, cola and spicy vanilla, with a smoky coating of oak. Excellent Central Coast acidity perks things up. Drink now with a nice steak. - S.H.


2008 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyards

Wine Enthusiast, May, 2011 - 93 points. A stunningly delicious Pinot Noir, opulent in raspberry, cherry, red currant, red licorice, cola and beef jerky flavors. Impossible not to be impressed by the richness, yet the tannin-acid structure is wonderful and bracing. Doesn't seem likely to age well, so drink now. -S.H.

2008 PINOT NOIR - CHORRO CREEK VINEYARD

Wine Enthusiast, May, 2011 - 92 points. A really nice Pinot Noir, rich and silky, with gentle tannins and fine, crisp acidity. It's delicately structured, but powerful in raspberry, rosehip tea, vanilla, spice and sandalwood flavors. An upscale wine that gets better as it breathes in the glass. -S.H.

 

2008 Pinot Noir - Stone Corral Vineyard

Wine Enthusiast, December, 2011 - 89 points.


2007 Pinot Noir

2007 Pinot Noir - Central Coast

Wine Spectator, September 2009 - 87 pts. Trim and earthy, with savory herb, dill and dried berry fruit that's compact and focused, with firm tannins. Drink now through 2012. - J.L.

2007 Pinot Noir – Chorro Creek Vineyard 

Wine Enthusiast, November, 2009 - 87 points.  Ripe and soft, with juicy flavors of blackberries, cherries, mulberries, cola, bacon and pepper, with a sweet, smoky edge of sandalwood from oak barrels. Delicious and easy. Drink now.  - S.H.

2007 Pinot Noir - Stone Corral Vineyard

Wine Enthusiast, May, 2011 - 93 points. A very rich, complex Pinot Noirworthy of consideration for a fine cellar. It's dry, silky and tannic, with massive black cherry, pomegranate, cola and sandalwood flavors, although that just begins to describe everything that's going on. Feels important, but young. Give it three years. Cellar Selection. -S.H.


2006 Pinot Noir

2006 Pinot Noir - Aubaine Vineyards

Wine Spectator, September 2008 - 89 pts. Loamy, claylike earth and tobacco flavors are supple and polished, joined by dried currant and blackberry fruit in a very complete, elegant and complex presentation. Drink now through 2011. - J.L.

2006 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyards

Wine Enthusiast June, 2008, 90 points. This is easily the richest of Stephen Ross's three new releases of Pinot. It floods the mouth with ripe cherry, raspberry, fig, date-nut cookie, caramel and sweet Asian spice flavors, and has a luxurious mouthfeel, made elegant by crisp acidity. - S.H.

2006 Pinot Noir - Central Coast

Wine Enthusiast June, 2008, 86 points. A very nice Pinot. You might call it well-behaved. It's clean, dry and crisp, showing good coastal character in the acid-brightened cherry and pomegranate flavors that are enriched with a little smoky oak. - S.H.

2006 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

Wine Enthusiast June, 2008, 88 points. Showing plenty of richness, this fine Pinot benefits from the cool climate of Edna Valley, which gives it such crisp acidity. The benefits of long hangtime also are evident in the ripe, cherry-inspired fruit, with hints of black raspberries, cola, figs and licorice. - S.H.

2006 Pinot Noir - Stone Corral Vineyard

Wine Spectator, September 2008 - 91 pts. Intense, rich and complex, with loamy earth, wild berry, raspberry and subtle herb and mushroom notes. Smooth and polished, it's graceful and harmonious. Drink now through 2011.- J.L.

2005 Pinot Noir - Aubaine Vineyards

Wine Spectator, April 2007 - 91 pts. Dark and plush, with rich, ripe, exotic aromas of blackberry and boysenberry. Plush and concentrated, deep and complex, it coats the palate yet retains a measure of elegance and finesse. Drink now through 2011.

PinotReport, May 15, 2008, 90 points. Medium-deep ruby color; deep, spicy dark cherry aroma with a hint of clove; rich and full, dark cherry, earthy and spice flavors with moderate tannin and oak; good structure and balance; long finish. Lots of depth and complexity in this Pinot; it needs time in the bottle to resolve itself but you patience will be rewarded.

