Given all the fuss that has been made about Pinot Noir in the post-Sideways era, you would think that Mendocino’s Anderson Valley might have eked out a bit more mindshare in the brains of wine lovers, along with the attention being given to other sources of great Pinot right now, such as Santa Barbara, the Sonoma Coast, and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

But somehow, this tiny wine region’s reputation, not to mention awareness, for consumers remains throttled by its two main natural constraints: being an hour farther from San Francisco than Russian River Valley wine country, and the dearth of fancy places to stay and eat when you’re done with your day of wine tasting.

Those in-the-know (or simply intrepid enough) who venture over the Yorkville Highlands and down into the idyllic, quiet green of Anderson Valley can discover something that most of the state’s top winemakers have known for years. It’s one of the best places to grow Pinot Noir on the planet

Lichen Winery in Booneville, Ca photographed by Seth Lowe

A World Apart

Every time I (carefully) make my way down the winding curves of Highway 128 into Anderson Valley, I am struck by just how different it feels from the wide open river flats and hills of the Sonoma appellations from which I came. The light is different, the scale of the landscape is different. There’s an arboreal intimacy to Anderson Valley.

Only 1 mile across and roughly 15 miles long, bounded to the northeast and southwest by heavily wooded ridges, this little valley carved by the Navarro River feels diminutive, precious, and a little wild—like you’ve discovered someplace secretly special.

Compared to just about any other California coastal wine region, that’s almost certainly true. Distinctly more rural, less populated, and less wealthy than other coastal wine country destinations, Anderson Valley sports less than 150 hotel rooms and a mere 8 sit-down restaurants (two of which only serve breakfast and lunch).

This little valley carved by the Navarro River feels diminutive, precious, and a little wild—like you’ve discovered someplace secretly special.

Local zoning laws make the creation of grand winery architectural statements (let alone buildings with multiple stories) all but impossible. Anderson Valley towns are more like villages, and the wineries more like farms with tasting rooms than thriving tourist destinations. In a way, the valley has managed to preserve a sense of how California’s wine country used to be, before wine and wine tourism became big business. Because, for the most part, wine is not yet big business in Anderson Valley.

While the sparkling winery Roederer Estate farms 620 acres of vineyards in the valley, and Jackson Family Wines has purchased several wineries and vineyards over the last decade, most people own less than 20 acres of vineyards, and 1/3 of the vineyard properties in the valley are less than 5 acres in size.

There are only 2500 acres planted in Anderson Valley, split among roughly 90 different vineyards. Roughly 30 wineries make their home in the valley, while the grapes from the 2017 vintage were purchased and bottled by more than 110 outside wineries.

Looking northwest towards the coast on the southern edge of Anderson Valley

A Long Quiet History

The Anderson Valley was first planted with grapes in 1894 by Italian immigrants who came over the hill and settled in the valley named after early pioneer Walter Anderson, who arrived in 1851. And while wine was certainly made in the valley during the early part of the 20th century, things didn’t really get going until after the repeal of Prohibition. New vineyards were planted by farmers in the 1940s and 1950s, with middling results, often due to poor choice of grape varieties. But the first real efforts to make wine in the valley weren’t until Dr. Donald Edmeades, a physician from Southern California, planted 24 acres of grapes under a sign that read “Edmeades’ Folly.”

Edmeades was joined by the Husch family a few years later, and the modern era of Anderson Valley wine was born. Navarro Vineyards joined these early pioneers in the 1970s, and as these three made better and better wines, the industry’s reputation and population grew. Several well-known Anderson Valley names arrived in the 1980s, including Milla Handley, who, as one of the first women to graduate with an Enology degree from UC Davis got her first job working for Edmeades. But the most significant event of those times was the entrance of Champagne Louis Roederer in 1982, who cannily recognized that the unusually cool valley was perfect for the high-acid, early-picked grapes needed for sparkling wine.

For a long while (and, it might well be argued, still to this day) the best Anderson Valley wines, in particular, Pinot Noirs, were usually made by wineries located outside the valley.

Around this time, the region applied for and received its American Viticultural Area designation, listing 6 wineries, 16 vineyards, and 582 acres under vine.

The Roederer purchase had a seismic impact on the valley (and frankly on California wine as a whole), resulting in a significant influx of new wineries and the planting of many more vineyards in the 80s and 90s. By then, these vineyards tended to be focused on either a more Germanic (or Alsatian) angle, with Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, or simply on Pinot Noir.

Thanks to pioneering efforts in the 1980s by names such as Williams-Selyem and Merry Edwards, California Pinot Noir had become “a thing.” In the early 1990s, many of those who were (or who would become) the most famous names in California Pinot Noir began sourcing grapes from Anderson Valley or occasionally purchasing vineyards outright.

The Journey to Quality

Like many emerging wine regions, especially those that are slow to attract wine tourism, the wines of Anderson Valley were fairly mixed in quality up until recently. A few early pioneers in the region such as Navarro Vineyards and Handley Cellars made high quality wines as far back as the late 19080s, but the journey of Anderson Valley has been something of a slow emergence from being only barely more than a cottage industry.

For a long while (and, it might well be argued, still to this day) the best Anderson Valley wines, in particular, Pinot Noirs, were usually made by wineries located outside the valley.

While the demand for grapes from the likes of Williams-Selyem, Littorai, Copain, Peay, and others encouraged quality farming and increased acreage in the 1990s, little of the winemaking knowledge from those efforts made its way back to the local producers.

Even by 2005 or 2006, when I began to taste extensively and regularly, there were still a lot of fairly poor wines made in Anderson Valley, both among the Alsatian varieties as well as in Pinot Noir.

The Maggie Hawk Vineyard

Welcome to the Neighborhoods

Jackson Family Wines purchased the original Edmeades property in 1988, and went on to purchase several other vineyard plots over the years, culminating in the purchase of Balo Vineyards in 2019. In addition, the company bought Copain Wines and Siduri Wines in recent years, both of which owned no vineyards but sourced fruit from Anderson Valley. The family now owns and farms more than 300 acres in the valley, with fruit going to a number of their wine labels, including the exclusively Anderson Valley wines of Maggy Hawk, a brand started by Jess Jackson’s wife Barbara Banke in 2007.

Anderson Valley has always been the refuge of people who want to get away from other people.

When Jackson and Banke first came to town, they were treated much like any large corporate outsider who arrives in the cloistered and quirky Anderson Valley. Which is to say, they were pretty much seen as Satan incarnate.

Anderson Valley has always been the refuge of people who want to get away from other people. Indeed, the Anderson family from whose name the valley derives moved there to get away from the people flooding the Sacramento area during the gold rush of the 1850s.

By 1900 or so, the largely counter-culture residents had developed an extensive slang vocabulary, known as Boontling, which has continued to evolve over the years. Now more a local legend than a serviceable argot, Boontling is still spoken by a few die-hard locals in the town of Boonville.

Needless to say, the locals didn’t take too kindly to the Jackson Family at first, but after twenty years of being a relatively upstanding member of the community, Jackson Family felt like it had the social capital to pull off something ambitious.

Gilian Handelman is Vice President of Education at Jackson Family Wines. A former enologist and director of marketing and education for Wine & Spirits magazine, Handelman is both amazingly connected in the world of California wine and insatiably curious.

For years, locals in Anderson Valley have referred to different zones, or neighborhoods, in the valley by name. The farthest, fog-laden reaches out towards the coast that are among some of the coldest vineyards sites in California are known as the Deep End. Farther south up the valley towards Philo, but still heavily foggy and cold, is a neighborhood called Poleeko, which is how you say Philo in Boontling.

Around Philo, the valley narrows considerably, and this pinch point, in addition to the jump in elevation known as the Greenwood Ridge that follows close behind it, tends to stop the advance of the coastal fog.

