Tasting Notes

Wesley's Reserve

Pinot Hill East

Pinot Hill West


2018 Wesley’s Reserve

Year after year, the center blocks of Hallberg Ranch yield some of our most dramatic expressions of Pinot Noir, and the 2018 vintage is no exception. Displaying a glorious coastal rusticity the nose offers a medley of woodsy tones, with layers of truffles, forest floor and cool, morning moss mingling with dark berry aromas and notes of sassafras, soy and maple. On the palate, the tannins are pleasantly chewy, adding depth and stately structure to the black and purple fruit flavors, with hints of anise, pecan, pine needles and earthy mushroom lingering on the multifaceted finish.  

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2017 Wesley’s Reserve

From its effusive aromas of blackberry, loganberry and black coffee to its luxurious tannic profile and lush intensity, the 2017 Wesley’s Reserve possesses all of the power Hallberg Ranch can muster. On the palate, a fleshy richness and robust tannins underscore the concentrated dark berry flavors. At the same time, there is a fascinating and mature aspect to this wine that reveals itself in layers of earthy coastal forest floor, fresh-cracked black pepper, frankincense, cedar and savory spice. Though powerful and weighty, it still displays the elegance of Hallberg Ranch, and the proud stature of the man for whom it is named.

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2016 Wesley’s Reserve

Inaugural release. Year in and year out, the center blocks of our Hallberg Ranch offer up our most powerful and rich wines. Generally picked halfway through the month-long harvest, these prized blocks are the beating heart of Hallberg Ranch. In contrast to the more high-toned expressions of Pinot Noir that Hallberg Ranch is known for, this fruit is bursting with intense, dark berry flavors. For this reason, the wine stands up unflinchingly to the most flavorful barrels in our cellar. For the first time, we have bottled selected barrels of this wine to make ‘Wesley’s Reserve,’ a wine made to honor William Wesley Jones, Brice’s father, Air Force Colonel and loving grandfather to many.  

 The 2016 Wesley’s Reserve displays all of the power Hallberg Ranch can muster. It’s loaded with brambly fruit and warm sweet spice aromas. It is expansive, chewy, and very long on the palate. Though it is a powerful wine with a strong tannic backbone, it nevertheless displays the elegance of Hallberg Ranch, and the proud stature of the man for whom it is named. 

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2015 William Wesley

The 2015 is the last vintage from our William Wesley vineyard following its sale in 2014. This remote vineyard is surrounded by woods sitting high above the fog and close to the Pacific Ocean. It produces wines with thrilling and unique flavors. The fruit is dark and spicy, its sweet aroma is earthy and mysterious; more like fresh mushrooms than ripe fruit. Finally, there’s an aroma that comes directly from the sea that draws you in completely. The wine needs a bit of air to soften its rustic tannins, but please do the aerating in a glass (not a decanter) so you don’t miss any of its aromatic evolution. If you can stand to hold some in your cellar your patience will be rewarded! 

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2014 William Wesley

The 2014 vintage was a steady growing season, not too hot and not too cold, allowing the rustic character of this vineyard to shine through. The 2014 is our penultimate vintage of William Wesley and it represents the finest terroir expression of this vineyard to date. Subtle aromas of raspberry, black cherry, cranberry, blackberry, tobacco, and spice are framed by tannins that are present but not overpowering. The wine is rustic but elegant with a velvety texture and a charm distinctive of an Emeritus Pinot Noir.

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2013 William Wesley

The 2013 vintage produced graceful wines that are more feminine in nature. Although this remote vineyard produces rustic wines, 2013 molded a restrained wine that is more ballet dancer than football player. The wine oscillates between finesse and power and is unmistakability a coastal wine. Aromas of blueberry, cranberries and forest floor emerge from the glass. With a deep ruby color, this medium body wine is framed by a tannic structure characteristic of William Wesley. Beneath the frequent boldness of its tannins, a rustic charm emanates. Enjoy now or cellar for years to come!

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2012 William Wesley

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. 

2012 was the year everything came together for Annapolis. Still masculine in nature, the wine retains charm. Conditions were such that crop load and weather were in sync. This allowed for tannins to mature without rapid accumulation of sugar. The wine marries elegance and mountain ruggedness that characterize this region. The wine is unapologetically bold but underneath lies a gentleman. 

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2011 William Wesley

California usually produces extroverted wines, but the 2011 was a more subtle and introverted vintage. The 2011 William Wesley is more finesse than power, possessing a restrained character. Acidity is the life of the wine and 2011 is alive. This wine expresses the ruggedness of its Sonoma Coast mountainous origins. Beneath the firm tannins, spice, leather, and forest floor govern the palate.

