THE WINE ADVOCATE, APRIL 2020 – Erin Brooks
2017 Chardonnay The High Wire – 96+
The 2017 Chardonnay The High Wire is pure class! It takes its time to unwind, slowly revealing aromas of white peaches, red apples and pears, wafts of hay and button mushroom with nuances of elderflower and oyster shell. The medium-bodied palate is silky and pure, with fresh fruits wrapped in savory, honeyed nuances. It has tangy acidity and a gentle phenolic grip, finishing long and nuanced. This will require another 2-3 years in bottle to really show its stuff.
2017 Chardonnay Casteel – 95
The 2017 Chardonnay Casteel is scented of yellow peaches, quince paste, jasmine, spring honey and hazelnuts with hints of lime peel and crushed stone. Medium-bodied and silky, the palate is tensile and energetic, with tangy acidity to oppose the luscious texture and ripe fruits, finishing very long and layered. This is so classy—effortlessly traversing the tightrope of ripeness and precision. Yes!
2017 Chardonnay Justice Vineyard – 94
The 2017 Chardonnay Justice Vineyard opens with notes of gunflint and toast that give way to pie crust, baked golden apple, honeyed peaches, crushed hazelnuts, button mushroom and cheese rind with hints of jasmine and sweet spice. The silky, medium-bodied palate offers everything you want in great Chardonnay—toasty fruits, spices and savory nuances—lifted by tangy acidity and finishing long, layered and energetic. This will benefit from another year or two in bottle.
2017 Chardonnay Estate – 92
The 2017 Chardonnay Estate gives aromas of toast, fresh quince, golden apples, wet hay, hazelnut and honey with notes of jasmine and white peach. Medium-bodied, it has a sleek, rounded texture and intense savory fruits, refreshed by lip-smacking acidity and finishing long and honeyed.
2017 Pinot Noir Casteel – 94
The 2017 Pinot Noir Casteel has a pale to medium ruby-purple color. The nose features aromas of crushed cranberries and raspberries, rhubarb, black cherries and blueberry hints with nuances of violets, autumn leaves, dusty earth and bergamot. The medium-bodied palate is concentrated and spicy with chocolate-textured tannins, mouthwatering acidity and a long, layered, energetic finish. This is approachable right now and is utterly delicious.
2017 Pinot Noir Southeast Block – 95
Pale to medium ruby-purple, the 2017 Pinot Noir Southeast Block has a very pretty nose of crushed cranberries and raspberries, pomegranate, black cherries, blood orange, violets and warm earth with touches of tar and pipe tobacco. It’s medium-bodied, silky and very intense with loads of fruit, spice and floral layers, expertly framed and super fresh, finishing very long and very layered. This is so New World and so classy!
2017 Pinot Noir Justice Vineyard – 94
Medium ruby-purple, the 2017 Pinot Noir Justice Vineyard opens with notes of tar and turned earth over black cherries, blackcurrants, crushed violets, pipe tobacco, graphite, aniseed and baking spice. It’s medium-bodied and silky with intense, spice-laced fruits, a sturdy frame and juicy acidity to refresh the very long, layered finish.
2017 Pinot Noir Flat Block – 93
The pale ruby-purple colored 2017 Pinot Noir Flat Block comes from Pommard clone vines planted in 1979. It’s scented of crushed black cherries, red currant and rhubarb with nuances of violets, fragrant earth, dried lilacs, orange peel and dust. The medium-bodied palate is silky and slow to blossom, with finely grained tannins, juicy acidity and a long, floral and spice-laced finish.
2017 Pinot Noir Æolian – 93+
The 2017 Pinot Noir Æolian “is usually a blend of our younger fruit,” says winemaker Ben Casteel. “I’m curious about massal selection because, at some point, we will have to replant half the property. So, I’m interested in seeing what those young vines can do on the same soil.” Pale to medium ruby-purple in color, it opens with bright, inviting blueberries, boysenberries, crushed black cherries, baking spice, warm earth, tree bark, dried violet and potpourri. It’s medium-bodied and lushly fruited in the mouth with lots of spicy nuance, grainy and fresh with a long, layered finish. So classy! This is approachable now but has the fruit and structure to age very well.
2017 Pinot Noir West Block – 93
The medium ruby-purple colored 2017 Pinot Noir West Block comes from the oldest vines on the property, Wadensvil clones planted in 1977. It features scents of pipe tobacco, underbrush, peppercorn and cured meats to begin, fleshing out to crushed cranberries and black cherries with loads of floral and mineral nuance. Medium-bodied and broody, it’s firm and grainy with a long, lifted, minerally finish. This is approachable now but will reward cellaring.
2017 Pinot Noir Estate – 92
Medium ruby-purple, the 2017 Pinot Noir Estate has an intense, inviting nose of blueberries, boysenberries, crushed black cherries, black licorice, dusty earth and forest floor with a soft frame of sweet spices. Medium-bodied, it has the stuffing and structure to age well, sturdy but fresh and with a long, flavorful finish.