2005 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyard

Wine Spectator, April 2007 - 90 pts. A subtle, delicate style, with smooth cherry, cedar, nutmeg and mineral. Fans of graceful, elegant Pinots will find this especially pleasing. Well-proportioned tannins.

Wine Enthusiast, September 1, 2007 - 88 points: Shows all the hallmarks of a good vintage, with terrifically ripe cherry pie, cassis, milk chocolate and smoky, vanilla-infused oak flavors. There's adequate acidity, although the wine ultimately feels soft and could use a little more crispness. Made in acrowd-pleasing style, it trades off complexity for immediate pleasure.

PinotReport, May 15, 2008, 92 points. Medium ruby color; spicy red cherry aromas with a slight herbal note; rich stewed cherry flavor with complexing earthy and herbal notes; some tannin and sweet oak; good structure and balance; long finish. Elegant and complex style of Pinot that has the structure for some age. Rewards about an hour of air before drinking.

2005 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

Wine Spectator, April 2007 - 90 pts. Dark, intense and chewy, with a rich core of earthy berry, cherry, cedar, mineral and spice. Big and expansive, it needs time for the fruit to soften. Ends with sturdy tannins. Drink now through 2011.

Wine Enthusiast, September 1, 2007 - 87 points: A very nice, well-behaved Pinot. It's a villages-style wine, from a good vintage and a good winery. Dry and luscious, it has ripe, oak-infused cherry, blackberry and milkchocolate flavors, offset by adequate acidity. Drink now.

PinotReport, May 15, 2008, 92 points. Medium ruby color; rich red cherry and spice aromas; ripe, spicy red cherry flavors, silky texture, a touch of oak and tannin; good structure and balance; long finish. Bright and full of fruit, this Pinot is perfect for the summer table.

2005 Pinot Noir - Stone Corral Vineyard

Wine Spectator, September 30, 2007 - 88 points: Dense, big and chewy, with firm tannins wrapped around a closed mix of dried berry, sage and cedary oak notes. Has lots of stuffing and concentration, but reveals little now.Best from 2008 through 2012.

PinotReport, May 15, 2008, 91 points. Deep ruby color; deep, spicy dark cherry aromas; rich and deep, complex dark cherry, earthy, spicy notes; toasty oak, good structure and balance; long finish. Deep, rich Pinot with many layers of flavor waiting for some time and a bunch of air to bring them out. Worth the wait.

2004 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyard

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, June, 2006 - 91 pts - Exceptional

Wine Spectator, August 31, 2006 - 89 points, Very good, a wine with special qualities. Well-crafted, with spice, mineral, pebble, wild berry and blueberry scents that are both supple and rich at mid-palate and firm and tannic on the finish. Drink now through 2009.

PinotReport, February 15, 2007 - 91 points. Medium-deep ruby color: deep, earthy, stewed cherry aromas; big, full, rich earthy flavors with some red cherry peaking through; moderate tannin and sweet oak; good structure and balance; long finish. A big Pinot with some time ahead of it; works wellnow with a deep beef braise.

Wine Enthusiast, December 2006 - 93 pts. This is Stephen Ross's best Bien Nacido Pinot in recent years, showing a great marriage of power and refinement. The wine shows primary fruit, dusty spices and acids. It's a little dry and angular, but will reward some cellaring. So complex, yet you can drink it now, but decant first. Cellar Selection. 

2004 Pinot Noir - Aubaine Vineyards

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, June, 2006 - 89 pts - Highly Recommended
PinotReport, February 15, 2007 - 92 points. Medium-deep ruby color; deep, smoky, clove, cinnamon and cherry aromas; big, full, moderate tannin, stewed cherry and earthy flavors, some forest floor complexity; good structure and balance; long finish.  This Pinot is made in a big style with a lot of depth and complexity; needs time in the bottle and in the glass.