This effect is so pronounced that the temperature differences on either side of Philo put Poleeko and the Deep end into the coldest, Region I classification of wine growing climates (known as the Winkler Scale), while on the other side, the neighborhood known as Boonville falls into Region II (more like the Russian River Valley, or the Coombsville AVA in Napa).

A map of the “neighborhoods” generated by Gilian Handelman, looking northwest towards the Pacific.

The remaining neighborhoods are the Western Ridges and Eastern Ridges, which even at their Northwestern extremes often sit above the coastal fog.

Handelman found herself wondering whether these neighborhoods actually meant anything in terms of wine sensory characteristics. So with the aplomb of someone who knows how to do serious enological research on terroir, she began a campaign to convince local winemakers to do a scientific study of whether these neighborhoods actually tasted any different.

Handelman convinced XX winemakers to harvest grapes from various neighborhoods at roughly the same sugar levels, and then to make the wines exactly the same way, using the same yeasts, the same barrels, and the same winemaking protocols.

Just getting people signed up took some time. Perhaps unsurprisingly people fell into various camps. Some believed that identifying sub-regional differences was an important part of telling the valley’s story. Others worried that focusing on such differences has the potential to dilute the strength of the overall Anderson Valley story. A few others thought the neighborhoods weren’t actually aligned with the true factors that shaped the nature of the valley’s wines.

The wines were made during the 2019 harvest and have been tasted by Handelman and the participants once already.

Unmatched Potential

It’s been several years since I’ve tasted more than 20 or 30 Anderson Valley wines in a sitting, so I was particularly excited by the prospect of getting to taste close to 150 of them, thanks to the generosity of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.

Just for fun, the tasting was organized to group the wines according to the neighborhoods in the Valley, in the event that myself or the other journalist present was able to glean something from that context.

While in all honesty I was likely biased against discovering anything profound going in, I can say with certainty that no clear pattern or characteristic emerged that might clearly distinguish one neighborhood from another. It is my personal belief that there are too many variables at play (harvest date, grape chemistry, yeast type, maceration duration, stem inclusion, pressing strength, barrel regime, cellar temperature, oxygen exposure, ruching regimen, just to name a few) for commercial wines to clearly demonstrate differences across sub-regions as small as those in Anderson Valley.

What’s more, I’m probably in the camp of those who believe that the neighborhoods are probably all wrong anyway in terms of what might actually drive serious differences in wine style. Leaving aside the important fact that these neighborhoods have nothing to do with soil types within the valley, they also don’t really distinguish between elevations. Upper hillside fruit in the Poleeko region is going to perform very differently than valley floor fruit, for instance.

Something is going on in Anderson Valley, and it’s pretty damn exciting.

My tasting of 150+ Anderson Valley wines didn’t yield much in terms of conclusions about sub-regionality. But it did yield some pretty strong conclusions about just how far things have come in the valley when it comes to wine quality.

Frankly, I was very impressed with the overall level of quality across the board with these wines. Even five or six years ago, a tasting like this would have had a lot of wines in it that had issues — faults, clunky winemaking, egregious use of new oak, ripeness problems, and more. These were remarkably absent from this tasting. Instead, the wines were almost uniformly of high quality, and many were nuanced and excellent.

What’s more, I genuinely liked a large majority of the wines. Had I done a tasting of Napa Valley Cabernets or Dry Creek Zinfandels or Paso Robles Rhone Blends, it’s far from certain that I would have liked as many wines as I did in this tasting.

Something is going on in Anderson Valley, and it’s pretty damn exciting.

Even leaving aside the wines made by wineries located elsewhere, the advancement of quality, with Pinot Noir in particular, couldn’t be more evident. While the varied micro-climates of the valley continue to yield wines that range from ethereal and delicate to more robust and powerful, Anderson Valley’s resident winemakers seem to have acquired a confident restraint and an appreciation for subtlety. Put another way, the winemakers of Anderson Valley have gotten a lot better at letting the place do the talking.

Poised for Progress

The tasting lineup.

Tasting Notes

Wines are listed by color in descending order of their scores, and grouped by variety within each score band. Most of these wines were provided as part of the large focused tasting shown above. Some were press samples sent to me at a later date.

Sparkling Wines

2015 Roederer Estate “l’Ermitage Brut” Champagne Blend
Pale gold in the glass, with medium-fine bubbles, this wine smells of salty sea air, buttered toast, and apples. In the mouth, a silky, voluminous mousse delivers wonderfully bright lemon peel and apple flavors mix with toasted brioche and seawater as beautiful saline lemon notes linger in the finish. Fabulous acidity. 12.5% alcohol Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $60. click to buy.

2013 Lichen Estate “Grand Cuvee” Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine
Pale greenish gold in color, with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of toasted brioche and lemon oil. In the mouth, apple, and crabapple mix with toasted sourdough, seawater. Crisp, but with some lovely toasted bread notes, too. Mouthwatering. Disgorged in August of 2019. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Gris. 10 g/l. 60 months on the lees. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $85 click to buy.

2016 Lichen Estate “Blanc de Gris” Sparkling Pinot Gris
Palest greenish gold in the glass, with extremely tiny bubbles, this wine smells of apples and pears and white flowers. In the mouth, a soft velvety mousse delivers flavors of apple and pear and white flowers with a faint tangy sweetness that is quite charming. 32 months on the lees. 100% Pinot Gris. 11 g/l dosage. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $50 click to buy.

2015 Handley Cellars Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine
Palest greenish gold in the glass with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of wet chalkboard and lemon pith. In the mouth, some wonderfully steely and stony lemon pith, green apple, and sea air flavors have a gorgeous minerality. Quite pretty. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $56 click to buy.

MV Roederer Estate “Brut Library Reserve” Brut Sparkling Wine
Pale gold in the glass with fine bubbles, this wine smells of lemon and apples. In the mouth, a moderately coarse mousse delivers apple and lemon flavors mixed with a hint of orange peel and butterscotch. Excellent acidity, with a faint bitterness and salinity in the finish. Disgorged in 2018. 12 g/l dosage. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $35 click to buy.

2017 Reeve Wines “Kiser Vineyard” Blanc de Noir Sparkling Wine
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd, butterscotch, buttered toast. In the mouth, toasted brioche, lemon oil, and golden apple flavors have a nice cut to them thanks to excellent acidity and a very low 1g/l dosage, there’s also a hint of herbs that evoke a touch of marijuana to this wine. Chalky notes linger in the finish. Very nice. 12% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $85 click to buy.

2013 Roederer Estate “l’Ermitage Brut” Rosé Champagne Blend
Light to medium peachy-bronze in color with medium-fine bubbles, this wine smells of mulling spices and dried citrus peel. In the mouth, an expansive, silky mousse fills the mouth with flavors of bitter orange, candied citrus, seawater, and yeasty, toasty bread. Distinctly savory with a dried herb note that lingers with citrus peel in the finish. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $70. click to buy.

2018 Bravium “Wiley Vineyard” Blanc de Noir – Brut Nature Sparkling Wine
Palest peach in color with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of crabapples and citrus peel. In the mouth, apples and citrus peel and a nice saline character also offer some raspberry notes. Despite being called a blanc de noirs, this wine has some color to it, that might lead you to call it a rosé. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $50 click to buy.

2016 Lichen Estate Brut Rose Sparkling Wine
Palest peach in color with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of berries and cantaloupe. In the mouth, juicy berry and citrus flavors have a nice candied orange peel quality. Excellent acidity. 100% Pinot Noir with 2.5% still Pinot Noir for color. 32 months on the lees. 11 g/l dosage. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $50 click to buy.

beads

County Line “Beads” Pet-Nat

2020 County Line Vineyards “Orfin Lotts – Beads” Rosé of Pinot Noir Pet-Nat
A cloudy, peachy pink in color with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of peach yogurt and berries. In the mouth, juicy and bright flavors of berries, peaches, and ranier cherries are lifted across the palate on a surprisingly expansive mousse, which leaves a faint impression of sweetness on the palate. While the nose is slightly funky here, the rest of the wine is quite clean, with just the barest tang in the finish. Quite tasty. 12% alcohol. Closed with a crown cap. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $36. click to buy.

