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Wine Reviews

PINOT NOIRCHARDONNAYSYRAHSAUVIGNON BLANCGRENACHEROSÉ


PINOT NOIR

96 pts. – 2007 Small Town (Freestone) Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
The Freestone area in the western portions of Sonoma County near to the Pacific Ocean is gaining increased importance as a growing area because it produces ripe grapes with a full measure of bracing acidity. This full-bodied effort will never be criticized for its lack of grape maturity with 14.8% stated alcohol and its plump, fleshy impressions at the front of the palate. But, its admirable fruit depth, its stones and creme caramel richness and its hints of cherry pie sweetness to its flavors are all kept in fine check by the wine's balance. Its finely honed, youthfully bright flavors go on and on at the end. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, October 2009

94 pts.2014 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Flirtatious aromas of cherry pie, hazelnut and baking spices. Plenty of sappy Bing cherry fruit accented with spice. Sleek and forward drinking in a mid weight plus, generously fruity style that extends enough juicy acidity for admirable balance. This wine has that charming pinotosity that is impossible to describe but you know it when you experience it. PinotFile, October, 2016

94 pts. – 2013 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Medium-deep ruby color; deep, earthy cherry aromas though still young; rich and deep flavors of cherry and earth with complex notes still emerging; needs time; good structure and balance; long finish. Complex and rich Pinot that is a baby now and needs time to develop. Will be worth that time. Pinot Report, May 15, 2015

94 pts. – 2012 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Medium-deep ruby color; rich cherry and clove aromas; deep, lush complex flavors of cherry and baking spice; nice oak and clove notes; good structure and balance; long finish. This is a deep and lush Pinot with really nice character. Pinot Report, May 15, 2015

93 pts. – 2014 Small Town Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. A mix of cherry and berry aromas lead off. Engaging flavor and phenolic ripeness despite the low ABV. A mix of black raspberry and boysenberry fruit offers tantalizing juiciness and the right touch of oak. The tannic backbone is perfectly integrated, and the startling finish has a captivating intensity that is rarely met with. PinotFile, October, 2016

93 pts. – 2014 The Pianist Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Incisively fruity and neatly filled out with sweet oak in both its emphatically varietal aromas and refined, yet extracted flavors, this beautifully focused offering balances brightness and richness with great aplomb from first nosing all the way through to its long-lasting finish. It is as well-structured as it is tasty and, while an eminently satisfying wine in its youth, its measured acidity and deftly fit buttressing tannins guarantee no less than another half-decade of sustained growth. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, October 2016

93 pts. – 2012 Small Town Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Attractive aromas of cherry and baking spices with a little dark chocolate showing up over time. Middleweight flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, cola and sassafras, with a hint of tarry oak and orange zest showing up on the long, palate-cleansing, juicy finish. The tannins are nicely managed and the acid adds zest and vibrancy. Develops more interesting nuances over time in the glass. PinotFile, April 17, 2014

93 pts. – 2008 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Complex, with spicy red and black cherry, plum and spice flavors. Full-bodied, focused, elegant and balanced, ending with a long, delicate finish that echoes the dark berry themes. Drink now through 2018. 351 cases made. —J.L. Wine Spectator, January 2011

93 pts. – 2012 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Deep ruby color; rich, deep aromas of earth and herbal; rich, earthy cherry flavors; big mouthfeel and texture; oak and tannin notes; good structure and balance; long finish. Full, rich Pinot with a lot of nuance as well. Pinot Report, May 15, 2015

93 pts. – 2008 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Even if delivering loads of juicy young fruit, this very generous Pinot emphasizes ripeness in a manner that makes us think of the Santa Lucia Highlands a little more than of classic Russian River Valley fruit. That said, we have no complaints at all with the wine's richness, and it impresses more yet as being uncommonly layered and nuanced for the rather ripe wine that it is. Its ample and outgoing style will stand it in good stead for early service with simple steaks and chops, but it has plenty of room for a few years of positive growth and aging will see it through to better. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, February 2011

