Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Willamette Valley    Oregon   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
Argyle Nuthouse Pinot Noir 2006
Argyle Nuthouse Pinot Noir 2006
(search item no. 100687)
screw cap wine
green wine

Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $55.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2004 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2002 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2000 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2000 Wine & Spirits rating: 89 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
1999 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
1998 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
1998 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
1997 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This is our Classic "big furniture" Pinot Noir style derived from Lone Star Vineyard. Its melanite color is the first indicator of its boldness. The aroma is black cherry reduction fruit, black licorice, Earl Grey spices, and that luscious, fresh earth quality that says "Nuthouse". The flavors are big, juicy black cherry and black plum pudding spices. The texture forms a rich, creamy center to this richly ripe Pinot Noir. The ripe plum and cherry fruit carry on and on. It is a wonderful thing to experience such powerful, exotic Pinot Noir yet wonder at its bright, balanced, mineral pinpoint touch twirling on the palate.
My Notes:

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About Argyle:

Twenty-five years ago, Argyle began making wine in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Since 1987, winemaker Rollin Soles and viticulturist Allen Holstein have teamed up to produce world-class method champenoise sparkling wines, barrel-fermented Chardonnay, and silky-textured Pinor Noir from low-yielding vines that are winery farmed on some of the best hillside slopes and elevations. Argyle wines have received a total of 11 Wine Spectator Top 100 designations - more than any other winery in Oregon. The Argyle wines represented on this list include sparkling wine, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, truly making Argyle one of the finest practitioners of the craft of elegant, long-lived winegrowing.


Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Santa Maria Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
Fess Parker Rio Vista Pinot Noir 2006
Fess Parker Rio Vista Pinot Noir 2006
(search item no. 106474)
Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $22.98

Winemaker's Notes:

The Rio Vista Vineyard is located along the Santa Rosa Road Corridor of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. The fruit of this small, family-owned vineyard is coveted for its varital character and typicity. The floral component in the aromatics of this wine calls to mind something truly romantic; there are nuances of rose petals and geranium apparent. On the mouth, it is complex and inviting. By turns, fruit-forward, spicy and minerally, this wines flavor profile is ever-changing in the wine glass, and gets more interesting as it evolves over time. Look for dried herbs, ocean brine and ripe Bing cherries on the mouth.
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About Fess Parker:

When Fess Parker was cast in the roll of Davy Crockett in the mid-1950's, it caused an international sensation and changed his life forever. So, too, did the purchase of 714 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley change the course of the Parker family's history.

Realizing the potential of Santa Barbara County as a premium grape-growing region, Fess and his son, Eli, originally set out in 1989 to plant a small vineyard and sell fruit to local producers. But, as Fess' daughter, Ashley explains, "Fess is from Texas, so he can't do anything small." The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard now farms almost 700 acres on four vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
Sea Smoke Cellars Southing Pinot Noir 2008
Sea Smoke Cellars Southing Pinot Noir 2008
(search item no. 106276)
collectible wine

Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $99.00

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2007 Wine Enthusiast rating: 95 points
2006 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2005 Wine Enthusiast rating: 95 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2005 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2004 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2002 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Each year, our goal for Southing is to create the ideal marriage of complexity and elegance. The seductive nose of the 2008 Southing exhibits clove, dusty blueberry, cola, violets and hint of pineapple guava. The voluptuous mouthfeel and fine tannins are balanced by our estate vineyard's characteristic cool climate acidity.
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About Sea Smoke Cellars:

For years, vintners have coveted a stretch of land in the western end of Santa Barbara's Santa Rita Hills AVA known to have the perfect microclimate, soils, and exposure to grow world-class Pinot Noir. In 1999, fulfilling a long-held dream of owner Bob Davids, this sought-after stretch of land became Sea Smoke Vineyard.

At Sea Smoke, we produce Pinot Noir grown exclusively on the south-facing hillsides of our estate vineyards. On summer evenings, the Santa Ynez River canyon funnels a cool maritime fog layer (sea "smoke") across our hillsides, slowing the ripening process and providing the extended maturation period essential to the development of top-quality Pinot Noir.

Our shallow clay soils are planted to French clones on vigor-reducing rootstocks, resulting in fewer grape clusters of intense flavor, and our artisinal approach to winemaking results in wines that are a reflection of the unique land on which they are grown.

We believe that Sea Smoke's rare geography and commitment to quality have produced wines of exceptional complexity and grace. We hope that you agree and welcome your comments.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    South Africa    South Africa   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2007
Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2007
(search item no. 98818)
Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $44.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2011 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 95 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2005 Wine Enthusiast rating: 89 points
2002 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
1999 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

#52 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2009

A particularly good winter chill ensured more even bud-break than usual and apart from a couple of strong winds in November, wind speeds were lower than average and conditions at flowering excellent. Humidity was higher than usual in January requiring vigilance to ward off disease. While January was warmer than average – contributing to a harvest one week earlier than normal, February and March were cooler than usual. Overall 2007 was a cool year versus our long-term average. Ripening was particularly even and fruit quality excellent.