NV Roederer Estate “Brut” Rosé Champagne Blend
A light peach color in the glass with medium bubbles, this wine smells of strawberries and citrus peel with a hint of warm hay. In the mouth a silky, voluminous mousse lifts flavors of berries, citrus peel, and herbs across the palate with a lovely aromatic sweetness that cruises to a nicely dry finish with a saline kick. Incredibly easy to drink, with great acidity. 12.5% alcohol Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $29. click to buy.

MV Scharffenberger Cellars “Black Label” Brut Sparkling Wine
Pale greenish gold in color, with moderately fine bubbles, this wine smells of green and golden apples. In the mouth, apple and citrus pith mix with white flowers and a faint sourish star fruit quality. Good acidity, faint bitterness in the finish. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25 click to buy.

NV Roederer Estate “Brut” Champagne Blend
Light gold in the glass with medium bubbles, this wine smells of freshly cut apples and wet chalkboard. In the mouth, a smooth and fluffy mousse delivers flavors of apples, pears, a hint of citrus peel and just a touch of buttery salinity. The finish is just faintly bitter. Still seems to be the best value sparkling wines made in California. 12.5% alcohol Score: around 8.5. Cost: $23. click to buy.

2015 Toulouse Vineyards “Goose Bubbles” Brut Sparkling Wine
Pale greenish gold in the glass, with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of green apple and white flowers. In the mouth, green apples, sweet celery, and white flower flavors are bright and crisp and fruity. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $48 click to buy.

2019 Bee Hunter “Method Rurale” (aka PetNat) Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine
A faintly cloudy pale greenish gold in color this wine smells of chamomile and honey. In the mouth a faint effervescence delivers flavors of apples and some citrus pith with a sourish acidophilous tang in the finish. 12.4% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $TBD click to buy.

2017 Goldeneye Brut Rose Sparkling Wine
Palest peach in color with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of baked apples and orange pith. In the mouth, raspberry jam and orange marmalade mix with a faint sweetness have less acidity than I would like. 4 g/l dosage. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $65 click to buy.

2017 Pennyroyal Farm “Blanc de Noir” Blanc de Noir Sparkling Wine
Palest greenish gold in the glass with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of green apples and white flowers. In the mouth, fairly sweet green apple and white flowers recall prosecco. Clean and bright and doubtless crowd-pleasing, but a little sweet for me. 10g/l dosage. 12% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $45 click to buy.

White Wines

BETWEEN 9 and 9.5
2017 Bee Hunter “Filigreen Farms” Pinot Gris
Pale straw in the glass, this wine smells of chamomile and poached pear. In the mouth, bright pear and lemon flavors mix with yellow herbs and a wonderful, yes, bee pollen note that lingers in the finish. Excellent acidity and length. Quite delicious. I suspect there’s a little residual sugar here, but it’s definitely to this wine’s benefit. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $28 click to buy.

2018 Lichen Estate “Noir” Pinot Noir Blanc
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of ranier cherries and white flowers. In the mouth, ranier cherry and floral notes have a bright juiciness to them and a faint tannic texture that adds complexity. Notes of cherry linger in the finish. Excellent acidity. 12.5% alcohol Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

AROUND 9
2014 Bee Hunter “Late Harvest” Riesling
Light yellow gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of honey and orange peel. In the mouth, flavors of honey and citrus pith mix with blood orange and white flowers. Despite being labeled late harvest, this wine has remarkably little overt sweetness. Very unusual and compelling. This tastes a bit like a Spatlese or Auslese trocken. Unfortunately this vineyard was mistakenly sprayed with a chemical that killed the vineyard, so it is no more. 9.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $32 click to buy.

2019 Handley Cellars Pinot Gris
Palest straw, nearly colorless in the glass, this wine smells of citrus pith and pears. In the mouth, crisp and clean flavors of pear and white flowers have a nice hint of minerality as a light tannic grip lingers in the finish along with floral and Asian pear notes. 13.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $24 click to buy.

2019 Lichen Estate Pinot Gris
Pale straw in color, this wine smells of pears and sweet cream with a touch of honeysuckle. In the mouth, there’s a faint sweetness and notes of white flowers, pears and sweet cream. Nice acidity keeps the wine crisp and juicy across the palate, and there’s a sweetish note in the finish suggesting a little residual sugar. 2.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $29 click to buy.

2019 Maggie Hawk Pinot Noir Blanc
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and citrus pith. In the mouth, bright berry and citrus peel mix with ranier cherries and a touch of tropical fruit. Excellent acidity and brightness, with a faint salinity. Quite delicious. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2020 Navarro Vineyards “Edelzwicker” White Blend
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers, pears, and a hint of lychee. In the mouth, lightly sweet flavors of white flowers, lychee, and Asian pear have a nice juicy brightness thanks to excellent acidity. Lovely balance, and very classic in its expression. A lovely aperitif wine. A blend of 40% Pinot Gris, 28% Riesling, and 32% Gewurztraminer. 13.3% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $19.5 click to buy.

2019 Phillips Hill Riesling
Pale greenish-gold in the glass, this wine smells of honeysuckle and mandarin orange zest. In the mouth, wonderfully bright Asian pear and mandarin orange flavors mix with a hint of aromatic herbs. Excellent acidity, and wonderful balance, with only an aromatic sweetness. I think there might be some sugar there, but like all really good Rieslings it’s balanced by enough acidity that the wine doesn’t taste sweet. 12.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $26 click to buy.

2019 Toulouse Vineyards Gewurztraminer
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine has an incredible floral perfume with hints of tuberose and orange peel. In the mouth, juicy and bright orange peel and very strong lychee flavors keep the mouth watering thanks to excellent acidity. Quite delicious. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $24 click to buy.

2018 Rhys Vineyards “Bearwallow Vineyard” Chardonnay
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of bee pollen, lemon pith, and grapefruit pith. In the mouth, Meyer lemon curd and pink grapefruit flavors are silky and suffused with notes of white flowers. Delicate acidity. Named after the shale soil series in the vineyard: Wolfey-Bearwallow). 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Copain “Skycrest Vineyard” Chardonnay
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and lemon pith. In the mouth, wonderfully bright citrus pith and lemon curd flavors have a hint of vanilla and a wonderful floral citrus pith finish. Bright, juicy and delicious. 13.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $55 click to buy.

2018 Drew “Bahl Briney” Chardonnay
Pale yellow-gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of white flowers and lemon pith. In the mouth, lemon and apple flavors have a nice crystalline brightness to them and a faint hint of lemongrass, lemon, and orange oil in the finish. Excellent acidity and length. 13% alcohol Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2019 Dupuis “Ferrington Vineyard” Chardonnay
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd, lemon juice, and white flowers. In the mouth, wonderfully bright lemon curd and lemon pith flavors mix with pink grapefruit and a hint of vanilla. Foot trodden and then aged in neutral barrels. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

BETWEEN 8.5 and 9
2018 Foursight Wines “Charles Vineyard” Semillon
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of candied lemon peel and yellow herbs. In the mouth, candied lemon, chamomile and bee pollen flavors mix with a hint of citrus pith, and a faint aromatic sweetness that lingers in the finish. Very pretty.13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $29 click to buy.

2019 Handley Cellars “Estate Vineyard” Gewurztraminer
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of honeysuckle, jasmine, and candied orange peel. In the mouth, silky flavors of orange peel and orange blossom have a nice citrus snap thanks to excellent acidity. There’s a trace of bitterness and a tiny bit of heat in the finish, but the flavors are super compelling. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $26 click to buy.