Wine Enthusiast, December 2006 - 88 pts. This is a somewhat heavy and enormously concentrated wine. It reminds me of Calera's Mount Harlen wines. It has a lot of extracted cherry jam flavor and tannins you can feel. A little ponderous in youth, it seems likely to improve. Cellar Selection.

Wine Spectator, December 15, 2006 - 87 points, Very good, a wine with special qualities.

2004 Pinot Noir - Stone Corral Vineyard

Wine Enthusiast, December 2006 - 92 pts. This is a new vineyard, co-owned by Talley. The vines are young but enormously promising, and this wine already shows the fruit purity and crisp acidity of Edna Valley Pinot. The vibrant black cherry, cola, mint and dusty spice flavors are supported by a silky smooth mouthfeel and a rich, long finish.

Wine Spectator, December 15, 2006 - 86 points, Very good, a wine with special qualities.

2004 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

Wine Enthusiast, December 2006 - 89 pts. Has that magical Pinot Noir quality that combines weight and power with an effortless silkiness. The result is a super-drinkable wine. It shows red, blue and stone fruits with a coating of ripe, sweet tannins.

2003 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyard

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, December, 2005 - 90 pts - Exceptional . Brilliant garnet-ruby red hue. Cherry, sage and dried brown herb aromas. Medium-full with very good concentration, this has the usual herbal overtones from this vineyard along with ripe fruit and an earthy finish with lively acidity. (tasted on October 1, 2005)

PinotReport, April 15, 2006 - 91 points. Deep, ruby purple color; deep, rich; lots of red cherry and strawberry notes, earthy with some sweet oak, good structure and balance; long finish. Full and rich style of Pinot with just enough earthy notes to add complexity.

Wine Spectator, May 15, 2006 - 87 points, Very good, a wine with special qualities. A mix of delicate wild berry, sage and raspberry fruit that's firm and intense, with a tight focus and fine balance. Drink now. - J.L. 

2003 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, December, 2005 - 88 pts - Highly Recommended. Brilliant garnet-ruby red hue. Red plum, cherry, vanilla and thyme aromas. Medium-full with very good concentration, this offers ripe cherry fruit, ample oak and a spicy finish with youthful tannins and lively acidity. Fine now (if a bit oaky), but better in a few years. (Tasted on October 1, 2005)

Wine Enthusiast, March 2006 - 87 pts.  This Pinot is richer and softer than other Edna Valley Pinots.  It's a little heavy now, with dry, sticky tannins, and is not showing well, a function no doubt of youth. Two or three years should let the cherry flavors break out. 

PinotReport, April 15, 2006 - 91 points/Smart Buy. Deep ruby purple color; rich cherry and spice aromas; rich, ripe, cherry flavors, silky with a touch of oak; good structure and balance; long finish. Delicious middle of the road style, with a lot of great fruit flavor-perfect with a wide range of foods.

Wine Spectator, May 15, 2006 - 88 points, Very good, a wine with special qualities. Firm, rich and complex, with concentrated wild berry, blackberry, floral and mineral notes are tight and focused, gaining intensity and momentum on the finish, where the flavors are complex and persistent. Drink now through 2009. - J.L.   

2003 Pinot Noir - Stone Corral Vineyard

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, December, 2005 - 92 pts - Exceptional. Brilliant ruby red-violet hue (deep color for a Pinot Noir). Black cherry, strawberry, rhubarb and vanilla aromas. Medium-full with excellent concentration, this is a ripe and meaty Pinot Noir with layers of flavor and a well structured finish with excellent fruit persistence, youthful, but refined tannins and lively acidity. Built for several years of pleasure. (Tasted on October 1, 2005)

Wine Spectator, December 15, 2005 - 88 points, Very good, a wine with special qualities.  Dark plum in color, rich and complex, offering well-proportioned, concentrated plum, blackberry, spice and nutmeg scents, supported by firm, ripe tannins that give it a nice backbone. Drink now through 2009.

