Pinot Noir

Duende

Gold Coast Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2013 ($65)

30-year-old vines contribute classic Santa Maria Valley character to this sommelier favorite, with notes of trampled strawberry and soil supported by a soft tannic backbone filled with hard spice and pine. The aromas are perfumed, delicate, and mysterious. The lightest of my Pinot Noir’s is always a standout, and this vintage is no exception.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “About as pure and delicate as they come, it’s a flat-out gorgeous Pinot Noir to enjoy anytime over the coming 7-8 years.” 95 points

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2012

A favorite of sommeliers all over the world, this Martini-clone is silky and lovely. On the nose, bright cherry and fresh strawberry harbor underlying notes of forest floor and sweet tobacco in a classic Santa Maria Valley expression. A touch of black pepper and hard spice at the finish lifts it up. Always one of my favorites and 2012 is the best vintage yet. Gorgeous and sexy.

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2011

Bearing a memorable silkiness on the palate, this Martini clone has achieved an almost cult-like status in my portfolio. A perfumed nose and delicate body contribute to the profile of this old vine Pinot Noir.

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2010

Always the lightest pinot, with characteristic fresh strawberry nose and notes of forest flour plus beautiful silky texture.

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2009

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …bursting with red fruit, flowers and sweet spices. Cloves, tobacco and sweet herbs add complexity on the fleshy, expressive mid-palate. I especially like the way this gains richness and volume in the glass all the way through to the silky, perfumed finish. This is an exceptionally polished wine from Paul Lato. 93 points

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2008

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …a medium ruby color in addition to lots of strawberry, cherry and raspberry fruit intermixed with a floral component. This premier cru Cotes de Beaune-like effort possesses a supple texture as well as impressive purity and equilibrium. 92 points

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2007

As always this is the silkiest and the most approachable of my Pinots, 50 % new French oak. Gentle asian spice and strawberry, rose petals nose. Delicate yet flavorful with a fine blend of fresh fruit and just a touch of the ”forest floor” on the finish. Very fine. 4 barrels made.

Duende

Gold Coast Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2006

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: from 20-year-old vines planted with the California heritage clone of Martini, is medium to dark ruby, and displays beautiful sweet currants and black cherries with a hint of forest floor. The seamless integration of acidity, wood, and alcohol results in a lush, seductive, medium to full-bodied Pinot Noir to drink over the next 5-6 years. 93 points

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2004

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: The lushly-textured 2004 Pinot Noir Goldcoast Vineyard Duende exhibits a lovely perfume of sweet black cherries, raspberries, forest floor and earth (reminiscent of a premier cru from the Cotes de Nuits), broad, savory flavors and a long, silky finish. 92 points.

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2003

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: His 2003 Pinot Noir Goldcoast Vineyard Duende (a flamenco term that means someone who is inspired) is a 100% de-stemmed cuvee produced from a 17-year old vineyard planted in sandy soil. This medium, ruby-hued effort offers soft, plum and black cherry fruit with subtle forest floor scents in the background. Lush and heady, it should be consumed over the next 5-6 years. 90 points
Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: Revealing a deep ruby/plum color along with rich, elegant, more intense aromatics, the 2003 Pinot Noir Gold Coast Vineyard offers a broader mouthfeel and texture, and a long, heavy finish. This well-balanced, pure, deep Pinot Noir should drink well for 2 – 5 years. 91 points

Duende

Gold Coast Pinot Noir, 2002

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: The 2002 Pinot Noir Gold Coast Vineyard’s dark ruby color is followed by sweet cherries, a pretty floral component, and elegant, nicely textured, delicate well-defined medium-bodied flavors. Drink it over the next 2 – 3 years. 89 points

The Prospect

The Prospect Sierra Madre Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2013 ($65)

The ruby-red color of this wine is lovely in the glass, as are the aromas of framboise, sweet jerky, and flint. Hints of redcurrant and blackberry emerge towards a finish that envelops the palate. Velvety, expansive, and brightly textured.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “Picking up subtle minerality and forest floor with time in the glass, it has beautiful fruit yet stays classy, balanced and elegant.” 96 points

The Prospect

Sierra Madre Pinot Noir, 2012

Two Dijon clones combine to produce this garnet-colored and voluptuous Pinot Noir. The nose has a lovely blackberry pie component, as well as notes of cedar chest and dark cherry. Focused, balanced, and velvety, with pleasant tannins that coat the palate. The long finish has notes of strawberry compote and a touch of iodine. A very memorable wine.

The Prospect

Sierra Madre Pinot Noir, 2011

This is even better and more refined that the last vintage that you all loved. Voluptuous, well-balanced, and full-flavored, with a velvety texture and a long finish.

