2014 Albatross Ridge, Pinot Noir, Cuvee Vivienne, Estate Grown, Carmel Valley, Monterey County.
Another wonderful effort from Garrett Bowlus and his Albatross Ridge Vineyards Estate in Carmel Valley grown on the slopes just west of the Los Laureles Grade on chalky rocky soils, this Cuvee Vivianne is a bit softer and spicy than the majestic Reserve, but still beautiful in detail and such a great value, this is not a wine to miss. This vintage has really raised the game for the tiny Carmel Valley region in Monterey County and has firmly put Pinot Noir in pole position of red grapes in this area, with Albatross Ridge drawing even greater attention and scoring well in the national wine press, eclipsing the best scores ever from this place for these 2014 wines, with both of the Pinots and the Chardonnay making an impact. The Cuvee Vivianne is bursting with energy and immediately pushes out perfume, resiny notes, shaved cinnamon and kirsch before opening up to a very Burgundy like palate with black cherry, tangy plum, distilled strawberry and cranberry fruits along with dusty stones, saline, peppery notes and a kiss of smoky sweet French oak, lingering on with a touch of ripe raspberry, vanilla and herb as well as dried rose petal and a hint of snappy lavender. This medium bodied Pinot has a firm mouth feel and lift, but there’s still a pleasing creamy lushness that comes through with air in the glass and it’s hard to look away from the pretty ruby/garnet hue, this is just a few notches below the Reserve, which is not a bad thing or unfair, it’s just a touch more rustic, or raw, though very compelling and soulful, it took me a bit more time to reflect on this one, but in the end I was charmed and want more, drink this Albatross Ridge Cuvee Vivianne 2014 Pinot Noir over the next 3 to 5 years, it’s just now really hitting it’s stride and even more impressive than when I fist sampled it, tasted twice, it has gained form and depth in the six months since the last time I had it.
($45 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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