Wine Enthusiast, March 2006 - 87 pts.  This is certainly the darkest, most tannic of the winery's current Pinot lineup.  Like the others, it has a heavy, extraripe thickness that's not especially varietal, but it's a fairly complex wine, with its dry coffee, blackberry and oak flavors.  Give it a few years. 

PinotReport, April 15, 2006 - 92 points. Deep ruby purple color; deep, rich, cherry, spice, cinnamon on nose; rich and deep, lots of complex cherry fruit, cinnamon, earthy notes, toasty oak, good structure and balance; long finish. Big and rich Pinot with lots of depth and concentrated flavors.   

2002 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyard

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, June, 2004 - 91 pts - Exceptional.

Connoisseurs' Guide, October, 2004 - 85 pts. Smelling at first of sweet, slightly candied cherries and slowly picking up an edge of toasty oak spice, this bright and somewhat perky wine shows slightly leaner lines to its flavors. We like its energy and we like its essential fruit, but we would like it better if a little more of the latter came in the deal. A year or two of time in bottle should help it fill out some, but its limits are clear.

Wine Enthusiast, November 2004 - 87 pts.  Complex aromatics here, with cherry, cola, root beer, orange peel and smoky oak among other notes. Drinks crisp in acidity and clean, with a polished, supple texture. Some tannins on the finish provide grip.

PinotReport, December, 2004 - 92 points. Medium-deep ruby purple color; earth, herbal and chocolate on nose; big, intense and concentrated blackberry fruit, lots of complex spice and sweet oak flavors, moderate tannin, long finish. This Pinot shows the depth and complexity you expect from the Bien Nacido Vineyard - it definitely needs some time in the bottle.

Wine News, June/July 2005 - 90 points. Deep crimson hue. Forward aromas of strawberry, cedar box and black pepper.  Bright flavors of cherry and wood spice show great integration of fruit and tannin. Lively, persistent close.  

2002 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

Wine Enthusiast, November 2004 - 91 pts., Editors' Choice.  A marvelously plush, complex wine.  Earthy aromas, sautéed mushrooms, cola, smoked meat, ripe cherries and raspberries and Oriental spices combine in a dense, lush mouthfeel.  Fabulous length and harmony in the finish.  This is seriously fine Pinot Noir.  Drink now or through 2006. 

Connoisseurs' Guide, October, 2004 - 86 pts. Led in the nose by lightly oaked, cherryish fruit, this clean, no-frills Pinot delivers mild and moderately fruity flavors that do not wander far from the cherry-like basics of the varietal. Medium-bodied and slightly rounded in feel, it is decently balanced but closes with a brief, slightly narrow finish that is punctuated by touches of chalk and stones.

PinotReport, December, 2004 - 91 points.  Medium-deep ruby purple color; deep, spice and concentrated berry aromas; big and deep, moderate tannins, toasty oak, berry and spice flavors, good structure, long finish. This is bigger style than I'm used to from Steve Dooley at Stephen Ross; still it has the terrific flavors and nuance that you always get. This wine needs some time in the bottle and in the glass.

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, December, 2004 - 87 pts - Highly Recommended.

Wine News, June/July 2005 - 88 points. Ruby-purple hue. Pungent aromas of red fruit, pine resin and bubble gum. Settles down somewhat in the mouth with flavors of juicy strawberry, vanilla and cinnamon. Long finish.  

2001 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

PinotReport, August, 2003 - 92 points. Medium-deep ruby color; pepper, spice, nutmeg, black cherry and plum on nose; big, full and tannic on palate with spicy fruit emerging; good structure, balance and a long finish.  Stephen Dooley scores again with another terrific Pinot from Edna Valley - give this one time to open up in the glass.

Wine Spectator, December 15, 2003 - 88 points, Very good, a wine with special qualities.  Medium-bodied, with pleasant ripe cherry, plum and berry scents, a smooth texture and a firm tannic backbone that gives it structure.  Finishes with a touch of herbs and tealike tannins.  Drink now through 2008.  

