Acclaim
 

Accolades

ROAR is honored to be recognized consistently by international wine publications and critics for quality and value. Since Robert Parker took notice in the early 2000s, ROAR has been featured and mentioned in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate, Vinous and more. Most especially, we appreciate what our customers have to say about the wines. Below are some of our highlights and memorable moments from our short history with winegrowing.

Ribbon
2020 Jeb Dunnuck
Top 100 Wines of the Year
#37
2018 Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir
Ribbon
2019 Wine Spectator
Top 100 Wines of the Year
#43
2017 Sierra Mar
Pinot Noir
Ribbon
2018 Wine Enthusiast
Top 100 Cellars of the Year
#25
2016 Garys' Vineyard
Pinot Noir
Ribbon
2016 Wine Enthusiast
Top 100 Wines of the Year
#18
2014 Garys' Vineyard
Pinot Noir
Ribbon
2014 Wine Spectator
Top 100 Wines of the Year
#71
2012 Rosella's Vineyard Pinot Noir
Induction to Échansonnerie des Papes, a wine brotherhood of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
December 8, 2007
Induction to Disciples & Les Dames d' Escoffier International
October 10, 2017
Winner of Robert Parker’s “Pinot Noir and Burgundy…Blind” wine tasting
October 26, 2006

Compliments

Monterey County is one of the most exciting outposts on the California Pinot Noir frontier, and one of the most impressive producers is ROAR.
MaryAnn Worobiec
Wine Spectator
Saying ROAR to a Pinot Noir lover is like saying "Ferrari" to a person who loves cars. Some of the most luscious, complex, and rich Pinots are made by this small producer.
Karen McNeil
Wine Bible
Ever since a ROAR Pinot Noir blew away a great number of Burgundies in a blind tasting I hosted at the Cultinary Institute in Napa, I have taken a special interest in following the wines from this producer. They go from strength to strength.
Robert Parker
Robert Parker Wine Advocate
The always candid Gary Franscioni is one of the pioneers in the Santa Lucia Highlands... Still curious as ever, Franscioni continues to fine-tune his approach in his newly developed vineyards, and it shows in the quality of the wines.
Antonio Galloni
Vinous
The Franscioni family is making some of the best wines on the Central Coast.
Matt Kettmann
Wine Enthusiast
ROAR's Sierra Mar Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County, farmed by veteran vintners of the Franscioni family, is the source of that appellation's top-scoring 2017 Pinot Noir.
Kim Marcus
Wine Spectator

Wine Reviews

Each vintage, we submit our wines to several publications for critic review. We are honored to receive mentions and read the notes from some of the world's top wine influencers. Below we have captured recent vintages for all wines that were submitted for review. Due to a variety of reasons, not all wines are able to be reviewed, however all known published reviews are included. For older reviews dating back to our first vintage in 2001, please inquire directly to us.

Rosella's Vineyard Pinot Noir
2021
Wine Spectator
James Molesworth
91pts A flattering style, with a nice wave of plum sauce and blackberry preserves rolling through, flanked by singed toast, wood spice and licorice accents through the finish. Drink now through 2026.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
93pts Hibiscus, crisp red fruit, fennel pollen and lemon peel aromas make for a fresh and lively nose on this single-vineyard expression. The palate lands in broad fashion, with lush flavors of strawberry, more citrus and a pinch of pepper dust.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
92pts The 2021 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard is bright and effusive. Crushed red berry fruit, flowers, dried herbs and a kiss of sweet French oak are nicely lifted. This racy, exuberant Pinot is quite the charmer. It, too, will benefit from a bit of cellaring.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts The 2021 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard brings a more concentrated, serious feel and offers ripe mulberry and cherry fruit as well as scorched earth, graphite, and minerality, with nicely integrated oak. It's medium-bodied, concentrated, and focused, with a beautiful mouthfeel. It needs 2-3 years in the cellar (you'd be forgiven for enjoying a bottle today) and will evolve nicely over the following decade.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94+pts From a cooler site in the middle of the appellation, the 2019 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard has an up-front, juicy, perfumed nose of cranberries, tart strawberries, wildflowers, and orange herbal tea. It's more medium-bodied on the palate and has slightly more acidity, but the balance is spot on, and it has terrific underlying structure as well as outstanding length. It will cruise for a solid decade or so in cold cellars.
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
91pts Refined and minerally style featuring taut dried red fruit and berry flavors backed by crisp acidity. Savory spice notes on the finish, with accents of forest floor. Drink now through 2025.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
95pts Mace and cherry compote aromas are clean and opulent on the nose of this bottling. There is a great sense of cohesion on the tense palate, with rich red fruits that are dusted in sagebrush and red licorice, and washed clean with a blast of acidity.
2018
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
93pts Refined, layered and expressive, with rich, loamy accents to the dried dark fruit and cooking spice flavors. Cedary hints show on the finish, revealing touches of cocoa and cream. Drink now through 2025.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts From one of the cooler sites they work with, the 2018 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard shines for its vibrant, pure yet complex style. Giving up lots of mulberry and black cherry fruit as well ample sappy flower and spice notes, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, has a juicy, elegant texture, perfectly integrated acidity, and a great finish. Drink it over the coming decade as well.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Deep, glistening red. Expressive, spice-accented red and blue fruit, cola and floral qualities on the highly perfumed nose. Sweet and seamless in texture, offering energetic raspberry, cherry cola and rose pastille flavors plus an alluring spicy flourish. Shows an impressive blend of depth and vivacity and finishes with solid thrust and silky, slow-building tannins that fold seamlessly into the intensely persistent fruit.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts Snappy aromas of candied raspberry, lively hibiscus, subtle rose petal and star anise make for a very fresh and inviting nose on this bottling. The palate's baked raspberry and red-cherry flavors are cut by orange peel and licorice, making for a hedonistically complex sip.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
93pts The 2018 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard, aged 10 months in 63% new French oak, has a medium ruby-purple color and opens with blueberry and strawberry fruits with accents of lilac and lemon peel. The medium-bodied palate is soft and juicy with bright, floral-laced fruits and a long, perfumed finish.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
92pts Contoured, featuring lilting flavors of dried raspberry, cherry and underbrush, supported by medium-grained tannins. Beefy notes emerge midpalate, leading to a silky, well-spiced finish. Drink now through 2024.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
92pts Pale to medium ruby and shy on the nose to begin, with time the 2017 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard gives up scents of cranberries, red cherries, raspberries and strawberries with touches of chaparral, dried flowers, orange peel, cinnamon stick and dried leaves. Medium-bodied and very silky in texture, it offers excellently restrained, perfumed fruits with lovely freshness and a long, floral finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts Lighter in the glass, this bottling is a somewhat more delicate style than usual for the Franscioni family, but just as delicious if not more so depending on preference. Aromas of raspberry, pomegranate and wild thyme lead into a palate that’s loaded with strawberry, white pepper and bay leaf, finishing on vanilla cream.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Brilliant red. Vibrant, mineral-accented red berry liqueur and floral oil scents pick up exotic spice and succulent herb nuances with air. Juicy and expansive on the palate, offering seamless raspberry, cherry preserve, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen and turn sweeter on the back half. Closes extremely long and floral, with resonating red fruit and spice character and harmonious tannins that lend subtle grip.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
92pts The 2017 Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard is a pretty, elegant effort that has a sunny style in its strawberry, spice, and dried herb aromas and flavors. Picking up a kiss of orange rind and citrus with time in the glass, it’s medium-bodied and seamless on the palate, with plenty of upfront charm.
2016
Wine Spectator
James Laube
91pts Casts a distinctive anise and wild berry mix that's complex and engaging, tilting toward savory sage and herb notes and ending with firm yet supple tannins and a dash of cedar. Drink now through 2024.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
92pts The 2016 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard has a medium ruby color and scents of fresh blackberries and cranberries with nuances of dried citrus peel, tree bark, bitters, nutmeg and potpourri. The medium-bodied palate offers great balance of fresh fruit and bitter/spicy character, with a grainy frame and lifted finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Noticeably cloudy in the glass, this single-vineyard exploration shows rich mulberry, black plum and candied rose-petal aromas. It's soft and creamy on the palate, where tart red plum and fresh thyme flavors prove a promising pairing.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Limpid ruby. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red berries, incense, vanilla and candied flowers, and a spicy nuance builds with aeration. Juicy and broad in the mouth, offering sweet Chambord, cherry cola and spicecake flavors that take on a smoky mineral quality on the back half. Plays power off finesse with a smooth hand and finishes impressively long and sweet, featuring fine-grained tannins and resonating spiciness.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts The more medium ruby-colored 2016 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard has a terrific sappiness to it as well as loads of floral nuances, medium body, bright acidity, and straight up fabulous elegance. It’s not the biggest or richest in the lineup, yet is pure class, with perfect integration in its fruit, tannins, and acidity. It’s great today and will be great in a decade.
Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir
2021
Wine Spectator
James Molesworth
92pts Ripe, fresh and expressive, with tasty raspberry, plum and cherry notes infused with mulling spice, tobacco and savory hints. Juicy, focused finish. Drink now through 2027.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
97pts Ripe and joyous dark cherry and berry pie aromas leap from the nose of this bottling, but it's the earthy veil of loam, dust and chaparral spice that provides particular depth. The texture is firm and the energy is bright on the palate, where a refreshing acidity drives through black cherry compote, sumac and mace flavors.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
94pts The 2021 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard is laced with bright red-toned fruit, dried herbs, rose petals, cedar and sweet pipe tobacco. This is an especially savory Pinot in the range. The aromatics are quite alluring today, but the wine is much less expressive on the palate, where it feels very tight at this stage.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts The 2021 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard has a semi-opaque ruby hue (as do all of these 2021s from Roar) to go with medium to full-bodied aromas and flavors of redcurrant, black raspberry, and mulberry-like fruit as well as lots of classic Pinot Noir black tea, underbrush, and spicy aromatics. This beauty has the most opulence and exuberance of all the Pinot Noirs on the palate and has a great mid-palate, lots of fruit and texture, and a great finish. It's the most classically California-styled 2021 in the lineup and is going to put a smile on your face any time over the coming 5-7 years.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts The 2019 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard also has a big kiss of iron and obvious minerality. Deeper ruby-hued, with lots of mulberry, cranberry, and tart cherry fruits, it has lots of underbrush and earthy nuances, medium to full body, beautifully integrated acidity, and terrific tannins. It shows more and more marine-like seaside, almost iodine nuances with time in the glass and this is another brilliant Pinot Noir in the lineup.
