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The Pinot Shootout...
A Wine Challenge


heartheartheartheart = Love at First Sip


Adobe Road Winery 2005 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $35.00
246 cases produced

(96) Lilac
Male: Cherry with some hints of tobacco on the nose. Mushrooms and dark black fruit on the palate. Nice acid, really well balanced with a long berry finish. Should age nicely. Serve with beef.

Female: Rich, flavorful palate with juicy dark fruit and a spicy finish. Exotic!
David Bruce Winery 2005 Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $45.00
218 cases produced

(96) Orange
Male: Intense and layered with cherry and subtle forest floor aromas. Deft wood spice on the nose with strawberry preserves and ripe cranberry flavors. Big, bold and luscious. Silky with a finish that lingers. Made to last.

Female: The color is red with a brown edge. The nose is rich; brown sugar wrapped around cherries. Musky tones on the palate. Exotic and alluring. Yummy!
Robert Stemmler 2005 Nugent Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00
2200 cases produced

(96) Tan
Male: Gorgeous wine with notes of raspberry, plum, smoke and spices. Very cool climate characteristics. Elegant and refined.

Female: Bold and complex waves of exotic spices and nice red fruit aromas through mid palate. Tea and black fruit on the long finish. Well balanced.
Ardiri 2006 Pinot Noir
Carneros, Napa Valley, California, $45.00
560 cases produced

(95) Gold
Male: Light ruby in color. Delicate aromatics with cherry flavors, good acidity, and a finish layered with mocha notes. Balanced.

Female: Soft delicacy on the palate with cherry flavors. Sweet and savory wood and mocha on the finish. Moderate acidity. Silky.
Heart O' The Mountain 2005 Estate Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $48.00
180 cases produced

(95) Bronze
Male: Medium ruby, a lovely color. Delicious cherry, raspberry aromas. Refined, soft attack with a ripe forward palate. Nicely integrated and classy.

Female: Light fresh strawberry aromas with a touch of earthiness. Strawberry and cranberry flavors with lemon on the finish. Light and easy to drink with nice acid. A crowd pleaser.
Laetitia Reserve 2006 Laetitia Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Grande Valley, $40.00
7000 cases produced

(95) Beige
Male: A big, round, voluptuous wine with lush flavors of raspberry, nutmeg and cardamom. Tangy and zesty. Exciting - still fresh and loaded with dark fruit and spice.

Female: Aromas of black fruit and vanilla. Cocoa and plum entry. Complex palate with cassis and black tea. Medium tannins. Complex, layered with a long finish.
Sonoma Coast Vineyards 2004 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $60.00
1043 cases produced

(95) Blue
Male: Medium ruby in color. Pure pinot color and aromas in the glass. Ripe with toasty oak aromas and a touch of vanilla. Big ripe blackberry fruit, good acidity, great structure and complexity.

Female: Gingerbread, red fruit, mushrooms, lavender, and herbs de Provence. The nose is terroir driven. Deep, rich dark cherry. Nice acid. Balanced with judicious use of oak. Velvety and sexy on the palate. Wow!
TR Elliott 2005 Three Plumes Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $37.00
215 cases produced

(95) Orchid
Male: Bright and clean on the nose. Cherry, pomegranate and raspberry aromas. Fresh cherry flavors with notes of mushrooms, cigar box. Balanced with a long, smooth black cherry finish.

Female: Complex nose with earthy notes, brown spice, sandalwood, cherry, and floral notes. Blackberry and cherry fruit. Juicy with firm cleansing acid.
San Saba 2006 Pinot Noir
Monterey, $28.00
600 cases produced

(93) Hot Pink
Male: Warm, rich aromatics of ripe strawberry, rhubarb, brown spices, and butterscotch replicate on the palate with ripe and soft fruit. This wine is enhanced by the winemaker's delicate touch. Good acidity. Packed with fruit and spice for ageing.

Female: Medium blood red color in the glass. Tantalizing spice on the nose and palate. A slight smokiness backs up the cherry fruit. The finish is pleasant and long.
Savannah Chanelle Vineyards 2005 Tina Marie Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $50.00
186 cases produced

(93) Gunmetal
Male: The color is dark ruby. Plum and cedar aromas lead to a soft attack with ripe raspberry fruit, rich dark cherries and dark chocolate notes. The palate is concentrated with spice lasting through the finish. A young Turk.

Female: Garnet with translucency from the core to the pink rim. Intriguing aromas of tomatoes, oregano, dill, and pickled ginger on the nose. Medium plus acid on the palate with juicy cherries, a touch of herbaceousness and spice. Intense. Will age nicely through 2010.
David Bruce Winery 2005 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $50.00
1484 cases produced

(92) Steel Blue
Male: Smoothly balanced classic Pinot Noir. Honeysuckle aromas are very inviting with backnotes of eucalyptus and mint. Flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry with brown spice accents.

Female: Sweet caramel aromas. Moderate weight. Good concentration of fruit in the mouth - blackberry and cherry with savory notes. Soft mid palate with a long finish highlighted by mocha accents.
LaZarre 2005 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $50.00
275 cases produced

(92) Light Blue
Male: Smokey note adds to the oak, blackberry and cherry aromas and flavors. Slightly sweet impression on the finish. Good fruit concentration mid. Well integrated tannin and wood. Soft mid-palate.

Female: Black cherry and clove on the nose. Sweet red cherry and black cherry on the palate. Nice acid. Tannins are still prominent and need time to integrate but will marry nicely with time.
Handley Cellars 2005 RSM Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $52.00
119 cases produced

(92) Magenta
Male: Lovely and elegant with earthy floral aromas. Great structure. Rich and lush fruit on the palate in this solid Pinot with a cherry/berry finish.

