2021 Alfaro Family Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Alfaro Family Vineyard, Corralitos Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The beautifully deeply hued ruby/garnet Alfaro Family Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir 2021 is loaded with personality on the silky medium/full bodied palate, again showcasing the quality of Richard Alfaro’s vineyard in Corralitos region of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Alfaro Family Vineyards, now run by the father and son team of Richard and Ryan Alfaro, is making a fine set of wines including this tasty delicious Estate Pinot, which shows off a complex array of red fruits, a lovely smooth texture and subtle oak, making for a wine that can easily enjoyed on its own, but still fabulous with a variety of dishes, from salmon to steak. This 2021 delivers the vintage’s distinctive nuances perfectly with loads of bright black cherry, plum, crushed raspberry and cranberry-apple fruits, along with hints of sweet tomato, bergamot, sassafras, tea spices, vanilla, cola bean and blood orange accents. This wine is developing well in the bottle, and I really enjoyed it in half-bottle recently with a garden veggie and basil pizza and it was even better on day two with its satiny mouth feel and nice cut of acidity. The oak use is well judged here, it never takes away from the purity and freshness here, but adds a delicate toasty/smoky sweetness without taking away from the rose petal aromas and mineral notes. I’ve long been a fan of this winery and excited for their upcoming releases and for Ryan Alfaro’s personal Farm Cottage offerings, that I reviewed previously and which have really impressed since they debuted a few vintages ago now. Also, I would be amiss if I didn’t mention and or recommend the Alfaro’s Chardonnay as well, especially their Trout Gulch and Lindsay Paige single vineyard expressions.

The main 14 acre Alfaro Estate vineyard, was originally planted back in 1999 in Corralitos, the most southwest corner of the Santa Cruz Mountains region, with its cool Pacific Ocean influence helping provide a perfect spot to make world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Richard Alfaro’s impeccably farmed Estate blocks of Pinot Noir vines here, contain nine distinct parcels, each, as Alfaro notes, one is graced with a different combination of clones and root-stock, including a collection 113, 114, 115, 667, 777 and 828 clones. The vine density here is really high at 1361 vines per acre, which gives lots of concentration and intensity, highlighted in vintages as good as this 2018, one of the best I can remember. This vineyard is on a south facing hillside between 500 and 650 feet in elevation on sandy gravels over loam and sandstones. The Alfaro Family Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir was, as usual, traditionally fermented using de-stemmed ripe fruit, mostly in stainless steel with some small bin lots as well with cool maceration and then was aged 10 months in mainly used French oak, with just about 300 cases produced. Richard Alfaro has gained a well earned reputation for his wines and his top notch farming in the last decade and now he has the talents of his son Ryan in the winery, after he has done stints in New Zealand and with Adam Tolmach, Ojai Vineyards legendary winemaker. Ryan, as mentioned, has established his own label Farm Cottage wines, with an exceptional set of Pinot Noirs and is someone to keep an eye on. The Alfaro’s also farm the old vines at Trout Gulch, where he sells grapes to Arnot-Roberts and Jamie Kutch, and their efforts here are thrilling, in particular the exciting also Chablis like Chards, these are not to be missed either.
($40 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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