Owned by Jim Clendenen, his estate Rancho La Cuna vineyard is located in the Los Alamos Valley with the vines situated on steep hillsides. It is a small vineyard (about 15 acres) but a significant one. Los Alamos Valley does not have an appellation although it deserves one. The fruit is distinctive producing contemplative Pinot that is dark and meaty.
After fermentation the wine was aged in 100% new Francois Frères French oak barrels. After aging for 24 months the wine was bottled without filtration. This wine has some bottle age, but it should continue to age gracefully for 10 more years. The Clendenen Family Pinots are not simple fruit bombs. This wine has so much more going on, so many varied flavors all in one wine. This wine starts with aromas of cherry, root beer, black tea, cola, and mocha. The accompanying flavors clove, tea and spicy sausage. This is a rich wine, and the richness carries through to the finish. This substantial Pinot Noir loves meaty dishes, try it with any cut of veal or lamb.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Score: 90 points "Pale to medium ruby-garnet in color, the 2015 Pinot Noir Rancho la Cuna is scented of dried tobacco leaf, bitter citrus peel, amaro and mushroom with old leather, blackberries and sage hints—this is beginning to go a bit tertiary. It has a light to medium weight and is very savory in the mouth with grainy tannins and good freshness, finishing long. This was made using about 75% whole-cluster fermentation. 150 cases were made."
Antonio Galloni's Vinous
Score: 90 points "Clendenen's 2015 Pinot Noir Rancho La Cuña Vineyard is a pretty wine, even if it is a touch forward. Orange peel, spice, rose petal and and savory notes from the 100% whole clusters give the wine a decidedly exotic feel. There is good power and depth to the 2015, but this is one wine where the French oak (100% new) feels a bit much." -- Antonio Galloni