Female: Medium red bordering on purple in the glass. The spicy, weighty palate is long and pleasurable with blueberry flavors appearing towards the end.
Laetitia Vineyard & Winery La Colline 2006 Laetitia Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Grande Valley, $60.00
480 cases produced

(92) Periwinkle
Male: Gorgeous dark medium ruby color. Gorgeous nose of ripe cherry fruit with a sweet, soft attack. Nicely concentrated. The style is very California.

Female: Delicate aromas and flavors of lavender and red cherry moving to black cherry intensity. Juicy with nice acid, toasty spices and vanilla notes on the finish. Really pretty. Seamless.
Phillips Hill 2006 Oppenlander Vineyard Pinot Noir
Mendocino, $42.00
550 cases produced

(92) Pink
Male: Well balanced. Cherry, raspberry, plum, and oak throughout. Long finish with racy acidity. Great food wine!

Female: Nice firmness of acidity. Good fruit concentration of cherry, red cherry and a touch of sour cherry on the finish. Lightly grained tannins with quite a bit of creamy mocha to complete this wine.
Stephen's 2005 Encell Pinot Noir
San Luis Obispo County, $30.00
230 cases produced

(92) Wedgewood
Male: As dark as Zinfandel in the glass. Oak and spice box on the nose. Complex and layered - blackberry, spice, tar, and barnyard. This is a huge baby! Ageable.

Female: Lovely rip aromas of plum and cherry accented with toasty oak. Ripe and round with mouth filling flavors. Powerful finish. Needs time to fully develop.
Amity Vineyards 2006 Sunnyside Pinot noir
Willamette Valley, $40.00
150 cases produced

(91) Black
Male: Clear light red, almost rosé like. Love the nose: strawberry, cardamom and a touch of cinnamon. Crisp and clean on the palate with virtually no perceptible tannin. Nicely balanced.

Female: Intense clear red color. Powerful plummy fruit on the forward palate. Rich and flavorful with nice mouthfeel, finish and texture.
Bianchi 2005 Garey Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $25.00
1678 cases produced

(91) Dark Green
Male: Toasted wood, dark fruit and tar in the nose. Good opening replicating the nose. Harmonious and integrated. Solid structure. Balanced with a long rich middle and a long finish. Expressive and distinguished.

Female: Deep red purple in the glass. Smoky notes with dark fruit and cedar aromas. Spicy and playful on the palate with a silky finish. Well balanced.
Jekel 2005 Pinot Noir
Monterey County, $17.99
15000 cases produced

(91) Light Yellow
Male: Bright ruby in color with cherry aromas. Nice opening of dark fruit. Good texture. Nice mouthfeel. Dark toasty oak on the distinctive finish.

Female: Blood red in color. Sweet berry aromas with cedar notes. Tangy berry flavors and spicy cedar in the mouth with cassis intensity mid to late.
Cima Collina 2005 Chula Viña Vineyard Pinot Noir
Monterey, $28.00
1891 cases produced

(91) Peach
Male: Nose is intense with a good balance between fruit and earth. Good structure. Nice cherry fruit on the palate. Solid. Slightly aggressive but bold without losing the Pinot quality.

Female: Blue tones on the rim. Nose of cherry and blackberry. Ripe concentrated fruit flavors. Well integrated tannins. The finish is a bit dusty and dry.
Claiborne & Churchill 2006 Pinot Noir
Edna Valley, $24.00
2786 cases produced

(91) Coral
Male: Violet nose leads to vibrant but delicate strawberry on entry through the finish. Silky texture with bright acidity. Balanced and classy.

Female: Garnet color with a transparent core to the pink, youthful rim. Dark berry and cola flavors and aromas. Bright acidity. Medium bodied Pinot Noir. Wonderful for food pairing.
Clouds Rest 2004 Clouds Rest Vineyards Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $100.00
490 cases produced

(91) Red
Male: Deep crimson color. Strawberries, boysenberries and cranberry aromas. Ripe concentrated fruit. Good mouthfeel. Nice structure. Long lasting on the palate. Elegant.

Female: The nose is playful, bright and spicy with a touch of potpourri. This complex, layered wine is youthful with a snappy finish. Lay this down and enjoy over through 2015.
Davis Family Vineyards 2005 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $40.00
900 cases produced

(91) Turquoise
Male: Strawberry, plum and toasty oak aromas that replicate on the palate, delivering more fruit on the finish than expected. A wine with a great future.

Female: Fresh strawberry, light fresh foresty notes and a touch of spice of the nose. The palate is fresh cranberry with well integrated oak accents.
Kenneth Volk Vineyards 2005 Santa Maria Cuvee Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $24.00
3500 cases produced

(91) Brick
Male: Medium ruby with a brick edge. This light bodied wine is elegant with pure cherry flavors and lingering acidity. Burgundian in style with a long finish.

Female: Ah, a lovely terroir driven Pinot Noir. Burgundian in style with cherry flavors accented by herbal notes and toasty oak.
Longboard Vineyards 2006 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $28.00
1053 cases produced

(91) Dark Blue
Male: A bold wine with good solid integration. A solid Pinot Noir. Gamey nose with that leads to Bing cherry flavors accented by cedar and spice. Finishes dry but maintains an elegant profile.

Female: Creamy cherry pie aromas that replicate on the palate with added notes of spice box, vanilla and black tea extending through the finish. Good tannin, fruit and acid balance.
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard 2005 Branciforte Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $37.50
157 cases produced

(91) White
Male: Layered flavors of orange zest, pomegranate, raspberry, fresh cherry, red licorice, and anise flavors. Tangy and juicy. The nose is still closed and youthful on this complex wine. Imagine what it will be when it grows up!

