These Santa Cruz Mountain vineyards have produced a beautiful triad of low octane and extremely promising pinot noirs in this lovely vintage. The 2011 Horseshoe tips the scales at 12.4 percent alcohol (how nicely these wines are going to fit into blind tastings of equally low octane 2011 red Burgundies a decade down the road!) and offers up a superbly complex and pure bouquet of red berries, beetroot, wild strawberries, vinesmoke, fresh herbs, a touch of lavender, stony minerality, mustard seed and just a hint of oak. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish, pure and very, very soil-driven, with a sappy core of fruit, great lightness of step, modest tannins and simply great length and grip on the focused and tangy finish. Great, great juice! 94+
One of the most youthful 2011s in the lineup, the 2011 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard has serious amount of pepper to go with a darker slant to its fruit; blackberry, ground herbs, charcoal, smoked earth and licorice are just some of the nuances here, and blind, cool-climate Syrah would be the common guess. Nevertheless, it's all Pinot on the palate and has a medium-bodied, supple, seamless and elegant texture that carries plenty of fruit, fine tannin and good acidity that stays integrated and clean through finish. This is a gorgeous 2011 that readers need to seek out. (JD)
Bright red. A highly complex nose displays scents of black raspberry, cola, potpourri, sandalwood and smoky minerals. Smells like a cross between a florist's and a head shop. Juicy red fruit and spicecake flavors of superb intensity are lifted by a sexy floral nuance and firmed by tangy acidity. Finishes with sweet, silky tannins and excellent persistence, trailing a strong rose pastille note. (ST)
The 2011 Pinot Noir Horseshoe Vineyard is another of the hugely intriguing wines in this range. It brings together the intensely perfumed, savory notes found in some of the other wines, but here the fruit is rich, deep and marvelously resonant. Dark cherry, menthol, sage, smoke and licorice all build to a huge, explosive finish laced with distinct Syrah-inflected overtones. This should be a fascinating wine to follow over the next decade-plus. The 2011 was made from fully destemmed fruit. (AG)
In much the same fashion as the Alpine this is intensely floral with plenty of spice character to the relatively high-toned red berry fruit aromas. The cool, pure, intense and beautifully detailed middle weight flavors possess a lovely sense of underlying tension while delivering outstanding length on the superbly long finish. This is very much old school in style and quite youthfully austere today so I would strongly suggest allowing this tightly coiled effort to remain hidden in your cellar for at least 6 to 8 years. *Outstanding*
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