The Prospect

Sierra Madre Pinot Noir, 2010

This is my first year of pinot from a vineyard that has always provided me with great chardonnay. Nice red-fruit scented, with good mid-palate and length. Fine wine.

Atticus

John Sebastiano Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2013 ($70)

There is serious weight to this powerful wine, yet it remains distinctly balanced with a ripe red fruit component that is grounded and structured by muscular tannins. As evinced by its popularity in my portfolio, the pleasures of this wine are immediate, but there is much to admire behind the scenes.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “The 2013 Pinot Noir Atticus John Sebastiano Vineyard is stunning. Loaded with fruit and a big, voluptuous, textured effort, it has tons of black raspberry, black cherry, violets, leather and baking spices aromas and flavors.” 96 points

Atticus

John Sebastiano Pinot Noir, 2012

A blend of 115 and the suitcase clone “Swan,” this is a hugely popular wine in my profile, with a power and uniformity that is very attractive. From the warmer side of the Santa Rita Hills, the gorgeous and gracious red fruit ripeness is welcome, but it never goes over the top. Quite uniform and seamless with a lovely acid that ties it together from beginning to end. There is true structure and integrity in this wine.

Atticus

John Sebastiano Pinot Noir, 2011

It didn’t take long for this wine to find a huge fan base, for it expresses with fine detail the “All American Pinot.” It is big and ripe, yet whatever hedonism it exhibits is embattled diligently by a very fine acidity that leads into a long, soft finish.

Atticus

John Sebastiano Pinot Noir, 2010

Another new vineyard of a very high standards and super low yields. This wine is deeply concentrated yet fresh on the palate, with dark cherry fruit and nuanced spiciness and a touch of smoked notes. Long finish. Not to be missed.

Seabiscuit

Zotovich Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2013 ($75)

Robust notes of redcurrant, leather, and black tea align on the nose. The strength of tannin is there on the mouthfeel, but there is a graceful acid that sprints through the entire palate, teasing out a briskness abreast the muscularity. I love what this vineyard has become in recent years, and the pleasure and balance of this wine is evidence of that transformation.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “Full-bodied, layered, multi-dimensional and elegant, with perfectly integrated acidity and polished tannin, it’s a fabulous Pinot Noir that will have more than a decade of longevity.” 97 points

Seabiscuit

Zotovich Pinot Noir, 2012

Intense framboise notes on the nose announce this powerful yet refined Pinot Noir. Deep, ruby-red color in the glass,and the palate is warm, rich, and textured. There is tannic strength here, but it is the dark cherry and raspberry notes that linger pleasurably in the mouth. Like many of the 2012 wines, I believe this vintage is the best yet of “Seabiscuit.” Muscle and volume meet a generous heart.

Seabiscuit

Zotovich Pinot Noir, 2011

Within just a few years, this vineyard has undergone an incredible revival. This years’ version is by far the best I have produced. It was almost impossible to create tasting notes as every time I poured myself a sample, I drank it… Balanced evenly between power and elegance, this beautiful wine is very tasty, yet complex and thought-inspiring.

Seabiscuit

Zotovich Pinot Noir, 2010

My second vintage from this vineyard. The race is on and the quality is up again. I am super excited about the quality of this site. Fresh vibrant wine with beautiful balance and complexity.

Seabiscuit

Zotovich Pinot Noir, 2009

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …one of the larger-scaled, more explosive wines in this lineup. A firm vein of minerality supports bright red fruit, flowers and licorice in this beautiful, highly articulate Pinot. I especially admire the focus and length in this intensely chiseled, pointed wine. 93 points.

Seabiscuit

Zotovich Pinot Noir, 2009

James Suckling: Intense blackberry character with mineral and sliced mushroom aromas. Full-bodied, with spicy character and a spice, dark fruit and intense. Gorgeous wine. Fabulous finish. Better in 2014. 75 cases. 95 points.

Suerte

Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2013 ($75)

Solomon Hills is a site that never fails to impress me; the uniqueness of the fruit compels the wine into a category of its own. On the nose, there is strawberry laced with iron, lingonberry and lavender, and the palate finds fresh-toned red fruit in harmony with earthier, more mineral tones. The mouthfeel is pure satin with an integrated acid through-line. Irresistible.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “Sexy, seamless and elegant, with its acidity perfectly integrated into its core of sweet fruit, it doesn’t put a foot wrong, has fine tannin and is already hard to resist.” 97 points

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2012

Solomon Hills is a stunning, one-of-a-kind property, and this wine captures that in its distinction amongst my Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir’s. Highly complex,compact and uniformed, notes of strawberry, rose petal, and gunpowder work together wholesomely. The ripe fruit flavors of wild raspberry are supported by beautiful acid: intensity meets elegance. From day-one of harvest, this fruit impressed me tremendously, and it remains multifaceted in the bottle. Great Wine.

