Legendary Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Today’s Story: Kistler Vineyards

Kistler Vineyards is a small family-owned and operated winery established in 1978 by Steve Kistler and Mark Bixler in California’s Sonoma County. Founded on the belief that California could produce Burgundy-style Chardonnay representative of each unique vineyard site, Kistler works with a single Chardonnay clone planted across 15 vineyards to produce 11 single-vineyard bottlings. In addition to Chardonnay, Kistler produces small amounts of Pinot Noir using two heritage selections sourced from a Grand Cru site in Burgundy. Kistler farms their vineyards quite meticulously, with both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir clones highly limited in yield in order to produce fruit of intense depth, contrentration, and focus. In pursuing wines of character and place, the winemaking team at Kistler ferments using only native yeasts with no machination of the fruit while being as minimally invasive as possible. At bottling, the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Today’s Wine: 2012 Cuvée Natalie Pinot Noir

100% Pinot Noir; 14.1% ABV

The 2012 Cuvée Natalie Pinot Noir is pale ruby in color and almost opaque. I let the wine slow ox for about 45 minutes before letting it blossom in the glass, opening up to reveal aromas of bing cherry, pomegranate, black raspberry, licorice, red florals, leather, dried earth, savory herbs, and mild cinnamon. Once on the palate, this showcases notes of baked strawberry, cherry, raspberry, plum, rose, sweet tobacco, forest floor, underbrush, white pepper, and mild oaky spice. This silky and elegant Pinot is light- to medium-bodied with high acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a long finish. 1,065 cases produced.

Price: $150 (though you might be able to find it closer to $130). As much as I hate to say it, I think this bottling is a bit overpriced. While undoubtedly delicious, there are simply too many Pinot Noirs out there that punch well above this in terms of value. $150 is a very, very expensive California Pinot and at that price point I’d be more apt to poke around Burgundy or buy 2-3 bottles of a more value-oriented wine.

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