2014 Albatross Ridge, Pinot Noir, Estate Reserve, Carmel Valley, Monterey County.
Garrett Bowlus, winemaker and grower, and his dad Brad Bowlus can be proud of an amazing achievement with their 2014 wines from their vineyard above Carmel Valley, they have taken the regions Pinot Noir to unknown levels of quality and charm, especially the 2014 Estate Reserve, which reminds me of Domaine de Montille Volnay! Recently Wine Enthusiast scored the Albatross Ridge lineup 94-95 Points, without question the highest ratings from a national publication of a Carmel Valley wine ever, that I can remember anyway, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. As a long time fan of my hometown wines, I certainly agree they deserve the praise and accolades and I admire each of these 2014’s very much, the Chardonnay was highly impressive and stylish and you can see why there is interest from other winemakers to get these grapes, Copain being a winery that makes a single vineyard bottling of these vines, but for me it’s the Pinot Noir that gets my heart racing with both the Cuvee Vivianne, which had been my favorite in earlier vintages, and the glorious Estate Reserve, that raises to new heights and has swept me up in this years seductiveness. The potential in the 2014 Estate Reserve looks really intriguing, and even now there is something very special about it, the texture is lovely and the dimension of fruit is exceptional with delightful freshness, ripe character and sweetly smooth tannins, an inner beauty that is often lacking in Carmel Valley wines, that tend to have a bitter edge and austere qualities, but not here in Albatross Ridge’s wonderfully expressive and generous top wine. This Pinot shows pretty floral intensity and silken layers of opulent red fruits as well as subtle mineral tones and spicy notes with flavors that burst on to the palate with vivid detail, there’s bright cherry, racy currant, juicy plum and lush raspberry fruits, crushed/dried violets, rose oil and cinnamon stick. With air a round mouth feel expands and gives this wine a full presence while nice peppery zest and dusty/sones add a light savory counterbalance, but finishes with pure fruit and subtle smoky oak shadings. I can’t wait to see how this Pinot develops over the next 3 to 5 years, this is seriously alluring stuff from a cool breezy site at an elevation of almost 1,200 feet and vines digging into chalky Carmel stone soils with loose sandy loam, formerly ancient seabed, giving this wine it’s Burgundy like allure.
($60 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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