Not just a Pinot noir, but a classic, origin expressive wine, Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot noir is different to most New World Pinot noirs. Our low-vigour, stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime mesoclimate, naturally tiny yields of around 35 hl/ha and our philosophy of expressing our terroir in our wines – give rise to a certain tightness, tannin line and elevated length to balance the richness and generosity of our Pinot noir. Our Pinot noir is not overtly fruity, soft and "sweet" and it generally shows hints of that alluring "primal" character along with a dark, spicy, complex fruit perfume. For this reason, many knowledgeable enthusiasts around the world regard Hamilton Russell Vineyards as the best "Pinot noir" in South Africa and one of the best in the New World.

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About Hamilton Russell:

Hamilton Russell Vineyards is one of the most southerly wine estates in Africa. The estate specializes in producing highly individual, terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Founder, Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the undeveloped 170 hectare property in 1975. His son, Anthony, purchasing property in 1994, focused their efforts on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay only and registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. Extensive soil research initiated in 1994 identified 52 hectares of stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil as optimal for their signature style and all plantings have now been limited to this soil type. Anthony, with winemaker Hannes Storm and viticulturist Johan Montgomery, are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards terroir in their wines.


Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Willamette Valley    Oregon   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Vineyard 2006
Soter Vineyards Mineral Springs Vineyard 2006
(search item no. 104843)
boutique wine

The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $52.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 95 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points

Winemaker's Notes:

As the second offering from the Mineral Springs estate, this wine offers an impressive combination of power and purity. Its ruby-red hue previews a nose of wild strawberry and cranberry while the palate shows bing cherry, red plum, clove and sandalwood with an undercurrent of black fruits reminiscent of marionberry and crushed blackberry. Layer upon layer of depth and complexity are revealed in a velvety texture and lingering finish. The wine tells the story of the vintage as well as the vineyard, delivering a core of varietally correct Pinot Noir fruit characteristics coupled with a unique personality that can only come from Mineral Springs.
My Notes:

About Soter Vineyards:

Soter Vineyards is the culmination of Tony Soter's life-long study in viticulture and winegrowing. Settled at Mineral Springs Ranch in the Yamhill-Carlton District of the Willamette Valley, Tony and his family invite you to experience this place they regard as a haven for raising exceptional Oregon Pinot Noir and sparkling wines.


Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Carneros    California   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
Artesa Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2007
Artesa Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2007
(search item no. 105979)
Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $29.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
2008 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 91 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2006 The Wine News rating: 91 points
2006 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 90 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
1999 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
1998 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
1998 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
1998 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points

Winemaker's Notes:

A dark, rich Carneros Pinot Noir with elegant aromas of cherry, raspberry, roses and milk chocolate. Powerful yet refined, this wine displays a silky texture wrapped around layers of vibrant fruit which is enhanced by spicy notes of cedar, clove, bay and cumin. Excellent structure provides both mid-palate weight and a long persistent finish. The wine's bright acidity bodes well for its long-term aging potential. Although delicious now this is a big, concentrated Pinot Noir that will benefit from additional time in bottle.
My Notes:

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About Artesa Vineyards and Winery:

Artesa's architecturally-acclaimed facility opened as Codorniu Napa in 1991, dedicated solely to méthode champenoise sparkling wine production. But in 1997, with the arrival of a world-class winemaker and a $10 million conversion, the winery shifted focus dramatically. Artesa was born with the inaugural release of ultra-premium still wines in September 1999.

Artesa (ahr TESS uh) means "craftsman" and connotes "handcrafted" in Catalan, language of Barcelona and their owner, Codorníu, one of the world's largest and oldest wineries. The Codorníu Group actually consists of six spectacular wineries whose wines are enjoyed daily in over 100 countries around the globe. So, while Artesa is a relative newcomer to Napa, their heritage is rich. They share five centuries of history with 15 generations of a remarkable winemaking family.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Willamette Valley    Oregon   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
WillaKenzie Estate Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir 2008
WillaKenzie Estate Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir 2008
(search item no. 104474)
screw cap wine
green wine

Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $24.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The aromatics of mostly red fruits persist with sweet, ripe cherries, cranberries, pomegranates and red raspberries, and finish with a hint of orange peel, marzipan and almond paste. The wine opens up with nice, bright acidity, which leads into a juicy, lighter body with exquisite balance and structure. Flavors of red fruit mimic the nose, but with tones of sour pie cherry, cranberry and a hint of blood oranges and green herbs. The subtle tannin stretches out to a nice, dry finish with a suggestion of cinnamon stick. The wine will benefit from one to two years in the cellar and age well for seven to 10 years from its release date. Pair with fish, poultry, pork or lamb — this wine is very versatile with food. We recommend that you open the wine an hour before serving.
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About WillaKenzie Estate:

WillaKenzie Estate is located in Oregon's Willamette Valley on rolling hillsides in the Chehalem Mountains. The winery was named after the Willakenzie soil on which the vineyards are planted to convey the influence that the soil imparts on the wine's flavors and aromas. The vineyards are planted with grapes of the Pinot family, mostly new Dijon clones of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from Alsace. Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris are cool climate grapes, which are particularly well adapted to Oregon.


Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Willamette Valley    Oregon   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir 2008
Cristom Mt. Jefferson Cuvee Pinot Noir 2008
(search item no. 108129)
has video

Wine & Spirits rating: 94 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $29.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2006 Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
2002 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This wine comes from a blend of twelve different vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley, including fruit from our four estate vineyards. The Mt. Jefferson Cuvee is the first of our six Pinot Noirs to be released each year and has been produced at Cristom since 1994. It is named for Mt Jefferson (10,501 ft) in the Cascade Range that is due east of Cristom and dramatically visible from our tasting room.

Tasted after one year in bottle. Brooding dark-raspberry and dark-cherry dominate the nose of this youthful and zesty Mt Jefferson. The wine is still very primary on the bouquet and it reminded us of a freshly filled oak barrel as creamy vanilla scents came wafting out of our glasses. True to form, Mt Jeff is juicy and ripe on the palate with delicate mouth coating tannins. This is a seriously notable edition of Mt Jeff that shows tremendous promise over the medium term.

My Notes:

About Cristom Vineyards:

Utilizing Old World winemaking techniques - whole clusters, native yeast fermentation, and gentle and minimal handling - Cristom handcrafts wines that are smooth, elegant and subtle.

These characteristics have earned Cristom distinction among wine enthusiasts and industry leaders alike, including being named 'Best New World Red' by Decanter magazine.

Our 65-acre estate in the Eola Hills of Oregon's Willamette Valley offers a long growing season, mild climate, warm winds and ancient volcanic soils that make it ideally suited to grow Pinot Noir and other traditional French varietals.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Sonoma County    California   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
MacPhail Pratt Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007
MacPhail Pratt Vineyard Pinot Noir 2007
(search item no. 108440)
boutique wine

PinotReport rating: 96 points
Wine Enthusiast rating: 94 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $44.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2011 Tasting Panel rating: 91 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Make room in the cellar for this amazing Pinot. Medium-deep ruby color; complex black cherry, clove and forest floor aromas; rich, ripe black cherry fruit flavors with clove and forest floor notes; sweet oak; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Amazing depth and complex flavors make this a natural for any deep, rich braise.
My Notes:

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About MacPhail:

James MacPhail grew up just north of San Francisco in Marin County where, since the 1880s, members of his father’s family have been pillars of the local business community. James’ mother was raised on a dairy farm in western Sonoma County; she remained tied to her Tomales Bay community, regularly engaging James in the lives of the region's farming families. A passion for business and a love for the land are at the center of MacPhail family life.

In 2002, James launched his own brand: MacPhail Family Wines. The wine business satisfies James' interest in the land, his penchant for the artistic and his pledge to service. He selects and works with growers who share his commitment to sustainable farming and understand the significance of terroir-based, singular quality wine. "My dream has been to make something from the earth that I can share with others," he says.

After making wine for six vintages in rented space, James took a step few small producers take — he built his own winery — in his back yard. Reflecting James' respect for the environment, the understated building takes advantage of natural light and night-cooling fans. The winery recycles all wastewater in a constructed wetlands. James makes wine – naturally, in small batches, by hand. He is a believer in traditional, old world techniques and minimal intervention.

Grower/winemaker James MacPhail is also the sales and marketing director. His business model is based on maintaining personal relationships with the individuals who purchase his wine as well as the restaurants and wine shops that sell his MacPhail Pinot Noir. "I take very seriously the honor of being a part of people’s tables."

With a group of dedicated growers under contract, a winery just steps from his kitchen and delicious wines in the cellar, James has made Healdsburg home for both business and family. In this small community, wine brings people together every day, enhancing both food and friendship. "This home matches my vision," says James. "It is located in a winegrowing region with a long history of agriculture and small family farming."



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Willamette Valley    Oregon   
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Date Printed: 7/29/2014
Shea Pommard Clone Pinot Noir 2007
Shea Pommard Clone Pinot Noir 2007
(search item no. 111177)
boutique wine

PinotReport rating: 97 points
Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 7/29/2014: $41.99

Winemaker's Notes:

This wine bears a strong resemblance to our wonderful Pommard Clone releases of recent vintages. This wine shows the lovely red fruit and firm structure that typify this clone. Wonderful aromatics and ripe red plum and pomegranate flavors on the palate are followed by a long and structured finish.
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About Shea Wine Cellars:

Shea Vineyard, located in the Yamhill Foothills of Oregon's Willamette Valley, was first planted to wine grapes by Dick Shea in 1989 and 1990. Today the vineyard property consists of 200 hillside acres of which 140 are planted to wine grapes, largely Pinot Noir and a few acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The south facing vineyard sits in a viticultural region called the Willakenzie District. The soil of the vineyard is shallow and very well draining with sandstone subsoil. The vineyard has never been irrigated.

Currently the winery supplies several top Pinot Noir producers in Oregon (Archery Summit, Beaux Freres, Ken Wright, Panther Creek, and St. Innocent) and one in California (Sine Qua Non). The Wine Enthusiast in its annual review of Oregon wines in December 2000, wrote, "It is no coincidence that our two top rated wines... were made from fruit from Richard Shea's perennially superb Willamette Valley vineyard."