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Reviews for 2017

January 2017 - US Pinot Noir & Pinot Gris

January 2017 - US Pinot Noir & Pinot Gris
This month's Wine feature is US Pinot Noir & Pinot Gris Wines

US Pinot Noir & Pinot Gris Reviews

Benton Lane 2014 Estate Pinot Noir
93 points
$27
Dusty garnet color. Toasty aromas and flavors of spiced cherries, char-roasted nuts, and toasted herbs with a supple, tangy, fruity body and a graceful, amusing, marinated beets, blood oranges, and chestnuts finish with well-integrated, chewy, fine tannins and light oak. A savory, mouthwatering pinot noir with precisely chiseled flavors and structure.
Benton Lane 2014 First Class Pinot Noir
93 points
$65
Bright brick red color. Aromas and flavors of dark fruits and dark raspberries and cherries, toasty oak, dried leaves, and potters clay with a lively, dry full body and a compelling, medium-long finish with earthy, leafy tannins and moderate oak. Lovely fruit components.
City Winery 2015 Music City Pinot Noir
92 points
$20
Best Buy
Dusty garnet color. Fruity, spicy aromas and flavors of spiced cherries and huckleberries, chocolate nut bar, and coconut cream with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length vanilla yogurt nuts, tangerine and melon sorbet, and nutskin finish with fine, chewy tannins and light oak. A wonderfully fruity and savory pinot that will be very versatile.
92 points $20 Best Buy
Orogeny 2014  Pinot Noir
92 points
$45.99
Dark dusty garnet color. Aromas and flavors of pencil shavings and eraser, chocolate dried cherries, and vanilla nuts with a silky, bright, fruity medium body and a silky, interesting, medium-long spiced orange, marinated beets and yams, tapioca, and nutskin finish with well-integrated, chewy, fine tannins and light oak. A delicious, elegant and artfully balanced pinot noir.
92 points $45.99
90+ Cellars 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir
91 points
$17.99
Best Buy
Dark garnet color. Aromas and flavors of melted chocolate toffee, roasted nuts, and dried berries with a silky, bright, dryish medium-to-full body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long marinated beets, vanilla nut brittle, delicate spiced apple and tangerine, and cedar finish with well-integrated, crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A fruity, stylish pinot noir pleaser with ripe, savory fruit and spicy oak.
91 points $17.99 Best Buy
Handley Cellars 2015  Pinot Gris
91 points
$20
Bright golden straw pink color. Fruity, attractive aromas and flavors of peaches in cream and nougat with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a graceful, amusing, medium-length green apple, honeyed lime, and minerals finish with crunchy, fruit tannins and no oak. A vibrant, tangy pinot gris that will really shine at the table.
Château Élan 2015 Reserve Pinot Grigio
91 points
$22.95
Bright yellow straw color. Toasty aromas and flavors of warm praline, buttered nut toast, and dried nectarine and apple with a silky, soft, fruity light-to-medium body and an effortless, captivating, medium-length lemon sorbet and green apple finish with no oak. A very lively, tangy, mouthwatering pinot grigio that will be a great aperitif.
91 points $22.95
Highwayman 2013 Reserve Pinot Noir
91 points
$42
Medium dark garnet color. Spicy aromas and flavors of berry chutney and pistachio-cashew nougat with a silky, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and an even, stimulating, vanilla custard, sweet beet relish, and herbed nuts finish with light oak. A rich, fruit driven pinot with lots of spicy and savory undertones.
Lumos 2014 Temperance Hill Pinot Noir
91 points
$45
Bright burnt sienna color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate covered cherries, dried leaves, red rhubarb, and potters clay and dried violets with a lively, dry full body and a nuanced, breezy finish with earthy, well-integrated tannins and moderate oak. Nice savory leit motif here, it brings
Schug 2014 Carneros Estate Pinot Noir
91 points
$45
Dark garnet color. Roasted aromas and flavors of roasted nuts, dark chocolate, berry pie crust, and clay with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a sleek, compelling, medium-long roasted beets and minerals finish. A very supple and savory pinot with stimulating fruit, acidity and poise.
