2017 Talbott "Sleepy Hollow Vineyard" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Robert Talbott Sr. made his fortune in the necktie biz. True Story. So, how did he end up planting a vineyard in a relatively undiscovered, at least wine-wise, part of California in the early '80's with his son? Who knows? That's what visionaries do!
The Talbott's travels for business led them to a deep love of the world of wine and to think they thought back in a time when nobody even knew what the Santa Lucia Highlands was, or where it was, that they could make world class Pinot Noir & Chardonnay is quite something. For reference the Santa Lucia Highlands didn't even get its own California AVA designation until 1992 and in large part that only happened because of the Talbott family's dogged work.
This Pinot Noir shows off all of the appellation's traits: power, spice and richness all while having enough fruit to carry the frame along. But the thing I like most about this is the bottle age, the wine has really had time to settle into itself and become fully integrated. Warm spiced cherry fruit mingles with subtle hardwood smoke and white pepper all while remaining agile on the palate and giving clarity and precision of flavor.
93 Points from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The pale to medium ruby colored 2017 Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard was aged ten months in 40% new French oak. It has inviting, open-knit aromas of cranberry sauce, wild blackberries, blood orange, clove and turned earth plus notes of amaro and tobacco. The silky, light to medium-bodied palate offers lovely, earth-tinged fruits with a grainy, fresh frame and long, layered finish."
92 Points Vinous: "Bright red. Spice-accented scents of ripe red fruits, smoked meat and cola are lifted by a subtle floral overtone. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering appealingly sweet raspberry, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. In an energetic style, with smooth tannins framing a very long, floral-tinged finish." (08/2019)
91 Points from Wine Spectator: "The lithe flavors of red plum, raspberry and cherry pastry feature sandalwood and cedar accents, backed by medium-grained tannins. Plump, spicy finish. Drink now through 2024. 2,200 cases made." (10/15/2020)
90 Points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine: "There are savory iodine and sanguine kicks to the nose of this bottling, with dried boysenberry and leather aromas as well. That earthy, meaty element carries to the sip, where dried cherry and shiitake mushroom flavors show." (11/1/2020)