2016 Bruliam, Pinot Noir, Soberanes Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The latest Bruliam Soberanes Pinot Noir fits perfectly into winemaker Kerith Overstreet’s mantra of it takes great grapes to make great wines, with this vintage proving excellent for her style of Pinot with a gorgeous array of satiny fruit, delicate spices, lovely aromatics and luxurious mouth feel, it is a wine the definitely rises above norm and looks set for top notch drinking for the next 5 to 7 years. This dark ruby/garnet hued Bruliam Pinot very much excites from the glass with black cherry leading the way, along with plum, crushed raspberry, tangy currant and candied orange fruits that are backed nicely with mocha, mineral tones, wild roses and baking spices. There’s a lot going on here, but everything folds together in a seamless, pleasure filled and rewarding wine that delivers exactly what these grapes from this Pisoni farmed vineyard are capable of doing, with rich depth, structure and intensity on the beautifully balanced medium to full bodied palate. This wine has turned out to be a very rewarding treat and I highly recommend these Bruliam wines and admire the ethics here, the passion and the humility, this is winery that deserves attention. Overstreet believes in giving back and at Bruliam Wines, they have always subscribed to a strong charitable mandate, with solid history of donations, which now total well over 80 unique charities and communities being supported by sales here. In recent years Bruliam has added a few new wines to the lineup, with Russian River and Petaluma Gap Pinots adding depth to the collection.

Dr. Kerith Overstreet, who’s series of Soberanes Pinot started with her 2010 vintage, says she is honored to be able to get the grapes from this vineyard, and she does her self proud, especially with her latest vintages with the 2018 and this 2016 being exceptional, paying tribute to the Pisoni and Franscioni families that have been farming in the Salinas Valley for three generations. According to Kerith, as she has mentioned to me many times, nobody does SLH better than the Pisoni-Franscioni collaboration, with Mark Pisoni’s team setting the standards for quality in the region, and who could argue, the grapes from their collection of Grand Cru vineyards, Rosella’s, Sierra Mar, Pisoni Estate, Garys’ and Soberanes are legendary. Overstreet, now with over a decade of making wine from this vineyard, adds that SLH Pinot Noirs are unapologetically Californian. Kerith’s Pinots see a small percentage of whole cluster, usually about 10% or so and her wines matured a bit longer that is the norm in barrel and bottle. As noted in my prior reviews, These Bruliam Pinots see a modest amount of new oak, which adds to the luxurious mouth feel and sweet toastiness, and I believe as she has done in the past she used a Rhone submerged cap technique. This process is to extract more pigment and not get any extra harsh tannins and the results show in the dark hue in glass of this still improving Pinot to shine seductively and impactfully in the glass. I gotta say, even though 2018, reviewed last year, and the 2019 are current here at Bruliam are outstanding, this 2016 is really hitting its stride and showing well and is still deliciously fresh and firm, it should keep providing joy for many years to come.
($53 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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