23 May

92 Points for Clos de la Tech “Cote Sud”

2012 Domaine Lois Louise “Cote Sud”                                                        92 Points
Full-bodied yet silky in texture, with a mix of juicy raspberry, plum and black cherry flavors, firming nicely on the finish, with touches of cedar and chalky, gravelly earth. Ends with a burst of fruit and a mouthful of pebbles.”

15 Mar

Mid-90s for Clos de la Tech’s 2012s

The Wine Enthusiast has just given the new Clos de la Tech Pinot Noir releases incredible reviews. 2012 was the first vintage made entirely at CDLT’s new, underground winery. Having complete control over every step of the winemaking process allowed TJ and Valeta to micro-manage the harvesting, sorting and vinification of the fruit. Consequently, the 2012s are some of the most concentrated wines CDLT has ever produced.

2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Estates Pinot Noir 94 Points Editors’ Choice
2012 Domaine Valeta “Sunny Slope” Pinot Noir 93 Points
2012 Domaine Lois Louise “Cote Sud” Pinot Noir 95 Points
2012 Domaine Lois Louise “Twisty Ridge” Pinot Noir 94 Points Cellar Selection
2012 Domaine Du Docteur Rodgers Pinot Noir 96 Points

14 Feb

New Reviews: CDLT, Cambiata & Wrath

Clos de la Tech is appropriately named, as it is owned by Silicon Valley heavyweight T.J. Rodgers, the founder and former CEO of Santa Cruz Mountains–based Cypress Semiconductor. He has elevated his passion for wine from advanced hobbyist to full-on vintner, releasing a brilliant 2012 that stands out for its elegance and Burgundian traits. Rodgers places one of his silicon chips on each bottle, a wink to the tech industry.

Cambiata shows that quality Pinot Noir can also be affordable.

2012 CLOS DE LA TECH Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains Santa Cruz Mountains Estates
Score: 91
Starts out juicy and lively, featuring black cherry and raspberry notes at the core. This is defined by fine-grained tannins that give the flavors traction. Ends long and clean, with anise and fresh earth scents. Drink now through 2023. 1,483 cases made.—J.L.

2015 CAMBIATA Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands
Score: 89
Deftly balanced, with juicy, zesty cherry, wild berry and raspberry flavors sharing center stage, framed by firm, well-integrated tannins and a long, clean aftertaste. Drink now through 2022. 525 cases made.—J.L.

2014 WRATH Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands Tondré Grapefield
Score: 90
A savory style, offering a mix of dried herb, leafy, underbrush and dried berry flavors, with hints of anise, red candy and red licorice, backed by mild tannins. Most impressive for the length on the finish. Drink now through 2021. 283 cases made.—J.L.

2014 Cambiata Aero Bos
Score: 91 points Editors Choice


01 Feb

Why You Should Buy the 2014 McIntyre Wines

Before we recap the reviews for the 2014 McIntyre wines, let’s start with a quote from Anthony Dias Blue of The Tasting Panel Magazine: “Steve McIntyre is a Central Coast viticulture guru.” Okay, now on to the reviews:

L’Homme Qui Ris 93 Points  Wine Enthusiast
2014 SLH Chardonnay  91 Points  Wine Enthusiast
2014 Estate Chardonnay  93 Points  Wine Enthusiast
2014 Estate Chardonnay  90 Points  Wine Advocate
2014 Estate Chardonnay  90 Points  Vinous Media
2014 Estate Chardonnay Block K1  92 Points  Tasting Panel
2014 Estate Chardonnay Block K1  93 Points  Wine Enthusiast
2014 Estate Chardonnay Block K1 91 Points  Wine Advocate
2014 Estate Chardonnay Block K1  91 Points  Vinous Media
2014 SLH Pinot Noir 92 Points  Wine Enthusiast
2014 Estate Pinot Noir 92 Points  Wine Enthusiast
2014 Estate Pinot Noir  91 Points  Wine Advocate
2014 Estate Pinot Noir  91 Points  Vinous Media
2014 Old Vine Pinot Noir  91 Points  Wine Advocate
2013 Estate Merlot 92 Points  Wine Enthusiast
01 Feb

Tasting Panel Magazine Reviews 2010 Clos de la Tech Pinot Noirs

Andy Blue loved the 2010s from Clos de la Tech. Here are his reviews:

91 Clos de la Tech 2010 Pinot Noir, Estate, Santa Cruz Mountain Estates ($42)
Earthy and tannic, juicy black cherry with balance and depth.

94 Clos de la Tech 2010 Pinot Noir, Domaine Valeta, Santa Cruz Mountains ($62)
From a 2.5-acre vineyard located at 2200-feet above sea level; earthy, lightly herbal and spicy; high acidity and low tannins; juicy and extremely Burgundian.