Female: Medium red and clear in the glass with a matte surface. Cherry flavors with lots of oak on the nose and palate that result in nice spicy flavors that carry through to the finish.
Amphora Winery 2006 Windsor Oaks Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $45.00
175 cases produced

(90) Purple
Male: The perfumed nose with dominant cherry notes is enticing. The texture is lovely. The opening is nice with strawberries and peppermint moving to black raspberry, plum and brown spice. Good acidity creating a bright, long finish. An elegant but not delicate wine.

Female: In the glass, the wine is brick in color, transparent and bright. The aromas are bright cherry with a hint of rhubarb. In the mouth cherry is complemented by black pepper notes. Medium acid and hints of black tea are apparent on the long finish.
Bernardus Winery 2006 Pinot Noir
Monterey County, $25.00
5500 cases produced

(90) Yellow
Male: Smooth. Tastes expensive and is well made! Fine nose. Seamless wine. Cherry, raspberry and cranberry are deftly integrated with oak.

Female: Clear red with a slight amber edge. Asian spice and dark fruit aromas with a hint of mushroom. Nice texture and weight on the palate with plum and raspberry fruit. There is a hint of spicyness. Good acid balance.
Burrell School Vineyards 2005 Veranda Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $42.00
525 cases produced

(90)
Male: Aromatics of cherry and pomegranate and floral nuances. Good ripeness with very nice balance and finesse.

Female: Licorice on the nose. A complex palate of red fruit and savory herbs. Nice depth. Let this one sit in your glass. It reveals itself as it opens.
Cakebread Cellars 2005 2005 Pinot Noir, Carneros
Carneros, Napa Valley, $49.00
?? cases produced

(90) Green
Male: Dark ruby with a garnet core. Ripe cherry, plum and oak aromas. Soft attack. Red fruit with concentrated spicy flavor which is very syrah-like. Velvety texture.

Female: Nice cherry and black cherry aromas. Dark cherry and a touch of menthol on the palate. This is dark and spicy. A big wine.
Cambria Estate Winery 2006 Bench Break Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $26.00
2,000 cases produced

(90)
Male: Pure deep cherry with cola, flint and tarry back notes. Lush (but not heavy) and clean. Very structured. Good now but will develop with time.

Female: Bright clear red in color. Somber brooding aromas with a slight musky quality which carry through onto the palate. Coffee and chocolate enhance the dark fruit mid palate through the finish. Nice acidity.
David Bruce Winery 2004 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $75.00
820 cases produced

(90)
Male: Light cherry and spice aromatics. Great body. Lots of fruit and a big finish.

Female: Subdued black fruit on the nose with black cherry in the mouth, Nice acid, nice balance.
Gryphon 2005 Pinot Noir
California~Anderson Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands, $30.00
520 cases produced

(90) Brown
Male: Ripe cherry and green tea aromas and flavors. Mocha and chocolate accent the finish.

Female: Savory wood and toasty caramel on the nose. There is nice fruit concentration on the palate - blackberry and cherry notes. The texture is soft, showing well integrated oak. The finish is silky showing the slightest hint of bitterness.
Mahoney Vineyards 2005 Mahoney Ranch Pinot Noir
Carneros, $36.00
325 cases produced

(90) Gray
Male: Spicy aromas. Cherry with cola flavors. A vibrant entry of red fruit. This is a beautifully balanced wine with a solid structure and great finish.

Female: Deep red in the glass. Forward cherry and chocolate notes on the nose. Bright red fruit flavors accented with cola and black cherry. Bright acidity. Medium bodied with spicy notes on the finish. Very pleasant!
Mark West 2005 Pinot Noir
Russian River, $24.00
2800 cases produced

(90) Light Green
Male: Good spice and superb varietal definition. Perfect balance with a hint of cola showing through on the vibrant finish.

Female: Cherry fruit on the nose and palate. A nicely structured Pinot Noir with good weight and texture.
Paraiso 2006 Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $25.00
8990 cases produced

(90) Burgundy
Male: Pleasant nose of cherry and violets. Rich black cherry and plum palate with oak notes on the finish. Good acidity.

Female: Black cherry and roasted coffee on the nose and in the mouth. Very nice! Big and chewy with nice acid balance.
RN ESTATE 2005 Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills, $45.00
175 cases produced

(90) Deep Purple
Male: Medium ruby in color. Light aromas. Delicate with lots of finesse. Soft attack of pretty concentrated cherry fruit. Lots of acidity from the fruit and apparent alcohol. Velvety texture on the mid-palate with a spicy kick on the finish.

Female: Garnet in color. Strawberry and fresh raspberry aromas with dark red fruit on the palate. A complex wine with coffee notes on the long cherry finish. Nice acid. Nice balance. Drink now through 2015.
Robledo 2005 Rancho Rincon Pinot Noir
Los Carneros, $35.00
915 cases produced

(90) Pumpkin
Male: Medium ruby in color. Cherry and cedar aromas on the nose with a slight herbal note. Nice attack with dark fruit ripeness. Good balance.

Signorello Vineyards 2005 Las Amigas Vineyard Pinot Noir
Carneros, $38.00
198 cases produced

(90) Lime Green
Male: Medium ruby with a garnet core. Light aromas of cherry and plums. More secondary notes than fruit. Slightly dry on the palate. The finish is short and spicy.

Female: A touch of alcohol on the nose with red fruit, rhubarb and clove. Tart red fruit on the palate. Lots of tannin on the finish.
Three Sticks 2005 Durell Vineyards Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $55.00
385 cases produced

(90) Blue-Green
Male: The refined and elegant floral aromas evolve to red fruit flavors with nice acid. Balanced and should continue to age for the next 4-5 years.

