The red wines include the 2011 Pinot Noir Two Brothers which comes from four relatively high elevation sources, three in Sonoma and one in Mendocino. It was aged 18 months in 20% new French oak and finished with 14.4% alcohol. Its medium ruby color is followed by seductive aromas of kirsch, strawberries, loamy soil and a hint of oak in the background. A remarkably successful 2011, it is a medium-bodied, velvety, long Pinot Noir to consume over the next 5-7 years. This is one of the most impressive Rhone Ranger winemaking estates in California. They have also expanded their portfolio to make small quantities of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. For me, the real glories of Donelan Family Wines are their Syrahs. As the tasting notes suggest, 2011 turned out well here despite the challenges. However, if you can still track down a bottle or two of the 2009s and 2010s, you are in for something very special. Joe Donelan believes their finest wine, representing the best vineyard parcels and top barrel selections is the Cuvee Keltie, which normally comes from specific sub-sections of such vineyard sources as Obsidian, Richard’s Family, Steiner Ranch and Walker Vine Hill. Kudos to Donelan Family Wines! (RP)
Dark red/black cherries, wild flowers, mint and licorice meld together in the 2011 Pinot Noir Two Brothers. Savory notes develop in the glass, adding nuance and aromatic complexity. Hints of sage, sweet tobacco, anise and earthiness meld into a juicy finish supported by firm yet well-integrated tannins that should allow the wine to age nicely for a number of years. The 2011 was fermented with 40% whole clusters and spent 18 months in barrel, 20% new. The sites are Steiner Ranch, Perli, Goldrock Ridge, Walker Vine Hill and a dollop of Gap's Crown. (AG)
This is marked by a loamy earth presence, with dried berry, herb, sage and cedar notes that end up slightly clipped. Drink now through 2019. (JL)
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