Mobirise Site Generator

Antonio Galloni

For the second act in his brilliant and distinguished career, Kistler is choosing to work with coastal Pinot sites that achieve full ripeness at lower sugars than those in the Russian River Valley and other parts of Sonoma. For now, there are four wines in the range, although Kistler told me he expects to add at least two more vineyard designates in the coming years. Kistler’s Occidental Pinot Noirs are off the charts in 2015. The low yields of the vintage produced deep, penetrating Pinots buffered by high acidity and bright, saline notes that keep the flavors fresh and vibrant. Kistler started experimenting with whole clusters in 2015 and subsequently increased the percentage of stems in 2016. Equally impressive, the bottled Occidental 2014s capture every bit of potential I saw when I tasted them from tank prior to bottling. Readers who have not tasted these wines yet owe it to themselves to do so. These are some of the most riveting, profound Pinot being made in California, or anywhere, for that matter. —  Vinous, March 9, 2017

2014 SWK Vineyard Pinot Noir

Score: 96+

The 2014 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard is the most reticent of these Pinots, as it was last year. Intense fruit and structure come together, but the wine is not at all ready to give everything it has. Dark red and purplish fruit overtones are lifted by the wine’s bright acidity and tannic underpinnings. This nervous, taut Pinot needs a few years to settle down, but it has tremendous promise. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Score: 97

The highlight in this range from Occidental, the 2014 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is brisk, perfumed and aromatic. It is also nowhere near as alluring for the near term as the Sonoma Coast or Occidental Station. Here the expression of fruit is intensely linear, with biting acidity and plenty of tannic underpinning. Blue and purplish-toned fruit, licorice, lavender and violet give the Bodega Headlands its distinct darker shades of expression. The flavors are both vivid and transparent. In my view, the Cuvée Elizabeth is the most complete of these wines. Don’t miss it. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

Score: 96

The 2014 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. A wine of depth, texture and pure pedigree, the 2014 will leave readers weak at the knees. It is every bit that striking. Succulent red cherry, blood orange, pomegranate, mint, spice and dried flowers are some of the notes that give the 2014 its exotic, haunting personality. Dramatic in its fruit intensity and yet also marvelously translucent, the 2014 simply has it all. Time in the glass just brings out more and more of the wine’s deep, inherent character. — Antonio Galloni

2014 SWK Vineyard Pinot Noir

Score: 94+

Medium ruby-purple in color, the 2014 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard appears to playing it close to the chest at this early stage, offering subtle suggestions of red cherries, raspberry leaves, Provence herbs and fragrant earth with a hint of Sichuan pepper. Medium-bodied, elegant, fine and tightly-knit on the palate, it has a wonderfully lively backbone and persistent earth and herb layers on the finish. Not giving quite as much as the other two vineyard-designate wines, I’ve been cautious with my scoring and look forward to seeing what this wine can do over the next decade. — Wine Advocate

2014 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Score: 97

Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2014 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvee Elizabeth has a compelling black pepper, garrigue and bay leaves laced nose over a core of Bing cherries, fresh raspberries and crushed cranberries, plus a waft of fertile earth. The medium-bodied palate fills the mouth with a wonderful intensity of pure red berry and earth-inspired flavors, with tons of spices and a great frame of grainy tannins, finishing very long and with moreish vibrancy. — Wine Advocate

2014 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

Score: 98+

Medium ruby-purple colored, the 2014 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvee Catherine has a youthfully subdued yet staggeringly beautiful perfume of lavender, moss-covered bark, fallen leaves and rose hip tea over a core of pomegranate, kirsch and black raspberries with a waft of wild thyme. Medium-bodied with a taut, very well-structured palate, it has firm, ripe, exquisitely fine-grained tannins and a lively backbone of freshness supporting the intensely fragrant fruit and earth layers, finishing with some mineral hints. It really needs another year or two in bottle and should drink over the next 15+ years. — Wine Advocate

Spring 2018 Release

2015 SWK Vineyard Pinot Noir

Score: 95 - 98

The most elusive of these wines, the 2015 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard is ethereal, lilting and super-intriguing. The SWK is intensely mineral and explosive in its energy, with beams of tannin that give the wine its spine and overall shape. There is plenty of depth just waiting to blossom but today the SWK is embryonic. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Score: 94 - 97

The 2015 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth comes across as a bit restrained today. A wine of tension, grip and total brilliance, the Cuvée Elizabeth is going to need a good bit of time to come together. Intensely mineral and savory-inflected notes give the dark red and purplish-toned fruits a sense of pungent lift and depth in a superb Pinot endowed with real pedigree and class. — Antonio Galloni

2015 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

Score: 95 - 98

The 2015 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine opens with the most exquisite perfume imaginable. Exotic and soaring in the glass, the 2015 possesses plenty of mid-palate depth to play off the aromatics. Layers of rich, textured fruit build to the intense, breathtaking finish. This remarkably vivid, pedigreed Pinot Noir simply has it all. What a wine. — Antonio Galloni