Close up pf grape leaves with sky in background

2019 SPRING RELEASE

 

Antonio Galloni, Vinous

  • It is always a pleasure to stop by Occidental. Once again, I saw Steve Kistler more relaxed than ever. The 2016 Occidental Pinots are stunningly beautiful. Readers will find a set of intensely saline Pinots built on energy that stand in stark contrast to the dark, inky Pinots Steve Kistler once made at Kistler, the winery he founded in 1978. Kistler relates that much of the inspiration for Occidental came with the 2010 and 2011 vintages, years in which ripeness was naturally achieved at lower sugars and simply could not be pushed beyond a certain level. But what is most important is just how exquisitely beautiful these wines are. Steve Kistler is certainly making the most of this second chapter in his brilliant and storied career. Readers who can find these wines should not hesitate, as they are positively brilliant. - A. Galloni, Jan. 2019
  • 2016 Bodega Headlands Vineyard Cuvée Elizabeth

    Score: 96

    The 2016 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is a fascinating wine to taste for a number of reasons. One of them is that the Bodega Headlands Pinot was formerly in the Kistler range, which makes for an easy comparison of the wines Steve Kistler made at Kistler and those he makes now at Occidental. The stylistic shift between then and now is startling. Once a dark, inky Pinot, the 2016 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is perfumed, intensely savory and nervous in feel. Crushed rose petal, mint and chalk add nuance to a core of bright, red-toned fruit. Intensely saline and vibrant, the 2016 is magnificent today. - A. Galloni
  • 2016 Running Fence Vineyard Cuvée Catherine

    Score: 96

    A new wine in this range, the 2016 Pinot Noir Running Fence Vineyard Cuvée Catherine is sourced from Steve Kistler's Bodega Ridge estate, where the Occidental winery is located. Blood orange, red raspberry, mint, dried flowers and star anise are all laced together in this very pretty, expressive Pinot Noir. The 2016 is translucent and wonderfully energetic at the outset, but then gains volume with time in the glass. It is another gorgeous and highly nuanced wine in the range. - A. Galloni
  • 2016 SWK Vineyard

    Score: 97

    The 2016 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard emerges from the highest point of Steve Kistler's Bodega Headlands property. Vibrant and exquisitely beautiful, the 2016 is a striking wine that is going to need a number of years to come together. There is a lot here, but the 2016 is painfully closed at this stage. Dark red cherry, plum, blood orange, mint and rose petal all develop in the glass, with bright saline notes that give the wine shape and energy. Today, the SWK is utterly exquisite, but my impression is it will be an even better wine in a few years' time. - A. Galloni
  • 2016 Occidental Station Vineyard

    Score: 94

    The 2016 Pinot Noir Occidental Station is another stand out in this range. High-toned, aromatically expressive and silky, the 2016 is incredibly harmonious. Today, the Occidental Station is the most open-knit and sensual of the wines, which makes it easier to drink on the earlier side. Silky tannins add to the wine's considerable appeal. The inclusion of 25% whole clusters adds nuance throughout. - A. Galloni

 

Jeb Dunnuck

  • 2016 Bodega Headlands Vineyard Cuvée Elizabeth

    Score: 98

    The 2016 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlines Vineyard Cuvée Elizabeth is another more elegant, almost perfect wine from this estate. Thrilling notes of smoked red cherries, earth, forest floor, and graphite all give way to a medium-bodied, vibrant, racy wine that has flawless balance, crunchy, vibrant fruit, notable tannins, and a great finish. This is another awesome wine that will benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for a decade. - J. Dunnuck
  • 2016 Running Fence Vineyard Cuvée Catherine

    Score: 97

    Coming from the oldest block just outside the estate (although these are all relatively young vines), the 2016 Pinot Noir Running Fence Vineyard Cuvee Catherine is the first vintage for this cuvée and it's a barrel selection made in the winery. Awesome notes of black and blue fruits, crushed flowers, violets, and hints of charcoal give way to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, thrillingly textured Pinot Noir that does everything right. As with all these 2017s, it’s vibrant and elegant, yet has terrific concentration, good mid-palate depth, and a great finish. Give it a year or two. - J. Dunnuck
  • 2016 SWK Vineyard

    Score: 98+

    The only wine to see some whole clusters, the 2016 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard is one of the more structured, backward wines in the lineup. It reveals a deeper ruby color as well as a complex bouquet of darker raspberries, earth, graphite, and smoky notes. Rich and medium to full-bodied, it has great balance and concentration as well as building tannins. It's another classy, age-worthy wine from Steve Kistler that's going to benefit from bottle age and keep for 10-15 years or more. It ranks with the top wines of the vintage. - J. Dunnuck
  • 2016 Occidental Station Vineyard

    Score: 96

    The 2016 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Vineyard is a more rounded, mouthfilling effort compared to the other cuvées (it also sees a touch of whole cluster) and is medium to full-bodied, beautifully textured, and layered, with classic notes of forest floor, flowery spice, earth, and sweet black raspberry fruit. It has a wonderful finish, the purity of fruit that's common from this address, and the class to evolve for 10-15 years or more. - J. Dunnuck
  • 2016 Freestone-Occidental

    Score: 96

    Possessing a great nose of black raspberries, kirsch, violet, and forest floor, the 2016 Pinot Noir Freestone-Occidental is bright and juicy, with elegance and beautiful purity of fruit. Showing fine tannins, a lovely floral quality, integrated acidity, and a great finish, this is pure class. - J. Dunnuck