Female: Savory sweet oak on the nose. On the palate there are lovely wood notes creating spicy and herbal accents to the sweet red fruit. Creamy with a soft sexy palate.
Twin Oaks Cellars 2006 Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $49.00
50 cases produced

(90) Mint Green
Male: Medium ruby in the glass with a slight orange rim. Plum aromas deliver ripe concentrated plum fruit in the mouth. This well made wine has a lush mouth feel. Is there a touch of Syrah? This is an excellent well made wine.

Female: The black cherry nose delivers the same onto palate with lots of oak notes and nice acid.
Vision Cellars 2006 Garys' Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $48.00
388 cases produced

(90) Dark Gray
Male: Sweet vanilla oak and plum on the nose. Opulent plum fruit in the mouth. Great acid. Balanced.

Female: Cherry, black cherry and floral aromas show black cherry and burnt coffee notes on the palate. The finish is balanced with lots of tannin, fruit and acid.
Willowbrook 2005 Kastania Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $48.00
300 cases produced

(90) Forest Green
Male: Medium ruby in color. Ripe cherry aroma with oak and vanilla notes. Soft attack with good acidity and ripe fruit flavors. There is a spicy edge to the finish and a touch of heat.

Female: Meaty, cherry nose with some savory notes. Powerful palate with excellent fruit concentration. Well integrated savory wood on the very long finish. The tannins are a bit drying and the alcohol is a tad high but the power of the fruit balances the wine.

heartheartheart = An Affair to Remember


Babcock 2006 Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $40.00
950 cases produced

(89)
Male: Subtle aromas of cherry and black cherry that are distinctly Pinot Noir. Rich on the palate. Very youthful. Nice acid on the finish. Beautiful structure.

Female: Raspberry aromas with a subtle earthiness and a touch of citrus too. Bright raspberry on entry with vanilla notes mid palate. Oak tannins complement the fruit. Nicely balanced with bright acid on the finish.
Bernardus Winery 2005 Rosellas Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands, $75.00
393 cases produced

(89)
Male: Dark, dark color. The nose is restrained and earthy. Big fruit and leather flavors. Good balance and a long finish.

Female: The nose is elusive but there is a touch of alcohol. Lots of flavor here despite the closed nose. Plummy character with a mix of cherries. There is some creaminess with chocolate and oak accents on the finish. The tannins are firm and a bit drying.
Brassfield Estate 2005 High Serenity Ranch Pinot Noir
High Valley, $23.99
458 cases produced

(89)
Male: The nose says Pinot Noir. Medium body. Nice acidity. Long finish. Balanced. Classic Pinot!

Female: The nose reminds me of dark potting soil. The palate has a dark cherry core with a subtle spice overlay. Excellent varietal definition. Firm tannins on an extra long finish.
Cakebread Cellars 2005 Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley
Anderson Valley, $49.00
?? cases produced

(89)
Male: Rich and lush color. The bouquet is tremendous - intense ripe indulgence of pomegranate and plum with meaty and spicy back notes. Brooding, lascivious and lush. Well done with excellent integration.

Female: Garnet with a core that is transparent to the rim. The nose is clean and quite complex with raspberry, fennel, sour cherry and caramel all carrying onto the palate. The flavors linger through the finish and are accented by dusty notes and cinnamon spice.
Churchill Cellars 2005 Bella Luna Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $45.00
233 cases produced

(89)
Male: Earthy notes, forest floor over black cherry at first followed by delicate and appealing aromas of cherries, black pepper and violets that carry through all the way to the finish with the addition of some light nutmeg accents. A silky and balanced wine.

Female: Visually the wine is medium red and clear. Cranberry and strawberry aromas and flavors. A touch of anise with cola notes on the palate. A youthful wine with medium acid and tannin. Balanced with a medium finish and lingering sour cherry and black tea.
Concannon Vineyard 2005 Pinot Noir
Central Coast, $14.99
75000 cases produced

(89)
Male: Very pretty in the glass with a clear, light ruby hue. Soft ripe cherry and pomegranate with brown spice. Ethereal. A real crowd pleaser.

Female: Fennel, black cherry, fresh tarragon, and basil layered with complex aromas from the new oak. Black cherry fruit entry to mid palate. Herbs and cherries luxuriating in the mouth. The finish shows black tea and cassis with medium acid and tannin. Nice wine!
David Bruce Winery 2005 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast Reserve, $100.00
137 cases produced

(89)
Male: Aromas of tobacco, cedar, cigar box, dried herbs and cherry deliver plenty of black fruit, ripe cherries, cassis, and savory spice flavors. Big, rich mouthfeel. The palate is racy and persistent. A barbarian!

Female: The color is cherry red with a matte surface. Bright cherry and cranberry fruit with hints of cola. Medium bodied with balanced acidity.
Hahn Estates 2006 Pinot Noir
Monterey, $20.00
30447 cases produced

(89)
Male: A tight wine with good structure. There is a raw woodiness that dominates muted black fruit with floral back notes on the nose. Dark fruit on the palate with a talc-like minerality mid to late.

Female: Visually the wine is garnet, the core is transparent to the clear thin rim. The nose is clean layered with aromas of licorice candy and cream soda. There is an explosion of fruit on the palate - plum with long refreshing cranberry flavors. Tart cherry on the bright finish with lovely balanced acid.
Hearthstone Winery 2006 Pinot Noir
Paso Robles, $34.00
110 cases produced

(89)
Male: Nice depth in the nose. Complex mouth. Finishes all in sync.

