Tasting Notes

2019 ~ 2018 ~ 2017 ~ 2016 ~ 2015 ~ 2014 ~ 2013 ~ 2012

2019 Hallberg Ranch

With a dynamic combination of acid, tannin, floral, fruit and spice notes, this alluring wine captures the complexity and character of our acclaimed Hallberg Ranch. Redolent with aromas of red plum, cherry, tomato leaf, sweet beetroot and pithy pomegranate it draws you in, beckoning a first sip. On the palate, the flavors are framed by supple, fine-grained tannins and succulent acidity, which add a bright, juicy quality to the lush red fruit flavors. As it evolves, layers of Mandarin orange zest, incense and dried flowers emerge, along with hints of clove and allspice that linger on the long, fascinating finish.

750mL bottles

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2018 Hallberg Ranch

94 points (Modern Wine)

With perfect weather during budbreak and bloom, the 2018 vintage at Hallberg Ranch yielded a robust crop and deliciously fruitful wines. The wine brimming with fresh aromas: fresh picked wildflowers, fresh plum, fresh strawberry and fresh cherry notes dance above the glass. This wine is equally exciting on the palate, with sweet tanninsand an underlying acid-driven energy framing the lush red berry, blood orange nectar and marzipan flavors. Though there is an idyllic youthful bloom to this captivating wine that makes it hard to resist now, it has the structure and stuffing to promise a long, fascinating evolution. 

750mL bottles ~ Mini 375mL bottles ~ Magnum bottles

94 Points

“This lovely Pinot really ‘pops’ with tangy, bright cherry and raspberry fruit, dried herbs, cinnamon, and oyster mushroom flavors that have lots of amplitude and zingy length. This estate dry-farmed Hallberg Ranch vineyard seems to consistently deliver the goods, and the fact that the vineyard is dry-farmed clearly has a positive impact on the intensity of the flavor of the wine. Highly recommended.”

—Tim Teichgraeber, Modern Wine, May 2021

94 Points

“This lovely Pinot really ‘pops’ with tangy, bright cherry and raspberry fruit, dried herbs, cinnamon, and oyster mushroom flavors that have lots of amplitude and zingy length. This estate dry-farmed Hallberg Ranch vineyard seems to consistently deliver the goods, and the fact that the vineyard is dry-farmed clearly has a positive impact on the intensity of the flavor of the wine. Highly recommended.”

—Tim Teichgraeber, Modern Wine, May 2021

“A Sonoma Gem”

“Coming from vines planted in 1999 with a maritime influence, these vines are deep in the earth, enjoying a long draw of water and nutrients from at least twenty feet below. The result is this wonderful wine. On the nose classic cherry aromas waft up along with some dead-leaf-earth and mushroom-like umami (a distant barnyard?). The palate has high natural acidity making the wine lithe and fresh. Such a well-balanced wine.”

—Keith Beavers, VinePair, March 2022

“The 100 Most Amazing Wines in Sonoma County”
“20 Pinot Noirs”

“I could drink this fairly priced pinot every day of my life, for its come-hither floral aromatics, luscious berry and cherry fruit, velvety texture and savory loam note. It’s tightly wound, with refreshing acidity.”

—Linda Murphy, The Press Democrat, Nov 2021

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2017 Hallberg Ranch

96 points (The Tasting Panel), 95 points (Wine Enthusiast)

Featuring all 11 clones of Pinot Noir planted at our Hallberg Ranch, the 2017 is dazzlingly complex. In the glass it unfurls to reveal gorgeous layers of red, black, and blue fruit, as well as fascinating notes of fresh flowers, sweet spice, rising dough, and fresh-baked pie crust.

Magnum bottles

“Spotlight on Emeritus Vineyards”

“2017 was a classic vintage in the Russian River, and this wine is delicious with lots of rich berry fruit, spice, and racy acidity.”

—Marisa D’Vari, Forbes, Nov 2019

96 Points: Classic

“The current vintage is an earth mother, bequeathing notes of bright cherry, beetroot, and soy sauce. Elegant, with a slightly chewy mouthfeel, it brings tangerine peel in on the mid-palate, and dried flowers are exotically spiced on the finish.”

—Meridith May, The Tasting Panel, June 2021

95 Points, Editors’ Choice: Superb; a great achievement

“With Winemaker David Lattin now at the helm, this vintage packs a punch of grace and power. Rose, lavender and earth tones accent a juicy black-cherry core, with crisp acidity sitting alongside a hint of nutmeg.”

—Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, June 2021

9 Points out of 10

“Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of faintly meaty red apple skin and raspberry jam. In the mouth, bright sour cherry and raspberry flavors mix with a nice saline umami character that, along with faint dried flowers, lingers in the finish with citrus peel brightness. Excellent acidity, and a nice resonant depth to the wine. Quite delicious.”

—Alder Yarrow, Vinography.com, Sep 2021

“Sourced from the Russian River Valley AVA…”

“…the ‘Hallberg Ranch’ starts off with cinnamon and cola which mingle with the ripe dark currant aromatics that all take their shape in the glass. The palate reveals juicy acidity with bright red and dark fruits that dance with the good sense of minerality.”

—Owen Bargreen, Washington Wine Blog, Oct 2019

★★★★ 4+ Stars: Excellent quality for its type, style, and price. Among the very best of its type for its price. Highly recommended.

“An excellent 2017 and a terrific value, this is a supple, ripely flavored wine with layers of complexity, fine balance, and a long finish, tasting of cherry, plum, black tea, nutmeg, white pepper, and toasty oak.”

—Ronn Wiegand, Restaurant Wine, Jan 2021

“It’s textbook Russian River Valley Pinot Noir”

“From the winery’s estate vineyard comes this luscious pinot noir with vibrant black cherry and dark raspberry fruit, savory spice and supple tannins. It’s both energetic and silky-smooth, with fine depth and a long-lasting finish. It’s textbook Russian River Valley pinot noir in the hands of winemaker Dave Lattin.”