2018 Lichen Estate “Les Pinots” White Blend
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of candied orange peels and mulling spices. In the mouth, citrus peel and berry notes have a bitter/sweet quality to them that is fairly compelling. Hints of pear and citrus peel linger in the finish. Excellent acidity. A blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Gris. 11.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2020 Pennyroyal Farms “PinoTrio” White Blend
Palest greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of ranier cherry, pear, and citrus peel. In the mouth, citrus peel, cherry and Asian pear flavors have a nice crispness thanks to excellent acidity. There’s also a faint tannic grip to the wine that adds complexity with texture. Quite pretty, though with a distinct off-dry, light sweetness to it. An unusual blend of 39% Pinot Blanc, 38% Pinot Noir, and 27% Pinot Gris. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $33 click to buy.

2019 Phillips Hill Gewurztraminer
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of orange blossom water and floral aromas. In the mouth, faintly sweet orange blossom and lychee notes have decent acidity and crispness. There’s a faint bitterness in the finish like pear skin. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $25 click to buy.

2018 Rhys Vineyards “Alesia” Chardonnay
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon pith and a touch of Meyer lemon blossom. In the mouth, lemon juice, lemon pith and pink grapefruit flavors have a brisk zippiness thanks to excellent acidity. Notes of citrus pith linger in the finish. Mouthwatering. 12.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Maggy Hawk “Skycrest Vineyard” Chardonnay
Light gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of lemon curd and cold cream. In the mouth, silky flavors of lemon curd and cold cream have a nice zippy brightness to them thanks to excellent acidity. Lemon peel and a touch of herbs linger in the finish. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $55 click to buy.

2019 Radio-Coteau “Savoy Vineyard” Chardonnay
Pale greenish-gold in color, this wine smells of lemon and grapefruit pith with a hint of buttered popcorn. In the mouth, silky flavors of lemon curd, melted butter and a hint of pineapple are rich and sensual, but missing just a little kick of acidity that would make them more exciting to me. I’d love this wine to have a little more edge. But it’s hard to argue with the flavors. Unfiltered. 13.4% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $40. click to buy.

AROUND 8.5
2020 Fathers+Daughters Cellars “Ferrington Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of lime and lemon pith. In the mouth, lemon and lime pith and juice have a nice crisp brightness and a faintly chalky pithiness that lingers in the finish. Excellent acidity. Quite refreshing, if slightly on the austere side.12.4% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $25 click to buy.

2019 Goldeneye Winery “Randolph Block” Gewurztraminer
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of orange blossom and honey. In the mouth, silky flavors of orange blossom water and orange peel are clean and want to be crisp, but don’t quite have enough acidity to pull it off. It’s hard to argue with the flavors, however. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $40 click to buy.

2020 Navarro Vineyards “Cuvèe Traditional” Gewurztraminer
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of orange peel and white flowers. In the mouth, lychee, orange peel and a touch of citrus pith have a nice crisp brightness and a lightly chalky tannic texture. 13.4% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $20 click to buy.

2019 Reeve Wines “Vonarburg Vineyard” Riesling
Pale gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of tangerine and white flowers. In the mouth, a slightly austere wet chalkboard quality underlies citrus and floral notes. There’s a chalky quality to the finish. Quite dry. 12% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $38 click to buy.

2018 Copain “Dupratt” Chardonnay
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of oak and lemon pith. In the mouth, lemon curd, vanilla and the toasty notes of oak have a nice clarity and brightness to them, thanks to very good acidity. Silky and smooth on the palate, I wish I tasted less wood here. 13.3% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50 click to buy.

2019 FEL Wines Chardonnay
Pale greenish-gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and a touch of orange peel. In the mouth, lemon curd and a hint of orange zest mix with a faint hint of pineapple and vanilla in the finish. Very good acidity and length. 3.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $32 click to buy.

2019 FEL Wines “Savoy Vineyard” Chardonnay
Light gold in color with a hint of green, this wine smells of lemon curd and pineapple and white flowers. In the mouth, crisp and juicy lemon curd, vanilla and a touch of oak mix with pineapple and some additional tropical fruit flavors. Excellent acidity keeps the wine bouncy, though there’s a touch of heat in the finish. 13.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $48 click to buy.

2018 Meyer Cellars “Donnelley Creek” Chardonnay
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and oak. In the mouth, lemon and golden apple flavors mix with toasted oak and a hint of white flowers. Good acidity and length. I wish I tasted less wood. 13.6% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $32 click to buy.

BETWEEN 8 and 8.5
2019 Bravium Chardonnay
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of lemon pith and a hint of Play-Doh. In the mouth, lemon pith, citrus peel and a touch of cold cream are bright with decent acidity. Citrus pith and hints of bitter orange linger in the finish. 13.4% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $25 click to buy.

2018 Domaine Anderson “Estate” Chardonnay
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of candied lemon peel and a hint of apple skin. In the mouth, apple skin, lemon juice, and a touch of bitter herbs have a nice brightness thanks to decent acidity. The herbal and citrus peel astringency lingers in the finish. 13.1% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $30 click to buy.

2020 FEL Wines Pinot Gris
Pale straw in the glass, this wine smells of pear and pear skin with a hint of dried herbs. In the mouth, pear and pear skin flavors have a faint bitterness to them, along with the sweetness of the fruit. A hint of citrus oil comes into the finish. Decent acidity and length. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $28 click to buy.

2019 Foursight Wines “Charles Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of citrus peel and pith. In the mouth, crisp lemon and lime flavors have a faint pithy bitterness as they head to the finish. Good acidity. 12.7% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $29 click to buy.

2018 Handley Cellars “Estate Vineyard” Chardonnay
Pale to light gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and tropical fruits. In the mouth, silky flavors of lemon, pineapple, and tropical fruit cocktail lean slightly towards the bitterness of orange peel in the finish. Decent acidity. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $28 click to buy.

2020 Husch Vineyards “Dry” Gewurztraminer
Palest greenish gold in color, almost colorless, this wine smells of orange peel and white flowers. In the mouth, the wine is restrained, with orange peel and lychee flavors mixed with an Asian-pear-skin bitterness. Comes across as slightly dilute. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $16 click to buy.

2020 Pennyroyal Farm Sauvignon Blanc
Palest greenish gold, nearly colorless in the glass, this wine smells of green apple and pear and a hint of candied lime. In the mouth, lime and green apple and pear flavors have a faint sweetness to them, with decent acidity. There’s also a creaminess to this wine that is unexpected. 12.9% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $25 click to buy.

2020 Read Holland Wines “Wiley Vineyard” Riesling
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of honeysuckle and green apples. In the mouth, tart green apple and floral notes have a mouthwatering quality thanks to excellent acidity. Very green in quality, with a hint of celery of vegetal note along with the green apple skin in the finish. 12.8% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $30 click to buy.

2019 Husch Vineyards “Vine One” Chardonnay
Palest straw, to the point of being nearly colorless in the glass, this wine smells of sweet floral notes that have a hint of bubble gum to them. In the mouth, linalool and floral notes are somewhat confection-like, backed by decent acidity. Comes across as slightly candied, with a tiny bit of heat in the finish. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $20 click to buy.

2019 Pennyroyal Farms “Hammer Olsen Vineyard” Chardonnay
Pale to light gold in color, this wine smells of slightly yeasty lemon and pineapple aromas. In the mouth, lemon, some bitter herbs, and citrus pith have a slightly yeasty note to them, with a touch of oak on the finish. 13.1% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $35 click to buy.

2020 Philo Ridge Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of candied green apple and gooseberries. In the mouth, green apple flavors are slightly candied and a little flat, missing some acidity and crispness that would make it more vivacious. The flavors are good however. 13.2% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $20 click to buy.