93 pts. – 2012 Small Town Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Medium-deep ruby color; lush, spicy red cherry aromas; complex, cherry flavors with herb and spice notes; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. This Pinot has a lot of spicy, herbal notes; great flavors. Pinot Report, May 15, 2015

92 pts. – 2010 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Complex, supple and layered. Firm at points, also rich, ripe, intense and persistent, gaining velocity and depth, unfolding with subtle nuances. Drink now through 2020. 148 cases made. –J.L. Wine Spectator, August 2012

92 pts. – 2013 Small Town Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Medium-deep ruby color; lush, earthy cherry aromas; deep, earthy cherry flavors with lots of herb notes; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Herbal and earthy, this is a great Pinot for mushroom pasta. Pinot Report, May 15, 2015 

SUAVE AND SEDUCTIVE  2011 Small Town Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Enchanting nose offering aromas of exotically spiced black cherry and plum with a hint of smoky oak. Elegant and soft on the palate, with juicy flavors of black cherries, black raspberries and cardamom spice caressed by gentle tannins and ending on a clean, bright, dark cherry note. One of the most suave Pinots ever from Eric Kent. I like this wine for its seductive character. PinotFile, May 5, 2013

92 pts. – 2009 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
A wine with a lot of dried cherries and leather on the nose and palate. Full and silky, with a polished tannin structure and a juicy, fruity and chocolate aftertaste. Drink after 2013. jamessuckling.com, June 11, 2012

EXCEPTIONAL – 2009 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Bright red cherry/strawberry aroma, so fresh you’d think it was still in the tank, but the finish is generous and complex (clove, tea, and more). Great potential. Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences, June 30, 2011

92 pts. – 2009 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Bright ruby-red. Bright, energetic red fruit aromas are complicated by fresh rose, cinnamon and mace, along with a subtle herbal quality. Succulent raspberry and strawberry flavors pick up spiciness and florality in the mid-palate, along with a touch of bitter cherry. Fine-grained tannins add shape and grip to the spicy finish of this suave, silky wine. Lithe and focused pinot. (JR) Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2011

91 pts. - 2014 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Well-centered on a rich core of loam, cherry, wild berry, mushroom and plum flavors. Very complete and focused. The flavors run deep and persist on the finish. Drink now through 2022. 459 cases made.-JL Wine Spectator, June 2017

91 pts. – 2014 The Pianist Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Demure aromas of cherry and woodland forest pick up intensity over time in the glass. Light to mid weight delicate flavor of red cherry essence has hint of oak. A feminine-styled wine, yet packs plenty of flavor. Bashful tannins and redeeming balance make for easy enjoyability. PinotFile, October, 2016

91 pts.2014 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Completing a trio of very fine Pinots from Eric Kent, the Sascha Marie bottling shows an extra measure of fruity richness while still showing its maker’s graceful hand. It exhibits exceptional varietal purity even as it inclines ever so slightly more to ripeness, and it has the supple, near-silky feel that marks the best Pinot Noirs. Even if so nicely polished that it will be hard to resist in its youth, it has the depth and the balance to evolve effortlessly for another five or more years. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, October 2016

91 pts.2014 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Centered on a firm core of dusty earth and dried berry, with touches of currant, herb and light oak. Still a bit tannic and backward, but has all the right stuff and is headed in the proper direction. Drink now. 306 cases made.—J.L. Wine Spectator, August 2016

91 pts.2013 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Dark fruit shows on the palate in this exotically spiced and floral blend from several vineyards, including Sangiacomo Roberts Road. Soft and medium in weight, it has high-toned acidity underneath the brooding spice and forest floor. Wine Enthusiast, April/May 2016

91 pts.2013 Small Town Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
From a selection of vineyard sites and clones, this wine offers juicy acidity behind a wave of plummy red and black cherry, an earthy foundation keeping things real. Oak and tannins are well integrated, and plenty of clove flavor make for a spicy finish. This gets extra attention for the awesome label. Wine Enthusiast, April/May 2016

