2014AFVApn2014 Alfaro Family Vineyards, Pinot Noir “A” Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Alfaro Family Vineyards estate is in the south Santa Cruz Mountains near Corralitos, just inland from Aptos and a handful of miles south of downtown town Santa Cruz itself, with a Pacific very close by giving a cool influence. This is a great spot for Pinot Noir and Richard Alfaro hand crafts some great examples of this varietal, as well as making small lots of fabulous Chardonnay, Gruner Veltliner, Syrah, a tiny bit of Merlot and even an Albrarino. The “A” Estate Pinot Noir by Alfaro is a blend of the varied plots and clones, it is hand picked and fermented in open top bins with long cool ferments and aged for about 10 months in mostly used French oak, with 25% new. This is the first of the 2014’s to be released and it is a stunningly pleasing expression with deep flavors and rich complexity, pure Pinot fruit and fine detail helped by a lengthy finish with rose petal, vanilla, fig and framboise. There are not too many value priced estate grown Pinot Noirs that can compare to this wine, in fact it delivers quality that punches way about it’s category and price class, as proof, it was tasted against 5 top, highly rated wines from Oregon and California all mostly in the $50 range, along with a couple $100 wines and this Alfaro “A” Estate was in most cases was the preferred wine! This bodes well for the up coming releases of Richard’s Cru wines, the Lindsay Paige and Mary Katherine Vineyards’ offerings from this same vintage! The “A” Estate 2014 starts with floral tones, blue and red fruit, smoky sweet wood and a touch of earth and spice with a lovely dark garnet/ruby hue in the glass. The palate is satiny smooth with ripe black cherry, plum and raspberry leading the way with a nice cut of acidity and silky tannins as well as notes of cedar, wild herbs, loam, savory elements, tart currant, subtle mineral and blueberry tang. This is stylish and decedent Pinot Noir that feels rather opulent and dense, while remaining poised, focused and wonderfully balanced, it youthful and fresh now, but it should age well too, best from 2016 to 2026.
($22 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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