Stonehedge 2014  Pinot Noir
90 points
Medium dusty ruby color. Minty aromas and flavors of white chocolate mint fudge, blueberry compote, and menthol mint lozenge with a silky, tangy, fruity medium body and a smooth, nuanced, medium-long exotic spices and vanilla nuts finish with well-integrated tannins and light oak. A fun, exotically spicy and juicy pinot.
Estancia 2015  Pinot Noir
90 points
$13.99
Best Buy
Bright dark garnet color. Aromas and flavors of tart cherries, vanilla cream, tree bark and dried flowers, and red rhubarb with an crisp, dry full body and a complex, medium-length finish with barky, leafy tannins and light oak. Lovely mix of individual elements with a savory component keeping them all in balance.
90 points $13.99 Best Buy
Maddalena 2015 Estate Reserve Pinot Grigio
90 points
$15
Best Buy
Light silvery amber color. Creamy, yeasty aromas and flavors of peach yogurt, apples in creme fraiche, and cashew butter on sourdough English muffin with a satiny, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a seamless, medium-length nectarine skin and spiced nuts finish with a suggestion of oak. A supple, complex and savory pinot grigio that will shine at the table.
90 points $15 Best Buy
Pacific Pinot 2015  Pinot Noir
90 points
$15.99
Best Buy
Ruby black color. Waxy, toasty aromas and flavors of roasted nuts, waxy honeycomb, and dried cherries with a silky, tangy, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, medium-long vanilla and spice finish with well-integrated, chewy tannins and moderate oak. A bright fruity pinot with fine crunchy tannins.
90 points $15.99 Best Buy
Savor Collective 2014  Pinot Noir
90 points
$15.99
Best Buy
Dusty dark ruby color. Savory aromas and flavors of roasted beets and root vegetables, chocolate dried cherries, and butter roasted nuts with a silky, tangy, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-length cedar finish with soft, chewy tannins and light oak. A delightfully savory and fruity pinot pleaser.
90 points $15.99 Best Buy
90+ Cellars 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir
90 points
$17.99
Best Buy
Bright garnet color. Aromas and flavors of dark cherries, wood smoke, red licorice, and dried leaves and potters clay with a lively, dryish medium-full body and a complex, cheery finish with woody, leafy, earthy tannins and moderate oak. A nice impression of sweetness pull all the flavors together harmoniously.
90 points $17.99 Best Buy
Firesteed 2013  Pinot Noir
90 points
$17.99
Best Buy
Dark ruby color. Fruity aromas and flavors of dried cherry and cranberry, marinated beets, hint of green herbs, and roasted nuts with a silky, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long praline, delicate spice, pencil shavings, and blood orange finish with a suggestion of oak. A tangy and palate stimulating pinot that is very Burgundian in style.
90 points $17.99 Best Buy
Grizzly Peak 2015  Pinot Gris
90 points
$18
Best Buy
Pale emerald straw color. Creamy aromas and flavors of peach yogurt and almond brittle with a silky, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length apple custard tart and nougat finish with soft, crunchy, fruit tannins and no oak. A fun, creamy pinot gris sipper.
90 points $18 Best Buy
Calista 2013 The Coast Range Pinot Noir
90 points
$24.99
Dusty ruby garnet color. Toasty aromas and flavors of toasted nuts, pencil shavings, and crusty cherry tart with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, captivating, medium-length berry creme brulee, praline, and peppery spices finish with silky, fine tannins and a suggestion of oak. A smooth and silky pinot sipper.