91 pts.2012 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Wispy accents of sweet hardwoods and a touch of dried flowers sit lightly atop a full serving of nicely formed, optimally ripened cherry-like fruit in the nose here, and careful oak similarly goes on to play a supporting role in the wine’s concentrated, solidly varietal flavors. This one joins a good many of its vintage mates in being both outgoing and yet structured for keeping, and, if not a wine that will in any way punish early drinking, it is a Pinot that clearly can grow. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, February 2015

91 pts. – 2011 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Shows ripe, rich flavors with depth and density, offering gravelly earth and dried dark berry notes. Ends with chewy tannins and plenty of flavor. Drink now through 2021. 149 cases made. –J.L. Wine Spectator, March 2014

91 pts. – 2011 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Medium-light to medium ruby; attractive, fragrant, spicy, red cherry fruit aroma with hints of clove, cola, and light, toasted oak; medium to medium-full body; fleshy, bright, Bing cherry fruit flavors with good depth and balance, and an elegant, silky mouthfeel; medium tannin; lingering aftertaste. Very enjoyable to drink now, though deserving afew more years of aging. Very highly recommended. California Grapevine, December 2013

91 pts. – 2010 Sascha Marie Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Deep ruby. Powerful, smoke-accented aromas of blackberry and cherry, with licorice and potpourri accents gaining strength with air. Fleshy and broad on the palate, offering dense dark berry compote flavors that gain spiciness and energy with air. Clings with impressive tenacity on the finish, leaving allspice and floral notes behind. (JR) Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2012

BEST PINOT EVER FROM ERIC KENT 2009 Small Town Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Shy but very pleasant perfume of dark red berries, black cherries, Asian spice and cola, becoming more expressive in the glass over time. Vigorous with dark red fruit flavor, complimented by notes of sassafras and spice including clove. Possessing plenty of character with svelte tannins and welcoming acidity on the generous finish. Really spectacular two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. PinotFile, July 1, 2011

91 pts. – 2010 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
The nose is boldly stroked sappy red currant and dried cherry aromas primarily with some underlying sassafras.The palate is medium weight with smooth flavors of cherry, currant and graphite. Tasted over several hours,the wine gains substantially. purely domestic wine report, February 2013

91 pts. – 2009 Small Town Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Vivid red. High-pitched, expressive aromas of raspberry, gingerbread and rose. Silky, open-knit red fruit flavors show very good depth and tangy firming minerality. The floral note comes back strong on the finish, which leaves traces of candied rose and spicecake behind. Kent Humphrey told me that this wine has a lot of Freestone fruit in it. (JR) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May/June 2011

90 pts. – 2013 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
The 2013 Pinot Noir Stiling Vineyard offers lovely depth, not to mention tons of personality. Sweet red cherry, plum, mint, lavender and sweet spices flesh out in a succulent, forward Pinot with tons of Russian River character. (AG) Vinous, August 2016

90 pts. – 2013 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Shows a nose of strawberry, graphite, blossom, and rose petal and spice box. The palate is dry and lean on entry showing decent structure, textured cherry and piquant cranberry finishing with a silky forest floor. Drink 2016-2022. purely domestic wine report, April 2016

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CHARDONNAY

93 pts. – 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Deliciously rich and creamy, with tiers of white peach, apricot, melon, citrus and apple flavors. Folds out and offers depth and length, maintaining focus on the long, layered finish. Drink now.—J.L. Wine Spectator, December 2015

93 pts. – 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Combines ripe, firm, complex fruit with subtle hints of cedar and spice. Full-bodied, with ripe pear, melon, honeysuckle and mineral notes, ending with a rich, fleshy finish. Drink now through 2014.—J.L. Wine Spectator, May 2010

92 pts. 2014 Luke’s Grove Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
An elegant, stylish effort, this is rich, creamy and subtle too, with pinpointed pear, peach and light oak touches that are easy to like and easy to drink. Drink now. 276 cases made. –JL Wine Spectator, December 2016

92 pts. – 2011 Sangiacomo Green Acres Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Offers a mix of firm, ripe white peach, nectarine and green apple notes, with a dash of honeydew. The flavors fan out, showing some smoke and tannic grip on the finish. Drink now through 2019. 118 cases made. –JL Wine Spectator, November 2013

