Number 12
2008 Amity Vineyards Pinot Noir

Laid back, earthy, floral and slightly evergreen aromas grace the nose with a building core of cran/raspberry fruit. Rich and ripe on entry with acids that seem a touch soft at first. This delivers fairly intense orange cream framed red cherry and raspberry fruit in a clean, lightly aromatic style that fresh and unencumbered. Really lovely depth of flavor here, with faint oak notes and a really nice soil base note. The fruit takes on a slight medicinal note towards the back which echoes with licorice tones on the modest finish. Should gain some length with time. Very delicious. 89pts

Number 11
2009 Plantagenet Omrah Pinot Noir Great Southern Australia

Fairly intense if smoky, with stemmy and soil driven aromatics. Nice fresh spice tones add to a lean yet focused core of raspberry fruit. This comes on strong on entry, with lots of richness, yet on a very lean frame. There’s nicely framed, light cherry/cranberry fruit here. A hint of astringency from the tannins adds some cut to the very ripe fruit and well integrated acids. This is elegant and has a nice sense of delicacy that can’t be confused with weakness. The red fruit with a nice lifted blood orange character extends over the moderately long and nicely pure finish. 90pts

Number 10
2008 Peter Zemmer Pinot Noir

Licorice and tree bark accent the black raspberry fruit with a deep note of Bergamot orange and a little camphor. Soft and sapid, with bright, juicy black raspberry/black cherry fruit. There's a nice stemmy, herbal note on the mid-palate, with very good fruit intensity through the transition to the moderately long finish, ending with a hint of iron. This really offers lovely complexity and richness. 89pts

Number 9
2009 Thomas Fogarty Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains

A little dark and musky, with great liquory black cherry fruit, a hint of cola and some well-integrated wood spice are presented with surprising freshness on the nose. This is taut and sinewy, almost muscular in the mouth. The tension here is very attractive. While this is a big wine, its bright, clear black raspberry and cherry fruit is well restrained by the fine tannins and supporting acids. There’s some wood spice on the back end that adds a really nice sweetening top note to the fruit, which takes a medicinal turn. That might be off putting to some, but the fruit comes back with excellent clarity and length on the long, slightly chewy yet fresh finish. This can stand some age. There is a little heat here, but there’s so much going on, including some lovely developing inner mouth perfumes, that I can handle the heat. 92pts

Number 8
2009 Dobbes Family Estate Pinot Noir Grande Assemblage Cuvee

Wintergreen, quinine and eucalyptus top the red fruit of the nose. This is rather broad in the mouth, though clear and bright, with a slightly flannelly feel to the fine, fresh fruit tones. There’s something slightly exotic about the fruit here, a little papaya/guava action going on. Raspberry fruit adds depth, offering up a super sweet/mineral tension. This is still youthful, but is a very complete wine. The herbal notes of the nose come out on the back end, adding more depth and freshness to the earthy wild cherry finish. Damn this is good. 91pts

Number 7
2008 Castelfeder Glener Pinot Noir

This is deep, intense and layered on the nose, with floral notes, gentle green herb elements and a really nicely done edge of wood spice. This is really beautiful in the mouth; rich, soft and supple, with clear, ripe red cherry fruit and edge of earth, integrated tannins. Totally seamless and wonderfully pure, this finishes with good length to the gentle spice, mineral and herb elements, ending with a touch of peppery tannins offset by notes of dried lime peel. 91pts