Female: This takes time to open. There is a lot more there once it evolves in the glass. The color is tawny and slight cloudy but the wine is light bodied. The nose is muted with roses and a touch of cream. Seems as if it has some age. The palate displays plum jam, slate and brown sugar joined by licorice and tart cherry notes mid. Balanced on the long tart cherry finish.
Kenneth Volk Vineyards 2005 Sierra Madre Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $36.00
300 cases produced

(89)
Male: Medium ruby in color with a brick rim. Sweet cherry, ripe pomegranate, raspberry with well integrated toasty oak on the nose. Flavorful red fruit with floral notes. Full, yet elegant with a pleasing mouthfeel and endurance.

Female: Candied cherry aromas. A youthful wine that opens boldly with cherry cola, dill, coffee and Bing cherry flavors with a bit of dill and cedar on the finish.
Lost Canyon 2006 Widdoes Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $42.00
350 cases produced

(89)
Male: Light red fruit aromatics. Delicate cherry flavors with good acidity on the finish.

Female: Fresh strawberry and caramel in the glass delivering strawberry and rhubarb notes accented with sweet cedar on the palate, finishing with tangy lemon acidity. Enjoy this with roasted chicken.
Lost Canyon 2006 Las Brisas Pinot Noir
Los Carneros, $42.00
400 cases produced

(89)
Male: Spice and cherry aromas lead to yummy flavors with deft oak that underscores the fruit.

Female: The nose is fresh and inviting. Bright strawberry aromas develop into nice strawberry and cherry flavors with a touch of cinnamon on the long and elegant finish.
Trinitas Cellars 2006 Napa Carneros Pinot Noir
Napa Valley, $27.00
1500 cases produced

(89)
Male: Complex layered nose: dark chocolate, plum, cinnamon, and mushrooms. Silky texture with frim tannins.

Female: Baked gingerbread on the nose. Very distinctive. Interesting red fruit flavors with candied ginger accents. Sour cherry on the finish with nice acid. Quite unique. Calls for wild game.
Ventana Vineyards 2005 Ventana Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $28.00
970 cases produced

(89)
Male: Sour cherry nose with bright lively cherry, spice and a hint of rhubarb flavors. Cocoa and racy acid on the finish.

Female: Cherry with mushroom notes greet you, delivering dark cherry and cranberries on the palate. Nice balance!
Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards 2006 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills, $49.00
5072 cases produced

(88)
Male: Strawberry jam aromas lead to a soft delicate palate with touches of blueberry in the mid mouth.

Female: A delicate nose with a touch of menthol combined with blackberry and oak notes. Red cherry and raspberry fruit flavors accented by cinnamon and nutmeg. Cleansing acidity on the finish. Nicely balanced.
Five Rivers Pinot Noir 2006 Pinot Noir
Central Coast, $12.99
47000 cases produced

(88)
Male: A touch of earthiness and light red fruit on the nose deliver cranberry and rhubarb flavors on the palate. Nice balance of tannin and acid. Enjoy with grilled salmon.

Female: Excellent fruit concentrated aromas with back notes of licorice and a touch of alcohol. On the palate, there are lovely layers of blackberry and black cherry with savory wood and herb accents. Medium acidity and well-integrated management of tannin and oak are displayed on the dry finish.
Brutocao Cellars, Estate Bottled 2005 Slow Lope'n Reserve Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $38.00
450 cases produced

(88)
Male: Definitely showing some age. Dill on the nose that follows through onto the palate with dark fruit dominating from mid through the finish.

Female: The bright core is mahogany and the color extends to the pink rim. Aromas of fresh roses, lavender, chocolate, and dill open on to the palate with dark fruit turning to light cranberry late with floral touches that again show up on the finish. Medium plus tannins and acid.
Burrell School Vineyards 2005 Estate Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $42.00
525 cases produced

(88)
Male: Blood red in color. Cherry and eucalyptus aromas and sour cherry flavors with racy acidity. Good mouthfeel.

Female: Clean cherry cola, Smith Bros. cough drop and green forest aromas. Cherry cola entry. The palate is long and solid. Medium acid and medium tannin on the finish.
Byron 2005 Nielson Vineyard Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $25.00
2,030 cases produced

(88)
Male: Medium ruby in color with aromatics of plum and oak: big oak and vanilla. Soft attack with ripe and concentrated fruit flavors. Medium bodied. Fragrant and delicious.

Female: Cherry and a small amount of baking spice in the nose and mouth. Consistent.
David Hill Winery 2005 Estate Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, $38.00
200 cases produced

(88)
Male: Lovely soft and delicate. Cherry, vanilla and strawberry with light floral notes, almost rose-like on the palate. Ripe and simple with good acidity, a solid mouthfeel and a touch of astringency on the finish.

Female: Layers of spice and cranberry on the nose. Darker fruit in the mouth. Nice wine!
Gallo Family Vineyards Sonoma Reserve 2005 Pinot Noir
Sonoma County, $18.00
27800 cases produced

(88)
Male: Ruby-purple in color. Aromas of cherry and cranberry open to a soft attack. Ripe flavors on the palate with whole cluster fruit flavors. A crowd pleaser.

Female: Black cherry and cola aromas evolve into black cherry and cinnamon flavors on the palate. Not quite enough acid to balance the tannins on the finish.
Eola Hills 2006 Pinot Noir
Oregon, $15.00
16304 cases produced

(88)
Male: Nicely balanced with a lovely is Burgundian-style nose. The palate is yummy with nice fruit and spice notes. The finish is a tad short.

