Issue May/June 2014
2012 HOMESTEAD BLOCK ROUSSANNE – 90 points
2012 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 91 points
2012 LESTER FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 91 points
2012 HOMESTEAD – 90 points
2012 COASTVIEW VINEYARD GRENACHE – 91 points
2011 RATTLESNAKE ROCK SYRAH – 90 points
2009 FRENCHIES RANCH SYRAH – 91 points
2011 SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS CABERNET SAUVIGNON – 90 points
2012 Homestead Block Roussanne: " Bright gold. Ripe pit fruit and poached pear aromas are complemented by honey, dried fig and tarragon, with a subtle hint of smokiness emerging with air. Fleshy, supple and broad, offering intense peach and honeyed pear flavors and a bitter jolt of orange marmalade. A subtle vanilla quality adds weight and sweetness to the finish, which clings with very good tenacity and spiciness. Bordering on decadent, this wine has the heft to work with rich poultry or crustacean dishes, but there’s also plenty of energy here. "
2012 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: " Deep red. A highly aromatic bouquet evokes fresh dark berries, cola and violet, with a peppery topnote adding vivacity. Becomes spicier and more floral with air, offering gently sweet black raspberry and cherry flavors and a touch of black tea. Shows surprising heft and power on the warm, pliant, smoothly tannic finish. This sexy pinot is delicious right now. "
2012 Lester Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: " Vivid red. Smoky cherry and blackberry aromas are complemented by notes of licorice, black cardamom and illicit herbs (well, less illicit now than when I was growing up). Sweet dark fruit liqueur flavors are impressively deep and focused, with zesty acidity adding lift, focus and spine. Youthfully taut on the long spice- and mineral-tinged finish, which is shaped by fine-grained, building tannins."
2012 Homestead: " Brilliant ruby-red. Smoke- and spice-accented red fruits and candied flowers on the highly perfumed nose. Succulent raspberry and cherry flavors are sharpened by a note of white pepper. Brisk, nervy, focused blend, with building sweetness and fine-grained tannins that firm the finish. Quite elegant and precise for such a blend; in fact, there’s something pinot-like, at least in a New World rendition, going on here."
2012 Coastview Vineyard Grenache: " Brilliant red. High-pitched red berry and floral scents are complemented by allspice and smoky minerals. Shows a lithe, pinot-like character and picks up a peppery quality with air. Sweet raspberry and lavender qualities dominate the clinging finish, which is smooth, seamless and very long. This sexy wine will be delicious on the young side but has the depth to reward patience. "
2011 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah: " Saturated ruby. Pungent dark berries, olive and smoked meat on the perfumed nose. Sweet and tightly focused, displaying very good clarity to its juicy boysenberry and dark cherry flavors. Shows real energy on the finish, with the smoky note echoing. Smooth, even tannins fade quickly into the fruit. "
2009 Frenchies Ranch Syrah: " Dark ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet displays scents of dark fruit liqueur, licorice and floral pastilles, along with a zesty, spicy topnote. Sappy and focused on the palate, offering intense black and blue fruit flavors that pick up spiciness with air. Supple tannins build slowly through the finish, which shows very good clarity and spicy persistence. "
2011 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon: " Vivid ruby. Pungent aromas of raspberry, licorice, bitter chocolate, mint, pipe tobacco and dried rose. Spicy and lively in the mouth, with juicy, sharply delineated flavors of red berries, bitter cherry and peppery spices. Finishes with firming tannins and very good length, leaving a smoky note behind. "