2001 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyard

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, July, 2003 - 90 pts - Exceptional. Brilliant garnet-ruby red hue.  Black cherry, sage and oak aromas. A rich entry leads to a moderately full-bodied palate and a well-structured finish that has layers of ripe black cherry fruit, youthful tannins and lively acidity. Quite impressive, this is more fruit-driven and less spicy than many of the Pinot Noirs from this site.

Wine Spectator, September 15, 2003 - 88 points, Very good, a wine with special qualities.  Vibrant and well-structured, with ripe, spicy black cherry, wild berry and plummy notes that pick up a nice mineral and fresh earth flavor on the finish, where the tannins are firm. Drink now through 2007.

PinotReport, August, 2003 - 91 points. Medium-deep ruby purple color; slightly closed, berry, plum aromas with toasty oak notes; dry, some tannin but balanced with the beautiful plum and berry fruit; crisp acidity, moderate amount of toasty oak, long finish.  Combine the great Bien Nacido fruit with Stephen Dooley's deft touch and you have on special Pinot.

Connoisseurs' Guide, October, 2003 - 87 pts: Very much influenced by the bright, slightly herbal fruitiness often seen in the Central Coast, this balanced, relatively restrained youngster reins in ripeness in favor of a more open and easy-going style and succeeds more on polish than for any notable sense of depth. If fairly tasty now, it ends with a minor bit of acidy coarseness that will be remedied by a bit of time in bottle.

Wine & Spirits Magazine, December, 2003 - 90 pts. Light in body, persistent in flavor, this wine's fruit component is saturated with dark berries, quiet yet strong and solid in its presence.  The flavor is as direct as sitting in a sunny field of wild strawberries, and the finish brings you back to the beginning, wanting another sip. 

Decanter, January, 2004 - Three stars ***  Recommended. Ripe, slightly jammy raspberry nose, but quite pretty. Medium bodied, fresh, lively, vivid and concentrated, light tannins, has finesse. Good length. 2 - 10 years.    

2000 Pinot Noir - Chamisal Vineyard

Wine Enthusiast, October 2002 - 90 pts. The palate is fairly dense and concentrated with flavors of black cherry licorice and herbs.

Connoisseurs' Guide, November, 2002 - ** 91 pts: Of the Ross trio, this one is our clear favorite.  Its ripe cherry, cola-scented, quietly herb-tinged aroma is followed on the palate by a velvet-textured wine of medium depth and admirable intensity.  Late-arriving acids keep the wine bright and alive at the finish while lending a certain pert, bright quality to the affair. Try it as a mate to marinated fowl dishes.

Wine Spectator, September, 2000 - 87 pts: Intense and tight, with layers of dill, vanilla-mocha extract and blackberry flavors that turn tart and tannic, with a touch of greenness. Drink now through 2006.

Global Vintage Quarterly, October - December, 2002 - 94.4 pts.

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, October, 2002 - 87 pts. "Highly Recommended" Brilliant garnet-ruby red hue. Black cherry, clove and oak aromas. A rich entry leads to a moderately full-bodied palate that offers ripe, spicy cherry fruit blacked by firm tannins and balanced acidity.  

2000 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyard

PinotReport, June, 2002 - 93 pts. Medium-deep ruby purple color; spice, slight dried fruit, but not a lot on the nose; big, full, incredible depth, great concentrated and extracted black cherry, spice flavors and slight meaty; great structure and balance. Very long finish. Intense style with everything in place; this is a small-production Pinot that's definitely worth seeking out.

Connoisseurs' Guide, November, 2002 - ** 91 pts: Of the Ross trio, this one is our clear favorite. Its ripe cherry, cola-scented, quietly herb-tinged aroma is followed on the palate by a velvet-textured wine of medium depth and admirable intensity. Late-arriving acids keep the wine bright and alive at the finish while lending a certain pert, bright quality to the affair.Try it as a mate to marinated fowl dishes.

Wine Enthusiast, October 2002 - 89 pts. Fine balance and a winning tart-cherry profile mark this medium-weight Pinot.  Hickory smoke, tea, green herb and coffee accents handsomely accent the bright fruit. Tasty and seductive, this shows its fine fruit right through the mildly peppery, evenly tannic finish. Drink now - 2006

Global Vintage Quarterly, October - December, 2002 - 93.1pts.