Female: A very nice wine. Fresh strawberry aromas and flavors. Juicy.
Hahn Estates 2005 Pinot Noir
Monterey, $20.00
22000 cases produced

(88)
Male: Lovely fresh cherries and strawberries in the glass. Pillowy texture. Well balanced. Deft use of oak to complement the red fruit. I would buy this Pinot!

Female: An easy drinking Pinot. The nose is a touch dusty with back notes of cherry. Warm cherry compote on the palate and a touch of acid on the finish.
Grand Detour Pinot Noir 2006 Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $35.00
2000 cases produced

(88)
Male: The nose is New World Pinot - big with just a touch of heat. Nice red fruit flavors. The finish is still tight. Would like to taste again in a few months.

Female: The nose opens to sour cherry and strawberry and expands to include cream and oak aromas. I detect extended maceration here delivering strawberry and cream soda flavors with a long tart cherry pie finish. Medium acid and medium plus tannins,
Rodney Strong 2005 Jane's Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $45
4,400 cases produced

(88)
Male: Subtle, true Pinot aromas. Lovely. Very ripe cherry and plum with brown root beer like spice as back notes. Weighty exit. Will evolve.

Female: Licorice candy on the nose with raspberry and cola on the palate through the finish. Medium plus acid and tannin. Medium length with a complex finish.
Erath Vineyard 2006 Pinot Noir
Oregon, $19.00
82000 cases produced

(88)
Male: A very pretty wine. Rose petals on the nose with soft cherry pie flavors in the mouth. Nice acidity. Simple and easy to enjoy.

Female: The nose is redolent with fresh strawberry and cherry scents. The palate is layered with cherry, black cherry and coffee that hangs in through the finish. Nicely balanced.
Ventana Vineyards 2006 Ventana Vineyard Pinot Noir
Arroyo Seco, $28.00
1800 cases produced

(88)
Male: An elegant and balanced wine. Dark cherry cola aromas. Pure cranberry and raspberry flavors with dried mushroom back notes. Silky texture with smooth tannins.

Female: Mahogany in color, transparent from the core to the thin, clear rim. Menthol, cherry and licorice on the nose with raspberry fruit on the front of the palate with plum filling in mid. Balanced acid accented by toasty oak on the medium long finish. Enjoy with food.
Alma Rosa Winery 2006 La Encantada Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir-La Encantada
Santa Rita Hills, $36.00
1500 cases produced

(87)
Male: Black cherry, toast and spice with sweet tannins, Focused and has the same intensity from the nose through the finish.

Female: Framboise with hints of spice on the nose. Alluring dark and spicy fruit at the front of the palate which lingers on with slight sour cherry note through the finish.
Carneros Creek 2006 Pinot Noir
Carneros, $22.00
10700 cases produced

(87)
Male: Black cherry nose and flavors. Almost dry on the palate with sweet oak notes. The finish is a bit tighter than expected but overall, the wine is rich. Yummy!

Female: The nose is cherry with a touch of dill and menthol. Black fruit on the palate. Tannins are intense. Should soften with time.
Clouds Rest 2003 Clouds Rest Vineyards Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $100.00
160 cases produced

(87)
Male: The aromas of black cherry and nutmeg replicate on the palate. Should evolve nicely.

Female: The sweet, inviting strawberry jam nose delivers the same flavors on the palate, turning to sour cherry with lots of acid on the finish. Should be a crowd pleaser.
Domenico Wines 2006 Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $35.00
504 cases produced

(87)
Male: Cherry, raspberry with nice oak accents. Light cherry and plum on the palate. The finish is quite chewy.

Female: Fresh fermentation aromas. Good fruit concentration - black cherry is predominant. Medium to low acidity. Nice round tannins that are well integrated. Toasty oak and a touch of mocha on the finish.
elk prairie vineyard estate 2003 pinot noir
humboldt county, $20.00
450 cases produced

(87)
Male: The nose is subdued - black raspberry and pomegranate with a hint of flint. The entry is more expressive than expected. Nice acidity balanced with oak.

Female: Strawberry and cherry aromas carry through onto the palate. Oak and tannin are quite prominent. Needs time.
Gauthier Cellars 2006 Rockin' H Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast, $29.99
400 cases produced

(87)
Male: Sandalwood with smoky oak and dark fruit aromas. Meaty and balanced.

Female: This wine is just a baby. The nose is so tight. The color is dark, very dark. Dark cherry on the palate. Nice acid on the finish.
Lost Canyon 2006 Saralees Vineyard Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $42.00
525 cases produced

(87)
Male: Very light color with pleasant strawberry aromas. The palate is strawberry with dusty notes and forest floor accents. The finish is vibrant with nutmeg and allspice back notes.

Female: Clear pale strawberry-red color. Aromas of rose petal and raspberry. The palate is soft and even with dusty cocoa overlaying raspberry and plum fruit flavors. Pretty.
Moshin Vineyards 2006 Lot 4 Selection Pinot Noir
Russian River, $42.00
425 cases produced

(87)
Male: Soft subtle aromatics. Lively fruit. Good balance.

Female: The nose is elusive opening to fresh raspberry. Juicy raspberry and blackberry with nice acids and tannins.
Pend d'Oreille Winery 2005 Pinot Noir
Snake River Valley, $19.50
175 cases produced

(87)
Male: Subtle spicy strawberry, elderberry, exotic spices, and forest floor notes on the nose. The palate has restrained tart red fruit with dried flower notes. The finish is quite dry. Will get better with time.

Female: Pale blood red in color. Bright fruit with dusty cola overtones in the glass. Sour cherry flavors turning a bit sharp on the finish.
Robert Stemmler 2005 Estate Grown Pinot Noir
Carneros, $36.00
4800 cases produced

(87)
Male: Light red fruit with forest floor and citrus notes. Light red fruit mid palate. A bit drying on the finish.