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
93pts Elegant and powerfully structured, offering intensely fresh raspberry tart and cherry flavors. There's a minerally snap midpalate, with a long finish that is filled with savory richness and hints of hot stone. Drink now through 2026.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts Clean lines of cherry, clove, potpourri and incense slice through the nose of this bottling. There's noticeable pepper spice on the sip, where baked cherry and cola flavors are hit with a flash of incense while riding a fairly substantial frame of viscosity and power.
2018
Winespeed
Karen McNeil
95pts ROAR (named after the sound of the wind tunneling through Monterey Bay) is an outlier among the Pinots here. It’s known for its weight and uber richness. Its dense, dark berry and cola flavors are enveloped in leathery notes laced with herbs and black pepper. The fruit is deep enough to rival blueberry syrup. Around the office, we call this “steakhouse Pinot.”
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts The 2018 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard comes all from the Pisoni and Calera clones and saw 54% new French oak. Another complex, Burgundian style release from this team, it offers notes of wild strawberries, cured meats, iodine, and damp earth, with more violet and floral notes developing with time in the glass. Beautifully layered, pure, and silky on the palate, with polished tannins, it shows the class of this great vintage and is going to drink brilliantly for at least a decade.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
95pts Dark magenta. Assertive red and blue fruit preserve, cherry and floral scents are complemented by oak spice, incense and smoky mineral accents. Shows impressive depth and solid thrust on the palate, offering spice-tinged black raspberry, cherry cola and boysenberry flavors that pick up candied rose and vanilla nuances with air. Finishes impressively long and smoky, with youthfully firm tannins providing grip to lingering dark berry and five-spice powder notes. 54% new French oak.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Red- and ripe baked cherry and strawberry-cream aromas pair with crushed slate and wild mint on the nose of this bottling. The palate is aggressively ripe on the sip, where more red-fruit flavors meet with candied plum and wild mints.
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
91pts Dried red fruit and spice flavors feature savory nuances in this taut, well-framed version. Mineral, hot stone and cedary accents show on the direct finish. Drink now through 2024.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
93pts Refined and precise, with good cut to the dried red currant and raspberry flavors, backed by firm acidity and silky tannins. Savory and underbrush notes emerge on the powerful finish. Drink now through 2024.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
94pts The 2017 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard is pale to medium ruby in color and offers gregarious scents of strawberry and raspberry jam, crushed blueberries and blackberries with notes of rose petals, dried leaves, cinnamon, earth and amaro. Medium-bodied and über silky, it has delicate berries flavors laced with loads of spice, earth and floral accents, finely grained and fresh with a long, layered finish. Lovely!
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
95pts Macerated strawberry and raspberry aromas meet with sumac and more red spice on those nose of this bottling from the iconic vineyard. There is compelling richness to the black cherry and Alpine strawberry of the palate, and then an underlying layer of dark star anise spice rises into the finish.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Deep shimmering red. Ripe, spice-accented cherry, black raspberry, vanilla and smoky minerals on the deeply perfumed, expansive nose. Intense red and dark berry liqueur flavors are supported by a core of juicy acidity. With aeration, picks up five-spice powder and floral qualities; these carry through the impressively long, seamless finish, which features rounded tannins and a resonating cherry note.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts Both deeper and darker than the Rosella’s Vineyard, the 2017 Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard offers more blackberry, toasted spice, dried earth, and some garrigue-like notes, with just a hint of background oak. It too is medium-bodied, elegant, and seamless on the palate, with beautiful balance.
2016
Wine Spectator
James Laube
90pts Offers juicy plum, raspberry and wild berry flavors at the heart. Supple-textured and easy-drinking, though the tannins sneak up. Time should work to this wine's advantage. Best from 2019 through 2024.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
93pts The 2016 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard has a medium ruby color, and the nose gives up graphite-tinged cranberries, blackberries and red cherries with accents of underbrush, tree bark and dried citrus peel. The medium-bodied palate is elegantly styled and earthy with bright citrus accents and great freshness, finishing very long.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
96pts Deep aromas of candied black cherries, ginger snaps, star anise and iron-laced soils are rich and inviting on the nose of this single-vineyard expression. Boisterous, energetic flavors of red fruit meet with cinnamon, annatto and, on the finish, the buzz of Sichuan peppercorn. Drink 2020–2030.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Bright ruby-red. Ripe, spice-accented black raspberry, vanilla, incense and cola scents on the deeply perfumed nose. Offers intense red berry liqueur, floral pastille and spicecake flavors that are lifted and given spine by a smoky mineral quality. Concentrated as well as surprisingly energetic and focused, finishing with excellent persistence, velvety tannins and lingering floral and spice character.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
97pts One of the finest wines I’ve tasted from this estate is the 2016 Pinot Noir Garys' Vineyard. This beauty comes from a mix of the Pisoni and Calera clones and was brought up in 60% new barrels. A huge perfume of black raspberries, kirsch, crushed flowers, and violets as well as the classic iron note that’s common from this site all flow to a medium-bodied Pinot Noir that’s perfectly balanced on the palate. It’s a rich, powerful wine, yet it just glides over the palate, with thrilling purity of fruit and a great finish. It’s a profound Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands.
Soberanes Vineyard Pinot Noir
2021
Wine Spectator
James Molesworth
91pts Sappy, with kirsch and mulberry paste flavors pumping through, backed by black licorice and roasted vanilla notes. Doesn't show a ton of range, but stays juicy and engaging. For the fruit bomb crowd. Drink now through 2026.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts If seeking out a flavorful, attention-commanding Pinot Noir, this is a satisfying choice, starting with baked black cherry and a spice rack of aromas on the nose. There's a chalky texture that wraps around the undeniably ripe flavors of black cherry, black plum and rich spices on the unctuous palate.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
94pts Deep, rich and expansive, the 2021 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard packs a pretty huge punch. Succulent dark cherry, plum, lavender, spice, menthol and tobacco are all amplified in a dramatic Pinot that delivers the goods, big time. Superb.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
93pts Red currants, darker iron, black tea, and sappy sassafras notes all emerge from the 2021 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard, a pretty, medium-bodied 2021 with supple, nicely integrated tannins and the focused, elegant, balanced style of the vintage on the palate. It's already drinking nicely, yet given its balance and both ripe tannins and good acidity, it should evolve nicely over the coming 7-8 years, if not a decade.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts The Soberanes Vineyard has been producing some brilliant Pinot Noirs of late, and I loved the 2019 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard from Roar. Loads of wild strawberries, dried flowers, spice, and loamy earth all give way to a medium to full-bodied, seamless, beautifully balanced 2019 that has plenty of mid-palate depth, ripe, slightly softer tannins, and a great finish. It's another terrific wine to drink over the coming 7-8 years.
2018
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
92pts Big and ripe, with touches of cigar box to the concentrated dark currant, olive and wild herb flavors. Dark chocolate details and hints of roasted meat emerge on the dense, muscular finish. Drink now through 2025.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts Violets, a touch of blue fruits, wild strawberries, toasted spices, and a hint of herbes de Provence all emerge from the 2018 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard, another seamless wine that does everything right. Showing the elegance and purity that's the hallmark of the 2018 vintage, it still has ripe tannins, good mid-palate depth, and a great finish. The 2018 comes all from the 667 and Pisoni clones and was brought up in 61% new French oak, although, like all these 2018s, the oak is basically undetectable.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Shimmering ruby-red. Powerful, spice-tinged red berry preserve, cherry and floral pastille scents are complemented by suggestions of vanilla and succulent flowers. Rich and seamless in the mouth, offering sappy, mineral-accented black raspberry, cherry liqueur and fruitcake flavors that become livelier through the back half. Finishes impressively long and subtly sweet, with harmonious tannins building steadily and adding grip to lingering cherry and floral notes.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts Ripe cherry-pie aromas meet with lots of clove, fennel pollen and a hint of chipped slate on the nose of this bottling. The wine lands with the winery's characteristically juicy red fruit on the palate, blending raspberry-sorbet flavors with sharp mace and cinnamon spice, capturing such elements at their peak.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
95pts The 2018 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard, aged 10 months in 61% new French oak, has lovely scents of cranberries, strawberries and blueberries with touches of bergamot and violet. The medium-bodied palate explodes with concentrated, juicy, perfumed fruits, silky in texture and finishing long and lifted.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
91pts A polished style, with focused dried cherry and red currant flavors, backed by fresh acidity. Hints of mocha show midpalate, leading to a finish that extends with dried savory spice notes. Drink now through 2023. 297 cases made.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
93pts Pale to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard offers up lovely aromas of baked marionberries, boysenberries, dried red cherries and cranberries with cinnamon stick, forest floor, orange peel, dried flowers and amaro accents. The medium-bodied palate demonstrates great restraint, with all that ripe, juicy fruit tempered by spicy, earthy accents, softly framed and fresh and finishing long and layered.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
96pts Aromas of mulberry, red cherry, cracked pepper, wild thyme and an earthy richness show on the dynamic nose of this bottling by the Franscioni family. There is a great bounce to the palate, with tart strawberry and plum flavors that mesh with accents of tangerine rind, marjoram and dried sage.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Dark scarlet. A highly perfumed nose features scents of ripe red berries, potpourri and exotic spices, and vanilla, cola and smoky mineral notes build with air. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering concentrated raspberry, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors and a suggestion of spicecake. Shows excellent delineation and floral lift on the gently tannic, mineral-tinged finish, which leaves behind a sexy raspberry liqueur note.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94+pts The 2017 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard (brought up in 74% new French oak) is another layered, balanced wine from this team. Strawberries, blueberries, spring flowers, and spicy notes all define the bouquet. Medium-bodied, with good acidity, ripe tannins, and a great finish, it has a tight, slightly closed style that makes me think it will benefit from a year in bottle.