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, December, 2002 - 88 pts. Highly Recommended.

Wine & Spirits Magazine, February, 2003 - 95 pts. Number 1 wine rated out of 422 wines. Tasters may find a memory in this wine's aroma: Is it a hike in the autumn forest? A reflective moment among the boxwood and flowers of an English garden? The rush of a deep breath on a hill above the sea, as a wave crashes below reflecting the sun back up from the surf? The wine might seem aquamarine. But it's red. It might smell of pressed flowers, of seaweed, of cumin and red spice. The density of red berry fruit may blanket the tongue, even as the freshness of the acidity pierces upward, releasing beautiful aromatics for minutes after each sip. Brilliant pinot.  

2000 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

PinotReport, June, 2002 - 91 pts. Medium-deep ruby purple color; deep, spicy, rose, pepper, berry aromas; big, full, rich, good violet, raspberry and spice flavors, nice structure and balance, lingering finish. Lots of extract in this Pinot and the fruit doesn't hide.

Wine Enthusiast, October 2002 - 86 pts. Slightly overripe-tasting blackberry and cherry fruit shows some earthy mushroomy accents. The mouth fills out with a sturdy feel and plum and spicecake notes. A mild bitter-almond quality plays on the finish.

Wine Spectator, September, 2000 - 87 pts: Well-oaked, with mocha and creamy vanilla scents. Good intensity, with black cherry, raspberry and plum flavors that are tight and firm, with good tannins. Drink now through 2005.

Affairs of the Vine "Pinot Noir Shootout," November, 2002 - 93 pts ("Love at First Sip") Round and lush with blackberry and cherry fruit on the nose replicating on the palate with additions of concentrated vanilla and licorice flavors. A delicious wine with many nice things happening on the nose and palate. [This wine was rated 3rd out of 171 wines tasted.]

Wine & Spirits Magazine, February, 2003 - 92 pts. It's a potent, big bruiser of a wine when first poured, growing more particular with air. The fat raspberry juice in the middle turns darker, to sunset tones and woodland spices. In the finish, the gravelly taste of the earth lasts as red fruit breezes through. Rose scents add floral complexity to the firm fruit core. Several years of age will bring the complexity forward.

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, October, 2002 - 90 pts. Exceptional. Brilliant garnet-ruby red hue. Black cherry, herbal tea, wild strawberry and oak aromas. A rich entry leads to a full-bodied palate and a lengthy, elegant finish with layers of ripe fruit backed by perfectly balanced tannins and acidity. 3-6 Yrs from 10/01/2002

The Wine News, June/July 2003 -  89 points. Ruby-purple hue. Forward aromas of cherry, black raspberry, cedar, cinnamon and wet stone. Lively, lavish flavors of red cherry, raspberry, chocolate, espresso and cedar. Tart cherry in the close.  

2000 Pinot Noir - Santa Maria Valley

Tastings: The Journal of the Beverage Testing Institute, October, 2002 - 88 pts. "Highly recommended." Brilliant garnet-ruby red hue. Black cherry, soy sauce and oak aromas. A rich entry leads to a full-bodied palate and rich, spicy finish with layers of fruit, big tannins and balanced acidity.  

1999 Pinot Noir - Edna Ranch, Edna Valley

Wine Enthusiast magazine, December 15, 2001 - 89 pts. A bit riper than this winery's Chamisal bottling, this one has blackcherry aromas well framed by earthier, herbal notes that include tomato and beet.  Oak adds chocolate and vanilla notes.  It's fairly tannic, with rich berry fruit and earthy complexity.  Cellar it for a year or two. - S. H. 

Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, November 2001 - 89 pts. * This compact, finely tuned youngster zeroes in on pure, pristine, cherry-like fruit while allowing a sideways glance at sympathetic oak and the lightly herbal elements of Edna Valley Pinot. It is a stylish wine rather than a dramatic one, and it smacks of vanilla, violets and sandalwood in the nose and on the palate. If still a touch firm in balance, it should soften and expand nicely with a few years of age. 