—Linda Murphy, Sonoma Magazine, Dec 2020

“Fine pinot noir from California’s Sonoma County”

“This pinot noir specialist was established by Brice Cutrer Jones, originator of the popular Sonoma-Cutrer chardonnay. The 2017 Hallberg Ranch is juicy, elegant, yet forceful.”

—Rich Mauro, The Colorado Springs Gazette, July 2020

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2016 Hallberg Ranch

94 points (The Tasting Panel), 93 points (Wine Review Online & JamesSuckling.com), 92 points (Wine Review Online)

Our 2016 Hallberg Ranch Pinot is pure, elegant, layered and complex. Its purity and elegance come from our unique dry-farming methods, which allow the grapes to develop beautifully full flavors without becoming overripe. At the same time, because Hallberg Ranch has been thoughtfully planted with 11 different clones of Pinot Noir throughout its various vineyard blocks, there is a lovely layered complexity to the wine that is only accentuated by the fact that we harvest over a four-week period. As a result, each clone provides unique flavors and textures to the final wine. 

This wine is reminiscent of a warm black cherry tart dusted with cinnamon. There are hints of caramelized sugar and freshly toasted almonds. The wine is driven by dark spices and earth, with a sturdy frame from fine-grained tannins. All of these elements seamlessly combine to create the distinctive wine that is Hallberg Ranch. 

Mini 375mL bottles

“Emeritus Vineyards – Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs of Great Esteem”

“Aromas of ripe Bing cherry, turmeric, vanilla and cherry jam. Medium-full with very good to excellent concentration. Wood notes are well integrated. Excellent persistence, good acidity. 7-10 years.”

—Tom Hyland, Forbes, Feb 2019

94 Points

“Fruit from 40 individual lots within this famed vineyard—which is planted to 11 different clones—went into this delectable wine. Juicy and vibrant with a streamlined texture, it aged ten months in 32% new French oak. Aromas of cinnamon toast and Bing cherry lead to flavors of spicy cherry and mocha before strawberry leans in with toasted almond.”

—Meridith May, The Tasting Panel, Sep 2019

5 Stars out of 5: Exceptional quality for its type and style; a superstar within its price category. Merits an extra special effort to purchase. Very highly recommended.

“Supple and full bodied, this is a rich, complex Pinot Noir with intense plum, cherry, black tea, sage, rose petal, pepper, and toasty oak aromas/flavors, good balance, and a very long, lingering finish. Still young; warrants further again. Great value!”

—Ronn Wiegand, Restaurant Wine, Feb 2020

94 Points: Outstanding

“Lattin picks at lower sugar levels, and it at shows in an acid structure that remains high-toned from vintage to vintage. Composed of 11 different clones, this wine comes in on the lower end of ripeness, with bergamot and earth joining the fruit. The spice is augmented on the palate, with deep-dish cherry pie and marzipan on the finish.”

—Meridith May, The Tasting Panel, June 2021

“Top 100 Sonoma Wines 2020”

“COO Mari Jones and winemaker Dave Lattin have taken over for Emeritus founder Brice Jones, now retired — and the wines have never been better. Hallberg, an estate vineyard, produced this perfumed, medium-full-bodied wine showing bright black cherry fruit, savory spice, smooth tannins, and palate-cleansing acidity.”

—Linda Murphy, Sonoma Magazine, Nov 2020

“Top 100 Sonoma Wines 2019”

“Emeritus founder Brice Cutrer Jones (he also started Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards) brought in his daughter, Mari Jones, as partner and COO and hired winemaker Dave Lattin, formerly of Kuleto Estate. The pairing is simpatico and the wines have never been better. Hallberg, an estate vineyard, produced this perfumed, medium-full-bodied wine showing bright black cherry fruit, savory spice, smooth tannins, and palate- cleansing acidity.”

—Linda Murphy, Sonoma Magazine, Dec 2019

93 Points

“Big, rich and beautiful, this latest from Emeritus Vineyards showcases the impressive depth and complexity of pinot from the Russian River’s better vineyards. With an earthy undertone and complex aromas of raspberry and black cherry, the Hallberg Ranch is layered and long, with a pleasing finish enhanced by notes of baking spices.”

—Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online, Dec 2019

93 Points: Outstanding

“Very attractive aromas of ripe dark cherries here with a swath of blueberries and violets, too. The palate has a supple, smooth and glossy feel with a sleek array of fine tannins, folding out long and smooth at the finish. Solid pinot here. Drink or hold.”

—Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com, Dec 2019

92 Points

“The hits keep coming from Emeritus! This Pinot Noir is a blend of eleven clones, gently oaked and showcasing lively cherry and strawberry fruit, cardamom and fall spice, with popping acidity driving the flavors with good finish push. A holiday table friend across the board.”

—Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, Dec 2019

★★★★: Highly recommended
“Savvy Pinot Noirs – Tasty alternatives”

“An impressive pinot with bright red fruit—cherry and cranberry—racing through it. Buoyed by crisp acidity. Lingering finish. Smart.”

—Peg Melnik, The Press Democrat, May 2019

“4 Dry-Farmed Wines from Sonoma to Try This Fall”

“Flavors of black cherry, cinnamon, and toasted almonds. A light-bodied red wine filled with subtle nuances.”

—Stacy Briscoe, Sonoma Magazine, Sep 2021

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2015 Hallberg Ranch

95 points (SOMM Journal & The Tasting Panel), 94 points (Wine Review Online), 93 points (PinotFile), 92 points (JamesSuckling.com & Wine Review Online)

This vintage is the most serious and concentrated with intense colors and flavors; something we have come to expect and appreciate as a result of our dry farming practices. This wine has the signature cranberry, sour black cherry and dried orange rind aromas, complimented by lightly toasted nuts and licorice. Driven by black spice, earth and a hint of fresh tea leaf, the flavors of the many clones and blocks reveal themselves in multiple layers. The 2015 Hallberg Ranch is gorgeous now and will reward those who are able to wait.