Female: Cherry and strawberry nose. Cherry and strawberry fruit with nice spice accents. Nicely balanced. Good representation of Carneros.
Rodney Strong 2006 Estate Vineyards Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $22
75,050 cases produced

(87)
Male: Medium ruby in color. Toasted oak, spice and ripe berry aromas and flavors. Balanced with a lasting finish. Clean and approachable.

Female: Strawberry, cherry and black cherry with hints of burnt coffee. Not complex but very pleasant.
Row Eleven 2005 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $36.00
1400 cases produced

(87)
Male: There is a nice oakiness with light cherry on the nose. The mouth is creamy, nice mouthfeel. Good acid.

Female: Licorice and dark, dark spice accents. Some blackberry peeking through on the nose and in the mouth. The dark spices and espresso are prominent on the finish. Needs time but will mature nicely.
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard 2004 Baileys Branciforte Ridge Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $34.00
165 cases produced

(87)
Male: Big fruit - crushed violets, cherry and plum with a huge, long finish. Well balanced but not a typical Pinot.

Female: Bold and forward nose of brambly fruit and spice. The palate is exotic.
Savannah Chanelle Vineyards 2006 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $29.00
3125 cases produced

(87)
Male: The spicy and toasty notes combine with candied sour red candy and waft out of the glass. The palate is red fruit with an overlay of smoky tea leaves. A well made wine.

Female: In the glass the garnet core is transparent. The surface is matte and the rim is clear. Rhubarb, anise, mushrooms, wet leaves, and slight metallic note rise as you swirl your glass. Cherry, black cherry and tea flavors evolve into a sweet impression, almost like a cherry cordial with cherry cola in the finish. Restrained oak treatment.
Villa Mt Eden 2005 Bien Nacido Vineyard Grand Reserve Pinot Noir
Santa Maria Valley, $25.00
6200 cases produced

(87)
Male: Raspberry, strawberry, sandalwood, and musroom aromatics. Velvety texture with plum and brown spice flavors. Could use a touch more acid.

Female: Deep garnet color. Plum fruit aromas and flavors with a slight tartness entering mid to late. Bright acidity on the relatively short finish.
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2006 Whole Cluster Fermented Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, $18.00
16000 cases produced

(87)
Male: Light ruby in color with pleasant cherry aromas of whole cluster fermentation. Soft attack but a touch astringent on the palate.

Female: Savory and sweet herbs on the nose with light red fruit back notes and added floral components. Red fruit on the palate - quite delicate, Simple but well done.
Windward Vineyard 2005 Monopole Barrel Select Pinot Noir
Paso Robles Westside, $60.00
250 cases produced

(87)
Male: Christmas spice, oak and red cherry aromas with nice cherry attack which persists through the clean finish. Tangy with suede-like tannins.

Female: Dusty aromatics. Cherry cola on the palate. Structured.
Girasole 2006 Organic Pinot Noir
Mendocino, $15.00
9000 cases produced

(87)
Male: Lovely subtle aromatic of strawberry, raspberry and a hint of violets. Rich fruit and mouthfeel. Good balance.

Female: Sweet black cherry nose reminiscent of Dr. Brown's Black Cherry soda. Black cherry with coffee notes on the palate with a touch of acid on the finish.
Youngberg Hill Vineyards 2005 Youngberg Hill Vineyards Pinot Noir
McMinnville AVA, $45.00
125 cases produced

(87)
Male: Cherry cola in the nose through the finish. A nice, straight forward wine.

Female: Deep purple red in the glass. Anisette, vanilla, cream soda, and cherry nose. A touch of cough syrup in the mouth. Bright acidity on the finish.
Amity Vineyards 2006 Estate Pinot noir
Willamette Valley, $40.00
90 cases produced

(86)
Male: Cedar over black cherry with tar back notes on the nose. Vibrant entry of red fruit carries through the pure fruit finish.

Female: In the glass there is plum fruit with barnyard notes. Tart fruit on the palate.
Amity Vineyards 2006 Pinot noir
Willamette Valley, $25.00
1500 cases produced

(86)
Male: Rich strawberry jam on both the nose and palate. Pleasant and pretty. Silky texture. Fairly simple.

Female: Sweet strawberry aromas replicate on the palate. Strawberry soda pop flavors that hang in there through the finish. This is an easier sipper.
Pinot Noir 2006 Pinot Noir
Santa Cruz Mountains, $24.00
1713 cases produced

(86)
Male: The nose is fresh and reminds me of Christmas trees. The aromas carry onto the palate with cherry notes.

Female: The nose has light red fruit and a touch of tarragon. Sour cherry and coffee notes on the palate.
Frei Brothers Reserve 2005 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, $30.00
29400 cases produced

(86)
Male: Nice nose. Seamless balance of dried cherry, raspberry and oak. Slightly tart with sour cherry on the finish.

Female: Strawberry and rhubarb aromas. Nice weight and texture on the palate. Red fruit with woody character overtones.
MacMurray Ranch 2005 Pinot Noir
Central Coast, $20.00
28690 cases produced

(86)
Male: A stylish Pinot Noir. Round and pretty fruit, balanced with depth of flavor.

Female: Straightforward strawberry aromas and flavors. Black tea accents the red fruit on the palate. Some alcohol shows through on the mid palate through the finish.
Fess Parker 2006 Pinot Noir
Santa Barbara County, $25.00
10650 cases produced

(86)
Male: The color is dark and brooding. The nose is brambly. The sour cherry flavors turn quite dry on the finish.