Rustic in nature, the 2011 William Wesley will reveal its charm over time. Only 300 cases of this wine made!

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2018 Pinot Hill East

Like ocean fog rolling across a cool, morning meadow, there is a misty ethereal quality to this wine that adds to its sophisticated beauty. As it unfurls in the glass, graceful layers of dried cherry and cranberry mingle with notes of rooibos tea, red apple skin, and cherry pith.

With airy tannins and a shimmering energy that envelopes a savory core of cool forest earth, dried herbs and delicate spice, this is a beautifully elegant wine, that reveals new subtleties with each sip.

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2017 Pinot Hill East

For the Pinot Noir grape, subtle differences between sunlight and shade, cool breezes and calm air can have a dramatic influence on the final wine. Though our Pinot Hill Vineyard typically produces very dark Pinot Noirs with higher acidity, because one side of the hill faces west, and the other east there are two remarkably unique flavor profiles. To capture this uniqueness, in 2016 we began bottling two wines from the Pinot Hill vineyard. Though both wines are grown at the same vineyard, they could not be more different, with each offering its own distinct and evocative expression of Pinot Hill.

Shaped by abundant fog and the occasional rays of morning sun, our 2017 Pinot Hill East is one of the most profoundly aromatic wines we make. It is more of a savory wine, as it opens up, fascinating notes of orange-cranberry relish, acai, lemon verbena and Angostura bitters are revealed, teasing the senses and inviting a first sip. On the palate, this wine is poised, yet incredibly energetic, with a vibrancy that underscores the depth of flavors. Taut tannins and discrete whispers of oak frame layers of juicy red berry fruit that linger throughout a long and tantalizing finish.

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2016 Pinot Hill East

Inaugural vintage.

Pinot Noir is a fascinating grape, where subtle differences between sunlight and shade, cool breezes and calm air can have a profound influence on the final wine. Though our Pinot Hill Vineyard typically produces very dark Pinot Noirs with higher acidity, because one side of the site faces west, and the other east, the two sides create remarkably unique flavor profiles. Recognizing this, in 2016, we divided our Pinot Hill vineyard-designate into two wines in order to highlight the effects of morning fog and afternoon sun at the site. Though both wines are grown on the same rootstock and on the same slope, they could not be more different, with each offering its own distinct and evocative expression of Pinot Hill. 

Blanketed by lots of fog and the occasional ray of morning sun, our 2016 Pinot Hill East will surprise you with every sip! It is savory in character with aromas of fresh-cracked white pepper, mandarin orange rind, sea grass and celery salt. It smells like the ocean. Due to its low alcohol and high acidity, the mouth has a zesty energy, with mouthwatering twists and turns that are incredibly exciting. 

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2018 Pinot Hill West

Displaying a lovely, refined opulence, our 2018 Pinot Hill West is a dazzling wine that combines drama and depth with a rich and evocative sense of place. On the nose, nectar-like aromas mingle with savory smoked charcuterie notes, as well as hints of blueberry syrup, Asian spices and exotic flowers. On the luxurious palate, soft velvety tannins and a beam of bright acidity add poise and polish to flavors of almond-cherry liqueur, grilled nectarine, peaty earth, bay leaf and vanilla, while drawing the wine to a beautifully rich and flowing finish. 

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2017 Pinot Hill West

The West side of the vineyard has a few rays of late-day sun that mitigates the cool coastal winds that bathe the vineyard most afternoons. Our 2017 Pinot Hill West is a hedonist’s delight! Dark, sensual and super-concentrated, it is plush and viscous, coating the palate with flowing flavors of elderberry syrup, black currant, Vietnamese coffee and vanilla bean. While hints of cold-smoke and first-press ripe olives add to a sense of weightiness, there is a lithe acid-driven energy to this wine that provides focus and finesse to the luxurious finish.

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2016 Pinot Hill West

Pinot Noir is a fascinating grape, where subtle differences between sunlight and shade, cool breezes and calm air can have a profound influence on the final wine. Though our Pinot Hill Vineyard typically produces very dark Pinot Noirs with higher acidity, because one side of the site faces west, and the other east, the two sides create remarkably unique flavor profiles. Recognizing this, in 2016, we divided our Pinot Hill vineyard-designate into two wines in order to highlight the effects of morning fog and afternoon sun at the site. Though both wines are grown on the same rootstock and on the same slope, they could not be more different, with each offering its own distinct and evocative expression of Pinot Hill. 

Benefitting from a bit of late-day sun to mitigate the daily afternoon coastal winds, our 2016 Pinot Hill West expresses both warmth and coolness. It is super-concentrated, yet quenchingly fresh, and saturates all parts of the palate with orange nectar, star anise and sweet hay flavors. It’s a hedonist’s delight! 

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