“Russian River Valley – Sublime Chardonnay And Pinot Noir From Sonoma”

“Emeritus is a new family winery, the creation of Brice Cutrer Jones, the founder of Sonoma-Cutrer, one of the first wineries in the Russian River Valley to receive widespread critical and consumer acclaim, more than thirty years ago. Aromas of Bing cherry, cardamom and vanilla. Medium-full with a very rich mid-palate. Excellent ripeness, ample wood notes, good acidity and excellent persistence. Offering impressive ripe cherry Pinot Noir notes (not cola) and notable harmony and complexity, this is very well made, appealing Pinot Noir that has the structure and stuffing to age well for 7-10 years, although the majority of those who try this wine will enjoy it within 3-5 years.”

—Tom Hyland, Forbes, Jan 2019

95 Points
“Emeritus Honors Dry-Farmed Pinot Noir in California”

“This expression offers up a nose of cinnamon and cranberry with a hint of oregano and orange. The palate is rich and generously textured with a powerful voice that unleashes graphite and spiced herbs like paprika and sage. Alongside perpetually bright acidity, splashes of oak and cherry layer with licorice on the finish.”

—Meridith May, The SOMM Journal, Jan 2019

95 Points: Classic

“The most floral of the four we tasted, this vintage shows jasmine and violet water on the nose, along with tea leaf and plum on the palate. It’s still very fresh; winemaker Dave Lattin pointed out an orange-rind element that I picked up on in the younger wines as well.”

—Meridith May, The Tasting Panel, June 2021

94 Points, “Today’s Featured Wine”

“Emeritus is the project Brice Jones of Sonoma Cutrer fame, focused specifically on Pinot Noir. This is the home vineyard bottling, which greets you with a deep nose of black cherry, dry earth, touch rhubarb, and fall spice. The palate has a creamy entry with singing acidity, rich integration of the nose elements and a long finish that keeps it all together. This has holiday dinner written all over it—you know the kind, where all the accompanying dishes need a wine that works, not just the meat.”

—Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, Nov 2018

93 Points: Outstanding

“Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. This wine takes a while to open and my comments are based on sampling the wine after the bottle had been opened several hours. Aromas of purple berries, spice and floral esters. An array of fruits great the palate including dark red cherry, raspberry and boysenberry arrayed in a mid-weight style. Satiny in texture with modest tannins and bright acidity on the succulent yet uplifting finish. Great harmony at play here.”

—Rusty Gaffney, PinotFile, June 2018

92 Points: Outstanding

“An upbeat and concentrated pinot with bright and pure red-cherry aromas and flavors. The palate has crunchy, assertively crisp tannins and a neatly resolved finish. Drink or hold.”

—Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com, Nov 2018

92 Points
“Pursuing the Holy Grail of Pinot Noir”

“In the drought vintage of 2015, Kirk saw no signs of water stress in his two dry-farmed vineyards. In fact, the two wines — my featured Pinot Hill Pinot Noir and the Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir — show plenty of freshness, as well as the concentration typical of a vintage with a small crop.

The 2015 Hallberg Ranch, in contrast, is a fuller Pinot with deeper flavors and richer texture. The aroma speaks of red cherry and black cherry in equal measure, with exotic notes of orange rind, toast, and tea, while the flavors include pungent spice and earthy notes. The wine is round in your mouth and smooth as can be, giving an almost-sweet impression in its richness without being heavy or dense. The vineyard is in the cool Green Valley AVA within Russian River Valley and shows the freshness of a cool site, but in contrast to the 2015 Pinot Hill, the wine carries the rich, round Russian River Valley signature. Some wine lovers will prefer it for that reason.”

—Mary Ewing-Mulligan, Wine Review Online, Jan 2019

Excellent; highly recommended

“Velvety on the palate, it features voluptuous flavors of lavender, orange, cherry and strawberry around a backbone of distinctive acidity.”

—Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, Nov 2018

“Excellent Pinot Noir”

“The Hallberg Ranch is located in the Russian River Valley AVA of Sonoma. The wine starts out with bright red fruits with touches of citrus rind and cola that build on the nose. The plush palate entices as the silky mouthfeel also impresses. Guava, red currant jelly and earthy undertones mark this excellent Pinot Noir that is best enjoyed over the next five to eight years. Drink 2018-2025.”

—Owen Bargreen, Washington Wine Blog, Dec 2018

“Try these unique wines”

“This estate, founded by Brice Cutrer Jones of Sonoma-Cutrer fame, concentrates solely on pinot noir, so it’s not surprising that the wines are excellent. There is nothing like pinot noir when it is made in the right hands and in good vintages. This single-vineyard, dry-farmed pinot noir from the Russian River Valley has layers upon layers of aromas and fruit — cinnamon, black pepper and cranberry aromas followed by black cherry, tea, dampened earth, and truffle flavors. Well balanced and correctly priced.”

—Tom Marquardt & Patrick Darr, Capital Gazette, Jan 2019

“Where to Drink Pinot Noir Right Now”

“Their namesake estate wine blends a variety of Pinot Noir clones to produce a classy, ruby wine for discerning palates. It’s delicate and earthy with herbal notes that lend itself perfectly for drinking now or aging for five more years or so. Close your eyes, inhale, sip, and imagine you’re in the Côte d’Or.”

—Sarah Stierch, The North Bay Voyager, March 2019

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2014 Hallberg Ranch

92-94 points (The Drunken Cyclist), 92 points (JamesSuckling.com)

This vintage from Hallberg Ranch is very much in line with the past years, with the signature floral character of the vineyard showing prominently. It is medium bodied with more acidity than tannins, reminiscent of the 2012 vintage but lighter on its feet with fresh blueberry and cranberry complimented by pepper and warm spices. The wine is bright and charming, marrying Russian River Valley fruit with the elegance of the old world.

750mL bottles

92 Points

“Lots of berry and strawberry character. Full and velvety textured. Lemony undertone.”

—James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2017

92-94 Points; Outstanding

“Darker and slightly more brooding than the Sonoma Coast, both in color and aromas: mostly black cherry, cassis, mocha dominate here with a touch of vanilla and spice. Heavier on the palate as well, with luscious fruit that envelops the mouth. While the Sonoma Coast might be described as delicate and contemplative, this is robust and muscular. Don’t get me wrong—this is not one of those
over-extracted beasts mentioned above, but if you do lean more toward more assertive Pinot, this is it.”

