2016 Pinot Noir Rancho La Cuna
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.
Once fermented, 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. There is so much more going on, so many varied flavors all in one wine. This wine starts with aromas of cherry, plum, root beer, black tea, cola, and mocha. The accompanying flavors clove, tea and spicy sausage. It is a rich wine, and the richness carries through to the finish. This substantial Pinot Noir loves meaty dishes; try with any cut of veal, lamb, or pork.
Antonio Galloni's Vinous
Score: 93 points "Ripe black cherry, plum, spice, licorice, cedar and new leather are some of the many notes that emerge from the 2016 Pinot Noir Rancho La Cuna Vineyard. In the glass, the 2016 is creamy and ample in feel, with tons of richness and impeccable overall balance. The 100% new oak is felt, but also very nicely integrated with the wine's fabric."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Score: 92 "Pale to medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Rancho La Cuna has a nose of blackberries with earthy notions of mossy bark, mushroom, underbrush and laurel. The palate is light to medium-bodied with crunchy fruits, a gently chalky and super fresh texture, and it finishes long. 175 cases produced."
Score: 91+ points "The 2016 Pinot Noir Rancho La Cuna comes from a vineyard in Santa Barbara County and spent 20 months in all new French oak. It displays a more ruby/lighter hue as well as spicy notes of mulled red fruits, rose petals, salty minerality, and a kiss of background oak. An elegant, medium to full-bodied effort, it has plenty of tannins (some from the oak), good overall mid-palate depth, and a great finish. I think it's outstanding, but don't open bottles for at least another 2-3 years.?"
Score: 91 points "Suave, with cedary and sandalwood accents to the dried cherry, berry and currant flavors. Firm tannins linger on the finish, offering hints of dried juniper berry. Drink now through 2024. 260 cases made. — KM"