The 2011 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) wafts from the glass with crushed flowers, dried cherries, spices, tobacco and licorice. A sweet, perfumed Pinot, the 2011 is all about balance, finesse and elegance. Sweet red fruit and savory herbs are some of the many notes that ring out on the finish. This is a terrific showing, and even better, a great value. The 2011 is delicate and at times a bit fragile, but immensely appealing. In 2011 the vineyard sources are 40% Gaps Crown, 40% Griffins Lair and 20% Black Knight. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2021. This is another exciting, captivating set of wines from Wind Gap and Pax Mahle. Readers who have not yet discovered Wind Gap owe it to themselves to do so. These are some of the most gorgeous, nuanced wines being made in California today. Mahle continues to experiment with concrete and larger casks, both of which seem ideally suited to a minimalist approach that seeks to draw out the maximum expression of each of these sites. The Wind Gap wines achieve that elusive balance of depth without excess heaviness. Once again, I was deeply impressed with the range I tasted and can't recommend these wines highly enough. (AG)
(40% whole clusters, raised in concrete and neutral oak and aged in stainless steel; 12.4% alcohol): Bright red. Pungent strawberry and anise aromas are complicated by notes of fresh herbs and rose. Fleshy and appealingly sweet red berry flavors are firmed and defined by dusty minerals, which add cut and back-end bite. Gains weight with air, picking up a deeper cherry quality and a touch of anise. The cherry quality carries through a long, spicy finish that proves refreshingly brisk and precise.
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