Filed under: reviews | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, Deer Meadows Vineyard, Hayley Vineyard, Jon Bonne, La Encantada Vineyard, Pinot Noir, San Francisco Chronicle, Wine Enthusiast
Our 2009 vintage has received a warm reception from both consumers and the trade that we have poured for over the last few months. Seeing Pinot Noir fans react positively to our wines at our tasting tables or wine shop owners or sommeliers is always gratifying – we like seeing smiles, wistful far-off-looks and the occasional welling up of tears in the eyes. Add some well-chosen words, and things get really poetic.
So it’s also rewarding to have our wines go through blind tastings by respected members of the wine trade media. Our 2009 Pinot Noir lineup has recently received some favorable reviews, including 90+ point ratings in Wine Enthusiast‘s December 15, 2011 issue. The best part of these reviews is always the descriptors. Wine writers are in the profession for a reason – they are good with words.
Here is a sample of the recent reviews from Wine Enthusiast:
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills: 92 points. “Ripe fruit, in the form of raspberries, cherries and figs, characterizes this luscious Pinot. But it has much more going for it than that. The tannins are rich and complex, the finish is dry and spicy, and the overall impression is of wine with a great pedigree. Drink over the next six years.”
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Amber Ridge Vineyard, Russian River Valley: 90 points. “Classic coastal California Pinot, dry, silky and complex. So easy to like, gliding across the palate with raspberry, cherry, Canadian bacon and smoky sandalwood flavors that are filled with umami richness. Best over the next four years.”
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Hayley Vineyard, Anderson Valley: 90 points. “Delivers plenty of rich Pinot flavor from the great Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Raspberries, cherries, pomegranates, Dr. Pepper cola, spices and sandalwood flood the mouth, wrapped into a silky texture. Nice now, although it could develop bottle complexity over the next 3–4 years.”
Wine Enthusiast also gave our 2009 Deer Meadows Vineyard Pinot Noir 90 points, with the following description: “raspberries, cherries, vanilla, cinnamon spice and sandalwood wash over the palate, just delicious.”
The Deer Meadows also made it on the short list of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir wines reviewed by Jon Bonne in the San Francisco Chronicle in October. It ranked as one of the 11 best out of over 40 bottles tasted, and received the following review:
This San Francisco label tapped an impressive parcel – the site at 1,600-feet elevation farmed by Richard Savoy that was the source of Littorai’s One Acre bottle. Eucalyptus-driven and piney; it’s chewy and more of a forest-driven wine, with lots of bright citrus to finish.
As we like to say, we love our wines, but we love it when others love our wines, too! And if you want to try all of our wines, we recently released a couple of multi-packs. We have a Fifth Vintage 5-Pack to celebrate the five different Pinots we made in our fifth vintage and we have a Mendocino County 3-Pack for for all of our Mendocino and Anderson Valley Pinots. Both are priced with a package discount, so enjoy!
Filed under: New releases | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, anderson valley pinot noir, Deer Meadows Vineyard, La Encantada Vineyard, Mendocino County Pinot Noir, Oppenlander, Rich Savoy
At long last the wait is over. It’s always the hardest part of wine making. You get excited about a particular vintage and how the wines will turn out, but the wines need time. Time to evolve, time to settle down, time to open up. And the time is now as we are excited to release our Waits-Mast Family Cellars lineup of 2009 Pinot Noir wines.
2009 was a very favorable growing year, as many wine writers have noted, and there was a lot of great pinot noir available that year. We ended up sourcing fruit from five different vineyards, from as far south as Sta. Rita Hills and as far north as Comptche, CA. Here is the lineup, with links to tasting notes and specs on each one:
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Amber Ridge Vineyard, Russian River Valley
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Hayley Vineyard, Anderson Valley
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Deer Meadows Vineyard, Anderson Valley
- 2009 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Oppenlander Vineyard, Mendocino County
The joy of this lineup is that it is a diverse portfolio of wines, each representing the style and personality of the vineyard and the region. The Sta. Rita Hills pinot screams central coast with its bright acidity, amazing structure and cranberry tartness. The Russian River pinot is fruit-forward with a floral nose and silky finish. And as we get into Anderson Valley with the Hayley and Deer Meadows we pick up the pure cherry fruit and earthy aromas from that cool climate. Wrapping it up in Comptche, the vineyard that is furthest north and closest to the coast, the wine serves up that “oceanic acidity,” a balanced, earthy and strikingly-colored pinot noir.
