90 Points, Wine Enthusiast
Dark cherry and dried cranberry give way to a dense, mouth-watering minerality and fruit-driven mid-palate with a long-lasting finish of elegant tannins.
The La Cruz Vineyard is planted on mineral-rich clay soils left behind as the remanence of ancient sea beds. Very tight row spacing creates competition between the vines for nutrients. This results in low yields and intense fruit flavors. The La Cruz Vineyard tends to wake up under a blanket of cool fog, which is then pushed out to sea by the ever-present winds of the Petaluma Gap. These winds roar through the Petaluma Gap, past Keller Estate and out to the San Pablo Bay, leaving warm sunshine in their wake. This combination of fog, wind, and sunshine create a microclimate that is unique to our area.
As a growing season, 2015 was driven by the story of May. Early on, December and February rains saturated our soils and filled the reservoirs. A warm March and April engendered early bud break and full bloom, helping Keller Estate avoid many of the complications of the surprisingly cold May that followed, initiating and instigating an unusually poor fruit set throughout Northern California. Like our neighbors, however, our grape clusters and berry sizes were uneven. Smaller berries led to low yields but also concentrated flavors and intense quality.
The core of La Cruz Pinot Noir comes from the Pommard clone, which creates a wine with a dense and elegant backbone. Clones 667 & 777 are added for bright fruit and mouth-watering acidity. Small percentages of other clones provide delicacy and spice bringing all the varietal components together seamlessly. All our Pinot Noir fermentations use native yeast which helps us capture a true sense of place. Our winemaking practices strive to gently guide our wines through our gravity feed cellar with minimal intervention. The wine was racked once at bottling after 10 months in barrel.
Our mission is to share the passing of time through our family’s vineyard.
Arturo Keller and his wife Deborah first fell in love with the site while driving a vintage car through the meandering Sonoma roads, and selected the property for its potential as a site for a world-class vineyard. Clearly, the property’s beauty, setting, and history influenced our decision to make it our home.
In 1989, we planted the first Chardonnay vines, and La Cruz vineyard was born. Our first vintage was sold to Rombauer Vineyards, who rapidly became excited with the potential of the site, giving us confidence in our fruit. By 1999, we planted a few acres of Pinot Noir and recognized the potential to make our own exceptional wines. In 2000, the Keller Estate label became a reality. Shortly after, in collaboration with the prestigious Mexican firm of Legorreta+Legorreta we designed and built our stunning and functional winery, designed specifically for gravity-flow winemaking.
Ana Keller, Arturo’s daughter and a biochemist by training, joined the team eager to create the most exquisite wines from the Estate’s vineyards. With Arturo’s constant vision and encouragement, Ana’s passion has established Keller Estate as a benchmark for producing some of the best wines in the Sonoma Coast. Her passion and dedication have been instrumental in establishing Petaluma Gap AVA and promoting the wines of this region worldwide.
We invite you to visit us and share our passion.
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I was a rat on this! I’m in a bit of a rush this morning so here is my abbreviated review. I took pictures but don’t have time to post them sadly.
I have been doing the “no alcohol” January thing so when I got the shipping notification from UPS I hoped it was worth breaking my vows.
The package showed up and even before I opened the box I could tell it was a smaller bottle. I opened up the package and saw the 375 ml of Keller Estate and I was excited! I figured it was worth breaking my vows for. I stuck it in the wine fridge and let it chill down a bit.
It is a nice bottle, great label and cork. Upon opening, the cork was nicely stained a dark purple.
I poured the bottle into a couple of Casemates glasses, the wine was a nice clear plum color. Definitely see through.
The nose was rich, I smelled fruit, maybe some cherries, and minerals with a little bit of alcohol.
First sip and this is smooth. The sour cherries come right through. Next taste was a bit of mineral from the soil. It is a very nice wine with tart fruit but very smooth. Maybe a touch of tannins on the tongue.
I had enough for another small glass and I let this one rest awhile, maybe an hour. It was really consistent with the first glass except for one thing. I could taste a slight bit of oakiness after it opened up a bit. The tannins were more apparent.
TL;DR: It’s a nice smooth but tart Pinot. I would judge this a medium body, definitely a lot of flavor but not overpowering. It is ready to drink now but will probably cellar a bit. Good buy at the price if you don’t mind the small bottles.
The above mentioned Wine Enthusiast review (the text under the caption is not the WE review although it appears to be)
90 Points. Light in color this wine is earthy in forest pine and Asian spice, the texture quiet in subdued fruit flavors of cranberry and wild strawberry. The structured, medium-bodied, vineyard designate is exotic in additional contours of citrus. VB 7/1/8
Oh hey what’s up guys, guess this is my time to shine. Sorry if this seems hastily thrown together, the wine just arrived from UPS last night (along with a much coveted and thoroughly disappointing Bag o’ Crap). I didn’t get an email with the launch date or Lab Rats logo this time 'round, so figured it was either a late Xmas gift like the one I just got from MorningSave or I’d have some time to taste it before needing to review. But alas, here we are.
For starters… tiny bottle. I know it’s mentioned like 5 times on the front page, but just in case you missed it or forgot already. Tiny. Bottle. Half size. Less booze.
Continuing. I shall be indulging upon this wine with three different pairings this fine morning. The first: toothpaste. 0/5 would not recommend. Sorry. Had already brushed my teeth before doing my morning rounds of internet deal sleuthing, upon which I surprisingly discovered a review is expected of me. While the wine is quite dry (I’d guess 2g or less of residual sugars), the sodium laureth sulfate from the toothpaste completely blocked any minuscule sweetness to be reveled in, and enhanced the bitterness. Even once the “toothpaste effect” had faded, I’d still say this wine leans more toward the tannic side of things. As a (mostly) cab drinker, I’d call this a good thing.
Since I’m already gonna have to re-brush my teeth anyway, I decided to pair it with a hearty breakfast. Had some lovely eggs from the neighbor’s hens and about 45lbs of venison left from my last hunt, much of which is in bulk breakfast sausage. And some bacon. Duh. Always gotta have bacon. Once again tho, not a great combo. I feel like I’m letting this wine down cuz it’s really good but just not a breakfast wine. The main flavor profile is definitely red fruits, which seems more accommodating toward a nice fatty fish or some chicken. I’m just gonna let everything settle then enjoy the wine on it’s own. Be back soon.
Ahhh. There it is. I think letting it decant a little and letting my palette recalibrate is exactly what I needed. I know there’s a bit of a stigma against aerating pinot noirs but for me I find it really helps to neutralize a bit of their acidity. Gave me plenty of time to get a nose for it, which are once again ruled by red fruits (maybe cherry or plum) and a bit of oak for sure. Taste reminds me of a cherry pie. Think it could have worked better with just the bacon or maybe by just not drinking wine for breakfast. We have some chicken tortilla soup going in the crock pot and I have about one glass left, think I’d like to come back to this around lunch time and enjoy it with a more worthy pairing at a more palatable hour. I can definitely tell why it’s so well reviewed amongst the professionals tho. Would unhesitatingly split a case with a few friends as we did the last time this winery came around with their Rôtie.
Once again thanks Mediocre for your awesome site and the Lab Rats program and all the other stuff y’all do; looking forward to my I.R.K. which says it’ll be here this afternoon (already?!). And thanks to everyone who got through that without stabbing your eyes out. If you’re a pinot fan do buy. Just remember. Mini bottles. Not a breakfast wine. Enjoy!