2016
Wine Spectator
James Laube
91pts Complex aromas of raspberry, blackberry, rose petal and anise are captivating, revealing concentration without sacrificing texture. Ends with grippy tannins and a long, full finish. Drink now through 2025.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
93pts The 2016 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard has a medium ruby color and is slow to unfurl to ripe cranberries, red cherries and blackberries with accents of underbrush, dried flowers, tree bark and a spicy undercurrent. The medium-bodied palate offers earthy, pleasantly bitter fruits with a firmer, albeit finely grained frame, with just enough freshness to carry the long finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
97pts The Franscioni family is making some of the best wines on the Central Coast, as evidenced in this bottling, which shows tremendous concentration without being overripe or overextracted. Aromas of purple and red flowers meet with minty tarragon and pine needle on the nose, while the palate's black cherry and boysenberry flavors are lifted by touches of eucalyptus and pine needle.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
93+pts The 2016 Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard offers a darker edge with lots of cassis and blackberry fruits intermixed with plenty of earthy minerality and underbrush notes. Medium-bodied, firm and edgy, it has loads of potential but needs another year in bottle.
Sierra Mar Vineyard Pinot Noir
2021
Wine Spectator
James Molesworth
93pts Ripe and with nice range, offering wood spice, incense, black and red tea and mulled plum and raspberry fruit notes that meld together through a lengthy finish. Reveals nice underlying freshness, too. Drink now through 2028.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
95pts Juicy black cherry and boysenberry aromas are generous on the nose of this single vineyard expression, with waves of wet soil and crushed slate adding a mineral nuance. The lush palate of Luxardo cherry and a spice rack of flavors is wrapped in grippy tannins that elevate this wine to the upper echelon.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
93pts The 2021 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar Vineyard is a wild wine. Strong mineral and savory notes are front and center, while the fruit is more pushed into the background. This potent, driving Pinot will need a year or two to soften, but I expect it will always be rather forbidding.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts Another pretty, perfumed wine in the vintage, the 2021 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar Vineyard has ripe strawberry and framboise-like fruit as well as ample background spice and dried herb nuances, and it gains a darker, floral edge with time in the glass. Medium-bodied on the on the palate, with nicely integrated oak, velvety tannins, and just a round, supple mouthfeel, it's drinking beautifully today and will be drinking beautifully in another 7-8 years as well.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts Lastly, the 2019 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar Vineyard has lots of black tea, dried herbs, and underbrush notes as well as a big core of darker fruits (blackberries, darker cherries), medium to full body, a round, expansive texture, integrated oak, and a savory, spicy finish. It's another brilliant Pinot Noir that will drink well for 7-8 years or more.
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
92pts Minerally, elegant and well-structured, with notes of dried sage to the cherry tart and pomegranate flavors. Firm and savory on the moderately ripe finish. Drink now through 2024.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
96pts *Cellar Selection* Fresh yet structured, fruit-driven yet spicy, this is a wine to watch for a decade or so. Hearty boysenberry cream and classic French toast spices entertain the nose while the palate is framed by a hearty tannic backbone, hanging up the blueberry compote, clove and cardamom flavors. Drink now through 2039.
2018
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
93pts Powerfully structured, minerally and slate-driven, with hints of black pepper to the dark currant, raspberry and black olive flavors. Tarry nuances and dark chocolate notes emerge on the broad, enveloping finish. Drink now through 2025.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts Mulled cherries, wild strawberries, iodine, sappy herbs, and a touch of forest floor all emerge from the 2018 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar Vineyard. Nicely balanced, it has a wonderful texture and sweet tannins, and is just a classy, complex Pinot Noir. Coming from a mix of clones (943, Calera, Pisoni, and Swan) and brought up in 61% new French oak, drink it over the coming 8-10 years.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
95pts Deep, brilliant scarlet. A complex, expressively perfumed bouquet evokes spice-tinged red and blue fruits, exotic spices and potpourri, along with a deeper cola nuance and a hint of smoky minerality. Energetic and seamless on the palate, offering finely etched raspberry, boysenberry, lavender pastille and spicecake flavors underscored by a vein of juicy acidity. Finishes extremely long and spicy, with polished tannins and resonating floral and berry notes.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
95pts Candied boysenberry and black-raspberry aromas meet with ample baking spice on the nose of this bottling, which manages to be both sharp and spicy. Fresh and lovely fruit qualities dominate the palate, from alpine strawberry to lush baked cherry, although the mace and star anise qualities are what make it shine.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
95pts Aged 10 months in 61% new French oak, the medium ruby-purple colored 2018 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar Vineyard has a nose of cranberries, blueberries, forest floor, blood orange and dried violet. Medium-bodied, the palate is concentrated and super perfumed with a finely grainy frame, great juiciness and bright citrusy accents, finishing long and layered.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
94pts Rich and plush, revealing a sinewy power to the dried cherry, macerated plum and red currant flavors. Luxuriantly spiced, with a long, creamy finish of cardamom, dried ginger and chocolate hints. Well-crafted and elegantly styled. Drink now through 2025.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
93pts Pale to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar has aromas of baked rhubarb, crushed black cherries, redcurrants, clove, licorice and dried leaves with touches of citrus peel, tree bark, pipe tobacco and a very pretty floral undercurrent. The light to medium-bodied palate is über spicy and features well-tempered fruits, a grainy, fresh frame and long, floral finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
97pts Rich and ripe in aromas of red cherry, caramel and oak, this bottling is made elegant and complex from the crushed slate and stony qualities that thrive throughout. A concentrated Bing cherry flavor rings on the bone-dry palate, lifted by mint and more chiseled stone. This is amazingly ripe and delicious, yet hewn with impressive minerality.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Deep glistening red. Highly perfumed aromas of ripe red berries, incense and candied flowers, along with building Asian spice and mineral nuances. Vibrant, palate-staining raspberry, cherry cola and spicecake flavors take on subtle vanilla and floral pastille qualities as the wine opens up. Shows excellent delineation and finishes extremely long, sweet and lively, with just a hint of fine-grained tannins adding shape and grip.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts One of the standouts in the vintage is the 2017 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar Vineyard. This brilliant wine comes from more decomposed granite and gravelly soils and was brought up in 71% new French oak. Thrilling notes of crushed rocks, rose petals, gravelly minerality, and ample black cherry and black raspberry fruit all flow to layered, medium to full-bodied Pinot Noir that carries remarkable intensity yet stays weightless and balance. It’s pure class.
2016
Wine Spectator
James Laube
92pts Fragrant and perfumed, with floral scents and wilted rose, plum, cherry and raspberry flavors. This is smooth most of the way, though gravelly tannins on the finish add traction. Drink now through 2023.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
92pts Medium ruby, the 2016 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar Vineyard offers ripe raspberries, cranberries and rhubarb with notions of underbrush, potpourri, charcuterie and bitters hints. The medium-bodied palate is intense and broody with a grainy frame and just enough freshness on the long finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
93pts The nose on this single-vineyard expression combines ripe red fruits of pomegranate and raspberry with spicy Red Hots cinnamon candies. Bright red currant and more raspberry flavors explode on the palate, where nuances of Earl Grey tea, potpourri and rose petal flavors make for a fresh sip.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Vivid ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, cherry cola, candied licorice and mocha pick up a suave floral element with air. Sweet and broad on the palate, offering juicy red berry and floral pastille flavors that are sweetened by a building vanilla note. The cola note comes back steadily on an extremely long, penetrating finish framed by smooth, harmonious tannins.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts The 2016 Pinot Noir Sierra Mar Vineyard is one of the more open, sexy wines in the lineup, yet it still has a classic elegance about it. Ripe cherries rose petals, ground herbs, and sous bois notes all flow to a medium-bodied, balanced, layered Pinot Noir that shows how good the Santa Lucia Highlands can be.
Pisoni Vineyard Pinot Noir
2021
Wine Spectator
James Molesworth
90pts Ripe, with a boysenberry and maraschino cherry core that pumps along steadily, picking up chocolate nib, sweet tobacco and licorice snap notes along the way. Polished and toasty through the finish, with the fruit keeping pace. For fans of the style. Drink now through 2025.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Very ripe and rich black cherry are extremely fruit-driven on the nose are spiced by cardamom dust in this bottling from an iconic vineyard. The palate is hefty in weight and texture, where long-lingering tannins frame cherry paste and baked strawberry flavors. This one is for enjoying now.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
95pts The 2021 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard is terrific. Deep and dense on the palate, with tons of explosive energy, the 2021 dazzles from start to finish. Dark blue/purplish fruit, lavender, sage, mint, tobacco, incense and dried flowers build as this potent, brooding Santa Lucia Highlands wine shows off its personality. This is a super-classic wine from the Pisoni Vineyard as interpreted by the Franscioni family at ROAR.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts The 2021 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard comes from a warmer site yet more granitic soils in the southern portion of the appellation. It has a concentrated, medium to full-bodied style that brings a darker, more mineral-driven style yet still has ample darker berry and redcurrant fruits as well as chalky minerality, spring flowers, and black tea-like nuances. I love its overall balance, and it has a layered, seamless mouthfeel, terrific mid-palate depth, and outstanding length. This beauty will evolve for 10-12 years if well-stored.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts The 2019 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard comes from more granitic soils and is a slightly warmer micro-climate, located at the southern end of the appellation, furthest away from Monterey Bay. It's a more mineral-laced, savory wine that leads with earthy nuances of redcurrants, dried herbs, black tea, and baking spices. Stunning on the palate, it’s medium to full-bodied and has a great, great mid-palate, lots of perfectly ripe tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish. It's not far off the brilliant 2018 and certainly one of the finest Pinot Noirs in California.
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
95pts Powerful and well-structured, with crunchy acidity framing the raspberry, red currant and plum pastry flavors that are fresh and fruit-forward, followed by accents of hot stone and white pepper on the finish. Drink now through 2027.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
95pts *Cellar Selection* Lively aromas of raspberry and warm baking spice are kicked up by a minty hint of tarragon on the nose of this bottling from the famed vineyard. There's an attention-grabbing grip to the bright palate, where the tannins and fresh acidity frame strawberry, stone and herb flavors.