90 points $24.99
Cloudfall 2015  Pinot Noir
90 points
$25
Bright dark garnet color. Aromas and flavors of baked cherries, cherry taffy, dried leaves, and tree bark with a lively, dry medium-full body and an interesting, medium-long finish with barky, leafy tannins and light oak. Nice impression of sweet ripe fruits in the bouquet.
Château Élan 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir
90 points
$26.95
Bright burnt sienna color. Aromas and flavors of red cherries, tree bark, dried leaves, and clay with a tart, dry medium-to-full body and a medium-length finish with earthy, leafy tannins and light oak. Nice fruity, new world cherry aromas.
90 points $26.95
Publix Premium 2014  Pinot Noir
90 points
$29.99
Dusty garnet color. Aromas and flavors of vanilla mint cookie, orange chiffon, and coconut macaroon with a supple, tangy, fruity medium body and an effortless, captivating, medium-length dried peach, praline, delicate spices, and pink peppercorn and cedar finish with well-integrated, chewy tannins and a suggestion of oak. A rock solid pinot with bright fruit and balanced oak.
90 points $29.99
Lobo 2014 Wulff Vineyards Pinot Noir
90 points
$45
Dark garnet color. Fruity aromas and flavors of spicy black raspberry tart, vanilla toffee, and pound cake with a silky, crisp, medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long sour cherry, apples and beets, nutskin, and cedar finish with crunchy tannins and a suggestion of oak. A nicely nuanced pinot noir with structure for aging.
Zina Hyde Cunningham 2014 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir
90 points
$54
Medium ruby black color. Fruity, toasty aromas and flavors of berry jam on toast, cocoa, and wax with a silky, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, charming, medium-length spiced cherries and beets and vanilla nuts finish. A supple, creamy pinot sipper.
Henry Estate 2014  Pinot Noir
89 points
$20
Dark garnet color. Aromas and flavors of dark roasted nuts, cocoa, and dried berries with a silky, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, compelling, medium-length vanilla toffee and custard, hint of citrus, nuts, and pepper finish with dusty, crunchy tannins and light oak. A tangy, sour cherry and with nice crunchy tannins for the table.
Schug 2015  Pinot Noir
89 points
$25
Dark garnet color. Toasty aromas and flavors of roasted nuts, chocolate espresso beans, and cherry pie crust with a silky, tangy, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a sleek, appealing, medium-length eucalyptus honey, pomegranate, nuts, and cedar finish with moderate oak. A spicy, tangy pinot with a nice layer of oak.
Bar Z 2013 "Lefflorescence" Bayer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir
89 points
$35.98
Dusty garnet color. Aromas and flavors of sautéed berries and plantains, peppery spices, dried herbs and epazote, and menthol with a silky, bright, saline medium body and a silky, interesting, medium-long roasted marinated beets, celeriac, minted cranberries and pomegranates, and cedar finish with well-integrated, fine tannins and no oak. An intriguing, exotically spicy and savory pinot.
89 points $35.98
Forchini 2013 Proprietors Reserve Pinot Noir
89 points
$36
Dusty dark ruby color. Woody, interesting aromas and flavors of cedar pencil and eraser, cherry fruit leather, spiced toffee, and polished cedar with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length toasted coconut, fig vinaigrette, and dark roasted nuts finish with crunchy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. An interesting savory and exotically woody pinot.
Schug 2013 Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir
89 points
$40
Ruby garnet color. Roasted aromas and flavors of roasted peanuts, cigar, beet-olive relish, and polished wood with a silky, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, carefree leafy earth, nutskins, and cedar finish with chewy, fine, firm tannins and moderate oak. A dry savory pinot with lots of toasty, roasty oak nuances.
Kalaris 2013  Pinot Noir
89 points
$55
Bright burnt sienna color. Aromas and flavors of cherry, dried herbs and menthol, dried leaves and tree bark, and loess with a tart, dry full body and a medium-length finish with earthy, leafy tannins and moderate oak. A very good example.
