2017 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.
Score: 92 The 2017 Pinot Noir Rancho La Cuna comes from a site in Santa Barbara County and spent 20 months all in new French oak. It has an incredibly exotic, singular bouquet of mint, ripe red and blue fruits, sassafras, and spice. This carries to a medium-bodied Pinot Noir with good fruit, building tannins, well integrated acidity, and a clean finish.
Wine & Spirits Magazine
Score: 91 The coolness of the Clendenen family vineyard in Los Alamos amd the lengthy elevage of the wine (24 monthsof barrel aging) yields a a wine of exotic savor, with scents of sassafras, cola, and root beer. The flavors hew to those spice notes beneath a fruit profile of intense dark plum. It's a wild wine insearch of a braise, Like lamb stew. - PJC