—Jeff Kralik, The Drunken Cyclist, Aug 2017

“Top 5 Wine Recommendations”

“Damon Prater: ‘Social drinking pinot noir for connoisseurs; great taste and complexity with a smooth finish.'”

—H.M. Cauley, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Dec 2018

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2013 Hallberg Ranch

Hallberg Ranch shows both an extroverted and introverted nature. Cool fruit and spice shape this medium to light bodied wine. This vintage possesses finesse and power with layers of berry, forest floor, and oak spice, gracefully gifting it with new world qualities and a character reminiscent of old-world charm.

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2012 Hallberg Ranch

2012 was a wonderful growing year and a bountiful harvest for Emeritus. Very little frost and warm spring temperatures made for optimum bloom time conditions. Because of the large crop and dry farming, the berries remained small. Excess clusters were thinned in a series of passes to achieve balance of fruit to canopy. The ripening of the fruit was flawless; dry farming seems to even out the maturation curve of the grapes without the dips and spikes that were seen when we irrigated our vineyards in the past. The vines ripen the grapes with lower sugar and retain acids even in a warm vintage. Mother Nature cooperated allowing time to harvest without fear of a heat spike or rain. 

This vintage from Hallberg Ranch is more extroverted in nature. The wine is characterized by a fruit outburst and mild acidity. Fresh fruit flavors of plum and cherry govern the palate with layers of spice and supple tannins. The wine is very approachable and joyful in nature. 

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2020 ~ 2019 ~ 2018 ~ 2017

2020 Hallberg Blanc

The 2020 growing season produced very small clusters and berries, which resulted in remarkably intense and concentrated wines—and our Hallberg Blanc is no exception! The richest and most opulent Blanc we have ever produced, it leaps from the glass with aromas of Meyer lemon marmalade, citrus oil, brioche and crème brûlée, as well as notes of gunpowder, sweet hay and melting wax. Though it is delightfully hedonistic on the palate, with a lush, flowing texture and silky peaches and cream flavors, it also possesses a wonderfully energetic backbone that provides energy and brightness to a long resonant finish.

750mL bottles

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2019 Hallberg Blanc

This blanc of Pinot Noir was made by gently removing juice from our Pinot Noir grapes prior to any skin contact. This results in wine with lower alcohol, higher acid and virtually no color. The juice was fermented in a concrete tank and neutral barrels using native yeast and low temperatures. After fermentation the concrete lot was transferred to neutral puncheons and a few new barrels to provide textural richness. The barrels were then stirred periodically to build additional body in the lots that were allowed to finish malolactic fermentation. The result is super-aromatic and beautifully textural wine.

This wine is rich and unctuous with a flowing textural quality that accentuates the gorgeous layers of peach nectar, honey, orange blossom and melted beeswax. After a very long fermentation, this is a silky and mouth-filling wine with subtle yeasty brioche-like undercurrents. At the same time, because of the high acid there is a lovely tension and focus that lifts the flavors, adding poise to their lush purity. Both long and broad on the palate, it glides to a floral and orchard fruit finish that goes on and on.

Magnum bottles

Excellent; highly recommended

“The third vintage of this interesting wine, this is made from removing juice from Pinot Noir grapes prior to skin contact, leaving lower alcohol, higher acidity and little color. The taste is richly creamy and straightforward, a mix of peach, orange and tangerine that exhibits both floral and mineral components.”

—Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, Nov 2021

Excellent; highly recommended

“Fans of sparkling wine need to taste this to get a better understanding of why Pinot Noir is so desired as a component. That will speak for itself should you take it upon yourself to seek it out for that reason. Emeritus added this bottling to their line of Pinot Noirs to stay in the ‘All Pinot, All Day’ winery model, and it succeeds on its own with dried strawberry, lemon zest and a hint of the earthy character that lets you know that this isn’t your everyday white. Maybe it should be.”

—Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, Dec 2021

“Discover a Perfect Wine Pairing to Impress Guests”

“This Sebastopol winery focuses on Pinot Noir. But for a new release, winemaker David Lattin tried something different, crafting a white (Blanc) Pinot Noir. It is made by gently removing juice from the red Pinot Noir grape skins before fermentation, so the juice stays white. The wine is a conversation starter, and a crowd-pleaser, for its rich character and silky, lush texture. Gorgeous layers sing with peach nectar, honey, orange blossom and melted beeswax, with subtle, yeasty brioche-like undercurrents. It’s an excellent appetizer pairing, as it works nicely with more subtle dishes, such as soft cheeses, salads with a touch of creamy dressing, lightly smoked salmon with creme fraiche, and mild-flavored nuts.”

—Carey Sweet, San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 2021

“Summer Wine Guides 2021: Whites”

“So here, presented in the winemakers’ own words, are our favorite white wines of the blistering summer of 2021…

‘After years of refining our approach to this unique and radiant wine, the 2019 vintage is easily its most sophisticated expression to date. It is rich and unctuous with a flowing textural quality that accentuates the gorgeous layers of peach nectar, honey, orange blossom and melted beeswax. Because of a very, very long fermentation, this is a silky and mouth filling wine with subtle yeasty brioche-like undercurrents. The acid in the wines gives a lovely tension and focus that lifts the flavors, adding poise to their lush purity. Both long and broad on the palate, it glides to a floral and orchard fruit finish that goes on and on.'”

—Kalle Bergman, Honest Cooking, July 2021

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2018 Hallberg Blanc

92 points (Forbes)

In the glass, the aromas offer a decidedly nectar-like quality with notes of fresh apricot, peach juice, sun-warmed hay, as well as yeasty hints reminiscent of a young vintage sparkling wine. Though rich and textural, a seamless balance between the wine’s energizing acidity and Pinot tannins provides a lovely vibrancy to the wine that adds poise and purity to the bright, stone fruit flavors.

“Spotlight on Emeritus Vineyards”

“Not many people know that a white wine can be made from the Pinot Noir grapes. This is an aromatic wine, with a medium texture and vibrant acidity.”

