Close up pf grape leaves with sky in background


Antonio Galloni, Vinous

  • It is always a pleasure to stop by Occidental. Once again, I saw Steve Kistler more relaxed than ever. 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. - Antonio Galloni
  • 2017 Running Fence Vineyard Cuvée Catherine

    Score: 97

    The 2017 Pinot Noir Running Fence Vineyard Cuvée Catherine is a gorgeous wine with striking aromatic presence and tons of energy. Red berry fruit, pomegranate rose petal, mint and sage overtones all open up with a bit of time, but the 2017 requires a bit of patience. Even in the early going, though, the 2017 has a level of purity that is breathtaking. - A. Galloni
  • 2017 Bodega Headlands Vineyard Cuvée Elizabeth

    Score: 95

    The 2017 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is a very pretty and expressive wine. Bright floral notes and red-toned fruits grace this supple, racy Pinot from Occidental. Hints of Asian spice and blood orange add pretty, exotic overtones. The 2017 was done with fully destemmed fruit, but it has a very attractive savory quality. This is such a classy and restrained Pinot, but there is plenty of density and weight as well. I can't wait to see how it ages. - A. Galloni
  • 2017 SWK Vineyard

    Score: 96

    The 2017 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard is rich, heady and bursting at the seams with personality. Black cherry, menthol, licorice, plum, espresso, lavender and savory herbs infuse the 2017 with striking layers of complexity and sheer character. Poor soils give naturally low yields and a wine with serious concentration as well as power. Statuesque and towering, the 2017 is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty, but it needs time to be at its best. - A. Galloni
  • 2017 Occidental Station Vineyard

    Score: 97

    The 2017 Pinot Noir Occidental Station is stunning from the very first taste. The purity of the fruit here is simply dazzling. Soft curves, silky tannins and soaring aromatics give the Occidental Station tons of allure. Super-ripe red cherry, red plum, blood orange, mint and sweet spice infuse the 2017 with tremendous nuance. All the elements meld together in a racy, inviting Pinot that hits all the right notes. The Occidental Station is the one wine in this range that has stems (30%), but they aren't especially notable. In a word: stunning. - A. Galloni