2018
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
94pts Harmonious, densely packed flavors of ripe dark fruits and Asian spice are layered with chocolate cream accents. Fleshy tannins and acidity power this version, leading to a long, rich finish that features concentrated minerally and underbrush notes. Drink now through 2026.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
98pts Coming from the warmer, southern end of the appellation and slightly more granitic soils, the 2018 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard is certainly my favorite in the lineup. Deep ruby/purple, with a smoking bouquet of red currants, wild strawberries, forest floor, violets, and spice, it has beautiful minerality, full-bodied richness, building structure, and a great, great finish. Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir doesn't get much better. This beauty will benefit from a year in bottle and drink brilliantly for a decade or more. Unfortunately, there are only 265 cases made.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
95pts Shimmering ruby-red. Powerful, smoke- and spice-accented black raspberry, cherry-vanilla and floral aromas show excellent clarity and take on mocha and mineral flourishes as the wine opens up. Appealingly sweet and expansive on the palate, offering concentrated red and dark berry preserve, cola and spicecake flavors that convey uncanny energy for their heft. Fine-grained, well-knit tannins frame a pliant, highly persistent finish that leaves behind berry liqueur, candied lavender and exotic spice notes.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
96pts Brown sugar and Luxardo cherry aromas meet with nutmeg and cola spices on the layered, inviting, rich and delicious nose of this bottling. The single-vineyard expression is voluptuous on the palate, delivering joyous and vivid black-cherry flavors that are cut by an underlying acidity and structure, which allows the baking-spice backdrop to shine: a giant wine, with balance.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
95pts The 2018 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard, aged 10 months in 55% new French oak, is soft and pretty this vintage, with aromas of blueberries, cranberries, forest floor, bergamot and peppercorn. The palate is medium-bodied, juicy, perfumed and super silky in texture, with expansive fruits and juicy freshness calling you in for another sip on the long finish.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
91pts Spicy, with subtle cardamom accents to the finely textured dried raspberry and cherry flavors. Vanilla accents show on the savory finish. Drink now through 2024.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
94pts Pale to medium ruby, the 2017 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard gives up wonderfully layered perfume of raspberry and strawberry jam, tangerine peel, dried leaves, amaro and loads of rose petal aromas with a super spicy undercurrent. The medium-bodied palate is über silky and intense with layers of fruit, spice, amaro and earth. It has a finely grained frame and addicting mouthwatering acidity, finishing very long and layered.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
96pts A bit lighter in the glass, this bottling from the iconic Pisoni Vineyard offers aromas of fresh strawberry, clove and mint on the beautiful nose. It’s bright and snappy on the palate with raspberry, pomegranate and red-plum-skin flavors that play against an earthy backdrop of bay leaf, menthol and forest floor.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
95pts Brilliant red. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes red fruit liqueur, incense and potpourri, along with suave vanilla and Asian spice nuances and a hint of cola. Concentrated yet lithe in style, offering palate-staining Chambord, cherry cola, spicecake and floral pastille flavors sharpened by a jolt of smoky minerality. Finishes sweet, smooth and impressively long, with building florality and discreet, well-knit tannins.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts In the same league, the 2017 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard (70% new French oak) has the most salinity as well as minerality in the lineup. Dusty earth, blackberries, violets, and rose garden-like characteristics all soar from the glass. It’s ethereal and elegant on the palate, yet has the classic Pisoni power and tension front and center. It will be better with a year of bottle age and keep for a decade. It’s another thrilling wine from winemaker Scott Shapley and the team at Roar.
2016
Wine Spectator
James Laube
93pts Pure, rich and layered, with extracted plum, blackberry, licorice, loamy, gravelly earth and cedary oak notes. Sails and sings, meriting room in the cellar. Drink now through 2025.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
93pts Medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard has a very pretty, floral nose: dried rose petals, potpourri, tangerine peel, graphite and woodsmoke mingle over a core of ripe red cherries, cranberries and blackberries. The intense, medium-bodied palate offers earth and bitters-tinged flavor layers with a finely grained frame and a very long, juicy finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
95pts Intensity is tantamount in this wine, starting with focused aromas of black raspberry, sun-warmed rose petals, spice cake and a slate-driven minerality. There is a strong acidic zip to the sip before it settles into a smooth groove, loaded with spice-soaked mulberry, Luxardo cherry and clove flavors.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Deep, brilliant red. Displays Intensely perfumed raspberry liqueur, potpourri and cola scents, along with a smoky mineral nuance that gains strength with air. Densely packed and alluringly sweet, with a bright core of minerality supporting sappy red berry preserve, spicecake, mocha and rose pastille flavors. Gains power with air while maintaining energy and focus and finishes very long and sweet, with smooth tannins building slowly and harmoniously with the wine's intense fruit.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
97pts Not far off the style of the Sierra Mar release, the 2016 Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard is tighter and more focused, yet has similar notes of beautiful red fruits, violets, and rose petals. Showing a thrilling sense of minerality with time in the glass, medium to full body, incredible elegance, and perfect balance, it’s another profound Pinot Noir from this team.
Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noir
2021
Wine Spectator
James Molesworth
93pts Dark and seductive, with generous blackberry and boysenberry compote notes laced with mulling spices, revealing hints of warm fruitcake and black tea on the lush finish. A hedonist's Pinot. Drink now through 2028.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Bold aromas of black cherry, cola and caramel make for a ripe and rich nose on this bottling. The palate is quite viscous, showing black cherry sorbet and vanilla ice cream flavors. It's ready to drink now, and may not last as long as the winery's other bottlings.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94+pts The only Roar Pinot Noir not from the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2021 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard comes from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County. It's a more structured, savory effort revealing a powerful bouquet of black cherries, roasted herbs, licorice, and baking spices, and while it's a dramatically different wine compared to the Santa Lucia Highland releases, it has a similar level of purity and balance, with medium to full-bodied richness, ripe, integrated tannins, and a great finish. It's another terrific wine in this lineup, and I have no doubt this will still be going strong at age 10.
2020
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
93pts The Franscioni family had to head south for red wine due to the wildfires of 2020, and they found a gem in this vineyard. Aromas of black cherry, cola and vanilla are well measured on the nose. The palate is layered in sandy tannins that will last for years and loaded in black cherry compote and nutmeg flavors that ride into a creamy finish.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Saturated magenta. Deeply pitched red and blue fruits on the nose, along with suggestions of candied violet, cola and vanilla. Shows surprising energy for its heft, offering youthfully jammy, oak-spiced black raspberry and boysenberry flavors and building smokiness. Dusty tannins form slowly on a long, appealingly sweet finish that echoes the blue fruit and cola notes. 61% new French oak.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
92+pts I believe the first time the estate has made a Pinot Noir from this vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills (no doubt due to the lack of viable Pinot Noir in the Santa Lucia Highlands due to smoke), the 2020 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard comes from a mix of the 115 and 667 clones and was brought up in 61% new French oak. Its healthy translucent ruby color is followed by a rocking nose of sassafras-laced cherry and raspberry fruits, spring flowers, baking spices, and loamy earth. Medium-bodied on the palate, it has a firmer, focused texture, plenty of tannins, and outstanding length. It's already complex aromatically, yet tighter and closed on the palate and will benefit from a year or two of bottle age. It will have a decade of longevity.
Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
2021
Wine Spectator
James Molesworth
89pts Juicy, showing nice tension to the mix of red cherry and bitter plum fruit flavors, while warm stone, sweet tobacco and savory hints dart in on the finish. Drink now through 2025.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts This appellation blend is just as hedonistically delicious as many of the Franscioni family's single-vineyard bottlings. Round aromas of black cherry, French toast spice and loamy earth lead from the nose into a boldly ripe palate of berry pie flavors. A shale-like minerality forms a rocky tension that keeps it all in balance.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
92pts The 2021 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands) is packed with dark red/purplish fruit, lavender, sage, mint, tobacco and mocha. This potent appellation-level Pinot Noir will surely be a crowd-pleaser, as it offers tons of fruit density and plenty of allure. I would give it a few months in bottle to soften.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
93pts Moving to the Pinot Noirs, the base 2021 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands is smoking good, with a beautiful, Chambolle-like perfume of redcurrants, spring flowers, spice, and hints of tea and forest floor. Medium-bodied, it has a supple, elegant texture, a more focused, savory mouthfeel, fine tannins, and a great finish. It's a classic, balanced, incredibly impressive Pinot Noir to drink over the coming 7-8 years, and I suspect it will evolve even longer.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts Starting out the Pinot Noirs, the base appellation release comes from a mix of the single Vineyards, and it's been a rock-solid buy in every vintage I've been able to taste. The 2019 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands offers a medium ruby hue to go with a spicy, savory, marine-influence bouquet with lots of pretty mulberry and cherry fruits as well as iron and spicy herbs. With good minerality, medium body, ripe yet firm, framing tannins, and a great finish, it's another no-brainer purchase that will evolve for 7-8 years.
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
90pts Big and open-textured, with hints of dried mint to the savory-inflected red fruit and spice flavors. Shows loamy accents on the ripe finish, with notes of cocoa powder. Drink now through 2023.
Wine Spectator
Matt Kettmann
94pts *Editors' Choice* The appellation blend gives a great sense of what the Franscionis are accomplishing in their vineyards. Aromas of cola, cherry, raspberry, cigar box and rose petal on the nose lead into baked red currant and an herbal touch of anise on the layered palate.
2018
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts Always a great value, the 2018 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands reveals a vibrant ruby hue as well as ripe cherry and strawberry fruit intermixed with notes of shiitake mushroom, dried herbs, and some meaty, earthy notes. It's a slightly more finesse-driven wine than some of the single vineyards and is beautifully balanced, has good acidity, and unquestionably plays in the same qualitative ballpark as all of these releases.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Limpid ruby-red. Spice-tinged red fruits, incense and potpourri on the expansive nose, along with a building mineral overtone. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering appealingly sweet raspberry and cherry preserve, rose pastille, vanilla and spicecake flavors that show fine definition and back-end cut. Powerful but graceful as well, finishing on a gently tannic note, with sharp clarity and strong persistence. This is a pretty impressive entry-level bottling of Pinot.
