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Wine Spectator Cites New Boom In Single-Vineyard California Pinot Noirs

March 19, 2012

Wine Spectator senior editor James Laube reports that California is experiencing a boom in single-vineyard Pinot Noir offerings, led by a new brand, Walt, from Napa-based Hall Wines.

Walt, the maiden name and nickname of Hall Wines proprietor Kathryn Hall, is a reincarnation of sorts of Sonoma’s former Roessler label, which Hall and her husband Craig purchased in 2010. It marks an ambitious entry into Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for the Halls. Under the winemaking direction of Steve Leveque, who also makes the Kathryn Hall Napa Valley wines, Walt offers 10 new Pinot Noirs and two Chardonnays, all from 2010.

Among the Pinots are bottlings from Clos Pepe and Rita’s Crown in Santa Rita Hills ($60 each, 330 cases and 68 cases made, respectively), La Brisa Sonoma County ($40, 1,829 cases) and The Corners and Hein Family from Anderson Valley (also $60 each, 198 and 270 cases, respectively). The two Chardonnays include a Russian River Braughton Vineyard ($50) and Sonoma County La Brisa bottling ($35, 1,000 cases). A Pinot from Shea Vineyard in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (209 cases) is also part of the mix.

Boisset Family Estates-owned DeLoach Vineyards is also sharpening its focus on Pinot Noir, with 12 different bottlings. The wines to look for carry the vineyard designate notation and sell for $45. Also of note is the 2010 JCB (for Jean-Charles Boisset) No. 7 Pinot from Sonoma Coast ($50).

Flowers, a Sonoma Coast winery acquired by Huneeus Family Vineyards in 2009, is also repositioning with an emphasis on estate-grown Pinot and Chardonnay. Beginning with the 2010 vintage, Flowers will prominently feature its Camp Meeting Ridge and Sea Ridge estates on the front label of their Chardonnay ($58) and two Pinot Noirs (about $68). Flowers intends to make special wines from select portions of the vineyards, with up to six different bottlings possible in a given year.

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