Black Mountain 2014  Pinot Noir
88 points
$5.99
Best Buy
Dark garnet color. Aromas and flavors of roasted cherries and nuts, toasty cedar, and dark chocolate with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, breezy nut and pickled beets finish with chewy tannins. A chewy, juicy, and savory pinot sipper or table companion.
88 points $5.99 Best Buy
Barefoot NV  Pinot Grigio
88 points
$6.99
Best Buy
Straw color. Artificial, fruity, floral aromas and flavors of peach blossom and preserves, caramel apple, and key lime custard with a silky, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and an even, interesting, medium-long green apple finish with no oak. A dainty, very tasty pinot grigio pleaser.
88 points $6.99 Best Buy
Estancia 2015  Pinot Grigio
88 points
$11.99
Best Buy
Pale straw color. Nutty, toasty aromas and flavors of praline, baked peaches and apples, lemon curd on toast, and pressed flowers in a book with a supple, bright, petillant, fruity light-to-medium body and a polished, captivating, medium-length reduced orange and lemon and linen finish with no oak. A rock solid pinot grigio with good varietal character.
88 points $11.99 Best Buy
Atwater 2014  Riesling
88 points
$16
Yellow straw color. Aromas and flavors of pickled melon and peach, hint of Elmer’s glue, and river stones with a silky, tangy, off-dry light body and a smooth, interesting, carefree lemon and orange, honeyed apple, hint of balloon, and nutskin finish with soft, crunchy, fruit tannins. A racy off-dry riesling with nice varietal character.
Lumos 2014 Five Blocks Pinot Noir
88 points
$25
Bright burnt sienna color. Aromas and flavors of dark cherries, tree sap and bark, vanilla tinged oak, and dried leaves and potters clay with a lively, dry full body and an elegant, breezy finish with earthy, leafy, barky tannins and moderate oak. Flavors ring true and this wine has a nice sense of place.
Schug 2015  Pinot Noir
88 points
$30
Garnet color. Aromas and flavors of dried cherry, roasted nuts, and chocolate with a satiny, bright, dryish medium body and a graceful, breezy pickled beets, straw and cedar, and nuts finish with fine tannins and a suggestion of oak. A very dry and savory pinot for the table.
Kalaris 2014  Pinot Noir
88 points
$55
Bright ruby garnet color. Savory aromas and flavors of marinated beets and chocolate nuts with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length spiced melons and cherries and nutskin finish with soft, fine, chewy, dusty tannins and light oak. A solid dry pinot.
Redwood Vineyards 2013  Pinot Noir
87 points
$10.99
Best Buy
Garnet color. Interesting, spicy aromas and flavors of mint, incense, and spiced cherries with a silky, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, intriguing, breezy vanilla cream, nuts, and oak finish with soft, crunchy, fruit tannins and a suggestion of oak. A very nice, lightly oak pinot sipper with some nice light, spicy twists.
87 points $10.99 Best Buy
Frey 2015  Pinot Noir
87 points
$15
Best Buy
Ruby garnet color. Aromas and flavors of cedar, cherry-strawberry jam, and nuts with a silky, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and an effortless, breezy vanilla nuts and cedar pencil finish with fine tannins and a suggestion of oak. A nice light, juicy pinot sipper.
87 points $15 Best Buy
Rock Rabbit 2013  Pinot Noir
87 points
$15.99
Bright garnet color. Spicy, fruity aromas and flavors of chocolate cherries and strawberries, graham cracker, and rhubarb jam with a silky, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, cheery orange marmalade on toast, sweet spices, and vanilla nuts finish with silky tannins and no oak. A nice tasty pinot that goes down easy.
87 points $15.99
Armstrong Valley Winery NV Semi-Dry Pinot Gris
87 points
$16
Medium silvery amber color. Fruity, green, interesting, floral aromas and flavors of white grape skin, honeyed rice, peach pit and blossom, and apple sauce with a silky, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, intriguing, breezy apple custard and nutskin finish with silky, fruit tannins and no oak. A supple, of-dry pinot gris sipper.
