Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate- April 2024

April 2024

2021 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah (Estate) 94 points
2021 Kimari Vineyard Chardonnay 93+ points
2021 Sixty-Two Terraces Syrah (Estate) 93+ points
2019 Grizzly Grenache (Estate) 93+ points
2021 Lester Family Vineyard Pinot Noir 93+ points
2021 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir 93 points
2021 Odeon Cabernet Sauvignon 92 points
2021 Old Corral Pinot Noir (Estate) 92 points
2021 Homestead Block Roussanne (Estate) 91 points
2019 Santa Cruz Mountains Syrah 91 points


Sourced from a single block of Alban Côte-Rôtie clones planted at 1,400 feet in elevation and fermented with 100% whole clusters, the 2021 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock is a savory yet composed expression of the variety that offers fantastic potential. The nose is floral, herbal and red-fruited, beginning with low-volume tones and continuously opening up with oxygen exposure. The palate balances immensely intense, savory and animalistic favors with opaque, concentrated fruits, concluding with a finish of admirable length and grippy tannin structure. This needs 4-5 years in the cellar to congeal but should develop into a stellar showing of this estate vineyard site.

From a 40-year-old Corralitos site previously known as Howard Family Vineyard, the 2021 Chardonnay Kimari Vineyard was fermented in neutral oak, aged for 12 months and then racked to stainless steel for six months. The nose combines electric energy with decadent, honeyed fruit. The palate is medium-bodied and layered before shifting into a creamy finish supported by citrus-tinged salinity. Equal parts generous and lively, this is drinking beautifully now but should support further cellaring.

The deepest, boldest expression of Syrah from the Big Basin estate vineyard, the 2021 Syrah Sixty-Two Terraces was aged 20 months in neutral “hogs head” barrels. Slow to unfold on the nose, it ultimately displays aromas of concentrated black fruits, saddle leather, violets and cardamom. The palate is luscious and meaty, with a concentrated, chalky, charred and tannic finish. As with the Rattlesnake Rock bottling, this will require time in the cellar to attain its full potential but should beautifully reward fans of cool climate, savory Syrah.

Sourced from Alban clones planted in 2010 at 1,300 feet in elevation, the 2019 Grenache Grizzly spent 20 months in neutral barrique. It is beautiful on the nose from the start, showing aromas of black licorice, clay dust, charred plums and dried lavender. The palate balances a supple, rich texture with a slender frame, transitioning to a lovely, harmonious finish with a solid but refined grip. This traditionally proportioned Grenache should age gracefully for a decade.

Beaming, bright and poised throughout, the 2021 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard is a textbook example of this Corralitos site. Citrus-tinged red fruits intermingle with forest floor and dried flower notes on the nose, leading to a silky, spry and precise palate with a lifted, cleansing finish. It was fermented with 100% whole cluster and aged in barrel for 18 months, a combination that seems to particularly suit this site. This should be a beautiful wine to watch over the next 7-8 years, if not longer.

The 2021 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard is a wonderful expression of the Santa Cruz Mountains, showing cherry blossom, lavender, evergreen and dried clove aromas. The palate is elegant and understated, with a finne bead of salinity propping up its balanced, red-fruited core. The finish is laden with youthful yet restrained tannins that slowly gain intensity with time, suggesting this has some unwinding to do in the cellar.

Previously a blend of Syrah and Cabernet, the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Odeon features only the latter variety, sourced from Betchart Vineyard at 2,000 feet in elevation on Montebello Road. Herbal, woodsy aromas of fresh thyme and charred cedar bound from the glass, flanked by dark, saturated fruit notes. Plush and layered on the palate and framed with juicy acidity, this is a delicious and relatively approachable expression of Cabernet that should continue to age for a decade.

Sourced from the Big Basin Estate at 1,400 feet in elevation near the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2021 Pinot Noir Old Corral is a structured but elegant expression of mountainous Pinot Noir. It is woodsy and high-toned on the nose, with aromas of pomegranate, citrus rind, pine needles and a savory touch of tobacco leaves. The palate is silky and angular with a delicate but pronounced tannin structure that carries through the steadily evolving finish. This wine developed considerably in the glass and should be cellared for 2-3 years.

Fifty percent of the 2021 Roussanne Homestead Block was fermented in stainless steel and aged in neutral oak, with the other half undergoing fermentation and aging in clay amphora; both components were combined and aged for another six months in stainless steel. The nose is chock-full of ripe stone fruit, chamomile and Meyer lemon aromas. The palate is showy and sizable but retains good energy and liveliness through the finish, a characteristic I can’t say for many California takes on this variety.

The 2019 Syrah Santa Cruz Mountains sports brooding, savory notes of coffee beans, cracked pepper and black olives on the nose. The palate admirably balances deep, smoldering fruit flavors with an energetic, lifted framing and charred grip on the finish. The tannin structure is _ne and powdery but provides a balanced structure. This is a fantastic value primed for early consumption.