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2011

This is a bigger wine with lovely acidity, harmony, structure, and elegance. Multifaceted yet easy-going and wholesome with an exquisite perfumed nose. Arriving from a truly great site, it is a favorite of many sommeliers and Chef’s.

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2010

Classic California pinot at its best. Quite big yet elegant, complex and sophisticated. A favorite of many great chefs.

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2009

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …dazzling wine bursting with dark jammy fruit, blueberries, licorice, smoke and tar. Elements of power and sensuality take turns in this beautifully balanced, impeccable Pinot. The aromas and flavors build impressively towards the deep, muscular finish. 93 points.

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2009

James Suckling: Aromas of sweet strawberries, fresh mushrooms, and dark fruits. Full-bodied, with super fine tannins and a long finish of dark fruits and autumnal character. Gorgeous finish. Exuberance in a classy way. Better in 2013. 170 cases produced. 97 points.

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2008

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …sweet, ripe black cherry, strawberry and raspberry fruit intermixed with loamy, dusty soil and underbrush notes. Round, pure and precise with good acidity, sweet tannin and a long, medium to full-bodied finish, it is another exquisite Pinot Noir from Paul Lato. 94 points

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2007

In this vintage I added 2 barrels of Dijon clone 777 to my usual 3 barrels of Dijon clone 115. It is a bigger, darker version of this wine. Bright, elegant and smooth with subtle cherry and dark fruit nose. Quite a bit bigger than usual due to low yields and the quality of the vintage it is a very fine example of the great potential of Santa Maria Appellation. Very fine.

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2006

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: Even more sexy and lush is the 2006 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard. Made from Dijon clone 115, this wine displays ripe plum, black cherry, blackberry, and fig notes with notions of damp earth and loamy soil. Its gorgeous texture, beautiful purity, broad, savory mouthfeel with no hard edges, and a certain floral quality are all reminiscent of a top-notch Cote de Nuits premier cru or grand cru. Drink it over the next 7-8 years. 94 points

Suerte

Solomon Hills Pinot Noir, 2005

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …boasts loads of blue and black fruits, hints of kirsch, liqueur, damp earth, and spice, and outstanding purity as well as harmony. Inspired winemaking has resulted in a wonderful Pinot Noir, but sadly, less than 100 cases will be produced. 91-93 points

The Contender

Drum Canyon Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2013 ($75)

My first time sourcing from this Sta. Rita Hills vineyard has revealed fruit of immense complexity. There is an explosion of dried spices and blackberry jam on the nose, and the palate never stops evolving through the finish, revealing notes of pomegranate, cedar box, and rose. A wine of great breadth and scope that, years from now, will still harbor unrevealed nuances.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “…a ripe, nicely concentrated and juicy Pinot Noir that has bright acidity and a taut, energetic texture.” 93+ points

Happiness

Hilliard-Bruce Pinot Noir, 2012
Highly aromatic, with fresh-picked raspberries on the nose and secondary notes of vanilla bean and bing cherry. Complex, medium-bodied, and balanced, this blend of 667, 777, and Calera reflects with Burgundian precision the sandy soils and cool temperatures of the Santa Rita Hills. Formerly “known as” Alegria, this is probably the best we have ever made from this vineyard. A Charmer.

Alegria

Hilliard-Bruce Pinot Noir, 2011

From the sandy hills of the Sta. Rita Hills, this is an refined, charming, and complex expression of a great appellation. Hints of black cherry on the nose align with sinuous strains of light smoke and forest floor. It is medium-bodied, and bears an elegant allure that belies a solid structure and balance.

Alegria

Hilliard-Bruce Pinot Noir, 2010

From the newest great site of Sta. Rita Hills, this is a sophisticated, gentle wine of sexy and stylish character. Beautiful velvety texture and depth of flavor.

Alegria

Hilliard-Bruce Pinot Noir, 2009

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …a soft, perfumed wine laced with red fruit, flowers, mint and spices. It shows lovely textural richness in an understated, feminine style. The sandy soils here yield a more fragrant style of Pinot. 91 points

Lancelot

Pisoni Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2013 ($85)

Earth and fruit are both complexly expressed in this nearly-opaque, massive-yet-controlled Pinot from the always impressive Pisoni Vineyard. A melange of dried red flower and black fruits explode on the nose, and the palate bristles with textural notes of potpourri, dark cherry, and watermelon seed. A powerful wine from a powerful site. Lancelot famously became a “Sir” in the course of his adventures, and this very well may be our knighted vintage.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “This is a gorgeous Pinot Noir that’s a solid step up from the 2012.” 95+ points

Lancelot

Pisoni Pinot Noir, 2012

This is both my most Californian and most Burgundian Pinot, and that is the mystery and the beauty of the Pisoni Vineyard. From an unknown, 30-year-old clone, it is immensely pleasurable and intellectual – a wine both for aging and for drinking, with healthy tannins and juicy red fruit character. Full on the palate but also perfectly harmonious and complex. Each year, the “Je ne sais quoi” of this wine continues surprise and impress. One of a kind.