BELOW 8
2020 Fathers+Daughters Cellars “Ferrington Vineyard” Chardonnay
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells unusually of herbal oils, alfalfa, and citrus pith. In the mouth, citrus pith and herbal notes make for an unusual character. Slightly odd. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 7.5-8 . Cost: $ click to buy.

Pink Wines

2019 Foursight Wines Rosé of Pinot Noir
A pale peach in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries and watermelon rind. In the mouth, bright raspberry and strawberry fruit has a brilliant, bright snap thanks to excellent acidity. Faint aromatic sweetness on the finish with a hint of citrus peel. Delicious. 13.1% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $35 click to buy.

2020 Navarro Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir
Pale baby-pink in the glass, this wine smells of wet chalkboard, strawberries, and raspberries. In the mouth, lean and bright berry and citrus flavors have a fantastic, mouthwatering brightness to them, with hints of citrus peel and a faint savory herbal note that adds some complexity. Excellent. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $22 click to buy.

2020 County Line Vineyards “Elke Home Ranch” Rosé of Pinot Noir
Palest peachy-pink in the glass, this wine smells of citrus zest and floral notes with a hint of marijuana resin. In the mouth, zingy and bright citrus peel and strawberry flavors have a nice silky, even creamy texture and lovely pastry cream overtones complete the finish. Very pretty. 12% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $25. click to buy.

2020 Pennyroyal Farm Rosé of Pinot Noir
Pale baby pink in color, this wine smells of hibiscus and cranberry. In the mouth, cranberry and rosehip flavors have a nice juiciness to them and a lovely silky texture. Very good acidity and length. 13.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $25 click to buy.

2020 Lula Cellars Rosé of Pinot Noir
Pale baby pink in the glass, this wine smells of red berries and citrus peel. In the mouth, berry and citrus peel flavors have a nice bounce thanks to very good acidity. Silky and slightly weighty on the palate. Clean and bright. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $26 click to buy.

2020 Toulouse Vineyards Rosé of Pinot Noir
Pale peachy pink in color, this wine smells of watermelon and a hint of radish. In the mouth, berry and watermelon fruit flavors are subtle and soft, with a faint woody radish note to the wine. Decent acidity. 13.6% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $24 click to buy.

Red Wines

AROUND 9.5
2018 Drew “Wendling Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dried flowers and black raspberries. In the mouth, crystalline flavors of raspberry and dried flowers are wedded to a stony earthy core of this wine. Wonderful floral notes linger in the finish. Fantastic acidity and purity.Outstanding purity and complexity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $70 click to buy.

2019 Drew “Fog-Eater” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of intensely perfumed raspberry and floral aromas. In the mouth, raspberry and redcurrant flavors are bright and mouthwatering with fantastic acidity. Hints of floral and citrus peel linger in the finish, along with a stony note that is quite compelling. Barely perceptible tannins. 13.4% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $45 click to buy.

2019 Willams-Selyem “Savoy Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet with purple highlights, this wine smells of cherries and floral perfume. In the mouth, wonderfully bright cherry and raspberry flavors are bursting with juicy acidity as citrus peel and a hint of bergamot oil linger in the long finish. Barely perceptible tannins. Delicious, fresh, and incredibly aromatic. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $120. click to buy.

2019 Willams-Selyem “Ferrington Vineyard” Pinot Noir
A faintly hazy, medium-to-dark garnet color with purple highlights, this wine smells of intensely juicy and sweet raspberry aromas. In the mouth, that intensity continues with positively mouthwatering flavors of candied raspberries and faint floral notes. Wonderfully perfumed, with only barely perceptible tannins. Fantastic acidity carries through a long finish scented with orange peel. Simply bursting with flavor. 13.6% alcohol. Score: around 9.5. Cost: $100. click to buy.

BETWEEN 9 and 9.5
2016 Bee Hunter “Angel Camp” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and dusty dried herbs. In the mouth, the wine has a nice savory dried herb and dusty road flavor, with a core of cherry and raspberry fruit. Hints of redwood bark linger in the finish with a hint of bitterness. But then, just when you think you’ve experienced everything this wine has to offer a wash of floral perfume enters the finish and blows your mind. Excellent acidity.14.2% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $80 click to buy.

2017 Copain “Edmeades” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet cherry compote. In the mouth, juicy and bright cherry and raspberry fruit flavors are dusted with faint tannins and touched with a hint of citrus peel and dried flowers. Very pretty, with excellent acidity and length. 13.1% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $70 click to buy.

2018 Foursight Wines “Zero New Oak” Pinot Noir
Light garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry and raspberry leaf. In the mouth, gorgeously bright raspberry and redcurrant flavors mix with sour cherry and a faintly saline quality that, combined with the excellent acidity, makes for a mouthwatering, totally delicious package. Outstanding. 13.7% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $44 click to buy.

2019 Foursight Wines “Clone 05” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry, sour cherry and floral aromas. In the mouth, juicy and bright raspberry pastilles and a hint of strawberry mixes with floral notes and excellent acidity. Perhaps missing some depth and complexity but who wouldn’t love the positively vivacious bright raspberry fruit here? Faint, powdery tannins tickle the edges of the palate. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $57 click to buy.

2018 Peay Vineyards “Savoy Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry and sour cherry and a hint of resinous herb. In the mouth, juicy raspberry, sour cherry, and redcurrant flavors mix with citrus peel and a touch of herbs. Excellent acidity keeps the saliva flowing as does a faint salinity. Delicious. 13.3% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $61 click to buy.

2018 Phillips Hill Winery “Day Ranch” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass with purple highlights, this wine smells of dried flowers and black raspberries. In the mouth, juicy cherry and black raspberry flavors are mouthwatering thanks to excellent acidity. That floral quality continues with dried flowers that linger through the finish. Faint muscular tannins. 13.7% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Read Holland “Deep End” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and raspberry and citrus oil. In the mouth, juicy cherry and raspberry fruit is tinged with cedar and a nice earthy undertone. Excellent acidity leaves citrus peel and dried herbs lingering in the long finish. 13.7% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $60 click to buy.

2018 Reeve Wines “Wendling Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of bright cherry fruit and a hint of dried flowers. In the mouth exceptionally juicy cherry and raspberry fruit flavors have a citrus peel kick and excellent, mouthwatering acidity. Faint, powdery tannins linger with hints of dried flowers in the finish. Very pretty. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Rhys Vineyards “Bearwallow Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium ruby in color, this wine smells of earth and candied redcurrant. In the mouth, raspberry and redcurrant flavors are fantastically juicy with hints of dried flowers and cedar. Fantastic acidity keeps the wine bright and zippy, as notes of candied orange peel linger in the finish. Layered and delicate with barely perceptible tannins. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Boonville Road “Broken Leg Vineyard” Syrah
A cloudy dark garnet in the glass, this wine makes the mouth water right from the very first sniff of white pepper and charred steak layered over black cherry and blackberry. In the mouth, beautiful white and black pepper flavors mix with blackberry and black cherry that have an almost saline quality. Soft, leathery tannins buff the edges of the mouth. Gloriously cool-climate in aspect, and refreshing with its mere 13.9% alcohol, this wine has excellent acidity and balance. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

2019 Rivers-Marie “Bearwallow Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of bright cherry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth, gorgeous cherry and cranberry flavors are silky and juicy with fantastic acidity and posses a lovely purity. Faint dried floral and herbal notes surface in the finish. Definitely leans towards the rich side of Pinot, but wonderfully lithe and bright. Only the faintest of tannic textures. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $80. click to buy.

2018 Gros Ventre “Cerise Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries and dried herbs with a hint of cedar. In the mouth, lovely raspberry and redcurrant flavors are wrapped in a gauzy blanket of tannins, as dried herbs and dried flower notes float across the palate and sour cherry lingers with a note of citrus peel in the finish. Thrillingly bright acidity and a lovely texture. 13.6% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $62. click to buy.

