Wines of the year (7) top wines from California and Oregon

california

Arnot Roberts Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Santa Cruz Mountains, California
This vineyard was planted in the 1940s by Rusty Ray, and the vines that make this wine were planted in 1979. It’s a three-acre block and they get three tons from it, and it’s described as organic by neglect (it’s disced, dry farmed, and dusted with sulfur twice a year). Floral and aromatic raspberry and cherry fruit nose. Very fine and fresh on the palate with sweet cherries and raspberries and a lovely silky texture. So supple, complex and elegant. 96/100

Sandhi Sandford & Benedict Chardonnay 2014 Santa Rita Hilla, California
From an ungrafted block planted in 1971, this is sensational. Meal, nuts, minerals and spice on the nose. So pure and refined. The palate is taut, lemony and mineral with amazing finesse. Such purity here, with keen lemony fruit. 96/100

Failla Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 Sonoma Coast, California
Fresh, sappy and bright. Floral red cherry fruit nose. Very supple and expressive with elegant red cherries and plum fruit. Lovely focus to this wine: fine and pure with real finesse. 95/100

seven springs chardonnay evening land

Evening Land Seven Springs Vineyard Summum Chardonnay 2014 Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon
Made in two 500 litre Stockinger barrels. From the top part of the slope where the soils are shallower. Detailed, spicy and mineral on the nose with citrus and pear fruit. Astonishing aromatics here. The palate is fine, fresh and mineral with a lovely precise citrus character. Lovely precision and focus with thrilling detail. 96/100

Kutch Chardonnay 2014 Santa Cruz Mountains, California
12.75% alcohol. This is the debut Chardonnay from Jamie Kutch and it is fabulous. Complex, rich, but still very fresh nose of hazelnut and lemons with plenty of matchstick minerality, as well as spice and fennel. Complex pear and lemon fruit on the palate with a taut, intense, spicy character. Balances some ripe fruity notes with a bright lemony core and keen acidity. So mineral. 95/100

au bon climat pinot

Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir La Bauge Au-Dessus 2012 Santa Maria Valley, California
Vines planted in 1994. Very stylish and focused with fresh cherries and plums, with a nice savoury edge. Lovely finesse here with some subtle herb notes alongside the red cherries, with a bright personality. 95/100

wind gap

Wind Gap Nelleses Syrah 2013 Sonoma Coast, California
Finely spiced with nice pepper alongside sweet raspberry and blackberry fruit. Pure and fine grained with lovely tannins and purity. Has real finesse. 95/100

Duncan Arnot and Nathan Roberts

Duncan Arnot and Nathan Roberts

Arnot Roberts Clary Ranch Syrah 2014 Sonoma Coast, California
This is the coldest Syrah vineyard in California, and in the past it has been picked as late as November 20 at 11% alcohol (this is 12%). Lovely aromatics: subtly peppery with fine sweet raspberry and black cherry fruit. Vivid, and very much in a northern Rhône style. Very fine and pure with lovely precision. 96/100

corison

Corison Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa, California
Lovely perfume: very aromatic and pure with ripe but extremely fresh blackcurrant and plum fruit, showing nice grip and acidity, with some raspberry freshness. Such precision here with bright red and blue components to the fruit. 95/100

chimney rock

Chimney Rock Omega Point Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Napa Valley, California
Just 98 cases made of this, all fermented in concrete eggs. Textured, ripe and smooth. Rich and pure. Linear with real concentration. The firm tannins are masked by the lovely sweet, smooth fruit. This wine has lushness but also structure. 95/100

heitz

Heitz Marthas Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Oakville, Napa Valley, California
Fresh, bright and primary with lovely acidity. Pure and expressive with focused berry and cherry fruits backed up by firm structure, and minty notes in the background. Pure and direct with massive potential for development. 95/100

spring mountain

Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Napa Valley, California
Very aromatic with nice pure blackcurrant and blackberry fruit nose with some restraint, and a fine pot pourri spiciness. Warm on the palate with a hint of cinnamon. Lovely balance: sweet but restrained with concentrated black fruits and lovely spicy, stony notes. Complex with massive potential for development. 95/100

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