2016 Alfaro Family Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Rosella’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
In 2016 Richard Alfaro added grapes from the famed Rosella’s Vineyard, both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and both wines are absolutely gorgeous, textural and lengthy in the same league as the other elite SLH producers, and it the same style you find in Pisoni’s Lucia Vineyards as well as Rosella’s owner’s, Gary Franscioni’s Roar wines, highlighting the pedigree of this Cru site in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Owners Gary and Rosella Franscioni planted the vineyard in 1996 using the Pisoni clone from La Tâche and the Dijon “777” mostly (now there are 7 different clones of Pinot) with family, Gary, Rosella, along with son’s Adam & Nick Franscioni run this site along with Mark Pisoni and his amazing crew doing the farming on the 50 acres of these wind swept sloping hillsides that are set on the classic Arroyo Seco sandy loam soils of the Santa Lucia Highlands bench. Alfaro went for a very showy and opulent wine, it was aged 10 months in 50% new French oak, and with only 140 cases produced, from de-stemmed grapes, and while still youthful and with dense structure it shows a wonderful regal mouth feel and is already deep and complex with lush dark fruits, sweet/smoky oak, subtle mineral tones and a underlying briar/spice that lifts this full bodied Pinot as well as having Rosella’s fine acidity and ripe tannins. There’s an energy and focus in these 2016 Alfaro’s, both the Rosella’s and the Garys’ (from the sister vineyard) right up with the best vintages ever from Richard’s winery, these two, and in particular this Rosella’s are luxurious wines of remarkable class and with lots of sex appeal, both outrageously good. Starting with bramble, rose petal, shaved vanilla and vine fruits leading to a vinous palate of black cherry, plum and wild blackberry fruits, along with an array of tangy currant, chalky stones, minty anise, cedar, cola bean, mocha and tea spices all in a round seamless Pinot Noir, it’s a big wine at 14.5%, but stays nicely balanced throughout, though not a wallflower it impresses for it’s impact in the glass and clean modern profile, and it should evolve and gain over the next 5 to 10 years in bottle. If you are a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay fan, you’ll want these new releases from Alfaro, and don’t miss their own estate offerings either, plus don’t forget Alfaro’s Gruner Veltliner and the Rose of Pinot Noir, these are awesome values and fun wines that sell out fast, don’t miss out, this under the radar winery is a real crowd pleaser.
($48 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive

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