Writer Jessica Gao & Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
The movie Sideways made them famous but they were already good. Subtle aromas of cherry, raspberry and rose petals. Flavors of black raspberry, strawberry and Santa Rita Hills spice. Opens after 10 minutes with some mild oaky flavors.
2015 Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir Earth ($27)
Wines of the Night
2014 Melville Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir Estate ($32)
Light raspberry-sorbet notes meet with fresh fennel fronds, pepper and cinnamon on the nose of this bottling from Chad Melville and family. It's tight and tart on the palate, with dried cranberry, pine needle and eucalyptus flavors that juxtapose with the more fruit-driven nose.
2015 Loring Wine Co. Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard ($47)
From the last vintage where the vineyard was managed by Wes Hagen, the 2014 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard sports a deep ruby color as well as serious ripeness in its big, exuberant, black fruit, black raspberries, roasted herbs and overflowing spice aromas and flavors. Drink this petal to the metal, yet always balanced and still fresh Pinot Noir anytime over the coming 4-5 years. It’s always a blast to taste with Brian Loring, and these latest releases are rock solid. Brian called 2014 the best vintage since 2010, going on to say the vintage offered big yields, lots of hang time and no heat spikes. All of his latest releases show plenty of fruit and purity, with approachable, forward characteristics.