94 Clos de la Tech 2010 Pinot Noir, Domaine Lois Louise Côte Sud, Santa Cruz Mountains ($62)
Juicy and balanced; dense with great structure and a charming astringency on the finish; clean and rich; balanced with elegance and style.

92 Clos de la Tech 2010 Pinot Noir, Domaine Lois Louise Twisty Ridge, Santa Cruz Mountains ($82) Lovely, warm black cherry nose; lush, dense and meaty; full-bodied, rich, smooth and long.

96 Clos de la Tech 2010 Pinot Noir, Domaine du Docteur Rodgers, San Francisco Bay ($102)
Lush, earthy, spiced; silky smooth, medium-bodied; perfumed, elegant and complex; deep, Burgundian and rich without being heavy.


01 Feb

Clos de la Tech Releases 2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Estates Pinot Noir

Our favorite Clos de la Tech release to date, the 2012 SCME is a monumental wine that combines power, elegance, exoticism and age-ability. Here is what the winery has to say about this great new Pinot:

“2012 was the first vintage produced entirely at our new, underground winery. Having complete control over every step of the winemaking process allowed us to micro-manage the harvesting, sorting and vinification of our fruit. Couple that with another year of vine maturity and we were able to produce some of our finest wines ever. The dark color is an indicator of this wine’s amazing concentration. The aromatics are powerful and ripe with cherries, blueberries, blackberries, slate and leather. The palate is rich, round and moderately tannic. Our 2012 SCME is one big, serious, age-worthy bottle of Pinot Noir.”

01 Feb

Cambiata Debuts Aero Bos – A Chewy Cool-Climate Red Blend

Eric Laumann rarely takes the path of least resistance. What’s the challenge or reward in that? His newest release — the 2014 Aero Bos — is a perfect example. While most red blends self identify as Bordeaux or Rhone based, Aero Bos is an international conglomerate that incorporates the following strange bedfellows:

  • 40% Dornfelder (Santa Lucia Highlands) for purple/blue hues and vibrant, sweet fruit notes from start to finish.
  • 35% Tannat (Monterey) for rustic flavors, balanced acidity and structure for longevity.
  • 15% Cabernet Sauvignon (West Paso Robles) for cherries and dried herb, a strong mid palate and long finish.
  • 10% Syrah (Monterey) for spicy notes, viscosity and richness.

Here’s a quote form Eric:
“Flying Cow. That’s what Aero Bos means – Flying Cow. It all started with dinner. While contemplating the glories of a well-marbled Rib Eye, I decided it was time to create my version of the perfect steak wine. Ignoring borders, languages, customs and conventional wisdom, I chose four of the boldest grape varieties found in Europe. The final mélange of Dornfelder, Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah is one of the most exciting and dramatic wines I have ever produced. Blurring the line between art and science, it is intended to stimulate both sides of your brain.”

In our biased opinion the 2014 Aero Bos is among the greatest “power reds” ever produced in Monterey. Big, dark, aromatic, chewy and exotic, it is an outlier among cold-climate reds.

10 May

Big Reviews for 2010 Clos de la Techs

The grapes for CLDT’s 2010s were hand harvested between mid-September and mid-October. After an extended cold soak, the fruit underwent traditional vinification methods including foot crushing, whole cluster fermentations with native yeast, malolactic fermentation on the lees and gravity transfer (no pumping). The wines were aged in Francois Frères barrels (Bertrange Forest) for 12 months and bottled unfiltered.  Below are recent scores from the Wine Enthusiast and the Critics Challenge.



2010 Santa Cruz Mountains Estates
                              93 Points Cellar Selection
Coming from one of the more tech-savvy yet Old World-practicing producers, this still-emerging wine smells of autumn. Crushed, dried-leaf aromas meld seamless with wet clay, black lava rocks and juniper. A lean line of black cherry-blackberry syrup drives the palate, which picks up black peppercorn, anise, dark chocolate and pine-sprinkled earth. Drink 2018–2030.
2010 Domaine Lois Louise Cote Sud                             95 Points
Black-cherry fruit shows on the nose of this bottling by Silicon Valley veterans T.J. and Valeta Rodgers, but it is deftly hidden behind layers of earth and herbs, from dark clay and black pepper to budding violets and rosemary. The acidity is slowly simmering on the palate, unleashing flavors of dark chocolate, cinnamon, more rosemary, blackberry and pencil-lead minerality.
2010 Domaine Valeta Sunny Slope                               95 Points
Aromas of plum, black cherry and mulberry are enhanced by crushed graphite, clove dust, scarlet rose petals and menthol on the nose of this bottling. The palate reveals a stunning amount of depth, with eucalyptus leaf, white sage, violet petals, rose hips and pine needles giving depth to the rich black-plum fruit.
2010 Domaine Lois Louise Twisty Ridge                      95 Points Cellar Selection
Dark clay, vanilla bean, Vietnamese cinnamon, black gravel, kola nut, marjoram, smoked tobacco and black plum notes come into play on the nose of this stellar bottling from a 1,700-foot vineyard atop the appellation. It’s rich in lush tannic texture but not overripe in flavors, with black cherry fruit laying a base for black pepper, juniper, sage and crushed slate.