Beverage Testing Institute, February, 2002 - 90 points "Exceptional." Dark ruby hue. Rich aromas have a black fruit and tobacco character that follows through on a medium-bodied palate with a rich mouth feel and smooth tannins on the finish. A generous, sweetly-fruited Pinot Noir with impressive concentration.

The Wine News, February/March 2002 - 91 pts. Opaque purple hue. Complex aromas of mulberry, orange peel and cherry with intriguing scents of barnyard, mushroom, menthol and coffee. Sweet fruit punctuates the big, tannic close.

1999 Pinot Noir - Chamisal Vineyard

Wine Enthusiast magazine, December 15, 2001- 87 pts.Classic South Coast Pinot.  The aromas and flavors veer toward herbal and vegetative: tomatoes, sage, hard spices and rich, black earth.  It's a smooth wine, with peppery tannins that hide a core of dark stone fruit. - S. H. 

Beverage Testing Institute, February, 2002 -  91 points "Exceptional." Deep ruby hue. Rich dark fruit aromas have a hint of earthy complexity. Follows through well with crisp fruit flavors and a medium-bodied palate that finishes with light-but-firm tannins. An elegant, well balanced Pinot Noir with food friendly levels of acidity.

The Wine News, February/March 2002 - 91 pts. Deep garnet with a diffused ruby rim. Well-balanced aromas of stewed fruit, tart cherry, earth, tea and toasty oak. Soft, sweet fruit flavors meld with anise, cedar, smoke and oak. Meaty, rich close.

1998 Pinot Noir - Edna Valley

Connoisseurs' Guide, February, 2001 - ** Nicely defined cherryish fruit is joined in the nose by a bit of toasty oak, and the comfortable partnership of ripe cherries and wood spice continues unabated in this engaging offering's deep and lengthy flavors. Medium-full-bodied and slightly velvety in feel, it carries a light bit of tannic grip as it finishes. It is open and enjoyable today in a straightforward, easy-to-like way, but it may gain a bit on complexity with a few years of age.  GOOD VALUE

2000 California State Fair - Double Gold Medal, Best of Class 94 pts 

2000 Global Vintage Quarterly, Second Quater - 90 pts, Best Buy 

Beverage Testing Institute, June, 2000- Highly Recommended 89 ptsBright ruby-red with a fading rim. Jammy, ripely-fruited aromas. Richly-flavored on the attack with a medium body and a lightly-gripped finish featuring spicy oak flavors. Drink now or later

2000 International Eastern Wine Competition - Silver Medal

Wine Spectator, September, 2000 - Very Good, 85 pts: A tasty if lighter style that offers enough cherry, herb, cola and spicy notes to keep it interesting.

2000 Los Angeles County Fair - Bronze Medal

The Insiders' Wine Line, October 2000 - 88 pts: It has a perfumed nose of cherry, bacon, ripe strawberry, cassis, green tea and cedar. The flavors of cherries, berries, spice and toast are rich with moderate depth followed by a fruity toasty finish.  

1998 Pinot Noir - Bien Nacido Vineyard

Connoisseurs' Guide, February, 2001 - * Geared to the dried brush, herbal, tea-leaf end of the Pinot Noir spectrum, this ripe and rich wine is composed with plenty of sweet fruit and has an inviting, supple texture that adds to its charms. Its open feel and low tannins make it one to enjoy over the next few years with rich beef or pork roasts.

Wine Spectator, September, 2000 - Very Good, 86 pts: Weaves together ripe and spicy cherry, cola and herbal notes, striking a nice balance, if on the lighter side. Drink now through 2003.

The Insiders' Wine Line, October, 2000 - 90 pts: It has a bright perfumed nose of cherries, strawberry, spice, pepper, minerals and cedar. The flavors of cherry, berry, pepper, clove and toasty oak are bright and forward followed by a fruity, toasty, spicy finish.