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Average critic rating : 93.0 points
The 2011 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvee Catherine reminded me of a grand cru Musigny from Burgundy. Elegant floral, raspberry, red and black cherry, forest floor and crushed rock aromas soar from the glass of this medium-bodied, beautifully knit, surprisingly concentrated Pinot. Made from yields of no more than one ton of fruit per acre, the intensity and depth of flavor were easy to obtain. It should drink well for 8-12+ years. ||A new project owned and managed by Steve Kistler, Occidental has 18 acres of Pinot Noir planted primarily with the Calera clone on low yielding root stock Riparia Gloire. The vineyard, situated in the Petaluma Gap, is extremely windy and cold. As readers may know, a majority interest in Kistler Vineyards was recently sold to entrepreneur Bill Price, and Steve Kistler, who will continue to consult at Kistler Vineyards, decided he wanted to have his own estate. I tasted two Pinot Noirs from the 2011 (the debut vintage) and 2012 vintages. While a lot of noise is made about getting lower sugars in California, and that alcohols have gotten too high, this particular site appears to provide full phenolic ripeness at a much lower sugar level. Moreover, if the crop yields are kept low, excellent intensity and richness are also present. So perhaps in selected micro-climates, California is capable of making very concentrated, ageworthy wines with alcohols in the 12.5-13.5% range. Although those terroirs and sites are few and far between, this would appear to be one of them.||Tel. (707) 823-5603 Wine Advocate.December, 2013
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