2010 Domaine Lois Louise Cote Sud                             92 Points (Gold Medal)
2010 Santa Cruz Mountains Estates                             93 Points (Gold Medal)


22 Mar

Big Bang Welcomes Kunde

Big Bang is excited to welcome Kunde Family Winery to our PR/marketing portfolio. We will be working with the family to help publicize the amazing evolution this historic Sonoma County winery has undergone recently. With the hiring of winemaker Zach Long in 2011 and the vineyard and winery enhancements that Marcia and Jeff Kunde have implemented over the last decade, Kunde is producing extraordinary wines from their 1,850 acre estate in the Sonoma Valley. Scores in the mid 90s from the Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator confirm the quality, complexity and uniqueness of their latest releases.

19 Oct

Burghound Gets Longoria

“I’ve said this before but Longoria is crafting some lovely wines that display a definite sense of place, particularly with the Fe Ciega vineyard.” Allen Meadows

 2013 Pinot Noir – Bien Nacido Vineyard “Block N”                             91 Points
(Santa Maria Valley, 185 cases, 14.3%). Beautifully fresh and ripe red and blue pinot fruit aromas are liberally mixed with lovely spice and floral nuances. There is fine volume and a sleek mouth feel to the delicious medium-bodied flavors that possess solid mid-palate density, all wrapped in a dusty, sappy and ever-so-slightly warm finale where the supporting tannins are firm but not hard. This robust but not rustic effort should amply reward extended cellaring and is definitely worth a look, particularly if you’re a fan of the Bien Nacido vineyard. 91/2021+

 2013 Pinot Noir – La Encantada Vineyard                                                91 Points
(Sta. Rita Hills, 100 cases, 14.1%). Here the expressive nose is even more elegant if a bit less complex with its cool and pure array of fresh red currant, raspberry and essence of cherry liqueur aromas. I very much like the sophisticated texture to the utterly delicious and caressing middle weight flavors that offer a bit more depth than the nose before concluding in a sappy and palate coating finale. This harmonious effort could already be enjoyed thanks to the exquisite balance though I would suggest giving this 5 years or so of bottle age first. 91/2019+

 2013 Pinot Noir – Lovely Rita                                                                       92 Points
(Sta. Rita Hills, 480 cases, 13.9%). This too is cool, pure and admirably complex with its pretty blend of various red berry scents with violet, sandalwood and tea nuances. Once again Longoria has succeeded in obtaining a refined mouth feel with the caressing and lively medium-bodied flavors that exhibit a dusty and beautifully complex finish that goes on and on. This firmly structured effort is simply terrific and offers sensational value for the money! Highly recommended for both value and quality. 92/2020+

 2013 Pinot Noir – Sanford & Benedict Vineyard                                    93 Points
(Sta. Rita Hills, 100 cases, 13.3%). Here the reserved and well-layered nose is much more deeply pitched with its array of plum, violet, underbrush and dark pinot fruit scents. There is excellent volume to the delicious and fleshy medium weight flavors that possess a suave, even lush mouth feel before culminating in a dusty, firm and lingering finish where a hint of bitter cherry appears. This is presently quite backward and will definitely need an extended stay in a cool cellar. In sum, this is first-rate but note that it will not make for especially good early drinking and thus I would recommend it only to those who have the patience to age it. 93/2023+

 2012 Pinot Noir – Fe Ciega Vineyard                                                          93 Points
(Sta. Rita Hills, 360 cases, 14.3%). This is also notably restrained and a bit more deeply pitched still with its notes of earth, underbrush and humus adding breadth to the attractively spiced dark currant and plum scented-nose. There is again fine volume and mid-palate concentration to the delicious but quite serious medium weight plus flavors that coat the palate with dry extract while delivering excellent depth and length on the robust, bold and powerful finish. This is a classic Fe Ciega and like the 2013 Sanford & Benedict, I would recommend this only to those who possess the patience to hold it for future development as this is presently promising but very tightly wound. 93/2022+