A big, rich effort, the 2012 Pinot Noir Hapgood (which lies close to Machado Vineyard) offers up loads of ripe red fruits, toasted spice, licorice and ground herbs to go with a medium to full-bodied, textured and expansive feel on the palate. It doesn’t skimp on texture and has plenty of sweet, velvety tannin that come through on the finish. While it’s hard to resist now, it will evolve nicely over the coming 5-7 years. Steve Clifton and Greg Brewer continue to produce a bevy of beautiful releases from the Sta. Rita Hills. Looking at their latest releases, their 2012 Pinot Noirs are superb and check in near the top of the vintage. While the Chardonnays are solid, and in some cases outstanding, I thought they lacked concentration and had too much acidity for their own good. Looking at the Pinot Noirs, which as a whole I found more successful than the Chardonnays, these were all harvested on the same date, fermented with 100% whole cluster and aged in neutral oak. (JD)
Vivid ruby-red. A highly expressive bouquet of fresh raspberry, cola, rose oil and incense, with subtle orange zest and Asian spice notes adding lift. Silky, sweet and precise, offering nervy raspberry and blood orange flavors that flesh out and deepen with air. Shows outstanding clarity and thrust on the long, spicy finish, with just a hint of fine-grained, nicely integrated tannins. The 2013 chardonnays here were being prepared for bottling and were not in a state to taste so I was only able to try Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton's entry-level bottling, which was perhaps the best "basic" wine I tasted during the course of my trip. Taking that into account, I expect that the single-vineyard offerings, which are scheduled to be released in January, should be high-priority buys for fans of this winery. As usual, the 2012 pinots were made entirely with whole clusters and show the flamboyant fruit of the vintage to full effect, but the wines have more than enough acidity and framework to suggest that they'll age gracefully. Brewer thinks that they'll be appealing to those "who drink pinot for its sex appeal" as well as those "who want them to show a little more mystery" down the road. (JR)
A bit lighter in color than the producer's other 2012 bottling, this shows aromas of fresh-pressed raspberry juice, cola, white sage, graphite and a hint of wet asphalt. It's light and airy on the palate, with more raspberry and pomegranate fruit as well as sage, thyme and anise. It provides great balance between ripe juice and herbal seasonings. (MK)
Aromas of fresh raspberry, blueberry and boysenberry are intense, snappy and vibrant, with zesty acidity, firm tannins and a stemmy edge that keeps the flavors on the palate. Drink now through 2023. (JL)
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