Top 100 Wines: Pinot Noir

Arista Winery
2013 Toboni Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
From a 15-acre vineyard off Olivet Lane, this vineyard-designate shows off the talents of new winemaker Matthew Courtney and the longtime
farming prowess of Mary and Joe Toboni, offering tight acidity and fine-grained tannins around a core of succulently exotic dark cherry,
raspberry and cola, the finish meaty in oak. (VB)

Balletto Vineyards & Winery
2012 Russian River Valley Burnside Road Estate Pinot Noir
Always a standout from this estate-driven producer, the 2012 vintage of Burnside is exotically earthy, delivering herbal, toasty aromas and a core of just-picked strawberry fruit. It’s soft, silky, and lingers on the finish. (VB)

Benziger Family
2012 De Coelo Arbore Sacra Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Benziger makes four Pinot Noirs from this special coastal site, with Arbore Sacra capturing the savory aspect of grapes grown in the chilly De Coelo vineyard. Structured and subtle, the wine is memorably graceful, nuanced in Asian spice and blackberry, with fine-grain tannins and a long, spicy finish. (VB)

Buena Vista Winery
2012 Carneros Pinot Noir
This wine is a steal at its price. It’s silky and substantial, with lighter tones of pomegranate, cherry and cola, and sandalwood and mushroom
subtlety. (VB)

2013 Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Reasonably priced — though not cheap — for a high-quality Russian River Valley Pinot, this blend of grapes grown on the vast Dutton
Ranch has pure, juicy wild berry and dark cherry fruit, aromas of Bing cherry and rosewater, and lots of nutmeg and vanilla spice. Supple tannins complete the package. (LM)

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery
2013 Hallberg Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Gary Farrell made fabulous wines when he owned this brand. Now under owner Bill Price and winemaker Theresa Heredia, the wines have never been better. The Hallberg bottling is vivacious and bright, with luscious boysenberry and dark cherry flavors, savory spice and
a long, crisp, elegant finish. (LM)

Hook & Ladder Vineyards & Winery
2013 Estate Russian River Valley
A 97-pointer at the North Coast Wine Challenge, it has sturdy structure and dense black cherry, blackberry and cola flavors. On the richer side of the Pinot Noir scale, it remains balanced and lively. From Christine and Cecil De Loach, former owners of DeLoach Vineyards. (LM)

Kutch Wines
2013 McDougal Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Weighing in at just 12.9% alcohol, this wine has earthy forest floor, black olive and vanillin notes on the nose. Ultra-smooth tannins, plump black cherry, plum and pomegranate fruit, and hints of Christmas spice and tobacco make it deep and distinctive. Jamie Kutch moved west from Wall Street to produce this style of wine. (LM)

Lynmar Estate
2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
The intense, ripe red fruit provides a rich, luxuriant mouthfeel, yet the wine is keenly balanced, elegant and never over the top, with gentle oak influence, silky tannins and a succulent finish. (LM)

Merry Edwards
2012 Meredith Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Vibrant blackberry, blueberry and dark cherry fruit is wrapped in vanillin oak and braced by firm tannins that scream for pairing now with
rare steak and prime rib. Sock it away for five years or so and it should become more layered and supple. (LM)

Papapietro Perry
2012 Leras Family Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
A ripe, fleshy and opulent wine, it’s also balanced and relatively elegant, with well-integrated oak and tannin. Dark cherry is at the center of flavor, accented by anise, cola and orange peel. Medium-bodied, it’ll do well at the table, pairing with a wide range of foods. (VB)

Schug Carneros Estate
2012 Estate Carneros Pinot Noir
Spicy, smoky and suave, with inviting cherry and rose petal aromas and a palate of juicy dark cherry, red plum and cherry cola flavors. The
velvety tannins are contrasted by mouthwatering acidity. (LM)

2013 Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Distinctive for its earthy, mineral aromas, which lead to ripe red fruits, structured tannins and medium-full-body. It’s a juicy wine at a great price in the ever-more-pricy Sonoma Pinot Noir field. (LM)

2013 Keefer Ranch Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
From a rock-star vineyard site, this Pinot is exuberant in raspberry, cherry and cocoa, accented in sweet oak. Structured acidity and toned down tannins maintain a balance of approachability, though the wine should age beautifully for another 10 years. (VB)

Sojourn Cellars
2013 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Planted on a steep, rocky hillside in the chilly Petaluma Gap, Gap’s Crown is known for producing intense, firmly structured Pinot Noir.
Sojourn’s bottling is all that, compact yet brimming with dark cherry and blueberry fruit, barrel spice and forest-after-a rain character.
Built to improve with cellaring. (LM)

2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
This Chardonnay specialist has branched out to Pinot Noir under winemaker Mick Schroeder, and among its Pinot bottlings, this one is the highlight: fresh, crisp cherry, raspberry and wild strawberry fruit, spice, excellent structure and persistent on the finish. (LM)

St. Francis Winery
2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Lavish plum, cherry and distinctive blood orange flavors meld with savory clove and earthiness in this concentrated, plush wine with silky tannins. (LM)

Tricycle Wine Partners
2013 Poseidon Vineyard Estate Carneros Pinot Noir
Seamless, supple and with big fruit flavors, it’s a complex mix of floral, red and black cherry, cola and spice elements. The finish is long and crisp. (LM)