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
89pts Hints of paprika accent the dried raspberry and red currant flavors, with a supple texture. Cedary and underbrush notes emerge on the finish. Drink now through 2022.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts This appellation blend offers aromas of candied red cherry, strawberry and mint on the nose. The palate packs fresh, zesty and ripe red fruit with a complex array of herbs and spices, from tarragon and chamomile to marjoram, sage and aniseed.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
91pts The 2018 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands comes from five vineyards: Rosella's, Garys', Sierra Mar, Soberanes and Pisoni. Aged in 44% new French oak for 10 months, it has a medium ruby-purple color and a nose of charcuterie and bright red berries with touches of dried citrus peel, amaro and tar. It’s medium-bodied, bright and lifted with loads of spicy character, a soft, grainy frame and long, vibrant finish.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
91pts Spicy, featuring finely textured dried raspberry and cherry tart flavors, accented by tea and cola notes. The minerally finish is focused and fresh-tasting, with some peppery hints. Drink now through 2022.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
91pts The pale to medium ruby colored 2017 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands gives up crushed black cherries, roasted cranberries and red berries with nuances of licorice, baking spices, forest floor and dried herbs. Medium-bodied and silky, that luscious fruit is well tempered with earthy accents in the mouth, with a soft, grainy, juicy frame and delicate finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
91pts Light and slightly cloudy in the glass, this appellation blend offers aromas of red plum, caramel, soy sauce and Chinese five spice on the nose. The palate is loaded with bright strawberry and red cherry, with oaky hints of caramel throughout.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
92pts Vivid red. Smoke-accented red berry, mocha, floral pastille and white pepper scents are energized by a building mineral topnote. Weighty yet lively, showing impressive clarity to the juicy, appealingly sweet raspberry, cherry and spicecake flavors, which open up slowly on the back half. Shows very good energy and solid thrust on a long, silky finish that shows just a trace of youthful tannins.
2016
Wine Spectator
James Laube
91pts Tight and savory, with a mix of forest floor, modestly ripe plum and wild berry flavors, firming on the finish. Best from 2019 through 2024.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
90pts Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands is scented of red currants and black cherries with a spicy background of cloves and cinnamon stick, plus a hint of garrigue. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with juicy red berry and baking spice flavors, marked by soft tannins and oodles of acid freshness, finishing long.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts This appellation blend is a wonderful look into the stunning wines being made by the Franscioni family. Beautiful aromas of candied black cherry and black raspberry are wrapped in bay leaf, violet, lavender and forest floor. The palate is rich and soft yet with powerful acidity, carrying lavish flavors of baked fruit, strong florality and tarragon spice.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
91pts Lurid ruby. Expressive aromas of raspberry, candied cherry, rose oil and spicecake. Supple and seamless on the palate, offering energetic red berry and bitter cherry flavors that deepen steadily and turn sweeter with air. The floral quality comes back steadily on a long, velvety finish that shows just a hint of fine-grained tannins.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts The base appellation 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands is a beauty and certainly competes easily with the single vineyards. Brought up in 52% new French oak, it offers a beautiful perfume of black raspberries, black cherries, mulberries, and spice. Medium to full-bodied, seamless, and silky, it’s one of the smoking values that readers should snatch up.
Rosella's Vineyard Chardonnay
2021
Wine Spectator
MaryAnn Worobiec
93pts Shows fleshy, juicy and appealing notes of lemon curd, peach preserves and mango, with aromatic grace notes of orange blossoms, fresh-cut apples and candied ginger preserved in honey. Reveals a hint of toasted sesame seed and generous spices on the finish, where the flavors just keep going on and on. Drink now.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
89pts The typical breadth and richness of this bottling is held tighter in this vintage, showing earthy aromas of dried lemon and apple flesh on the nose. There's a touch of warmer browned apple on the palate, which is cut by grapefruit and orange zest flavors. This may grow more engaging with cellar age.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
94pts The 2021 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard is graced with hints of ripe peach, apricot, spice, dried flowers and vanillin. Effusive and lifted, the Rosella's offers tons of finesse in a transparent, perfumed, appealing style.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts There are three Chardonnay releases from this team. Starting with the 2021 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard, it comes from a great site in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands and offers a lighter gold hue as well as vibrant notes of ripe melon, stone fruits, toasted nuts, and some subtle brioche and baking spice notes. These all carry over to the palate, where the wine is medium to full-bodied, has a round, layered texture, surprising power and richness, and a great finish. It's a brilliant, textured, flawlessly balanced Chardonnay with so much to love. It's every bit as good as the 2018 and 2019 and will shine for 2-4 years (and, I suspect, have an interesting evolution well beyond that as well).
2020
Wine Spectator
MaryAnn Worobiec
93pts Ripe stone fruit and melon flavors find depth and precision on a fleshy, plump frame, with a hint of drizzled honey and plenty of spice. A floral aromatic note lingers on the finish. Drink now through 2028.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts From a site not far from Soberanes, the 2020 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard offers a touch of freshness and vibrancy in its aromatics and offers beautiful honeyed citrus, orange blossom, spice, and white flower notes. These carry to a medium-bodied Chardonnay with a great sense of freshness and purity, solid mid-palate depth, and outstanding length. Both 2020 Chardonnays from this estate are terrific and well worth checking out.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
91pts Lemongrass, lemon blossom, chalk and white rose aromas are slightly sharp on the nose of this bottling. The palate is a showcase of white flowers, from plumeria to jasmine, with clean melon and vanilla flavors leading into the finish.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Bright straw-yellow. Expressive, mineral-accented Meyer lemon and peach nectar aromas show very good clarity and hints of fennel, honey and toasty lees. Seamless and juicy in the mouth, offering sappy citrus and pit fruit flavors along with buttered toast and anise nuances that build through the back half. Finishes supple, smoky and quite long, with a spicy nuance hanging on. 52% new French oak.
2019
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts Loads of poached pear, mandarin orange, honeysuckle, and white peach just about jump from the glass of the 2019 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard. Medium-bodied, it has a supple, elegant texture, terrific mid-palate depth, and a great finish. This exotic, singular Chardonnay is up with the finest vintages I've tasted and is worth the extra effort to track down. It should benefit from 6-12 months in bottle and drink well for at least 4-5 years.
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
92pts Refined and rich-tasting, with good cut to the concentrated ripe apple, pear and baked peach flavors that turn creamy midpalate. Shows lots of cooking spice accents on the finish. Drink now through 2024.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
91pts Delicate touches of macadamia nut and chestnut meet with white peach and gardenia on the soft, rounded nose of this single-vineyard expression. The palate shows a more generous flavor profile of melon and apricot flesh, leading into tropical tuberose touches toward the finish.
2018
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts The 2018 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard is slightly lighter colored and has more vibrant notes of white peach, nectarines, buttered lemons, and white flower. Medium to full-bodied and nicely concentrated, with good acidity, this beautiful Chardonnay spans the gap between the lean, Chablis style and the richer, full-bore, opulent style that California can do so well. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Glistening yellow. Pear nectar, melon, tangerine and toasty lees on the deeply perfumed nose, along with smoky mineral and floral nuances that gain strength as the wine opens up. Silky and broad in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated orchard and pit fruit flavors that take on sweet vanilla and fennel notes on the back half. Rich but lively, showing real energy and resonating florality on a very long, supple finish that shows a refreshingly spicy edge.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
91pts Very brisk aromas of wet stone, struck granite and a light hint of lemon show deft restraint on the nose of this bottling. Those stony qualities extend to the sip, but there are also warmer peach and butter tones as well.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
92pts The 2018 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard, aged 14 months in 38% new French oak, has open-knit aromas of banana chip and red apples with loads of toasty and spicy notes. The palate is medium to full-bodied, rounded and fully fruited with just enough freshness to drive the long finish.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
90pts Plush and generously spiced, with buttery accents to the ripe white fruit flavors. The silky texture lingers into the creamy finish. Drink now through 2022.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
93pts The 2017 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard has inviting scents of spiced golden apples, honey-drizzled hazelnuts, dried hay, cheese rind and mushroom hints with notes of white peaches, quince paste and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, the palate explodes with savory flavor layers wrapped in a satiny texture and lifted with great freshness, finishing long and textured.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Classically balanced Chardonnay aromas of toast with orange marmalade, poached white peach, warm butter and oak show on the nose of this single-vineyard expression. The fully flavored palate combines honeysuckle and plumeria with creamy peach, butter and oak, proving more soft and lush than crisp.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Glistening yellow. Pear nectar, melon, tangerine and toasty lees on the deeply perfumed nose, along with smoky mineral and floral nuances that gain strength as the wine opens up. Silky and broad in the mouth, offering impressively concentrated orchard and pit fruit flavors that take on sweet vanilla and fennel notes on the back half. Rich but lively, showing real energy and resonating florality on a very long, supple finish that shows a refreshingly spicy edge.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts The 2017 Chardonnay Rosella’s Vineyard comes from a cooler site located in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands and spent 14 months in a mix of new and used French oak. It offers richer notes of orchard fruit, caramelized citrus, white flowers, and brioche. Beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, elegant, and layered, with integrated acidity, it’s going to benefit from a year in bottle and keep for a decade.
2016
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
91pts A powerfully crisp and spicy white, with apple tart and dried pear flavors that feature some butter pastry accents. Creamy hints show on the finish. Drink now through 2022.
Wine Advocate
Lisa Perrotti-Brown
93+pts The 2016 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard sings of fresh grapefruit, lemon tart and tangerine peel with suggestions of wet slate, baking bread, honeysuckle and coriander seed. Medium to full-bodied, it completely fills the palate with vibrant citrus layers, providing and satiny texture and great freshness, finishing on a persistent mineral note.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Golden apples, lime zest and lemon blossoms show strongly on the sunny nose of this bottling. The palate offers a tangy lemon-lime acidity and a chalky texture, proving racy and almost spicy with citrusy acidity.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts Leading off the Chardonnays, the 2016 Chardonnay Rosella's Vineyard is a true classic from this terroir. Vibrant smoky minerality, lots of orchard fruits and white flowers, and subtle oak all flow to a medium-bodied, racy yet concentrated 2016 that has fabulous balance. It’s an incredibly classy Chardonnay I’d be thrilled to drink any time over the coming 5-7 years, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it keep longer.
