97+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck "Coming from a terrific site located at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2016 Chardonnay East of Eden Pisoni Vineyard boasts phenomenal notes of ripe citrus and white peach fruits, white flowers, and freshly crushed rocks. It's clean, incredibly pure, and elegant on the palate, with a level of tension and vibrancy you don't find too often in the vintage. I followed this bottle for two days and it only improved with air. It's a brilliant Chardonnay from Lato that’s going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and age gracefully for a decade or more. Don’t miss it!"
95 Points - William Kelley (robertparker.com) "From one of the oldest vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley, Paul Lato’s superb 2016 Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard reveals attractive aromas of yellow orchard fruit, citrus zest, peach and honeycomb. On the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied, with more textural glossiness than the Belle de Jour, underpinned by bright acids and concluding with an intense, chalky finish. This is quite structurally tight-knit right now and will need a couple of years in the cellar to blossom."
96 Points - Jeb Dunnuck "From a site on the eastern side of the Sta. Rita Hills and aged in 50% new French oak, the 2016 Pinot Noir Atticus John Sebastiano Vineyard offers a very pretty, perfumed style. Red cherries, red plums, rose petals, and blood orange notes give way to a medium-bodied, ethereally textured, seamless 2016 that has some background oak, a layered, ultra-fine personality, and a great finish. It's going to age beautifully. Again, this is easily the most ethereal and seamless in the lineup and shines more for its nuance and elegance than power or richness. Drink it any time over the coming decade."
96+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck
Lato always makes the most of this great vineyard, which is located in the cooler, Pacific Ocean-influenced Santa Maria Valley. Black raspberries, red plums, violets, and hints of scorched earth all emerge from the 2016 Pinot Noir Suerte Solomon Hills Vineyard and it’s one of the more masculine, mineral-laced wines in the lineup. Nevertheless, it has beautiful purity and an undeniable elegance. Aged 15 months in 65% new French oak, give bottles a year or so and enjoy over the following decade.
95 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2015 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is bold and racy, but also shows a good bit of freshness.
Dark cherry, plum, lavender, mint, violet and sweet spices are front and center.
Pliant and ripe, but with good supporting energy, the 2015 is all about balance."
97 Points - James Halliday "A tiny 0.37ha interplanted with Bernard/Dijon and Gin Gin clones on south-facing deep silver grey sands. Wild fermented in new and used oak. Pale straw-green; highly fragrant/perfumed, palate fine and intense; minerally aftertaste. 13% alc, screwcap. Drink to 2030.
95 Points - Antonio Galloni "Varner's Chardonnay Amphitheater Block is rich, ample and super-expressive. Lemon peel, almonds, chamomile, earthiness, dried apricot and sage meld together effortlessly. The 2013 Amphitheater is a classic Varner Chardonnay built on phenolic intensity and plenty of savory/floral notes that add nuance, while the fruit is pushed a bit into the background."
95 Points - Antonio Galloni "A wine of total allure, the 2015 Home Field (Fort Ross Seaview) is also the brightest of the three Pinots in the range. Sweet red cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, blood orange and chalk are some of the many notes that run through the 2015. Bright, tense and salivating, the 2015 possesses terrific energy, with beams of underpinning salinity that drive the wine forward. This is another captivating wine from Raen."
93 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2014 Chardonnay Amphitheater Block wraps around the palate with striking depth. Creamy, ample and expressive, the Amphitheater is all about texture. Orange peel, mint, graphite, candied lemon and sweet floral notes abound in this deeply nuanced Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay. There is a lot to like here."
95 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2015 Bodega (Freestone Occidental) is the deepest and richest of these wines but it has somehow achieved all of that intensity while retaining its translucent personality and feel. Lavender, violet, plum and an array of blue stone fruit flavors give the Bodega its distinctly dark profile. At the same time, the 2015 is endowed with remarkable aromatic freshness and nuance. The whole clusters are evident, but also beautifully woven into the wine's fabric."