—Marisa D’Vari, Forbes, Nov 2019

92 Points: Excellent; highly recommended

“This is a white wine made entirely from Pinot Noir grapes, wherein the grapes were night-harvested and fresh juice removed prior to skin contact. It looks and tastes of white wine, the juice lower in sugar, higher and acidity and lacking in color. Nutty, fleshy and mineral-driven, it tastes of wet stone, flint and textured tannin, with a kiss of white peach.”

—Marisa D’Vari, Forbes, Nov 2019

“It’s clear, more than ever this year, that our West Coast producers have been honing these Old World varieties and are turning out gems in all their diversity.”

“Don’t confuse this novel white Pinot Noir from Emeritus with a Pinot Blanc—it’s far from that kind of white. But with rose-petal aromas and whiffs of red fruit, it’s a fascinating detour between red and white. Touches of salinity and minerality on the bone-dry palate balance vibrant peach and, yes, a hint of texture from tannins.”

—Sara Schneider, Robb Report, April 2020

“Emeritus is a new class of classic when it comes to California Pinot Noir.”

“It was founded in 1999 by famed vintner, Brice Cutrer Jones, after he sold Sonoma-Cutrer and bought Hallberg Ranch. A Pinot Noir master, Jones has crafted a version like no other with the Hallberg Blanc. It represents the best of both worlds because he’s made a white wine from red grapes. How? The juice is gently extracted from the red Pinot Noir grapes with little skin contact, which is the thing that imparts the purple hue to red wines. With melon and peach aromas, a kiss of oak richness and a sultry texture, it’s one of the best wines I’ve sipped all year.”

—Leslie Sbrocco, Check, Please! Bay Area KQEd, June 2020

“Chilled White Wines To Fend Off Summers Heat”

“Not many producers make a white wine from pinot noir. The juice is removed from the crushed pinot noir grapes with no skin contact. The wine is lower in alcohol and higher in acid. Rich in texture, its fresh acidity and stone fruit flavors.”

—Tom Marquardt & Patrick Darr, Capital Gazette website,
South Florida Reporter website, Aug 2020

“Brilliant Bright Whites”

“Everything Emeritus makes comes from Pinot Noir, including this pale white, made by removing juice from Pinot grapes without skin contact. Champagne-like in its color and aromas, you’ll find notes of straw, yeast and fresh-baked cream biscuits drizzled with honey. Dreamy on the palate, it is reminiscent of blanc de noir, with silky tannins, a backbone of apricot and plum, and nervy, edgy acidity. Emeritus founder Brice Cutrer Jones planted Pinot Noir here in 1999, and by 2004 had talked famed Pinot master and former Los Gatos resident Don Blackburn (Bernardus, David Bruce, Byington) into making wine at Emeritus, where he did so through the harvest of 2008. Blackburn passed away in 2009, but his influence still lives on at this house of Pinot.”

—Laura Ness, Los Gatos Magazine, June 2020

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2017 Hallberg Blanc

90 points (Wine Review Online)

Our inaugural release of the Hallberg Blanc, this white Pinot Noir is made from juice that has been gently liberated from grapes after destemming, it has only minutes of skin contact (thus the white color). It is fermented with native yeast in a concrete tank, then transferred to barrels with all of its yeast lees for aging. The result is a pale, super aromatic and textural wine that could only come from Pinot Noir. 

The 2017 Hallberg Blanc is a beautiful pale rose gold in color. Aromas of orange blossom and white flowers mingle with a creamy custard-like aroma. The mouthfeel energizes the palate immediately with white cranberry-like acidity and a vibrant texture. Thanks to plenty of time on the lees, there is a weighty creaminess and length that is anything but typical of a white wine. This is a serious wine that, like our other Pinot Noirs, can pair with a myriad of foods and can benefit from a bit of time in the glass or decanting just before serving. 

“Emeritus Vineyards – Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs of Great Esteem”

“This is Pinot Noir vinified as white wine; only a few other producers in California craft a similar wine. Fermented in concrete tanks and matured for four months in neutral oak. Straw color; aromas of ripe Anjou pear and yellow plum. Medium-full with excellent concentration. A touch alcoholic in the finish, but otherwise, this is quite rich and delicious, and the wine has excellent persistence. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years.”

—Tom Hyland, Forbes, Feb 2019

Between 9 and 9.5 Points out of 10

“One of the more unusual and exciting wines this week is a white Pinot Noir made by Emeritus Vineyards called ‘Hallberg Blanc’ which is made in the blanc-de-noir method by pressing the Pinot grapes immediately and then fermenting the juice in concrete and neutral oak where it loses whatever little tinge of color it has and becomes a vibrant white wine that is as delicious as it is mysterious.

Pale blonde in color, this wine smells of cherry and citrus. In the mouth, juicy bright citrusy lemon and grapefruit flavors have a fantastic zing thanks to excellent acidity. Hints of orange peel linger in the finish. Made from Pinot Noir in the blanc-de-noir style: pressed immediately off its skins and then fermented in concrete tanks and neutral barrels. Outstanding and delicious.”

—Alder Yarrow, Vinography, June 2020

90 Points

“Right out of the box, I’m sure you’re wondering how Pinot Noir gets a name like Hallberg Blanc. The first part is easy—it’s Emeritus’ home vineyard. The next part comes from the technique—Pinot Noir at full ripeness, but all free run juice with no skin contact. The result is a unique expression, with just a hint of strawberry joining mouth-watering mixed citrus and a touch of earthiness, all delivered over a creamy texture and finishing long and subtle with a crisp acid kiss on the end. Try it where a Chardonnay might be too heavy, but where you’d still like some viscosity and softness.”

—Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, Nov 2018

“Russian River Road Trip”

“down the road, we meet Mari Jones, the President of Fun (‘COO isn’t as exciting’) at Emeritus Vineyards, her family’s Pinot Noir winery. Her father, Brice Cutrer Jones, purchased the 115-acre Hallberg Ranch and launched the winery in 1999 after 25 years at well-known neighboring Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards.