Soberanes Vineyard Chardonnay
2021
Wine Spectator
MaryAnn Worobiec
93pts Succulent and supple, with a bright, juicy core of pineapple, yuzu and lemon zest, but there are also lovely, richer notes of salted butterscotch, nutmeg and candied ginger in honey. Everything finds plenty of harmony, while a vibrant thread of acidity leaves all the flavors fresh and vivid on the finish. Drink now.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
93pts There's a tightly woven combination of wet stone, shiso leaf and peppery spice two the unique nose of this bottling. The palate takes some time to open up, starting with tart cream and sharp citrus before the riper waves of honeysuckle and pineapple flesh arise.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
93pts The 2021 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard is a soft, open-knit Chardonnay to drink now and over the next few years. Passionfruit, coconut, ginger and spice lend an exotic flair to this easygoing, attractive Chardonnay from ROAR.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts Ripe melon, honeyed lemon zest, and white flowers, as well as some background nutty, mineral nuances, all emerge from the 2021 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard, a medium to full-bodied, pure, nicely balanced Chardonnay that strikes a good balance between richness and freshness. It's perhaps nicely placed between the more Chablis-like Sierra Mar and the richer styled Rosella's and is perfect for drinking over the coming 4-6 years or so.
2020
Wine Spectator
MaryAnn Worobiec
93pts Intense, with salted butter and nutmeg overtones to the peach pastry and candied ginger flavors that show a sleek, minerally and flinty thread. Strikes a terrific balance between richness and crispness. Drink now through 2030.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts The 2020 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard comes from a great site in the Santa Lucia Highlands and is a mix of the Monty and Wente clones, all aged 15 months in one-third new French oak. It has a subtle and rich vibe in its brioche, honeyed, baked orchard fruits, chalky minerality, and spice-driven aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it has terrific overall balance, a layered, seamless mouthfeel, remarkable purity, and a great finish. Drink this powerful, textured, lively, and straight-up impressive Chardonnay over the coming 2-4 years or so.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Ripe aromas of honeydew, apple blossom and spun sugar show on the nose of this rich bottling. The palate zips with an engaging acidity and a chalky texture, with alkaline- leaning flavors cutting into the ripe apple focus.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Vivid straw-gold. Smoke- and spice-tinged pit and orchard fruit scents are complemented by suggestions of buttered toast, orange pith and jasmine. Juicy and expansive on the palate, offering intense Anjou pear, tangerine and peach nectar flavors that are braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Blends power and finesse with a sure hand and finishes impressively long and precise, with lingering floral and orchard fruit notes. 33% new French oak.
2019
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
90pts Svelte, with well-framed dried apple and ripe citrus flavors that are backed by firm acidity. The minerally and juicy finish has brioche accents. Drink now through 2023.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts Very clean and suave aromas of chalk, lemon balm, lychee and a hint of salted nuts show on the nose of this bottling. The palate is a showcase of restrained opulence, offering peach and apricot flavors that are encapsulated in a chalky texture, all blasted by focused, driven notes of citrus zest.
2018
Winespeed
Karen MacNeil
95pts Chardonnay is too often thought of in a binary way. Either big and voluptuous or sleek and elegant. Kim Kardashian or Audrey Hepburn. Take your pick. But many of the best California chardonnays counterintuitively (and mysteriously) span both worlds. Like this fantastic ROAR from the Soberanes Vineyard. As rich and languorous as crème brulee, it also soars with starbursts of lemony crispness and sparks of brightness and light. And as with a good white Burgundy, there’s also a subtle earthiness here too. Something grounding. Something to hold onto. Or something that holds on to you.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Vivid yellow. Mineral- and spice-accented orchard and pit fruit aromas display fine definition and building floral and anise accents. Shows strong intensity and lift on the palate, offering juicy nectarine, pear, Meyer lemon and honeysuckle flavors that steadily deepen through the midpalate. The floral note repeats strongly on the penetrating, tenacious finish, which leaves fennel, vanilla and smoky mineral note behind.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
91pts Sea salt, singed nectarine, tangerine-peel and white-peach aromas show on the nose of this bottling. Baked white-peach flavors make for a rich plate, which is cut by a zesty citrus-juice element.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
95pts The 2018 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard, aged 14 months in 25% new French oak, is a stunning wine, with lovely aromas of hazelnuts, honey and orange blossoms with a core of white peaches and quince. Medium-bodied, it’s super silky and perfumed, slowly gaining amplitude with its full fruits and finishing very long.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts Meyer lemons, nectarine, white flowers, and beautiful toast and green almond notes emerge from the 2018 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard, a stunner offering a concentrated yet pure, precise, elegant style on the palate that keeps you coming back to the glass. With good acidity, a touch of chalky minerality, and fabulous length, it's a brilliant wine from this team to enjoy over the coming 3-5 years. I suspect it will keep even longer.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
91pts Features hints of dried apricot, dried pineapple and jasmine to the ripe white fruit flavors. There’s minerally richness on the spicy and well-structured finish. Drink now through 2023.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
93+pts Youthfully shy, the 2017 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard very slowly gives glimpses of chamomile, white peach, raw almonds, hay and touches of lemon peel and crème fraîche. The palate is medium to full-bodied, walking a lovely line between bright citrus and floral character and those honeyed, savory undertones, with mouthwatering acidity carrying the very long, layered finish. I expect this will grow in amplitude in bottle, so give it a bit more time before popping the cork.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
93pts Golden pear, browned butter and white-peach aromas are kissed by oak on the nose of this rich but balanced bottling. The creamy mouthfeel and poached apple flavors are leveled by lemon zest and a fresh tension, making the wine simultaneously lush and taut.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Pale gold. A highly perfumed, sharply focused bouquet evokes fresh citrus and orchard fruits, iodine, sweet butter and white flowers, and a hint of toasty lees emerges as the wine opens up. Taut and sharply detailed on the palate, showing superb tension to the Meyer lemon, Anjou pear and buttered toast flavors, which pick up smoky mineral and floral nuances on the back half. Powerful and deeply concentrated yet vibrant as well, finishing impressively long and nervy, with resonating floral and mineral notes. It’s remarkable that these are still young vines.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts The 2017 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard showed beautifully, with lots of white flowers, crushed rocks, brioche, and tons of stone fruits. With terrific minerality, a balanced, layer texture, integrated acidity, and a great finish, it’s another brilliant white from this team.
2016
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
90pts A sleek white, with a floral aroma and a crystalline quality to the well-structured white fruit flavors. Hints of lavender and peach show on the rich finish. Drink now through 2022.
Wine Advocate
Lisa Perrotti-Brown
92pts The 2016 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard delivers invigorating grapefruit, pineapple and nectarine scents with suggestions of clotted cream, chalk dust and fresh ginger. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers a great intensity of citrus and tropical layers with a lively backbone and mineral-laced finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts Tightly woven on the nose, this single-vineyard expression shows aromas of Meyer lemon pith, tangerine spray, lime zest and almond cream. The palate is fresh and zesty in lime and grapefruit flavors, but a backdrop of smooth nut butter and poached nectarine brings it all together.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Transparent yellow-gold. Potent scents of orange, pear nectar, smoky minerals and white flowers carry a spicy ginger overtone. Juicy, tightly focused and energetic on the palate, offering intense, mineral-laced citrus and orchard fruit flavors that are complicated by chamomile and buttered toast flourishes. Shows impressive thrust and clarity on the finish, which clings with strong, mineral-dominated tenacity.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts The 2016 Chardonnay Soberanes Vineyard offers a distinct salinity as well as beautiful white flowers and citrus fruits. Clean, pure, medium-bodied, and elegant, it shows tons of spicy characteristics (as well as that salty minerality) with additional time in the glass. It too will keep for at least 7-8 years.
Sierra Mar Vineyard Chardonnay
2021
Wine Spectator
MaryAnn Worobiec
93pts Ripe and with nice range, offering wood spice, incense, black and red tea and mulled plum and raspberry fruit notes that meld together through a lengthy finish. Reveals nice underlying freshness, too. Drink now through 2028.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Lemon glaze, wet stone and hints of underripe pineapple converge on the nose of this bottling. There's a chalky grip to the palate, where a citrusy acidity and chalky texture uphold the clean and crisp Asian pear and pomelo pith flavors.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
92pts The 2021 Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard is bright and nervy. Pretty tropical top notes emerge with air, but this remains a fairly reticent, nervy Chardonnay-unusually so. Tangerine peel, mint, butter, apricot and chamomile build into the very savory, mineral-driven and tense finish.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts The 2021 Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard is slightly lighter hued, with a more honeyed citrus, white flowers, lemon blossom, and chalky mineral-driven style. It's another vibrant Chardonnay from this estate that's medium-bodied, has a focused, clean, layered texture, nicely integrated acidity, and a gorgeous finish. It doesn't have the depth and richness of the Rosella’s, but I love its purity, vibrancy and length. It will keep for 7-8 years.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
91pts This rich white is filled with a luscious mix of fruit and spice flavors. Ripe apple and pear notes predominate, with many creamy accents. Hazelnut and toffee linger into the lightly toasty and buttery finish. Drink now through 2024.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts Fresh aromas of honeysuckle, sea salt and sliced peach check all the boxes on the nose of this rich but balanced Chardonnay. It's very taut on the palate, grabbing hold with citrus peel and then opening toward apricot and cream. An underlying mint element, which plays against the caramel spice, is what sets this wine apart.
2018
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
93pts Stylish and well-crafted, with concentrated ripe white fruit flavors, accented by lemon drop notes. Buttered toast and flan details show on the creamy finish, complemented by hints of dried tarragon. Drink now through 2025.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts There are three Chardonnay. Starting with the 2018 Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard, it's a mix of the Hyde and Monty clones and saw 38% new French oak. Its medium gold hue gives way to rich, impressively textured effort that has a touch of Burgundian vibe in its stone fruits, melon, brioche, toasted bread, and peach aromas and flavors. Nicely textured, with integrated acidity, background oak, and outstanding length, it's the biggest, richest Chardonnay in the lineup. It needs air to show at its best and I suspect will be even better this time next year.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Limpid yellow-gold. Intensely perfumed Meyer lemon, yellow apple and pear aromas are complemented by suave jasmine and mineral notes. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering spice-laced citrus zest, Anjou pear, marzipan and ginger flavors that pick up a smoky accent on the back half. Shows a touch of fennel on the penetrating finish, which lingers with strong tenacity.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Lemon blossom, yellow apple, fresh lime, light cream and crushed chalk aromas make for a subtle yet inviting nose on this bottling. The palate is balanced between a chalky mouthfeel and browned butter, lemon juice, warm brioche and sea salt flavors.