Female: Pickle barrel on the nose with red cherry and red raspberry in the mouth. A sipper. Lacks enough acid to seriously stand up to food.
Handley Cellars 2005 Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $30.00
3088 cases produced

(86)
Male: Attractive oak, slightly toasted and Bing cherry with a touch of herbs in the glass. Light on its feet. Cherry and berry turning a touch bitter on the finish.

Female: Cherry cola aromas delivering sweet dark cherry on the palate with tangy cherry on the finish. A real crowd pleaser!
Giant Steps 2005 Sexton Vineyard Pinot Noir
Yarra Valley, Victoria, $30.00
200 cases produced

(86)
Male: Bay leaf, eucalyptus and black fruit aromas and flavors. Sultry and sexy but not for all palates. Needs gamey food.

Female: Cherry and cedar aromas carry through onto the palate. Medium bodied. Simple.
Michaud 2004 Pinot Noir
Chalone, $38.00
1220 cases produced

(86)
Male: Cinnamon and other baking spices on the nose. Simple red fruit flavors. Pleasant and easy to drink.

Female: A simple but very pleasant wine. Cherry aromas and flavors with a touch of brown spice.
Erath Vineyard 2005 Leland Vineyard Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, $40.00
550 cases produced

(86)
Male: Quite earthy in the nose through the finish. Cherry flavors are masked by tobacco and oak.

Female: Bright cherry and raspberry fruit with a slight vegetal quality in the background opening to cassis and cranberry mid palate.
Bliss Family Vineyards 2006 Pinot Noir
Sonoma County, $16.00
1550 cases produced

(85)
Male: Red fruit with Christmas spice back notes on the nose. Simple red fruit on entry. Gets a bit gritty in the mouth. Acid on the finish is cleansing.

Female: The nose is not inviting at firs but with aeration it opens. Herbal notes on entry with light cherry and earthy accents mid palate through the finish which displays light acid.
Brutocao Cellars, Estate Bottled 2006 Pinot Noir
Anderson Valley, $26.00
1770 cases produced

(85)
Male: Cherry and plum fruit that is heavy on the palate. Very sweet impression.

Female: Raspberry and cherry fruit with a slight chalky character and a relatively short palate.
Manzoni 2005 Estate Pinot Noir
Monterey, $45.00
88 cases produced

(85)
Male: Candy cherry with herbal notes in the nose. Jolly Rancher cherry fruit in the mouth. Brisk acidity on the finish. Simple.

Female: Mint and eucalyptus aromas. Black raspberry on the palate. Tarragon on the finish.
Prodigal Estate 2005 Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sta. Rita Hills, $45.00
187 cases produced

(85)
Male: Reminiscent of Russian River fruit displaying cherry, black cherry and cola. The fruit carries through onto the palate and is enriched by the judicious use of oak with just the right amount of acidity. Drink now or over the next few years.

Yering Station 2005 Pinot Noir
Yarra Valley, $18.00
10000 cases produced

(85)
Male: Toasty oak and strawberry throughout. A bit of cocoa on the finish.

Female: Bay and a hint of strawberry on the nose. Strawberry flavors on entry opening to sour cherry on mid palate through the finish. A food friendly wine. The nose promises more than the palate delivers.
Elkhorn Peak 2005 Fagan Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir
Napa Valley, $36.00
900 cases produced

(84)
Male: A simple wine. Soft and light with red fruit from start to finish.

Female: Transparent garnet with a clear rim in the glass. The nose is fresh but sweet smelling - Jolly Rancher and candied strawberries. This light bodied wine with medium acid and tannin has clear red flavors of cherry and red raspberry.
Stephen's 2005 Moore Pinot Noir
San Luis Obispo County, $30.00
200 cases produced

(84)
Male: Big nose of oak, red fruit, cola, and cinnamon. Good entry but then there's a touch of heat. Very young. Should improve with time.

Female: Lots of eucalyptus notes on the nose. Cheery and lots of mint notes throughout. The palate is narrow and slightly acidic. The nose brings back fond memories of older vintages of Heitz Martha's Cabs.
elk prairie vineyard estate 2004 pinot noir
humboldt county, $20.00
520 cases produced

(83)
Male: Heavy dark fruits with some dark spices. The tannins are quite pronounced. Does come off as Pinot.

Female: Slightly muted nose. The fruit is plum and blackberry, heavily influenced by a bacon fat quality which tends to dominate the fruit.
Prix Vineyards 2006 California Soleil Vineyard: North Block Pinot Noir
Napa Valley, $50
225 cases produced

(83)
Male: Sweet caramel and black cherry aromas with a touch of tar as a back note. The palate is lush, almost lascivious. Depth and structure without weight.

Female: Dark fruit with quite a bit of tannin. Would like to retaste in 4 or 5 months.
Michel Picard Bourgogne 2005 Pinot Noir
France, $9.99
1000 cases produced

(82)
Male: Sweet cherry with oak spice on the nose. A bit lean on the palate. Simple.

Female: Elusive nose with light strawberry notes. Sour red fruit on the palate. Cleansing acid on the finish. Needs food. Not a sipper.
Knightsdale 2004 Pinot Noir
Mendocino County, $19.99
3111 cases produced

(81)
Male: Wet autumn leaves in the nose. Plummy flavor. Chalky tannins on a short finish.

Female: Dark fruit on the nose with hints of mushroom but the fruit doesn't carry to the palate. Tannins dominate.
Redwood Creek 2006 Pinot Noir
PDOC, $7.99
270000 cases produced

(80)
Male: Candied cherry and black plum with distant dark chocolate back note. Replicated fruit gives way to dark dense tannins.

Female: Dark spicy fruit on nose but doesn't carry through onto the palate.