Jones recalls traveling to Burgundy with her dad as a kid. She loved the wine and asked, ‘Why can’t we make this wine at home?’ Once she was able to get involved in the business, Emeritus’ sincere loyalty to site-specific Pinot Noir took shape. The winery only uses red grapes, although a recently released 2017 Hallberg Blanc is a sprightly white wine made by limiting the pinot noir grape skin contact.”

—Laura Levy Shatkin, Napa Sonoma Magazine, April 2019

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2019 ~ 2018 ~ 2017 ~ 2015 ~ 2014 ~ 2013

2019 Pinot Hill

A perfect distillation of the east and west sides of our Pinot Hill Vineyard, this mesmerizing wine is unlike any other Pinot. While it offers graceful layers of wild strawberry, rhubarb pie, Angostura bitters and cherry hard candy, what sets it apart is its savory undercurrents and its saline and umami notes. Mysterious and magnificently layered, it weaves a spell as the red fruit flavors mingle with hints of balsa wood, thyme, sage, sweet coffee and licorice root, all of which are framed by creamy, mouth-filling tannins and a restrained undercurrent of acidity that add lift and life to the tantalizing finish.

750mL bottles

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2018 Pinot Hill

94 points (Wine Enthusiast), 93 points (Wine Review Online)

Due to the steep hillsides and thick fog layer that blankets the vineyard, Pinot Hill has small berries and clusters. As a result, there is a depth and darkness to this wine that is mesmerizing. On the nose, brooding layers of old growth forest floor, brambly thickets, graphite minerality and sea spray mingle with voluptuous aromas of boysenberry, huckleberry and elder berry. While the deep resonant flavors are echoed on the palate, they carry themselves with a dynamic grace, framed by sweet, juicy tannins and hints of burnt orange marmalade, mahogany and roasted chestnuts. To bring these flavors into perfect focus, we recommend decanting this wine. 

750mL bottles ~ Magnum bottles

94 Points: Superb; a great achievement

“From a dry farmed estate site in the Sebastopol Hills, this wine is grown in conditions of relatively cool days and relatively warm nights, and offers impressive layers of forest, blackberry, blueberry and currant. Accents of tea and clove accentuate the savory, cool-climate intensity, driven by acidity throughout.”

—Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, Nov 2021

93 Points

“Brice Cutrer-Jones’ team brings us this true exemplar of cool climate Pinot Noir from just off the western edge of Russian River Valley AVA. This means tart red fruit, zippy acidity and intense concentration. Rich oak spice joins cranberry, strawberry and pomegranate, and the finish is almost crisp like a white wine, with the oak toast pushing the spice into the distance.”

—Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, Dec 2021

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2017 Pinot Hill

95 points (Wine Enthusiast & Wine Review Online)

The fact that this vineyard is cloaked in fog most of the day, and buffeted by ocean winds in the afternoon, makes perfect sense when you smell and taste the resulting wine. Layers of dried mint, moss, lemongrass and salty air provide cooling notes that contrast a core of dried currant and cranberry. Like ice crystals in your mouth, the palate is at first dense and crunchy, before melting away to a long, flowing finish.

750mL bottles ~ Magnum bottles

“Spotlight on Emeritus Vineyards”

“Located in the cool Sebastopol hill region with steep grades, this wine is very high in acidity yet rich and concentrated because of the small berries.”

—Marisa D’Vari, Forbes, Nov 2019

95 Points: Superb; a great achievement

“From a dry-farmed Sebastopol Hills site substantially cooler than the producer’s marquee Hallberg Ranch, this is sublime, nuanced and delicate wine, tightly wound, with grip and crispness. Cherry, strawberry and raspberry come into sharp focus around sea spray and minty forest, the finish ethereally minded.”

—Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, April 2020

95 Points

“This is a beautifully focused wine from an aptly named vineyard located in the Sebastopol hills that sits in a fog channel, allowing the vines to be bathed in moisturizer for a good part of the day. These growing conditions translate into racy, citrus like acidity that in this glass is a perfect complement to deep cranberry and black cherry fruit. A dash of oak spice adds depth, and the finish keeps pumping zesty red fruit. Beautifully fresh, and a fine cellaring candidate as well. Did I mention 13.2% alcohol? Bravo!”

—Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, April 2020

Between 8.5 and 9 Points out of 10

“Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of raspberry jam. In the mouth, juicy raspberry and cherry flavors have slightly softer acidity than I would like, but very pretty texture thanks to powdery tannins that drape like gauze over the core of fruit. A faint citrus note lingers in the finish.”

—Alder Yarrow, Vinography, June 2020

Beautiful Bottling

“Sourced from the Sonoma Coast AVA, this beautiful bottling shows lovely cola and blackberry cordial aromas that mingle with shades of sassafras in the glass. The texture and brightness is really nice, as is the sense of salinity and terroir.”

—Owen Bargreen, Washington Wine Blog, Oct 2019

“Here are 29 excellent bottles of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to look for”

“Lifted, effusive, and joyful, with an undertow of forest floor pulling along notes of goji berries and pomegranates. The palate shows notably sweet fruit in the wild strawberry, cherry, and black raspberry vein, all joined by star anise and cinnamon stick. This shows that ripeness and elegance can absolutely coexist.”

—Brian Freedman, Food & Wine, March 2020

“Fine Pinot Noir from California’s Sonoma County”

“This pinot noir specialist was established by Brice Cutrer Jones, originator of the popular Sonoma-Cutrer chardonnay. The 2017 Pinot Hill is refined and bracing with a note of sea spray.”

—Rich Mauro, The Colorado Springs Gazette, July 2020

“California Pinot Noir”

“A fog from the east sweeps Pinot Hill most of the day, which creates a savory character of this wonderfully lush pinot noir. The stronger sun exposure on the west side of the hill adds riper grapes and texture to the blend. Damp earth and mint combine with black cherry flavors.”