2018 Arista “Ferrington Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cranberries. In the mouth, flavors of raspberry and cranberry are zingy and bright thanks to fantastic acidity, while faint tannins brush the edges of the palate and citrus peel notes linger in the finish with a hint of forest floor. Quite delicious. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $80. click to buy.

2018 Papapietro Perry “Charles Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium ruby in the glass with garnet highlights, this wine smells of cedar and raspberries. In the mouth, bright raspberry and pomegranate flavors have a lovely aromatic sweetness to them and excellent acidity. Faint, gauzy tannins buff the edges of the mouth, while hints of raspberry pastilles linger in the finish. Lovely and finessed. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $64. click to buy.

AROUND 9
2017 Bee Hunter “Wentzel Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass with ruby at the rim, this wine smells of tart sour cherry and raspberries with a hint of pennyroyal. In the mouth, raspberry, redcurrant, and sour cherry fruit makes for a tangy, mouthwatering experience with hints of dried herbs and citrus peel that linger in the finish. There’s a nice stony underbelly to this wine, accentuated by chalk-dust tannins.13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $60 click to buy.

2014 Bee Hunter “Wiley Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium ruby with a hint of brick at the rim, this wine smells of dried apples and dates and dried herbs. In the mouth, silky flavors of raspberry and dried herbs mix with citrus peel and dried apple. Unusual and distinctive, and starting to show some of its secondary aged characteristics. Excellent acidity.13.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $60 click to buy.

2017 Copain “Les Voisins” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and cherry fruit. In the mouth, silky flavors of cherry and raspberry mix with a darker, earthier carob note that blends with the faint dusty dried herbs on the palate. Barely perceptible tannins. Very good acidity. Pretty. 13.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $42 click to buy.

2019 Dupuis “Wendling” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and raspberry and earth. In the mouth, cherry and slightly meaty umami flavors mix with hints of herbs and citrus. Very good acidity, but could be brighter.13.9% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2017 Dutton-Goldfield “Angel Camp Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and dried flowers. In the mouth, raspberry and cherry flavors have a snappy brightness thanks to excellent acidity and a nice dusty road and dried herb underbelly that is very pretty. Faint, grippy tannins add structure to the wine and linger in the finish with a hint of citrus peel. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Foursight Wines “Charles Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and mulling spices. In the mouth, bright raspberry fruit has a deliciously bright juiciness thanks to excellent acidity. Faint, powdery tannins grip the edges of the palate as hints of cedar and citrus peel linger in the finish. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $52 click to buy.

2017 Handley Cellars “Helluva Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium ruby in the glass with garnet highlights, this wine smells of cherry and cedar and dried flowers. In the mouth, bright and juicy cherry and raspberry fruit flavors are shot through with dried herbs and citrus peel, with hints of dried apple and floral tones emerging on the finish. Powdery but muscular tannins and excellent acidity. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $45 click to buy.

2018 Lula Cellars Pinot Noir
Medium garnet with purple highlights, this wine smells of intense cherry and cranberry aromas matched with a hint of sinsemilla. In the mouth, bright and slightly candied flavors of cherry and raspberry are shimmering and pure and very juicy thanks to excellent acidity. A vibrant, juicy wine that many will love for its fruit expression. Faintest tannins. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $45 click to buy.

2019 Lussier “Cote de Boont” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of floral and raspberry aromas. In the mouth, raspberry, herbs, and a very stony quality are quite compelling, draped as they are in gauzy tannins. A savory, earthy, herbal note lingers in the finish with a hint of oak. 13.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $40 click to buy.

2019 Lussier “Roma’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light ruby in color with garnet highlights, this wine smells of raspberry and redcurrant and dirt. In the mouth, very stony, crunchy, lean flavors of raspberry and redcurrant mix with herbs and florals as slightly muscular tannins grip the palate. Excellent acidity. 13.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Maggy Hawk “Afleet” Pinot Noir
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and cranberry fruit with a hint of dried herbs. In the mouth, bright raspberry fruit is dusted with powdery tannins and the scents of dried herbs and orange peel. Excellent acidity keeps the wine bright and juicy. Hints of cedar enter the finish. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $65 click to buy.

2018 Maggy Hawk “Unforgettable” Pinot Noir
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and pomegranate. In the mouth sweetish cherry and pomegranate flavors have a wonderful brightness thanks to excellent acidity. There’s a hint of herbs and the tiniest hint of fresh jalapeño greenness in the finish, along with faint tannins. 14.2% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $65 click to buy.

2018 Meyer Cellars “Monument Tree” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dried herbs and muddy earth and white miso with a hint of raspberry. In the mouth, raspberry and dried herbs, cedar and road dust all combine for a fairly savory combination with a hint of oak that lingers in the finish. Faint, dusty tannins. Interesting and distinctive.12.7% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $56 click to buy.

2018 Navarro Vineyards “Deep End” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass with a hint of a haze to it, this wine smells of raspberry and lavender. In the mouth, that floral quality continues with raspberry and cedar notes underneath. Excellent acidity and dusty, fine-grained tannins. Savory herbal notes in the finish. Gives the impression of honesty, as opposed to flashy winemaking. Lovely.14.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $55 click to buy.

2018 Navarro Vineyards “Methode a l’Ancienne” Pinot Noir
Light garnet in the glass but headed towards ruby, this wine smells of crushed dried herbs and dried flowers. In the mouth, faint but athletic tannins wrap around a core of savory herbs, red berries, and road dust, even as bright acidity brings in notes of citrus peel and blood orange. Quite delicious, especially for those who appreciate the savory side of Pinot Noir. I know from experience this wine ages beautifully for decades. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $35 click to buy.

2018 Pennyroyal Farm Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and cherry. In the mouth, somewhat stony cherry and raspberry flavors have a nice crystalline clarity to them, thanks in part to excellent acidity. Hints of fresh herbs garland the finish. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $39 click to buy.

2018 Reeve Wines “Rhoda” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of slightly meaty cherry and raspberry fruit. In the mouth, raspberry and raspberry leaf flavors have a nice brightness thanks to excellent acidity, along with fairly muscular tannins for a Pinot. Notes of dried flowers and a hint of umami linger in the finish. 13.6% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $48 click to buy.

2018 Reeve Wines “Kiser Vineyard Suitcase Block” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry and redcurrant. In the mouth, raspberry and redcurrant flavors mix with sour cherry for a tart, lean vibrancy. Fantastic acidity keeps the mouth watering, as fairly muscular tannins grip the palate. There’s a boisterous energy to this wine, and a citrus-saline kick in the finish. Quite tasty. 12.4% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Rhys Vineyards “Porcupine Hill” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cranberry fruit and a touch of orange peel. In the mouth, raspberry, orange peel, and redcurrant flavors mix with dried herbs and a touch of earth. Excellent acidity, silky texture and the faintest of powdery tannins. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Siduri “Edmeades Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherries. In the mouth, bright cherry and sour cherry fruit has a muscular, powdery tannic texture and bright citrusy acidity that keeps things vibrant on the palate. Quite tasty. 14.2% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: around 9. Cost: $55 click to buy.

2017 Smith Story Wine Cellars “The Boonies” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and cedar. In the mouth, bright raspberry, cedar, and orange peel flavors are wrapped in a suede blanket of tannins. Excellent acidity and length. Very pretty. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $58 click to buy.

2017 Smith Story Wine Cellars “Helluva Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet raspberry pastilles and herbs de Provence. In the mouth, bright raspberry fruit is juicy and lean, but carried on a silky texture, with wispy tannins that tighten the corners of the mouth. Hints of herbs and citrus peel hang in the finish. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $48 click to buy.