92 pts. – 2010 Sangiacomo Green Acres Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (Aubrey Learner)
Just a bit tighter and slightly less outgoing in fruit at this point than its companion, the Aubrey Learner bottling is deep, solidly structured Chardonnay that seems to be waiting to emerge. It is moderately oaky and shows a distinct minerally streak and it takes on a touch of last-minute coarseness, but it is balanced to age well and has more than enough fruity extract to last. Wait for two or three years and watch it bloom. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, May 2013

92 pts. – 2009 Sangiacomo Green Acres Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Bright gold. Vibrant aromas of fresh honeydew, lime and lemongrass, with a subtle hint of honey in the background. Supple and expansive on entry, then firmer in the middle, with lively notes of melon, citrus pith, herbs and minerals. High-pitched but ample, offering a blend of richness and energy and finishing with excellent clarity and sappy persistence. (JR) Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2011

92 pts. – 2008 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Medium-light golden yellow color; attractive, buttery, spicy, pear and green apple aroma with light overtones of creamy oak; full body; rich, plush, baked apple flavors with a slightly creamy mouthfeel and hints of lemon zest and nutmeg; well balanced and structured; lingering aftertaste. Very appealing to drink now as it developed depth and some complexity with airing in the glass. Very highly recommended. California Grapevine, December 2010-January 2011

91 pts.2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
From three vineyards, including Roberts Road, this wine impresses in floral honeycomb and a freshness that belies its medium-bodied weight and pithy texture, finishing in vanilla that never gets sweet. Wine Enthusiast, April/May 2016 

91 pts. – 2013 Sangiacomo Green Acres Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Here is a wine that deftly manages to be both ripe and rich yet keenly balanced with bright and energetic acids in support. It is very much on the youthfully tight side today yet delivers plenty of depth in its appley, slightly citrus-tinged aromas and flavors, and it stays vibrant from front to back. To be sure, there is a narrow edginess to the finish, but time in bottle is all but guaranteed to see added roundness and a more open stance develop over the next two to four years, and if you are of a mind to put Chardonnay in the cellar, this wine would be one of our top choices for such an assignment. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, December 2015

91 pts. 2013 Sangiacomo Green Acres Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Medium-light golden yellow; attractive, forward, toasty, baked apple aroma with hints of lemon zest, hazelnut, and crème brûlée; medium to medium-full body; forward, rich, plush, slightly creamy, baked apple flavors; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended. California Grapevine, August, 2015

91 pts. 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Medium-light golden yellow; attractive, slightly buttery, ripe pear and baked apple aroma with tropical notes and hints of jasmine and wet stone; medium to medium-full body; deep, apple and stone fruit flavors that are nicely balanced, and rich and fleshy in the mouthfeel; lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended. California Grapevine, August, 2015

91 pts. – 2010 Sangiacomo Green Acres Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Exhibits an appealing mix of toasty, vanilla-scented oak, with citrusy tangerine, nectarine and white peach, gaining depth and complexity while retaining its tight core of flavors. Best from 2013 through 2022. –JL Wine Spectator, June 2012

91 pts. – 2010 Sangiacomo Green Acres Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Yellow-gold. Ripe, complex aromas of yellow peach, pear skin, honey, marzipan and iodine. Lush and creamy, with powerful peach and floral honey flavors enlivened by a bitter note of citrus zest on the back half. Finishes very long and smoky, with a lingering spiciness and excellent length. (JR) Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2012

91 pts. – 2010 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 
Fresh and fragrant but also fairly complex with trim, toasty oak played against lots of vigorous, young, green-apple fruit, this nicely proportioned effort successfully goes for brightness and balance and still manages to show a good bit of richness and range. It wants for nothing by way of ripeness but is not at all beholden to the same, and its happy marriage of richness and energy makes a good case that there is better to come a couple of years down the line. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, May 2013

91 pts. – 2009 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Light gold. Pungent pear skin and peach pit on the nose. Picks up spice and floral qualities with air, along with an herbal nuance and a touch of honey. Lush but dry, with a peppery, palate-numbing accent to its orchard fruit flavors. For a rich wine this shows impressive energy and finishes with good spicy cut and very good length. (JR) Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2011

