Review: 2015 Pinot Noir (Orchestral) by Hahn

Tonight’s occasion: 2015 Pinot Noir (Orchestral) by Hahn Wines, Santa Lucia Highlands, Central Coast, California.

Deep Ruby-Burgundy color. Big rich nose out of the bottle with bold floral aromas, berries and damp wood forrest floor with hints of cedarwood and black licorice. As it opens up and the heat dissipates, notes of citrus make an appearance over a pleasant leather.

Body is smooth, mildly acidic. It is characterized by buttery creamy tannins and spice from front to back. This is after all a big California Pinot at 14.5% ABV. It has a fairly lush silky mouth feel which can be deceiving as this wine is fairly dry. Very little, if any fruit is carried over. The leather and wood notes conspire to trick the palate into sensing otherwise. Finish is rather subdued as it quickly fades away leaving more than a healthy tingle of spice. Faint suggestion of black currants accompanies the finale.

Hahn is a pretty big estate with many offerings through most mass market distribution. However when visiting such a winery, you have to know what to ask for. See, every winemaker no matter how big, has a passion project. One they pride themselves in. A work of personal craftsmanship which is typically never on the menu. This is what I am most interested in with any winemaker. Only 73 cases of this lovely Pinot were produced. The layering, character and complexity shows. This is the type of wine I seek out wherever I go.

Nicely done Hahn!

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Review: 2018 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Martin Ray

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) by Martin Ray.

Bright rich ruby color. Beautiful nose out of the bottle characterized by wet sandy loamy leather. This quickly pulls to the back and gives way to berries and sweet cherries. There are faint tertiary herbal notes as well as a touch of sweet cola and the faintest hint of warm cedarwood. Swirl vigorously to revisit the whole affair. Nice!!!

Body shows good balance up front with a slightly milder acidity. Oak quickly moves to the front, as tannins introduce good structure. The oak is just enough to tease out a velvety, buttery, mouth feel. Berries and sweet cherries play secondary notes. It is fairly dry but this is initially masked by the oak play and fruit notes. A graceful transition to finish culminates in slightly dry tannic grip and a noticeable dose of spice.

This is a well made wine. My favorite part is the nose. I absolutely love that Sonoma dirt, and it shines through in this Pinot. I’m not the least surprised coming from this winemaker. At this price point (currently listed for $19.99 on wine.com) it punches above its weight and presents good value. It is a pleasant (and slightly playful) wine to sip and should appeal to a broad spectrum of palates. For the advanced palate, the nose and finish should tickle your fancy. Buy 6, buy a case. You can’t go wrong having a solid every day Pinot on hand. Nicely done Martin Ray.! 🍷😁👌🏽

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Reserve: 2014 Pinot Noir (Sanford & Benedict Vineyard) by Sanford

Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir (Sanford & Benedict Vineyard) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara California.

Subtle aromatic nose characterized by rich fine leather of slightly damp loamy terroir intertwined with faint sweet berries, touch of dark cherries and vanilla. This wine commands a clean palate and clear mind.

Body is balanced right down the middle, front to back. An attack with suggestion of acidity is quickly counterbalanced by subtle tannin in the form of dark cherries. This creates just the right amount of background structure and foundation for a silky, whispy mouth feel. Oak vanilla and berries continue their gentle interplay as they carry over from the nose, introducing yet more whispers of musical harmony. Body and finish appear as one through a seamless transition culminating with gentle whispers of dry tannic grip and faint spice.

This is a terroir driven wine. An exercise in restraint and balance. A strict adherence to core principles. It reads like a thesis in Pinot Noir excellence. You cannot explore wines from the California central coast without indulging in this specific Pinot Noir by this storied founders’ vineyard. I keep this particular Pinot Noir on hand in my cellar as a benchmark and reference.

This wine is currently in stock and available for order. To support our work off the beaten path, you can use the link below. Thank you for your support and for stopping by.

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Sanford wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir (Cork Dancer) by Hitching Post

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Cork Dancer) by Hitching Post , Santa Barbara Country, Califronia.

Today we take a look at an understated everyday Pinot for the everyday wine enthusiast. This wine presents great all around value. If your are looking for a great EDC (Every Day Consumption) wine, I recommend adding this to your cellar.

Deep ruby color. Crisp nose with notes of berry, subtle stone fruits and caramel stand out most. Body shows good balance with a mildly acidic attack followed by creamy tannins in the form of plums and dark cherries. Transition to finish is seamless, capped by mild, dry tannic grip and a hint of spice.

At 12.5% ABV it is a very mellow laid back experience. You can open a bottle by yourself and work your way through it over the course of your evening with minimal fuss. All this conspires to make this a very approachable and enjoyable wine. This is most definitely a pleaser. Nicely done guys!

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2016 Pinot Noir (Drum Canyon) by Dierberg * StarLane

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Drum Canyon) by Dierberg * StarLane

Deep ruby red color. Nose is restrained, well mannered, slightly warm, with notes of oak, berries, hint of sweet cherry all conspiring to create a very subtle red vines licorice. Terroir is also represented in the form of wet dusty leather. It maintains a classy posture overall. Interesting.

Body is representative. A very mild restrained acidic attack that is quickly accompanied by buttery smooth tannins. Very subtle oak and blackberry emerge towards the back to create a full mouth feel. A very faint black currant lends good structure and balance as it transitions to a brief finish capped by a hint of spice.