2017
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
92pts Opulent, featuring intense pear and apple tart flavors, with accents of ripe tropical fruit. Hazelnut overtones emerge midpalate, with a buttery finish. Drink now through 2023.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
94pts The 2017 Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard has very pretty scents of dried chamomile, honeycomb, apple pie, toast and loads of honey-nut aromas over a peachy core. The palate is medium to full-bodied, intense and savory, with a silky texture and mouthwatering acidity to lift the very long, honeyed finish. This is savory Chardonnay with the volume turned up!
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
91pts Toasted brioche and lemon-apple foam aromas make for a very voluptuous yet restrained nose on this bottling. Seared lemon peel, oak smoke and roasted apple flavors complete the experience on the palate.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Shimmering green-hued yellow. Vibrant, mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit, smoky lees and iodine scents on the highly perfumed nose, along with a suave floral nuance that builds with air. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering concentrated pear, nectarine and bitter quinine flavors and a sweeter honeydew melon quality that emerges on the back half. Finishes minerally, focused and impressively long, displaying resonating florality and a hint of salinity.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts Apple blossom, stone fruits, crushed rocks, and spice notes all emerge from the 2017 Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard, a big, rich, powerful, opulent Chardonnay. With good acidity, a stacked mid-palate, and a great finish, powerful yet beautifully balanced Chardonnay does everything right.
2016
Wine Spectator
Kim Marcus
89pts Fresh acidity supports the white fruit flavors and coconut cream accents, with pastry and buttery notes on the finish. Drink now through 2021.
Wine Advocate
Lisa Perrotti-Brown
92+pts The 2016 Chardonnay Sierra Mar is beautifully scented of honey drizzled peaches, key lime pie and pink grapefruit with touches of coriander seed, wet slate and fresh ginger. Full-bodied and full-on seductive in the mouth, the generously fruited palate has a refreshing line to balance plus a gorgeous creaminess texturing the long finish.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
94pts With an array of butter and cream elements on the nose, this bottling shows just enough richness to appease many Chardonnay fans, but not so much to overwhelm those seeking a brighter, lemony edge. It's crisp and clean on the palate, where butter takes a backseat to tangy lemon and mandarin orange flavors, with light crème brûlée on the finish.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Brilliant straw-yellow. Aromas of poached pear and nectarine are complicated by orange zest, toasty lees and floral nuances. Sappy and broad on the palate, offering ripe citrus and orchard fruit, sweet butter and honeysuckle flavors that pick up a spicy flourish on the back half. Hints of anise and ginger emerge on a very long, plush, smoky finish that echoes the floral and citrus fruit notes.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts Even better, the sensational 2016 Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard offers notes of dried pineapple, orchard fruits, white flowers, and smoky minerality. About as pure and seamless as they come, with perfect balance, it’s another jaw-droppingly good Chardonnay from this estate.
Rosella's Vineyard Syrah
2021
Wine Spectator
Tim Fish
94pts Rich and polished, yet agilely structured, with blueberry and raspberry flavors that gather tapenade, smoked meat and spice accents. Ends with medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2032.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
93pts Dark and focused aromas of tightly wound purple flowers stay fresh and elegant on the nose of this bottling. LIlacs and violets pop on the sip as well, with acai and blueberry flavors arising over light touches of savory meat.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
94pts The 2021 Syrah Rosella's Vineyard is another superb wine in this range from Roar. It shows a more floral, earthy and red-toned profile than the Sierra Mar, but with just as much energy and overall drive. Chalk, white pepper, mint, dried flowers and anise linger on the potent finish.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts Leading off the two Syrahs, the 2021 Syrah Rosella's Vineyard reminds me of a terrific Saint Joseph with its perfumed red and blue fruits as well as notes of bay leaf, bouquet garni, and subtle meaty, bacony nuances. It's medium to full-bodied, has a supple, layered, elegant mouthfeel, ripe, building tannins, and outstanding length. Give it a year or two and enjoy it over the following decade.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Wine Spectator
Tim Fish
93pts Gutsy and densely structured yet expressive, with bacon fat, blackberry and cracked pepper flavors that gather tension and tannins on the long finish. Best from 2023 through 2030.
2018
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts There are a tiny 12 cases of the 2018 Syrah Rosella's Vineyard, which comes from a mix of the Alan and Bien Nacido clones and was brought up in just 30% new French oak. This cooler site has produced a peppery, spicy Syrah with lots of white pepper, cured meats, spring flowers, and graphite-like aromatics. These carry to a medium-bodied, elegant Syrah that's still tight and relatively closed on the palate, yet it shows beautiful purity and elegance. Give bottles 2-3 years and it's going to evolve for a solid decade. It tastes like a Côte Rôtie made in California.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
95pts Opaque, bright-rimmed ruby. Powerful, spice-accented aromas of fresh black and blue fruits, candied violet, olive and licorice, along with an exotic spice nuance that builds steadily in the glass. Sweet, palate-staining cassis, boysenberry, salty olive and star anise flavors become livelier with air. Impressively concentrated but vibrant as well, thanks to a core of smoky minerality. Finishes sappy, seamless and impressively long, with slowly building tannins and repeating florality.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
94pts The 2018 Syrah Rosella's Vineyard was aged 16 months in 30% new French oak. It has a deep ruby-purple color and cassis fruit with notes of crushed peppercorns, mint leaves and bitter chocolate. The full-bodied palate is concentrated and ripe but light on its feet with great freshness and lift and a long finish. It's drinking well now but should age well in bottle over the next 10+ years.
2017
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
94pts Medium to deep ruby-purple, the 2017 Syrah Rosella's Vineyard, made with 30% whole cluster, slowly offers glimpses of blackcurrants, boysenberries, blackberry pie, crushed stone, licorice and loamy earth accented by notes of white pepper, roasted meats, dried herbs and olives. Full-bodied, it explodes with savory-kissed black and blue fruits, firmly framed and very fresh, finishing long and dense. Give this another 2-3 years in bottle.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Deep bright-rimmed violet. Pungent, spice-laced black and blue fruit, floral, olive paste and smoked meat aromas, along with a building licorice quality. Stains the palate with intense black currant, cherry preserve, violet pastille and smoky bacon flavors that turn spicier on the back half. Smooth, well-knit tannins frame the impressively long, spicy finish, which strongly repeats the floral and olive notes. There’d be no extra points for guessing which variety this is when blind tasting.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts Gary commented that Syrah handled the Labor Day heatwave better in the Santa Lucia Highlands because it didn’t go through veraison until Sept 1st and was less affected by the heat. The 2017 Syrah Rosella’s Vineyard reveals a deep purple color as well racy notes of black and blue fruit, bacon fat, orange zest, and graphite. Rich, full-bodied, and powerful, it shows more olive and bouquet garni notes with time in the glass, has beautiful acidity, no hard edges, and a great finish.
2016
Wine Spectator
TF?
90pts Burly and dense, with deep blackberry, licorice and garrigue flavors that build tension toward broad tannins. Best from 2020 through 2026.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
92pts Deep ruby-purple, the 2016 Syrah Rosella's Vineyard offers cassis, Morello cherries, pencil shavings, milk chocolate, bay leaves and floral perfume on the nose. The full-bodied palate offers intense but lifted fruits, a firm, grainy frame and just enough freshness to carry the long finish.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Dark purple. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes black and blue fruits, incense and pungent flowers, and smoky mineral, vanilla and licorice nuances add complexity. Stains the palate with appealingly sweet blueberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors that are given lift and bite by zesty acidity and a jolt of cracked pepper. Finishes on a youthfully tannic note, showing strong, spicy lift and floral-tinged persistence.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94pts There are three Syrahs, all outstanding. The 2016 Syrah Rosella's Vineyard has the most cool-climate vibe and offers up lots of peppery herbs, olive, peach pit, and bacon fat notes. It has terrific fruit, medium body, beautiful acidity, and a great finish.
Garys' Vineyard Syrah
2019
Wine Spectator
Tim Fish
93pts Bursts with aromas of garrigue, blackberry, licorice and smoky meat, opening to deeply structured, slightly brooding flavors that build toward medium-grained tannins. Drink now through 2030.
2018
Wine Spectator
Tim Fish
93pts Polished and expressive, with vibrant blackberry, licorice and espresso flavors that fan out, finishing on a rich, complex note. Drink now through 2028.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts I always love what this estate does with this vineyard. The 2018 Syrah Garys’ Vineyard is another classic cool-climate Syrah loaded with notions of white pepper, smoked game, leafy herbs, violets, and green olives. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and beautiful on the palate, with a core of ripe black raspberry fruit, it has a bloody, salty, exotic character, gorgeous purity of fruit, silky tannins, and a great finish. A remarkable, complex, layered beauty that does everything right, it’s ideal for drinking any time over the coming 7-8 years or more.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
95pts Bright violet. Expressive, mineral- and spice-accented aromas of blackberry, cassis, cherry liqueur, smoked meat and pungent flowers show superb clarity. Sappy and penetrating in the mouth, displaying finely etched black and blue fruit, violet pastille and spicecake flavors and a sweetening touch of vanilla. Finishes extremely long and spicy, with a repeating floral note and gently chewy tannins.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
95pts Aged 16 months in once-used and neutral French oak, the 2018 Syrah Garys' Vineyard has a medium ruby-purple color and is youthfully coiled on the nose, offering dense cassis fruit with hints of spearmint, milk chocolate and crushed blueberries. The palate is full-bodied but surprisingly light on its feet, with a silky frame, great freshness and lifted, minty character, finishing long and bright. Lovely!
2017
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
94pts The 2017 Syrah Garys' Vineyard, containing a 1% splash of Viognier and made with 30% whole cluster, has a medium to deep ruby-purple color and a layered nose of crème de cassis, olive, game meats, red cherry liqueur, roast coffee, dark chocolate and clove aromas and a classy framing of new oak. The full-bodied palate has explosive flavor layers and a firmer, albeit finely grained frame, with just enough freshness to lift the very long, dense finish. This will benefit from another 2-3 years in bottle.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Inky ruby. Fresh, spice-accented black and blue fruit preserve, potpourri and incense qualities on the highly perfumed nose, along with hints of woodsmoke, olive and vanilla. Silky, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering deeply concentrated blackberry, boysenberry, candied violet and spicecake flavors that become livelier with aeration. Rich yet also lithe in style, finishing smooth and alluringly sweet, with slow-mounting tannins, lingering florality and wonderful persistence.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95+pts The 2017 Syrah Garys’ Vineyard has a more classic bouquet of cured meats, spice, dried earth, currants, iron. It’s another rich, medium to full-bodied Syrah with wonderful balance, building tannins, and a great finish. It too opens up nicely with time in the glass and will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age.