91 pts. – 2008 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Medium-light golden yellow; attractive, assertive, toasty, pear and apple cobbler aroma with hints of citrus and butterscotch; full body; forward, rich, toasty, baked apple flavors with notes of tropical fruit and overtones of sweet oak leaving a creamy mouthfeel; crisp acidity on the finish, lingering aftertaste. Very highly recommended. California Grapevine, June-July 2010

90 pts. 2013 Sangiacomo Green Acres Hill Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
The 2013 Chardonnay Green Acres Hill is the biggest and richest of the three Chardonnays I tasted from Eric Kent. Bold, luscious and opulent, the 2013 offers plenty of near-term appeal. Tropical fruit, butter, spice and sweet oak all wrap around the resonant finish. (AG) Vinous, August 2016

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SYRAH

95 pts. – 2012 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
Although a big and very potent wine and one that is most appropriately named, this year's edition of Kalen's Big Boy Red is about far more than simple ripeness and broad shoulders for it shows both remarkable focus and depth and is uncannily polished and well-balanced for the style. It is long on spicy fruit and makes a very precise varietal statement that cannot be missed, and, in spite of its ample size, there is never an inkling of excess or lack of control. It is a complete and expressive Syrah that demands drinking with hearty roasts and savory, braised meats, but is also one that needs to be set aside for no fewer than another half dozen years. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, November 2015

94 pts. – 2010 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
The first of two outstanding Syrahs from Eric Kent, Kalen’s Big Boy Blend is deep, liberally extracted wine of enormous strength and reserve. It is brimming with varietally specific spice and shows complexing elements of dried violets, chocolate and sweet, loamy earth in league with its abundant blackberry fruit. It is a powerful and very rich wine, and it is far from being at all refined, but this is one that wants aging and will in no uncertain terms handsomely repay a stay of some five to ten years in the cellar. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, March 2013

94 pts. – 2009 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
Rich and layered, with expansive blackberry, dried berry, pepper, savory herb and mineral flavors, this simply gains and deepens with every sip. Not shy with tannins, but the fruit pushes through, making it all the more complex and enticing. Best from 2013 through 2028. –J.L. Wine Spectator, August 2012

94 pts. – 2009 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
Up there with the '08 (maybe better) and a knockout Syrah that has cool-climate freshness and purity, paired with brilliant texture and richness. A blend of 100% Syrah, from the Greywacke Vineyard (Russian River Valley) and the Ray Teldeschi Vineyard (Dry Creek Valley), that spent 17 months in 40% new French oak. Deep, layered, and serious, with black and blue fruits, big minerality, pepper, smoked game, and a touch of violets all emerging from the glass, this full-bodied, structured effort has a light, seamless texture, knockout richness, and a great finish that highlights ripe tannin. The purity and freshness here are superb, and for such a big wine, it stays remarkably well focused on the palate. Count me a fan, and while no doubt a superb drink now, it will be even better with another 1-2 years of bottle age, and drink well through 2021. TheRhoneReport.com, December 2012

94 pts. – 2008 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
Seemingly more straight forward and fruit driven than the Dry Stack Vineyard, yet with more purity and mid-palate depth, the 2008 Kalen's Big Boy Blend boasts deep, layered aromas of pure blackberry, blueberry, violets, mineral, and licorice on the nose. This gives way to a serious, concentrated Syrah that has a rich, polished texture, fantastic freshness, and a classic finish. This is a big Syrah, yet it maintains a sense of elegance and restraint. While the Dry Stack Vineyards shows more complexity at the moment, I think this will be the better wine down the road. Give bottles a good 3-4 years of bottle age, and then drink over the following decade. There's real density here and this is superb. TheRhoneReport.com, December 2011

93 pts. – 2013 Las Madres Vineyard Syrah, Carneros
The nose is massive with beautiful integration of classic black pepper, blackberry and dark cherry. The palate is forward, rich and pure black currant, peppercorn and plum. Drink 2017-2023. purely domestic wine report, April 2016

