Pathway is the support event on the Saturday of the Pinot Paradise weekend. A self guided tour, where many of the Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir producers host open houses, bringing out special treats such as barrel samples, library wines and limited release wines. I joined my friend Tom for a visit to the four Corralitos wineries.
The Nicholsons planted their first vines in 1996. In 2008 they were joined by talented winemaker Ian Brand. Ian is also winemaker and vineyard manager at Coastview Vineyard, among other things. Bringing Ian on board has really brought their wines up to the next level.
'07 Chardonnay Estate (SCM)
Nose - rich, dark, unctuous, smooth, loquat and cinnamon.
Sharp, dark, brown wood spice, heavy wood over light minerally fruit, loquat, lime, cinnamon, allspice. 84 pts
'09 Viognier Cedar Lane Vineyard (Arroyo Seco)
Nose - warm peach cobbler, nutmeg.
Lovely peach and green apple, good minerality, cinnamon and a hint of nasturtium. Should round out with about 6 more months in the bottle. 91 pts
'08 Pinot Noir Brook's Block (SCM)
Nose - nice savory spice, dark fruit showing rhubarb.
Savory rhubarb with clove, firm, dusty/grippy tannins, touches of plum and cinnamon. Drink '13-'23. 92 pts
'08 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve (SCM)
Nose - more elegant, dark fruit, nutmeg, rhubarb, savory.
Savory spice, nutmeg, rhubarb. Lovely. Dusty/grippy tannin, firm, hint of lemon verbena. Drink '14-'24. 93 pts
'08 Pinot Noir Split Rail Vineyard (SCM)
Nose - light floral sense, savory, touches of black cherry and rhubarb.
Savory black cherry and rhubarb, nutmeg, dusty tannin, slight meaty tinge, hint of iodine. 93+ pts
'08 Syrah Coastview Vineyard (Monterey County)
Nose - inky, deep, boysenberry and sandalwood, cinnamon and violet.
Firm, boysenberry, plum, grippy/dusty tannin, sandalwood, cherry, violet. Drink '15-'25. 93 pts
'08 Zinfandel Old Vine (Amador County)
Nose - bright, porty, cherry and strawberry, dried plum, raisin.
Smooth raisin and cherry, cinnamon. 88 pts
PLEASANT VALLEY VINEYARDS
PPV were established in 1996, crafting wines from 5 acres of estate fruit as well as careful sourcing from distinctive sites elsewhere.
'08 Dylan David Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard Thelma-Henrietta Block (SCM)
(This block is planted to Dijon Clone 115.)
Nose - shy unctuous wild cherry, soft wood spice.
Wild cherry, firm, wood spice, wild plum. Drink '11-'17. 90 pts
'08 Dylan David Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard Willa-Louise Block (SCM)
(This block is planted to Dijon Clone 667.)
Nose - meaty, strawberry, wild cherry.
Unctuous pithy wild cherry, a bit brambly, chamomile, grass, sage. Drink '13-'18 91 pts
'08 Dylan David Pinot Noir Family Estate Reserve (SCM)
Nose - warm rich strawberry and plum, soft spice.
Savory, round, dusty tannin, plum, rhubarb, lavender, hints of thyme and lemon rind. Drink '15-'27. 92 pts
'09 Dylan David Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard Thelma-Henrietta Block (SCM)
Nose - smooth savory plum, slight meaty sense.
Savory, stemmy, smooth, plum, soft oak spice. Needs time to round out. Drink '13-'18. 90+ pts
'09 Dylan David Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard Willa-Louise Block (SCM)
Nose - bright lovely Seguin Morreau oak spice, hint of raspberry, green herb, nutmeg.
Lovely nutmeg spice, tart. plum/raspberry/wild cherry, fine tannin. Drink '12-'22. 93 pts
'09 Dylan David Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard Cuvee (SCM)
(This is a blend of 2/3 clone 115 and 1/3 clone 667.)
Nose - Heady lovely savory spice, wild plum, violet.
Dusty, savory, lavender, plum, wild cherry, thyme. Drink '14-'22. 93+ pts
ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARDS
The Alfaros purchased their 75 acres property in 1997 and planted 35 acres of it to vines. The estate is planted to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah and Merlot. They also purchase fruit and sell some fruit to other wineries, such as Big Basin.
'08 Scarlet Red Wine (SCM)
(85% Pinot Noir, 12% Syrah, 3% Merlot)
Nose - deep dark cherry and nice spice.
Deep cherry and plum, acidic, savory wood, gritty tannin, touch of rustic jujube. Drink '12-'18. 87+ pts
'09 Pinot Noir Gimelli Vineyards (Cienega Valley)
Nose - smooth, meaty, velvety berry and raspberry.
Nice savory plum and raspberry, good grip, touches of nutmeg and rhubarb. Drink '11-'21. 91+ pts
'08 Pinot Noir Schultze Family Vineyard (SCM)
Nose - warm, mildly barnyardy, savory berry, luxurious oak spice.
Lovely Francois Freres(?) spice, good mineral, berry and plum, vibrant and lingering, hints of rhubarb and cranberry. Drink '11-'23. 92+ pts
'08 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard (SCM)
Nose - nice full savory tingly berry, touch of redwood, hint of rhubarb.
Firm, almost harsh, packed with berry, dusty tannin, good acidity, hint of cranberry, redwood, good minerality. Drink '12-'19 91+ pts
The Schultzes planted their first Pinot Noir in 1996, and have really been been the leaders in Corralitos Pinot Noir.
'08 Pinot Noir "Diane's Block" (SCM)
Nose - light, heady, brandied spiced cherry, touch of sassafras, hint of raspberry.
Firm, spiced cherry, flan, raspberry, lime pith, a touch of bitterness and heat, smooth/dusty tannin, touch of cocoa. 89 pts
'08 Pinot Noir "Cuvee" (SCM)
Nose - full, smoky and meaty, minerally cherry.
Minerally cherry and rhubarb, some pith, smoke, lanolin, cinnamon. Drink '13-'18. 91 pts
'08 Pinot Noir "100% Whole Cluster" (SCM)
Nose - lovely and elegant, cinnamon, soft red fruit, subtle smoke.
Lovely elegant red fruit, good mineral, cinnamon, some mid-level grip, cherry, dandelion, hints of nutmeg and lanolin. Drink '13-'25. 93 pts
'08 Pinot Noir "Proprietor's Reserve" (SCM)
Nose - rich minerally berry/rhubarb/cranberry, some sandalwood and flan, smoky earthy redwood.
Minerally cranberry, berry, rhubarb, redwood, cinnamon, cilantro, some meaty pith. Drink '13-'27. 93 pts
'09 Pinot Noir "Proprietor's Reserve" (SCM) barrel sample
Nose - lovely deep velvety strawberry, flinty smoke, berry.
Grippy rustic wild cherry, strawberry, flinty mineral, lime zest. Hints of rhubarb and lavender. Lovely. Drink '13-33. 95 pts
'06 Pinot Noir "Special Burgundian Clone" (SCM)
Nose - lovely, soft, almost meaty, haw fruit, leche dulce, strawberry, bread pudding, nutmeg, cinnamon.
warm, soft, bread pudding, plum, haw fruit, lovely, firm dusty tannin. Drink now-'25. 94 pts
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