Lancelot

Pisoni Pinot Noir, 2011

Another big but very fine example of American Pinot with a French twist. This wine is not only representative of the great terroir of California, but harbors the passion of its growers and the depth of our friendship. It comes from the Burgundian clone that is own rooted and over 30 years old. This years’ version is sexy, juicy, harmonious, and seductive. “Iron fist with a velvet glove.”

Lancelot

Pisoni Pinot Noir, 2010

This wine quickly became a classic in my portfolio. It is from a 30-year-old parcel of the famed Pisoni Vineyard. It is the biggest and richest pinot, yet in my interpretation it has all the acidity, zest and best French oak nuances to make it fresh tasting and balanced. Power in a velvet glove.

Lancelot

Pisoni Pinot Noir, 2009

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …gorgeous. An intoxicating melange of dark plums, wild cherries, white flowers, licorice, spices and cinnamon emerge from this dazzling, beautifully delineated wine. The Lancelot possesses superb clarity and precision while capturing plenty of textural depth. It is a first-class effort from start to finish. A closing blast of black cherry fruit is suggestive of Comte Armand’s Clos des Epeneaux. 94 points

Lancelot

Pisoni Pinot Noir, 2008

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …a gorgeous bouquet of forest floor, black raspberries and black cherries that suggests a top premier or grand cru from Vosne-Romanee. A beautiful texture, layers of fruit, superb purity and a voluptuous mouthfeel make for an exquisite Pinot Noir reminiscent of a hypothetical blend of ripe California fruit and the complexity of a Burgundy. 95 points

Kokoro

Santa Barbara County, Pinot Noir, 2013 ($90)
“Kokoro” is a Japanese word that means “from the heart,” and this exceptional, very-limited blend of some of the top vineyards in my portfolio was created to express the core of each site while also unifying those qualities. Like its Chardonnay counterpart, the balance of “Kokoro” is as important as the complexity. Each site contributing a voice to the mix, and the well-integrated 70% French oak knits them all together. The palate is voluptuous with sweet tobacco, maraschino cherry, and gunpowder notes coming to the fore, but there is so much going on here to discover as it ages.
Jeb Dunnuck, WA: “A beautiful Pinot Noir that shines for its elegance, purity and finesse-driven texture, the 2013 Pinot Noir Kokoro offers a perfumed, intense bouquet of sweet raspberries, crushed flowers, strawberries, and exotic spices on the nose.” 94 points

Matinee

Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir, 2008

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …elegant strawberry, raspberry and pomegranate notes, fresh acids, medium body, admirable purity and an impressive texture as well as finish. 89 points

Cest la Vie

Wenzlau Pinot Noir, 2011

This new addition to my portfolio comes from the vineyard located next to a famed Seasmoke vineyard. During 2011, it was cultivated in biodynamic style, which engendered an enigmatic set of flavors. Those of you who seek that Burgundian style of Pinot from California sites will adore this wine. It has the lowest alcohol of all my Pinot’s, and is medium-bodied yet beautifully-structured, smooth, zesty, and refined. Perfumed on the nose with violets and crushed rocks, with an inky color that deepens this complex and mysterious offering.

Sine Cera

Fiddlestix Pinot Noir, 2009

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …lows with the essence of black cherries, plums, menthol and flowers, all of which come together in a round, sensual style. The Sine Cera shows gorgeous mid-palate fleshiness and an inviting, highly perfumed finish. 92 points

Sine Cera

Fiddlestix Pinot Noir, 2008

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: …a distinctive, more masculine style, with additional structure, tannin and meat notes intermixed with notions of cola, sassafras, cherries, pomegranate and earth. Kudos to Paul Lato! 92+ points

Sine Cera

Fiddlestix Pinot Noir, 2007

This was a very good year for this vineyard and the classy potential of this wine was evident from the first sip of the fermenting grapes. Blend of Dijon Clones 113 and 667 resulted is structured yet harmonious wine with silky texture and a very long finish. Very fine. Needs some time in the cellar or 2 hours in a decanter. Only 5 barrels made. 60 % new French oak.

Sine Cera

Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2006

Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate: Made from Dijon clones 113 and 667, this wine exhibits a much earthier, spice-driven style, with hints of bouquet garni, meat juices, cinnamon, and red and black fruits. The wine has more tannin, structure, and muscle than the other two offerings, but its dark ruby color, broad flavor profile, and long finish are top-flight. Drink it over the next decade. 93+ points