Spice, underbrush, wild herbs and assorted red fruits all emerge from the charming, medium-bodied, supple, forward 2014 Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley. It's geared for drinking over the coming 3-4 years, but offers incredible quality for not much buck. Note, this is a mix from Bien Nacido, Riverbench and Solomon Hills vineyards, and spent nine months in old French oak. This Santa Maria estate is run with incredible talent and passion by Bill Wathen and Dick Doré, who have been making wine together since 1985. They completed construction on a new winery in 2009 and they fashion a number of whites, numerous single vineyard and appellation Pinot Noirs, two Syrahs, and three Bordeaux blends. The wines are always impeccably made and shine more for their elegance and nuance than sheer power and richness. (JD)
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