93 pts. – 2010 Las Madres Vineyard Syrah
This deep, dense and extracted wine is long on ripeness and shows plenty of effusive Syrah spice, yet it stops short of being out of control, and its involving combination of blackberries, pepper, sweet earth and game is hard not to like. It is a big, mouthfilling wine to be sure, but it is also a very well- structured one with neatly fit acids and a fine spine of tannin. A few years of aging will allow it to unfold further, and we would not be at all surprised if it continued to grow and improve for another half dozen or more. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, March 2013

93 pts. – 2008 Dry Stack Vineyard Syrah
A smoky, meaty Syrah, the 2008 Dry Stack Vineyard, fermented with 40% whole cluster, delivers a serious, concentrated profile with smoked blackberries, bacon fat, leather, and black olive like aromatics that lead into a structured, full-bodied wine. This fleshes out beautifully over the evening, showing a focused, fresh texture, impressive mid-palate depth and concentration, and loads of structure on the finish. Give bottles another 1-2 years of bottle age, and then consume over the following decade. This is an impressive Sonoma County Syrah that has beautiful aromatics, as well as real depth on the palate. TheRhoneReport.com, December 2011

92 pts.2012 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah, Sonoma County
A 100% varietal wine blended from three vineyard sites, this has fantastic aromatics, floral and meaty in all the best ways. Sanguine, it flirts in black peppercorn, game and a density of black licorice, remaining sturdy and firm on the palate in leathery grace. Drinkable now, it has years to go, through 2022. Cellar Selection. Wine Enthusiast, May/June 2016 

92 pts.2012 Las Madres Vineyard Syrah, Carneros
Another of the producer's 100% varietal, single-vineyard wines, this is a lovely quaff, dark black in color and attitude, with a taste of black olive tapenade. Sanguine and medium bodied, it has a thick, peppery finish balanced in minerality. Wine Enthusiast, May/June 2016  

92 pts. – 2011 Las Madres Vineyard Syrah
Delivers a streamlined mix of fresh, snappy red berry and blackberry notes, with touches of pepper, spice and red licorice. Firms nicely on the finish. The tannins give the flavors traction and length. Drink now through 2024.—J.L. Wine Spectator, January 2015

92 pts. – 2011 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
A robust style, brimming with dark berry, black cherry and plum flavors. Firmly tannic, yet with a measure of finesse and grace, ending with complex tiers of cedar, dark berry, spice and nutmeg. Drink now through 2024.—J.L. Wine Spectator, December 2014

92 pts. – 2008 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
Saturated ruby. Textbook syrah aromas of black and blue fruits, cracked pepper, olive and violet, with a smoky overtone and a hint of black tea. Deeply concentrated and chewy in texture, offering powerful cassis and blueberry flavors and a touch of bitter chocolate. The smoky note returns on the long, sappy, emphatically spicy finish. Showing a lot of complexity now but this will reward more patience. (JR) Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2011

92 pts. – 2008 Dry Stack Vineyard Syrah
Opaque ruby. Highly perfumed, exotic bouquet of dark berries, cherry-cola, smoked meat, Indian spices and incense. Weighty dark berry and cherry compote flavors are supported by velvety tannins and complicated by strong spice and anise notes. A succulent floral pastille element appears on the sweet, persistent, spicy finish. This could only be syrah. (JR) Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2011

91 pts. - 2013 Las Madres Vineyard Syrah, Carneros
Optimally ripened, keenly varietal and sporting a full measure of savory, slightly peppery spice that plays careful counterpoint to sure and sustained blackberry fruit, Eric Kent's very expressive Las Madres Syrah shows an unexpected sense of polish even though it is quite weighty and underpinned by plenty of grippy young tannins. Its oaky shadings are subtle but nothing else is, and, if not quite as full and flamboyant as the winery's Kalen's Big Boy Blend, this is an authoritative Syrah that is built to age famously for years. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, November 2016

91 Pts. – 2012 Las Madres Vineyard Syrah, Carneros
Densely packed yet light-footed, with aromas of underbrush, graphite and boysenberry that lead to complex flavors of raspberry, cedar and sage. Finishes with ripe but muscular tannins. Best from 2018 through 2024. 197 cases made. –TF Wine Spectator, December 2015