—Tom Marquardt & Patrick Darr, South Florida Reporter, Jan 2020


“It is well balanced: the acid accents the fresh fruit flavors (of which there are several from a variety of different categories), but the wine maintains a subtle earthy undertone throughout the tasting. The tannins are soft, smooth and well-integrated into the wine. The wine also shows complexity: The notes from the barrel aging regime add a mid-palate lift filled with spice and toast notes. There is also a hint of tertiary notes in the form of forest floor or wet leaves that leads me to believe that this wine, though quite young, is already starting to develop and has the potential to age further. The wine showed intensity in both flavor and aroma and provided a long, lingering finish that ended with a floral back breath. I believe that this wine has the potential to age further in the bottle. The hint of tertiary notes in the form of forest floor or wet leaves leads me to believe that this wine, though quite young, is already starting to develop and has the potential to age further. I believe with time, we’ll begin to experience more of those earthy tones that, right now, play a secondary aroma/flavor role, as the fresher fruit flavors become more subtle.”

—Stacy Briscoe, Briscoe Bites blog, June 2020

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2015 Pinot Hill

94 points (Wine Review Online, South Florida Reporter), 93 points (JamesSuckling.com)

Pinot Hill is an evocative beauty! As this vineyard matures it captures the essence of its rugged and windy terrain. This wine walks a fine line between sweet and savory, delicate and muscular. Aromas of small dark fruits, dried flowers, sweet hay, sage and essential oils burst out of the glass. The mouth feels simultaneously thick and compact while also being smooth and elegant. It’s like having two wines in one which makes it incredibly versatile with a variety of cuisine. This will be a very long-lived vintage!

3 liter bottles

94 Points

“This small site of Goldridge soils over Los Osos clay yielded less than a ton per acre in 2015, with very small bunches, which gives huge concentration to this wine, both on the nose and in the mouth. Tea, touch of menthol, deep cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, and a savory note are announced with confident authority in aroma and flavor, and the elements linger with good push and integration. A complex delight with age-worthy structure!”

—Rich Cook, Wine Review Online, Nov 2018

94 Points
“Pursuing the Holy Grail of Pinot Noir”

“In the drought vintage of 2015, Kirk saw no signs of water stress in his two dry-farmed vineyards. In fact, the two wines—my featured Pinot Hill Pinot Noir and the Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir—show plenty of freshness, as well as the concentration typical of a vintage with a small crop.

Of the two 2015s, I favor the Pinot Hill because to me it is a thrilling Pinot Noir—perfumed, sleek and tensile with delicacy of texture and purity of fruit expression. The wine shows its cooler terroir, a site that is early to see fog in the morning and late to lose it. It is a steep site at 100 to 300 feet elevation and can typically be 10 degrees cooler than Hallberg Ranch.

Specifics: Aromas and flavors suggest red cherry and raspberry, dried flowers, fresh herbs. Flavors are pronounced, focused and pure, showing intensity and delicacy at the same time. The wine’s acidity is high; it’s this acidity more than the moderate tannin that defines the wine’s structure. The texture is lacy one moment and smooth the next (keep tasting, try to decide). I expect this wine to evolve beautifully for many years.”

—Mary Ewing-Mulligan, Wine Review Online, Jan 2019

94 Points

“This suave Pinot Noir from Emeritus has a floral note on the nose, a touch of spice on the palate and aromas of raspberry and cherry with velvety tannins and impressive length.”

—Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online, July 2019

93 Points: Outstanding

“This has a modern, forthright feel with bright red-cherry and plum aromas, framed in fresh, spicy oak. The palate has a velvety and juicy feel with ripe strawberries and cherries, wrapped neatly around fine tannins. Drink or hold.”

—Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com, Nov 2018

2015 Emeritus Pinot Hill Pinot Noir

“Open this now and it’s tannic and meaty, with saltiness to the delicate red fruit. Give it time to open in a decanter and that fruit becomes racy, enriching the salty tannins of the wine with sweet notes of wild strawberries. At that point, it’s ready to serve with roast veal or chicken over mushrooms and cream. It grows at a vineyard in the foggy hills west of Sebastopol and just north of the windy Petaluma Gap.”

—Josh Greene, Wine & Spirits, April 2019

95 Points: Superb; a great achievement

“We were impressed with the purity of two recent releases—the 2015 Emeritus Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir and the 2015 Emeritus Pinot Hill Pinot Noir. Hallberg Ranch is in Green Valley and Pinot Hill is in Sebastopol Hills.

Winemaker David Lattin has nice concentration in the Hallberg Ranch pinot noir, a wine with cranberry and citrus notes with a hint of licorice—a good price for a wine with this concentration. The haymaker is the Pinot Hill pinot noir because of its greater complexity and layered fruit. There is a brambly personality to this dark-fruit wine.”

—Tom Marquardt & Patrick Darr, South Florida Reporter, Jan 2019

“Try these unique wines”

“This estate, founded by Brice Cutrer Jones of Sonoma-Cutrer fame, concentrates solely on pinot noir, so it’s not surprising that the wines are excellent. There is nothing like pinot noir when it is made in the right hands and in good vintages. The 2015 Emeritus Pinot Hill Pinot Noir is also a complex, richly textured wine with good depth and concentration. This is a producer to keep an eye on.”

—Tom Marquardt & Patrick Darr, Capital Gazette, Jan 2019

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2014 Pinot Hill

The 2014 growing season began early with a warm and dry spring. We were fortunate to have a moderately mild summer with foggy mornings, which delayed ripening. Once it was time to harvest there was no break in the picking. Our Pinot Hill this year shows the delicate character of this vineyard with layers of bright fruit and spice complimented by tantalizing acidity. The wine is more extroverted than the previous vintage bursting with pepper, sandalwood, and eucalyptus with strawberry, cranberry and mint flavors. The fine grain tannins give this wine its delicate structure. This wine will age graceful for years to come and is wonderful today (though we suggest decanting if possible).

750mL bottles

Pinot Hill 2014

“Aromas of spice, pepper, meat and strawberry follow through to a full body, round and velvety tannins and a juicy finish.”