2018 Smith Story Wine Cellars “Helluva Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries and floral scents. In the mouth, bright raspberry, black raspberry and floral flavors have a nice brightness to them and great acidity. Somewhat surprisingly muscular tannins coat the mouth and put a slight squeeze on the palate through the finish. 14% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $48 click to buy.

2019 Weatherborne Wine Corp Pinot Noir
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of floral cherry and raspberry aromas. In the mouth, raspberry and cherry flavors have a nice tinge of violets to them with gorgeous acidity and gauzy tannins that coat the mouth. Excellent acidity and balance. 13.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2019 Wentworth Vineyard and Ranch “Nash Mill Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberries and herbs. In the mouth, bright raspberry and herb flavors are wrapped in a powdery haze of tannins that stiffen slightly as the wine finishes with hints of orange peel and dried herbs. Quite juicy and delicious with excellent acidity. 13% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $75 click to buy.

2018 Radio-Coteau “Savoy Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet cherry and raspberry fruit. In the mouth, wonderfully bright cherry and raspberry fruit has a faint earthiness to it, along with a hint of toasted oak and vanilla. Wonderfully balanced between richness of fruit and brightness of acidity, with hints of bitter green herbs lingering in the finish. Barely perceptible tannins. 13.4% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $70. click to buy.

2018 Cakebread Cellars “Annahala Ranch” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and cedar. In the mouth, raspberry and cherry flavors blend under a suede blanket of tannins. Good, citrusy acidity keeps things bright, even as some earthier notes creep into the finish, leaving things nicely savory. Ages in 33% new French oak. 13.4% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $60. click to buy.  

BETWEEN 8.5 and 9
2019 Bravium “Wiley Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of crushed herbs, wet wood, and the floral aromas that suggest whole clusters. In the mouth, raspberry, herbs and green wood flavors have a silky texture and faint but muscular tannins. I’d like slightly more acidity here if I could get it. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $40 click to buy.

2019 Dupuis “La Benedict” Pinot Noir
Medium to dark garnet in the glass with a purplish cast, this wine smells of black cherry and black raspberry. In the mouth, rich black raspberry and cherry flavors are wrapped in a fleecy blanket of tannins. Excellent citrus-peel acidity keeps the darker, richer flavors from being too thick, but there’s a brooding, denser quality to this wine. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2019 FEL Wines Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cranberry and pomegranate. In the mouth, cranberry, pomegranate and raspberry fruit flavors have a nice brightness thanks to excellent acidity. Faint, powdery tannins gain strength as the wine finishes, with notes of citrus peel and cedar lingering on the palate. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $40 click to buy.

2018 Goldeneye Winery Pinot Noir
Medium garnet with purple highlights, this wine smells of bright cherry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth, bright and juicy cherry fruit is rich and pure with a nice cedar and dried herbs note that emerges in the finish, along with a hint of orange peel. Excellent acidity. On the rich side of Pinot, but so well balanced by acidity it’s hard not to be charmed. There’s a tiny bit of heat on the finish, however. 14.6% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $58 click to buy.

2017 Handley Cellars “Estate” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dusty roads, dried herbs, cherry and a hint of carob. In the mouth, cherry and cranberry flavors mix with mulling spices and road dust. Fine grained tannins add texture around the edges of the mouth. Good acidity. Definitely more on the savory side. 13.3% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $50 click to buy.

2019 Lichen Estate “Moonglow” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry and floral notes. In the mouth, raspberry and black raspberry flavors have a nice stony underbelly and thick, powdery tannins that flex their muscles as the wine heads to the finish with hints of dried flowers. Excellent acidity. 14.2% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $39 click to buy.

2019 Littorai “Les Larmes” Pinot Noir
A light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and raspberry fruit with a hint of dried herbs. In the mouth, cherry, raspberry, and hints of cedar are bright with good acidity. Dusty tannins add some texture to the wine and savory notes of dried herbs linger in the finish. Excellent acidity, but perhaps not as complex as it could be. 12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $60 click to buy.

2019 Lussier “Golden Fleece” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of earth and raspberries. In the mouth, deeply earthy raspberry flavors are shot through with green herbs and road dust. Muscular, mouth-coating tannins make for a fairly brawny expression of Pinot Noir. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2017 Pangloss “Charles Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cedar and raspberry and redcurrant. In the mouth, raspberry and cherry flavors have a nice gauzy tannic texture and hints of dried flowers and herbs. Good (but could have better) acidity. 14.3% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Philo Ridge Vineyards “Philo Ridge Vineyards” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet cedar and raspberry and dried herbs. In the mouth, raspberry, redcurrant, and dried herb flavors are dusted with powdery tannins and a touch of citrus peel. Dried herbs linger in the finish. Good acidity. 14.1% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $32 click to buy.

2018 Rhys Vineyards “Alesia” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of redwood bark, cherry and cranberry. In the mouth, bright cranberry and raspberry flavors have a faintly candied note to them, but are enlivened with excellent acidity and shot through with a faint dried herbal note. Fresh and juicy. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Toulouse Vineyards Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dried herbs and raspberries. In the mouth, savory notes of dried herbs mix with raspberry and redcurrant as dusty tannins coat the nooks and crannies of the mouth, gaining strength as the wine finishes with dried herbs and road dust. Good acidity.14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $42 click to buy.

2019 Twomey Cellars “Monument Tree” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of raspberry, raspberry leaf, and miso paste. In the mouth, slightly saline flavors of raspberry and cherry mix with a hint of nutmeg and white miso. Herbs and a touch of dried citrus peel linger in the finish. Faint, dusty tannins. 14.3% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $68 click to buy.

2019 Wentworth Vineyard and Ranch Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry and raspberry leaf. In the mouth, bright raspberry and green herbal flavors have a nice brightness thanks to excellent acidity which leaves a touch of grapefruit pith in the finish. Faint, dusty tannins. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $50 click to buy.

2018 Dupuis Wines “Baker Ranch” Syrah
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of blackberries and struck match. In the mouth, crunchy blackberry and blueberry flavors crackle with bright acidity and are shot through with green herbs and notes of black pepper that linger in the finish. Nice balance between fruit and savory qualities. Fermented with whole clusters and native yeasts, then aged in neutral oak barrels. Comes from a vineyard high up on the southern ridge of Anderson Valley at 1200 feet of elevation. 13% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $ click to buy.

AROUND 8.5
2017 Baxter “Valenti Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cedar. In the mouth cedar and cherry and raspberry flavors mix with an angular slightly bitter quality. Excellent acidity, with herbal notes on the finish. Lightly muscular tannins. Feels slightly compressed. 13.4% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $52 click to buy.

2017 Baxter “Langley Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dried flowers, plum and black raspberry. In the mouth, somewhat heady flavors of black raspberry and dried herbs and flowers have a fleecy tannic texture, with some drying of the mouth. To me it the texture feels like too much oak influence in this wine, though the flavors of oak are relatively minor notes at this point. 14.1% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $52 click to buy.

2018 Bee Hunter Wine Pinot Noir
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry and plum and herbs. In the mouth, plum and cherry flavors have a dark, dusty earthiness to them, with notes of cedar and sawdust. Good acidity, with citrus peel lingering in the finish. 14.3% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $42 click to buy.

2019 Bravium Pinot Noir
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of wet wood and herbs with red berries. In the mouth, cedar, green herbs and woody-stemmy flavors mix with cherry and candied raspberry notes. Very good acidity, with sneaky muscular tannins that show up with some squeeze in the finish. 13.1% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $32 click to buy.

2018 Cakebread Cellars “Two Creeks Vineyards” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match and raspberries. In the mouth, raspberries and cherries mix with dried herbs and some dusty earth. Good acidity and a nice herbal freshness to the finish. Leave alone for a while, or decant to get past the reduction. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $45 click to buy.