2016
Wine Spectator
TF?
92pts Plump, featuring focused and dense currant, tarragon and smoky beef flavors, with licorice and cracked pepper notes, building toward refined tannins. Best after 2019.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
92pts The 2016 Syrah Garys' Vineyard is deep ruby-purple with bombastic cassis, warm blackberries, bay leaves, bitter chocolate and hints of red cherries and dried flowers with a sweet spice undercurrent. The firm, grainy palate is full-bodied with well-tempered fruits and minty accents, finishing long and dense with just enough freshness. Give this another couple years in bottle.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Opaque ruby. Ripe black and blue fruits, olive paste, violet and peppery spices on the deeply perfumed nose. Weighty, sweet and seamless in texture, offering palate-staining blueberry, cherry liqueur, floral pastille and spicecake flavors that tighten up steadily with air. Powerful yet energetic as well, showing powerful finishing thrust and mounting tannins that shape the extremely long, blue-fruit- and floral-driven finish.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts The 2016 Syrah Garys' Vineyard offers a more savory style in its currant and mulberry fruits, dried earth, beef blood, black olive, and peppery spice. Reminding me of a Cornas from the likes of Jean-Luc Colombo, this medium to full-bodied, concentrated Syrah has ripe tannins, notable concentration, and a great finish. It does everything right and has a decade of prime drinking ahead of it.
Sierra Mar Vineyard Syrah
2021
Wine Spectator
Tim Fish
93pts A handsome red, precise and generous, with savory blackberry, licorice and black olive flavors that glide on the sleek finish toward polished tannins.
Wine Enthusiast
Matt Kettmann
92pts Lush layers of boysenberry, pepper and wet soil show on the nose of this bottling. The palate is generous in violet and blueberry flavors, but stays quite dry and firm, with hints of violet and lilac on the finish.
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
95pts The 2021 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard offers up a heady concoction of inky blue fruit, lavender, cloves, menthol, licorice and chocolate, all wrapped in swaths of bright acids and tannins that are totally integrated. A wine of presence and stature, the Sierra Mar Syrah shows why this site is so special. Superb.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
97pts The 2021 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard is cut from the same cloth but brings more richness and depth. If the Rosella's is the Saint Joseph, this is more Hermitage with its powerful red and black fruits, leather, smoked meats, and creosote-like aromas and flavors. Concentrated and medium to full-bodied, with a stacked mid-palate, drink this sensational Syrah any time over the coming decade. It's legit terrific.
2020
None
None
Nopts This wine was not produced due to 2020 wildfires.
2019
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
95pts This estate always releases a terrific, cool-climate-styled Syrah, and their 2019 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard is deep purple-hued with a peppery, foresty, wild nose of blueberries, cracked peppercorns, bay leaf, bacon fat, iron, and candied orange. Rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, it has some grippy tannins, plenty of baby fat, and a great finish. It has one foot in the Northern Rhône and one foot in California. Give bottles a year or so and enjoy through 2028.
Wine Spectator
Tim Fish
93pts Potent and polished, with a structured core enveloped by rich black cherry, licorice and smoky spice flavors that build tension toward refined tannins. Drink now through 2029.
2018
Wine Spectator
Tim Fish
94pts Shows polish and verve, with bold licorice, blackberry and black olive flavors that build tension and richness toward the lingering, spicy finish. Drink now through 2028.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
96pts Another tiny production cuvée (there are 122 cases), the 2018 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard comes from a site in the relative middle of the appellation and was aged all in neutral oak. Ruby/plum-hued, with rocking notes of smoked red and black fruits, ground herbs, cured meats, and crushed rocks, this Hermitage look-alike is medium to full-bodied, has a rich, expansive mouthfeel, plenty of tannins, and a great finish. It doesn't show the elegance of the Rosella's yet brings more power. It's another singular, gorgeous wine. Drink it over the coming decade.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Saturated magenta. Powerful black and blue fruit, potpourri, olive and exotic spice aromas, along with hints of cola and dark chocolate. Chewy and broad on the palate, offering deeply concentrated blackberry, cassis, bitter cherry and fruitcake flavors that become livelier and sweeter with aeration. Rich yet surprisingly energetic as well, finishing sappy, extremely long and alluringly sweet, with mounting tannins and resonating floral and spice notes.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
95pts The 2018 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard, aged 16 months in once-used and neutral French oak, has a nose of cassis and pure violet perfume with touches of mint leaves and coffee beans. The full-bodied palate is ripe and dense with gentle perfume and surprising freshness, finishing long and lifted.
2017
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
94pts Medium to deep ruby purple, the 2017 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard was made with 30% whole cluster and contains 1% Viognier. It's stubbornly closed on the nose to begin, taking its sweet time to reveal scents of dried violet, crème de cassis, blackberry pie, cardamom, crushed blueberries and nuances of coffee, smoke and charcuterie. It’s full-bodied, rich and intense with a firm frame of detailed tannins and great freshness to lift the long, still tightly coiled finish. Give it another few years in bottle.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Vivid purple. A highly complex bouquet evokes dark berry and cherry preserves, candied flowers and spicecake, and a smoky mineral nuance builds in the glass. Fleshy and energetic in the mouth, offering densely packed blueberry, cherry cola and violet pastille flavors that show sharp definition and tension. Supple and appealingly sweet on the long, floral-accented finish, which is framed by velvety, even tannins.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
97pts Co-fermented with just a splash of Viognier, the 2017 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard was 70% destemmed and aged 16 months in barrel. It offers the most classic Northern Rhône-like (Côte Rôtie?) bouquet of black and blue fruits, violets, black raspberries, violets, and flowers. Full-bodied, elegant and layered on the palate, with fine tannins, this brilliant Syrah ranks with the finest I’ve tasted from this estate. It’s already hard to resist yet will benefit from a year or three and keep for over a decade.
2016
Wine Spectator
TF?
92pts Deeply structured and brooding, featuring blackberry and currant flavors laced with stony mineral, black olive and bay leaf notes that build intensity toward broad-shouldered tannins. Best from 2020 through 2026.
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
92pts Deep ruby-purple, the 2016 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard offers up baked blackcurrants and blackberries with notes of mint chocolate, white pepper, dried herbs and floral perfume. The full-bodied palate offers intense but well-managed fruits with a grainy frame and good freshness on the long finish.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
94pts Vivid ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, cherry cola, candied licorice and mocha pick up a suave floral element with air. Sweet and broad on the palate, offering juicy red berry and floral pastille flavors that are sweetened by a building vanilla note. The cola note comes back steadily on an extremely long, penetrating finish framed by smooth, harmonious tannins.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
94+pts The deep purple-colored 2016 Syrah Sierra Mar Vineyard is another winner, offering plenty of black and blue fruits, violets, and tapenade notes. Medium-bodied, vibrant, and fresh, with good acidity, give it another year or two, and it will keep through 2028.
Sierra Mar Vineyard Viognier
2021
Vinous
Antonio Galloni
92pts The 2021 Viognier Sierra Mar Vineyard is gorgeous. Intensely aromatic, the 2021 offers tons of varietal character nicely framed by the year's energy. Orange marmalade, passionfruit, ginger, mint, spice and chamomile are some of the many notes that fill out the layers through to the creamy, waxy finish.
2020
None
None
Nopts No reviews were submitted for this wine.
2019
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Pale, green-tinged yellow. Penetrating aromas of fresh citrus, orchard and pit fruits and violet are complemented by hints of ginger, fennel and honey. Juicy and concentrated on the palate, offering vibrant pear, Meyer lemon and nectarine flavors that show superb clarity and spicy drive. The mineral and floral notes come back strong on the incisive, impressively long finish, which shows fine definition and lift.
2018
Wine Advocate
Erin Brooks
92pts The 2018 Viognier Sierra Mar Vineyard is a great example of California Viognier—classically styled and gregarious but showing great restraint and freshness for its ripeness level. The nose offers loads of honeysuckle, orange blossom and floral perfume with accents of white pepper, beeswax, Bosc pear, fresh quince and wet stone, complete with a minerally undercurrent. The medium to full-bodied palate is fresh, textured and perfumed with a long finish. Lovely!
2017
Wine Spectator
Maryann Worobiec
90pts Concentrated, with smooth dried apricot and mango flavors that show off vanilla bean and floral notes. Fresh acidity keeps the flavors focused and refreshing. Drink now.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
92pts Light green-tinged yellow. Deep-pitched aromas of ripe orchard and pit fruits are complicated by hints of honey, dusty minerals and fennel. Broad and fleshy on the palate, offering sappy pear nectar, mango, tangerine and honeysuckle flavors that show excellent clarity and spicy lift. The round, supple finish hangs on with strong tenacity, leaving exotic fruit and floral notes behind. This would be a fantastic wine to serve with cow’s-milk blue cheese or washed-rind cheese, or a foie gras terrine.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
91pts The 2017 Viognier Sierra Mar Vineyard is a terrific expression of this variety, offering clean, crisp notes of white flowers, white peach, and citrus blossom in its medium-bodied, fresh style. Drink it over the coming 3-4 years.
2016
Wine Advocate
Lisa Perrotti-Brown
92pts The 2016 Viognier Sierra Mar Vineyard has a beautifully floral nose of roses and honeysuckle over a core of apricots and allspice. Medium to full-bodied, it has a gorgeous oily texture with tons of spice and stone fruit layers, finishing with great length.
Vinous
Josh Raynolds
93pts Light green-tinged yellow. Penetrating scents of fresh citrus and tropical fruits are joined by hints of chalky minerals, ginger and peach nectar. Juicy and deeply concentrated but lively in the mouth, offering intense mango, tangerine, white peach and anise flavors that show impressive drive and clarity. A sexy floral note appears on the incisive finish, which clings with outstanding persistence.
Jeb Dunnuck
Jeb Dunnuck
92-94pts Showing the more round, supple, yet concentrated style of the vintage, the 2016 Viognier Sierra Mar Vineyard offers textbook, tropical, floral and exotic notes in its layered, ripe, sexy style. It should be a step up over the 15.