91 pts. – 2012 Kalen’s Big Boy Blend Syrah, Sonoma County
The 2012 Syrah Kalen's Big Boy Blend is bold, juicy and expressive, which is to say very much in the Eric Kent style. Inky blue and purplish-hued fruits abound, with hints of spice, lavender and violet that are nicely pushed forward. Drink this succulent, giving Syrah over the next handful of years. (AG) Vinous, August 2016

91 pts. – 2013 Kalen’s Big Boy Blend Syrah, Sonoma County
A nose of black cherry, licorice, black pepper aromas, well focused with floral nuances. The palate is firm red berry, textured bright pomegranate, and supple wax-like black raspberry on the finish. Drink 2016-2022. purely domestic wine report, April 2016

91 pts. – 2010 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
Has a deep nose of blackberry and elderberry with traces of bright blue plum, pepper and camphor. The palate is fulland rich on entry with deep black fruits on the mid palate getting a little dry on the finish. Needs time. purely domestic wine report, February 2013

91 pts. – 2009 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
Inky purple. Pungent aromas of blackberry, tobacco, olive and candied licorice. Round, silky and sweet, with concentrated dark fruit and licorice pastille flavors enlivened by harmonious acidity. Stains the palate on the smoky finish, which features suave tannins and a kick of black pepper. (JR) Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2012

91 pts. – 2008 Kalen's Big Boy Blend Syrah
Dense and earthy, with a mix of tar, gravel, black licorice, graphite, roasted herb and ash notes overriding the dried dark berry flavors. Full-blown and muscular, this is sure to wow fans of big, expressive Syrahs. Best from 2012 through 2022. 213 cases made. –JL Wine Spectator, December 2011

91 pts. – 2007 Dry Stack Vineyard Syrah
While in no way lacking for richness, depth or convincing Syrah character, this bottling finds its own niche apart from the crowd in that it steers away from flamboyant ripeness and achieves a noteworthy sense of finesse. Long on well-focused, dark-berry fruit and accented with subtle spice, a bit of sweet oak and just a touch of milk chocolate, it is at once both structured and fairly smooth on the palate with a light touch of tannin to its lasting finish. There is potential for improvement to be sure, but it will come around without lengthy aging and should reach its best in four or five years. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, July 2010

90 pts.2012 Las Madres Vineyard Syrah, Carneros
Truffle, black pepper, bold fruit and big tannins give the 2012 Syrah Las Madres Vineyard much of its powerful, savory personality. Tobacco, smoke and leather develop in the glass, adding complexity throughout. This heady, exotic Syrah looks like it will offer its best drinking sooner rather than later, even if it somewhat burly. Still, there is no shortage of character here. (AG) Vinous, August 2016

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SAUVIGNON BLANC

94 pts. – 2013 Cuvée Renee Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
2013 Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee Renee has a tart nose of vibrant pineapple, tropical banana, grapefruit, orange oil, earth and peat. The palate offers a precise, clean vitality with flavors of nectarine, melon with notes of anise on the finish. Remarkably pure throughout, with a finish that lasts five minutes. I came back to this bottle three weeks later after opening and it was just as good as day one. Drink 2014 – 2017. purely domestic wine report, April 2014

93 pts. – 2015 Cuvée Renee Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
The nose is banana, mango, fresh lemon, vanilla and green apple. The palate entry is crisp, focused with a pure lime and mineral freshness. In the core, some notes of grass and herb finishing with lively exuberance. Always worth a special search. Drink 2016-2019. purely domestic wine report, April 2016

92 pts.2014 Cuvée Renee Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
The grapes for this lovely wine come from the Dry Stack Vineyard and Fallenleaf, some of which is planted to the Sauvignon Musque clone. Zesty acidity takes the first punch, remaining brightly balanced and explosive on the palate, with additional hits of white peach, apricot and honey. Wine Enthusiast, May/June 2016  

91 pts. 2015 Cuvée Renee Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
Nutty and lush with layers of peach, pear and lime fruit, this is a medium-bodied and well-balanced white. It's refreshing while offering both length and breadth on the palate. Wine Enthusiast, February 2017 

