2014 Cherry Pie Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch Carneros
When winemaker Jason Woodbridge set out to create a Pinot Noir, everyone who knew him, guessed it wouldn’t be just another wine. Words like ‘Burgundian’ and ‘understated’ are not in the vocabulary of the larger-than-life Australian native, and anything worth making at all was worth making extraordinary. It was Woodbridge who created the big and bold Hundred Acre project, for example, as well as the monster Layer Cake label. Subtlety is not an adjective that he would ever own. He chose for the project the Stanly Ranch Vineyard, an old Pinot in Los Carneros site long associated with, among other wineries, Beringer. No one at Beringer, however, would ever recognize the Pinot Woodbridge would create. It was big, it was bold and it was sensational! And, predictably, it caught fire. So much so that it spawned a second label and, eventually, a very, very large offer to sell. Sure, Pinot Noir purists poo-pooed the wine. One sommelier we know called it ‘the Syrah of bottled Pinot!’ But so what? Good is good, right? Over the years, Cherry Pie has earned a reputation as one of the biggest, baddest Pinots on the block- a lot like its iconoclastic winemaker. And there’s more to it than its really slick packaging and gobs of super rich black cherry fruit, although there’s certainly plenty of that. Time in the bottle of this 2014 has brought forth a plethora of intriguing new aromas- toasted wood, pomegranate syrup, crushed cinnamon stick and sage-y herb to name a few. It’s amazing actually. On the palate it’s very plush- like red velvet cake more than cherry pie, really. And the complex, beautifully balanced finish goes on and on and on! It’s a layered, hedonistic Pinot Noir experience that tastes wonderful all on its own but will show more of its multifaceted personality with some beautifully grilled herby lamb chops, a nice rare, peppery steak or a wild mushroom risotto. It’s a fabulous drink that will only get better over the next five years or so. If your menu calls for really bold flavors and only Pinot Noir will do, make yours Cherry Pie!
Dense ruby in color, the 2014 Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir first shows aromas of crushed berry, fresh lavender and rose with cola undertones. The palate is full-bodied in texture, showing bountiful notes of raspberry jam, baked strawberries and a hint of cherry cola atop cocoa flavors and powdered tannins. Laden with the same bold fruits as on the nose, the mid-palate shows layer upon layer of cranberry, dried rose petal and vanilla, carrying through the long finish.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: 91 Points
Woodbridge’s Midas touch with Cabernet Sauvignon also extends to his Pinot Noirs. He makes three of them – two from the Sonoma Coast and one from the Southern Napa Valley site called Stanley Ranch that was often used by Berringer. The 2013s are all brilliantly packaged with a gorgeous picture of a cherry pie on the label. The 2013 Cherry Pie Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch is a hefty Pinot at 15+% natural alcohol, but exhibits delicious kirsch liqueur notes, roasted herbs, spice box and medium to full-bodied fleshy and succulent fruit and texture. It is a sexy, endearing style to drink over the next 5-7 years.
Wine Spectator: 90 Points
Fruit-driven, gushing with lively plum, cherry and raspberry flavors, showing subtle shadings of anise, mineral, herb and cedar. An easy-to-enjoy, complex, ready-to-drink style, offering richness and flair.
Wine Enthusiast: 90 Points
Rich and concentrated, this big, brawny bruiser tastes as advertised: layered with baked strawberry and cherry pie flavor and ripeness. Earthy soy, anise and cinnamon keep those elements in check, as does the wine's velvety texture.