I reviewed the Dierberg Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir a while back and was absolutely enamored with it. One of my top California Pinot Noirs. Looking back at my notes I can some similarities and some differences. First this one is more medium bodied, slightly dryer more structured body. Where they resemble is the result of the winemakers attention to detail, commitment to excellence and adherence to core principles. The result is a world class California Pinot. I highly recommend this Pinot, particularly for the advanced palate, especially side-by-side with the Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir for a good perspective on this winemaker and his craft. Well done folks!

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Reserve: 2017 Pinot Noir (Black Pine) by Roger Roessler Wines

Tonight’s occasion: 2017 Pinot Noir (Black Pine) by Roger Roessler Wines, Sonoma, California.

Ahhhh. Just right. Beautiful aromatic nose with berries (my little boy says cranberries), a leather reminiscent of wet sandy forrest floor, black licorice and cedarwood notes.

Body shows a tight balance. Buttery tannins go hand-in-hand with mild acid. Subtle oak, dry fruit accompanies a fairly neutral terroir expression creating a lush mouth feel. A transition to finish with minimal fanfare capped with mild spice and subtle tannic grip reminds you that this typical Roessler Pinot, while beautiful right now, has a bit more in store for you if you are willing to be patient.

Spoil your palate. Stop by the tasting room or order any one of their monthly case deals. Explore artisan crafted Pinot from up and down the pacific coast. He’s done all the homework for you to enjoy. Well done Roger and Company!

Reserve: 2008 Pinot Noir (Brosseau) by Roger Roessler

Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Pinot Noir (Brosseau – Chalone, Salinas Valley) by Roger Roessler of Roger Roessler Wines.

This is my last bottle of this signature series by one of my all-time favorite winemakers. A special and bittersweet occasion. This has always been one of my favorite series from Roessler. His Pinot are amazing, but after almost 12 years this one is just right.

Dark rich intense color. Gentle brooding nose with lots of plum and earthy sandy mineral leather. Body shows a good slightly acidic balance and smooth texture out of the bottle. A tart plum and mineral terroir conspire to simulate a black currant on the back. Gentle but very present tannins quickly turn creamy, giving it a full mouth feel. A seamless transition to a smooth finish culminates in a brief punch of spice before fading away into the sunset. Pairing with a spicy Asian chicken dish amplifies the spice punch. A Tuscan style pizza brings out unexpected truffle like mushrooms in the terroir.

This is precisely why I maintain a cellar. 148 cases produced. Capturing limited production art like this at its peak expression is priceless.

Wine Review: 2013 Pinot Noir (Shea Vineyard) by St. Innocent

Tonight’s occasion: 2013 Pinot Noir (Shea Vineyard) by St. Innocent, Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Deep dark clear ruby color. Lovely floral bouquet with bright berries and a hint of caramel. Swirl vigorously to intensify the caramel. Terroir is more on the mineral side of the spectrum as it is typically the case with this region.

Body is more plum than berry. Mild acidity coupled with moderate spice make it a lively affair front to back. Transition to finish is seamless and capped by dry tannic grip and spicy tingle. A touch of minerality and black currant permeates the entire experience, giving it good crisp structure. As it opens up, it becomes increasingly evident that this wine, while very approachable, is still young, despite being a 7 year old vintage.

I’m not the least surprised. Shea Vineyard produces some coveted fruit. Only skilled winemakers get to make wine from such grapes. The last Pinot I had from these grapes was by Roger Roessler Wines. This is well made wine that certainly brings this winemaker to one’s attention. Nicely done!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have St. Innocent wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir (Babcock Vineyard) by Pali Wine Co

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Pinot Noir (Babcock Vineyard) by Pali Wine Co), Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast.

Intense ruby color. Bright nose with plenty of cherry, hint of sweet cherry and smooth almost butterscotch caramel. Swirl vigorously to unlock even more caramel. A slight wet sand mineral undertone lingers in the back.

This is a classic central coast Pinot Noir. A fine example at that. Body is very restrained. Medium to light with good mild acid on the attack, moderate buttery tannins create a clean, rounded mouth feel. Good separation keeps your attention without straying too far off balance. A tart blackberry slowly take over the transition to a slightly dry and spicy finish.

This is a one-time limited production using grapes from a coveted Vineyard. Exactly the kind of wine I love exploring. What I like about this winemaker most is their wines are true and representative of their origins. No two are the same. They present a great opportunity to explore varied regions and styles of Pinot. I look forward to exploring more of their wines. Well done Aaron and all of the lively crew at Pali Wine Co! 🍷😁👌🏽

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Pali wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Guest Review: 2017 Pinot Noir by Sanford

Guest Review: 2017 Pinot Noir (Santa Rita Hills Appellation) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara California.

I think I found the Prince of Pinot! Sanford 2017 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills Appellation is an elegant and well balanced Pinot.

Bright ruby red colored, light and fruity aromas of cherries, leather, and baking spices. On the palate, flavors of raspberries, red cherries, oak, and light peppercorn. At 13.5% ABV, this Pinot Noir has balanced acid and tannin structures, a delightful wine for any special occasion.

Need pairing ideas? Try pairing Sanford 2017 Pinot Noir with:

      • Roasted Chicken
      • Salmon or other fatty fish
      • Duck
      • Pasta dishes with pesto, a cream base, or mushroom sauce
      • Beef and garlic dishes

About our guest


Jenn is a Native Texan photographer, wine lover. She thoroughly enjoys learning about wine making, the history behind wines, and of course wine tasting. She also has a passion for travel and is on a mission to find amazing wines from around the world.

You can follow Jenn’s journey via his Instagram page @txblondevoyage


Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Sanford wines delivered to your doorstep.

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