2018 Cakebread Cellars “Apple Barn Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of struck match and cherry fruit. With some time and air, that reduction aroma dissipates. In the mouth, cherry and raspberry fruit flavors have a nice fleecy tannic texture to them and hints of herbs and citrus that linger in the finish with a nice umami note. Ages in 40% new French oak. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $60. click to buy.  

2018 Fathers+Daughters Cellars “Vineyard Select: Roma’s” Pinot Noir
Light ruby in the glass with some garnet highlights, this wine smells of red apple skin, mulling spices and potpourri. In the mouth, lean raspberry and dried herbs mix with potpourri and mixed dried herbs for a savory mouthful that features a lot of dried orange peel. Very good acidity. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $45 click to buy.

2019 FEL Wines “Savoy Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium purple in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and black plum. In the mouth, sweetish notes of black cherry and raspberry mix with a hint of dried herbs. Powdery, mouth-coating tannins gain stiffness as the wine finishes. Good acidity.13.8% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $70 click to buy.

2019 Hartford Family Winery “Velvet Sisters” Pinot Noir
Medium purple in the glass, this wine smells of dried flowers including lavender, and dark cherry fruit. In the mouth, slightly sweet cherry and black raspberry fruit has a nice brightness thanks to very good acidity, but also a sweet density that will appeal to those who like their Pinots dark and intense. Well balanced, though, for all that richness. 14.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $70 click to buy.

2018 Husch Vineyards Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of candied raspberries and cherry. In the mouth, lightly bitter notes of cedar and licorice wrap around a core of sweetish cherry fruit. Faint tannins. Decent acidity. 13.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $25 click to buy.

2018 Lichen Estate Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of earth and cherries. In the mouth, fairly round flavors of cherry and earth have a somber, subdued quality, draped as they are in a thick, muscular blanket of tannins. Decent acidity keeps things moving along across the palate, but there’s a darker, muddier quality to this wine that will appeal to those looking for the savory side of Pinot. 14.4% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $65 click to buy.

2017 Pangloss Cellars Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cranberry aromas with a hint of dried herbs. In the mouth, cherry and cranberry fruit is a little flat on the palate, and wants more acidity. Nice flavors, with a cedar-citrus note at the end, but I would like it to be brighter. 13.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $40 click to buy.

2016 Philo Ridge Vineyards “Helluva Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium ruby in the glass with orange at the rim, this wine smells of raisins, dried apples, and mulling spices. In the mouth, dried apples, dried cherries, and mulling spices mix with dried orange peel and herbs. Very bright acidity keeps things fresh, but this wine is showing a lot of aged characteristics at the moment. Time to drink up. 14.1% alcohol. 110 cases made. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $32 click to buy.

2017 Texture Wines “Ferrington Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cedar and cherry and a hint of manure. In the mouth, that faintly barnyard quality continues with cherry and raspberry fruit, along with faint herbal notes. Peanut-buttery tannins. 13.9% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Thomas T Thomas Vineyards “Buster’s Hill” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry compote and cedar and herbs. In the mouth, cherry and raspberry fruit mixes with dried herbs and citrus peel as bright acidity keeps things vibrant. Muscular tannins. A hint of astringency in the finish. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $85 click to buy.

2019 Twomey Cellars Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass with purple highlights, this wine smells of cherry and cranberry fruit. In the mouth, cherry and cranberry fruit are wrapped in a skein of fine-grained tannins. Decent acidity, but not enough to keep the flavors from feeling slightly flat. A slight hint of carob creeps into this wine, along with dried herbs that linger in the finish. 14.4% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $50 click to buy.

2016 Woodenhead “Wiley Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of cedar and cranberry with chopped green herbs. In the mouth, roasted fig and red apple skin mix with raspberry jam and notes of wet earth. Good acidity leaves notes of orange peel in the finish, along with the faint suede of tannins. 14.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

BETWEEN 8 and 8.5
2018 Goldeneye Winery “Gowan Creek” Pinot Noir
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of rich cherry compote, prunes and oak. In the mouth, dark plummy and cherry flavors mix with cedar and the vanilla of oak. Muscular, slightly drying tannins. Good acidity. Dark and ripe and too much of both for me. 14.2% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $88 click to buy.

2019 Hartford Family Winery “Muldune Trail” Pinot Noir
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry cordials. In the mouth, rich and sweet cherry and slightly bitter herbs mix with cedar and tacky, muscular tannins. Good acidity, but comes across as a bit too brawny. 15% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $70 click to buy.

2017 La Crema Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cedar and cherries. In the mouth, somewhat flat cherry flavors mix with cedar and hints of herbs. Faint tannins buff the edges of the mouth. Needs more acidity and more complexity, but there’s nothing wrong with these flavors. 14.4% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $50 click to buy.

2017 Pennyroyal Farm Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of earth and cherry and a hint of manure. In the mouth, a bit of barnyard mixes with saline flavors of cherry and black plum. Herbs linger in the finish with fine-grained tannins. Good acidity. 13.5% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $39 click to buy.

2018 Siduri Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, with purple highlights, this wine smells of cherry and even darker berry flavors. In the mouth, a touch of raisin character mixes with cherry and cranberry compote. Faint, putty-like tannins. Decent acidity. Slightly overripe for my palate. 14.2% alcohol. Closed with a screwcap. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $40 click to buy.

2018 Smith Story Wine Cellars “The Boonies” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of dried herbs and oak. In the mouth, raspberry and dried herb flavors are oak inflected and feel a bit squeezed on the palate. Muscular tannins coat the mouth. A bit too much wood influence here for me. 12.7% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $58 click to buy.

2017 Texture Wines “Wendling Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass with purple highlights, this wine smells of cherry and black raspberry fruit. In the mouth, there’s a slightly muted quality to the wine, with cherry and raspberry flavors wrapped in a muscular skein of tannins. Decent acidity but somehow not as expressive as it could be. 13.8% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

2018 Thomas T Thomas Vineyards “Reserve” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and cedar. In the mouth, earthy cherry and cedar flavors are wrapped in a muscular fist of tannins that give this wine, despite bright acidity, a sort of brawny character. Earthy finish. 13.9% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $80 click to buy.

2019 Twomey Cellars “Bearman Bend” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of sweet cherry fruit. In the mouth, silky and rich flavors of cherry and raspberry jam don’t have quite enough acidity to keep them from feeling a little flat on the palate, while thick muscular tannins coat the mouth. A bit ripe for my taste.14.5% alcohol. Score: between 8 and 8.5. Cost: $ click to buy.

AROUND 8
2018 Baxter “Ferrington Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Light to medium garnet in color, this wine smells of oak and red fruits. In the mouth, spicy oak notes mix with raspberry and sour cherry flavors that are vibrant thanks to very good acidity. Muscular, powerful tannins squeeze the palate and dry out the mouth. Too much wood here, which is felt in texture more than flavor. 13.7% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $56 click to buy.

2018 Domaine Anderson “Estate” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in color with purple highlights, this wine smells of cassis and raspberries. In the mouth, somewhat angular tangy flavors of black cherry and raspberry have a faint sourness to them. Putty-like tannins, sharp acidity. 13.8% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $45 click to buy.

2018 Husch Vineyards “Knoll” Pinot Noir
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry compote. In the mouth, cherry and tamarind flavors are slightly muted and compressed, with notes of oak hanging around the edges. Bitter finish. Decent acidity. 14.4% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $42 click to buy.

2019 Lula Cellars “Lula Vineyard” Pinot Noir
Medium to dark purple in the glass, this wine smells of very ripe dark cherry and black raspberry fruit. In the mouth, rich black cherry fruit is tinged with oak and wrapped in stiff, mouth-drying tannins that also seem to come from wood. Perfumed fruit struggles to shine against the weight of the oak. 14% alcohol. Score: around 8. Cost: $ click to buy.