91 pts. – 2013 Cuvée Renee Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
An intense, fragrant mix of lemon verbena, lime zest, melon, peach and pear flavors on a smooth, medium body. The precision and focus are admirable, as is the follow-through on the long finish. Drink now. 449 cases made. —M.W. Wine Spectator, July 2014

90 pts. – 2015 Cuvée Renee Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
Vivid and intense, with honeysuckle, peach and citrus flavors that are bright and juicy, showing a hint of lemon verbena on the long, juicy, supple finish. Drink now. 745 cases made. —M.W. Wine Spectator, August 2016

90 pts. – 2014 Cuvée Renee Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
The succulent melon, peach and pineapple flavors are vibrant and aromatic, with juicy acidity that takes off on the finish. Strikes the right balance between being light and easy-drinking, showing plenty of intensity and persistence. Drink now. —M.W. Wine Spectator, November 2015

90 pts. – 2012 Cuvée Renee Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County
The juicy peach, citrus and melon flavors are ripe, smooth and succulent, amplified by a refreshing acidity and floral honeysuckle details. Drink now. 172 cases made. –M.W. Wine Spectator, August 2013

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GRENACHE

90 pts. – 2011 The Barrel Climber Grenache, Russian River Valley
Fresh and spicy, with prominent peppery scents amid the plum, raspberry and strawberry notes. Firm yet graceful, with a clean, snappy finish. Drink now through 2023. 157 cases made. –JL Wine Spectator, March 2015

90 pts. – 2009 Dry Stack Vineyard Grenache, Bennett Valley
Bright ruby-red. Intense floral and spice notes lift the pungent aromas of raspberry and cherry. Very sweet and supple, with ripe red berry and anise flavors lifted by a touch of white pepper. Finishes sweet, spicy and long, with intense raspberry confit character and very good clarity. -- (JR) Vinous, May 2012

90 pts. – 2009 Dry Stack Vineyard Grenache, Bennett Valley
This fresh, snappy red displays zesty flavors of wild berry, raspberry and pomegranate, vibrant acidity and excellent structure. Ends with a crushed rock aftertaste. Drink now through 2020. 96 cases made. –JL Wine Spectator, 2012

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ROSÉ

92 pts. – Wine of the Week 2011 Rosé, Sonoma Coast
When I first opened the rosé, I noticed it had a brilliant ruby color. Some dispute the notion that color means anything to a review however I appreciated the visual element very much. Comprised of 65% Pinot Noir, 20% Grenache, and 15% Syrah it shows solid aromas of red raspberry, strawberry and mineral. On the palate, cherry and strawberry present in a lush, round and ripe fashion. The structure of this wine is very attractive and serious, delivering pristine dryness while maintaining a vibrant aromatic and flavor experience. Dare I call it a Sonoma Coastavel? Chilling it masks too much of the special qualities this wine has. Twenty minutes in the refrigerator should be plenty. Stock up for spring and summer. purely domestic wine report, March 2012

92 pts.  – 2015 Rosé, Sonoma Coast
Has a nose of clay-like strawberry, cherry and pie crust spice. The palate is raspberry, cherry on entry with a spicy, slightly drier core of red fruit, mouth coating with subtle hints of orange zest. Drink 2016-2017. purely domestic wine report, April 2016

90 pts. – 2013 Rosé, Sonoma Coast
Among the darker, more deeply colored of the Rosés under review, and a wine whose very clear sense of vinosity matches its appearance, this slightly fleshy and relatively full-bodied effort goes halfway to red wine in terms of richness and weight. Its very generous, well-defined, ripe-cherry fruit comes with nary a hint of sweetness, and, if fairly deep and substantial as Rosés go, it is very well-balanced and should hold up very well for a couple of years. Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, June 2014

90 pts. - 2012 Rosé, Sonoma Coast
Light coral color; initially tight, restrained, Bing cherry and stone fruit aroma that developed with airing in the glass; crisp, cherry and white peach flavors with good acid balance. Very highly recommended. California Grapevine, June 2013

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