—James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2017

Pinot Hill 2014

“From a dry-farmed site in the Sebastopol Hills, this smells great, capturing the foggy cool of the coast in its rose and fir-tree scents. A warm, sleek red-fruit tone washes over that coastal spice, so the end of the wine is juicy and simple, though still pretty delicious. It’s ready to drink with a roast chicken.”

—Josh Greene, Wine & Spirits, April 2017


“Translucent in the glass with eucalyptus and Bing cherry cola dominate the nose, while the palate is earthy, fruity, and tart. Brambly, succulent, and fantastic. This is only my second go-around with Brice’s Emeritus venture, but it will certainly not be the last. In a sea of over-extracted, over-blown, over-priced Pinots on the market today, Brice continually shows that Pinot is at its best when all is in balance. Bravo.”

—Jeff Kralik, The Drunken Cyclist, July 2017

“It’s no wonder that Emeritus Vineyards has become one of my top picks for Pinot tasting.”

—Deborah Mines, Uncorked Wine Travels, June 2018

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2013 Pinot Hill

95 points (Wine & Spirits), 93 points (Wine Spectator)

Inaugural vintage! Pinot Hill is the first place the fog rolls in from the ocean and last place for it to burn off in the afternoon. It is the coolest site for Emeritus, cloaked with fog for most of the day during the growing season. It is also notable for the steep hillside it is planted on. Our Pinot Hill vineyard grows the smallest clusters and berries of Pinot Noir we have ever seen!

The wine from this vineyard is the most feminine of our estates, and possesses the leanness, elegance, and fine tannins expected from this foggy and windy hillside. The backbone of this wine is spice with bright red fruit (more cherry and raspberry) coming through, overlaid with peppery, clove, and bay leaf notes.

95 Points

“A cold hillside vineyard, Pinot Hill is heavily influenced by the fog and wind from the nearby Petaluma Gap. Jones planted the vines in 2008 without irrigation, pushing them to draw water from a layer of clay under four feet of sandy Goldridge soil. This inaugural vintage is a touch awkward at first, alive with energy but oscillating between stemmy greenness and red-fruited acidity. Yet, in the glass, the structure grows completely seamless and fine, and those flavors harmonize into an herbal strawberry tone that feels indelibly coastal. It’s confidently ripe and beautifully gastronomic, a silky ride toward savory hints of pine needle and black trumpet mushrooms—with which it would be delicious, especially next to duck breast. It’s a wine to keep in the cellar for a few more years, or decant.”

—Josh Greene, Wine & Spirits, Feb 2016

93 Points

“Features seductively smoky, toasty oak up front, complementing the core of fresh and vibrant plum, raspberry and wild berry flavors. Ends with a long, snappy finish. Ripe tannins give the flavors traction. Drink now through 2024.”

—Jim Laube, Wine Spectator, Nov 2015

2013 Emeritus Pinot Hill Pinot Noir

“From the Sebastopol Hills neighborhood, relatively cool and wind-affected, this wine has a compelling generosity, a full-bodied concentration that never gets bogged down. The hits of sandalwood, clove and pine provide a sultry edge.”

—Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, Sep 2016

2013 Emeritus Pinot Hill Pinot Noir

“Pinot Hill was planted in 2008 and the first vintage bottled was 2013. Though young, stylistically, this wine embodies all of the qualities I’ve come to expect from Emeritus Pinot Noirs: balance, purity of fruit, elegance, charm, and great acidity. If you have a penchant for Pinot Noirs that show restraint and finesse, then this is a winery to put on your radar.

This elegant and expressive Pinot Noir starts with a lovely medium ruby color, followed by enticing aromas and flavors of macerated cherry, raspberry, and cranberry, joined by a charming wisp of perfume and allspice like qualities. It is impeccably balanced with fresh fruit, refined tannins, and a vivid underpinning of acidity that lifts the texture and carries through the lingering finish. This Pinot Noir is drinking beautifully in its youth and will develop soundly in the cellar. I enjoyed a glass with seared duck breast, but it will also complement a wide variety of foods at your dinner table.”

—Dezel Quilen, My Vine Spot, March 2016

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2021 ~ 2020 ~ 2019 ~ 2018 ~ 2017

2021 Ruby Ruby

Cool, quenching, delicate and delicious, our 2021 Ruby Ruby races across the palate like a refreshing breeze across coastal meadows of clover and wildflowers. Sparkling with an almost crystalline purity, it reveals its charms with the pristine radiance of a springtime sunrise, with warm soulful undertones of bright fruit shining like sunlight through misty, morning fog.  

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2020 Ruby Ruby

A heady aroma fog of sweet white flowers, mandarin oranges, and honey-melon syrup billows from the glass as soon as you pour the 2020 Ruby Ruby. The aromas lead you to believe that the wine will be sweet, but it isn’t, and the mouth has just enough tension from a hint of bitterness to make it refreshing and thirst quenching. I can’t wait to drink this wine when the weather warms up a bit. Oh, and the color! It practically gives off light! 

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2019 Ruby Ruby

Made using the saignée method, our 2019 Ruby Ruby captures the delicate and delicious purity of perfectly grown Pinot Noir. From its beautiful salmon hue to its sweet aromas of sugar-dusted strawberry candy and watermelon sorbet, it is a sleek and radiant wine that is perfect for lazy days on the front porch or at the beach.

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2018 Ruby Ruby

Like springtime in a glass, our Ruby Ruby is fresh and radiant, with aromas of wild flowers, zesty citrus, lychee and green melon. It is a lush and juicy wine that effortlessly bridges the divide between lovers of red and white wine. And like spring, it seems to disappear all too quickly.

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2017 Ruby Ruby

We make our Ruby Ruby using the traditional saignée method, where juice is drawn from the Pinot Noir tanks after the first day of cool pre-fermentation skin contact. While the winemaking is traditional in method, the end result is anything but; that’s thanks to the intensely flavored Pinot Noir fruit from our Hallberg Ranch. After just one day of contact with the skins, our high acid juice is packed with the precursors that eventually reappear in the finished wine as essence of blood orange, lychee, melon candy, and white flowers. One day of skin contact is enough to ensure that the mouthfeel is lively, juicy, and quenching.

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