Black Willow Winery NV Trilogy White Blend New York State
87 points
$16.95
Bright golden yellow color. Aromas and flavors of lime saltwater taffy, lemon chiffon, green apple skin, and loess and gravel with a crisp, dryish medium-full body and a complex, breezy finish with earthy tannins and a suggestion of oak. A fairly good quality example.
87 points $16.95
Frey 2015  Pinot Grigio
87 points
$18
Bright golden yellow color. Fruity, interesting aromas and flavors of caramelized peaches, carrot cake, and roasted nuts with a satiny, lively, petillant, dry-yet-fruity body and a smooth, engaging, medium-length melon, meringue, and orange spice cake finish with no oak. A scintillating pinot grigio with lively acidity and delicate spice.
Barefoot NV  Pinot Noir
86 points
$6.99
Best Buy
Dark dusty ruby color. Fruity aromas and flavors of spiced cherries and strawberries, melon sorbet, and praline with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a polished, breezy berries in cream and vanilla nut brittle finish with soft, chewy tannins and a suggestion of oak. A soft, easy-drinking pinot sipper with creamy spiciness.
86 points $6.99 Best Buy
Cedar Creek Winery 2015 "La Belle Vie" Vidal Blanc
86 points
$9.50
Best Buy
Clear emerald straw color. Earthy, minerally aromas and flavors of mossy riverbed, straw, and baked citrus with a tangy, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, atypical, swift lemon yogurt, hay, and grape leaves finish with dusty, fine, fruit tannins and no oak. A very earthy and fruity white wine sipper.
86 points $9.50 Best Buy
Firesteed 2014  Pinot Gris
86 points
$14.99
Best Buy
Bright golden straw amber color. Fruity, yeasty aromas and flavors of sultana soda bread, roasted green nectarine and parsnip, praline, and brewer’s yeast with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, carefree lemon curd and pickled apple finish with fine, fruit tannins and no oak. A crisp, pinot gris choice for the table.
86 points $14.99 Best Buy
Alba 2014  Pinot Noir
86 points
$24.99
Medium color. Dusty, minty aromas and flavors of spiced cherries, waxy honeycomb, mulch, and sassafras with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, delightful, honeyed citrus and apples, earth, nutshell, and cedar finish with dusty, cottony tannins and moderate oak. A dry, dusty pinot for the table.
86 points $24.99
Cherry Blossom Cellars 2014  Pinot Noir
85 points
$4.99
Best Buy
Bright dusty garnet color. Fruity, toasty, spicy aromas and flavors of spiced cherries, buttery caramelized nuts and apples and yams with a satiny, bright, fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length creme brulee and tropical fruit compote finish with fine tannins and a suggestion of oak. A juicy, fruity, crowd pleasing pinot noir.
85 points $4.99 Best Buy
Wild Hare 2015  Pinot Noir
85 points
$10.99
Medium dark ruby color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate nut bar and buttery cherry tart with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, easy watermelon rind, nutskin, cranberry sauce, and bark finish with dusty, woody tannins and moderate oak. A pleasant oaky pinot.
85 points $10.99
Black Willow Winery NV Classic Diamond New York State
85 points
$12.95
Bright straw green color. Aromas and flavors of grapes, dried straw, lemon pith, and gravel with a bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a quick finish with cottony, earthy tannins and no oak. A better than average quality example.
85 points $12.95
MYKA Cellars 2014  Pinot Noir
85 points
$15
Ruby black color. Toasty aromas and flavors of creme brulee, dark berry pie, chocolate brownie, and clay with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, breezy honeyed cherries and yams, pencil shavings, and delicate spices finish with crunchy tannins and moderate oak. A crunchy, oaky pinot.
