2011 Big Basin "Lester Family Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir (750ml)

2011 Big Basin "Lester Family Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir (750ml)

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93 points Wine & Spirits
Outer quote mark Planted in 1998, Lester Family is a relatively low-elevation site for the Santa Cruz Mountains, the vines rooted in sandy loam over sandstone and shale at just above 500 feet near Corralitos, on the southern flank of the range. Bradley Brown ferments a portion of the fruit with whole clusters (30 percent), which contribute a wild earthiness to the aromas, suggesting gentian root, cumin and pink peppercorn. You could think of it as a wine geek’s California Pinot Noir, perhaps—a wine that flees from overt fruit sweetness in favor of more savory pastures. But it’s hard not to be drawn in, even if you’re used to fleshier wines. The texture is as transparent as the wine’s pale strawberry color would suggest—lifted and airy even as the flavors are earthbound, driven by bright acidity, aromatic complexity harmonizing with the subtle delicacy of the fruit. (150 cases) Inner quote mark (6/2014)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Outer quote mark A beautifully expressive, perfumed and complex effort, the 2011 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard offers up notions of dried cherries and plum-like fruit, dried spices, violets and licorice. More peppery nuances develop with time in the glass, and it's light and graceful on the palate, with notable richness and length paired with integrated acidity. This beauty comes all from the Lester Family Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, was fermented with 15% whole clusters and spent 16 months in 57% new French oak barrels. (JD) Inner quote mark (11/2014)

92 points Vinous
Outer quote mark The 2011 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard is quite a bit more floral, perfumed and delicate than the Coastview, partly because of the greater inclusion of stems here (30%). It will appeal most to readers who appreciate the savory side of Pinot. Although a bit light, I especially like the focus and energy here. (AG) Inner quote mark (7/2013)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Outer quote mark Bright red. Fragrant aromas of dark berries, cherry pit, licorice and resinous herbs. Chewy and slow to open, offering up bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors with some coaxing. An earthy flourish on the back half calls Burgundy to mind but the sweet fruit is all California. Finishes chewy and long, with mounting tannins and a jolt of spiciness. More bottle age should bring more flesh. (ST) Inner quote mark (6/2014)