Chateau La Paws NV  Pinot Noir
85 points
$15.99
Medium garnet color. Aromas and flavors of honey baked cherries, orange marmalade, smoked nuts and bacon, and cedar planks with a silky, crisp, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a seamless, interesting, easy marinated beets and cabbage and earth finish with firm, cottony tannins and moderate oak. A nice savory pinot noir for the table.
85 points $15.99
Congress Springs 2013  Pinot Noir
85 points
$17.99
Bright ruby black color. Toasty aromas and flavors of marinated roasted beets, nut brittle, and cocoa with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a polished, quick dried cherries, nutskin, and cedar finish with dusty tannins and moderate oak. A pleasant pinot with a nice mix of fruity and savory flavors.
85 points $17.99
Masked Rider 2013 Sagebrush Pinot Noir
84 points
$12.99
Medium dark garnet color. Aromas and flavors of roasted cherries and dark roasted nuts with a silky, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, brisk grilled beets and cedar paper finish with dusty, papery tannins and moderate oak. A crunchy, toasty, savory dry pinot noir for the table.
84 points $12.99
Once Upon A Vine 2015 A Charming Pinot Pinot Noir
84 points
$15.99
Light dark ruby color. Aromas and flavors of baked berries, dark roasted nuts, and dark chocolate with a tannic, crisp, dry light body and a sleek, sparse nutshell and bark finish with hard, coating tannins and heavy oak. A smoky, oaky, somewhat ungenerous pinot noir.
84 points $15.99
Armstrong Valley Winery NV Semi-Sweet Pinot Gris
84 points
$16
Bright salmon orange color. Smoky aromas and flavors of grilled peach and lemon, char-roasted nuts, scorched earth and bbq woods, and lit match with a supple, vibrant, fruity sweet light-to-medium body and an effortless, intriguing, breezy spiced orange, quince and melon finish with crunchy, chewy tannins and a suggestion of oak. An interesting smoky dessert wine.
Henry Estate 2015  Pinot Gris
84 points
$16
Bright golden straw color. Toasty, yeasty, earthy, fruity aromas and flavors of damp earth, oily nuts, and straw basket of green peaches with a soft, bright, off-dry body and a smooth, buoyant spiced apple and peach and vanilla nuts finish. A pleasant off-dry pinot gris sipper.
Wollersheim 2014  Pinot Noir
84 points
$17
Medium ruby color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate wafer bar, dried cherries, mocha, and dark toast with a soft, bright, dryish light-to-medium body and a breezy vanilla nougat finish with soft tannins and a suggestion of oak. A nice easy drinking pinot.
Snap Dragon 2014  Pinot Noir
83 points
$10.99
Bright dusty garnet color. Roasted aromas and flavors of dark roasted nuts, chocolate fondue, and hint of rubber with a supple, bright, fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, buoyant cedar, parchment, and nutskin finish with woody, cottony tannins and heavy oak. A oaky pinot sipper.
83 points $10.99
Armstrong Valley Winery 2014 Reserve Pinot Noir
83 points
$20
Medium ruby garnet color. Savory aromas of tomato on the vine, baked wild berries, herbal honey, and vanilla with a supple, tart, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, brisk cranberries in cream, nutskin, cedar, and green tea leaves finish with crunchy, dusty tannins and moderate oak. A dry, lean, very savory pinot for the table.
Bar Z 2014 "Lefflorescence" Bayer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir
83 points
$31
Dusty garnet color. Fruity, baked aromas and flavors of honey baked cherries and cranberries, tomato jelly, and praline with a soft, crisp, saline thin body and a tingling, charming, breezy salted tomatoes and watermelons, nuts, and oak finish with crunchy, barky tannins and moderate oak. A crisp, dry, savory pinot for the table.
Tria 2013  Pinot Noir
82 points
$22.99
Bright dark ruby color. Aromas and flavors of dried cherries, cranberries, dried leaves, and dried mint with a puckering, dry medium-to-full body and a short finish with leafy tannins.
82 points $22.99
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