After reading all that, and if you’ve been following this blog since the 2009 harvest, then you’re probably ready to get some for yourself. Our online store, which we had closed for the summer due to warm weather shipping restrictions and some updating of the store, is now open and the 2009 vintage is now available. Just go to www.waitsmast.com and click on “purchase.”
At the moment, we are only able to ship within the state of California, but we are working on adding some additional states in the coming weeks and months. If you are in one of those other 49 states and wish for us to ship to you, let us know and we’ll do our best to get the proper permits (there are tons of legal restrictions on direct shipping, so no guarantees).
Soon we’ll have some retailers offering our wine through their online site as well, and they often ship to many states in the U.S. Stay tuned to our blog and our website for updates on these retailers. And to read some of the latest reviews, go to our News page on our website for the most recent reviews on Waits-Mast Pinot Noir.
Enjoy the wines and we’ll keep you posted on more updates on this vintage, our 2010s and the 2011 harvest.
Filed under: News, reviews, Tasting notes | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, La Encantada Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast
The latest online ratings for Wine Enthusiast magazine came out today and two of Waits-Mast Pinot Noir wines were favorably reviewed by west coast wine reviewer Steve Heimoff. We had gotten a heads up about the scores awhile back, but the full reviews weren’t published until today. Without further ado, here they are:
Waits-Mast 2008 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills) – “92 points: Lots of zesty acidity in this wine, which gives it a mouthwatering raciness. It’s bone dry but ultrarich and ripe in cherries, raspberries and oak. There’s a slightly bretty funkiness that adds a mushroomy appeal. Should develop over the next six years. – S.H. (12/15/2010)”
Waits-Mast 2008 Amber Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) – “87 points: Soft and fruity, with raspberry, cherry, Dr. Pepper and oak flavors. It has the jammy, marmalade taste of freshly crushed berries, with citrusy acidity. The oak is front and center. Might develop with a few years in the bottle. – S.H. (12/15/2010)”
To see the reviews on Wine Enthusiast’s website, click here.
We’re very excited about these reviews and Heimoff does a great job of describing the flavors in these wines. They are also in short supply – we have about nine cases of the La Encantada and four cases of the Amber Ridge left in stock, so get ‘em while you can!
Filed under: Events | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, Chicago, ENO Wine Room, La Encantada Vineyard, Pinot Days Chicago 2010, Pinot Noir, Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, wine tasting
After a cold summer and fall in San Francisco, it was a treat to fly into Chicago last week during their fall heat wave. The 70 degree temperatures when we arrived were a lovely welcome and were perhaps indicative of what a great weekend we had in store for us.
This was our 3rd time at Pinot Days Chicago and it’s always been one of our favorite events as we have family, friends, and a growing number of customers in the Chicago area. This year we decided to do a few more events than usual, and started things off with a distributor-only tasting on Thursday, Nov. 11th. We’re still not sure if we’re big enough for a distributor yet, but it was great to meet and greet and get some feedback on our wines. Following that event we headed over to the Eno Wine Room at the Fairmont Millennium Park for a special “Meet the Winemakers” tasting. Several wineries were dispersed throughout the lobby bar and folks were invited to stop by to taste the wines and chat with the winemakers. A few of our friends came to the Eno Wine Room tasting, so it was nice to see some familiar faces.
The big event was on Saturday, November 13th, with both the public Pinot Days tasting and trade tasting taking place at Navy Pier. We were floored by the number of people who came out for Pinot Days this year. For the first time ever, we completely poured through all of the sample bottles of wine that we brought. In case you’re curious, we poured our 2008 Waits-Mast Family Cellars Pinot Noir from La Encantada Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills and our 2008 Waits-Mast Family Cellars Pinot Noir from Amber Ridge Vineyard in Russian River.
We got some great feedback on the wines, but things were so hectic that Jennifer wasn’t able to capture as many great quotes as in 2009 and 2008. Tasters seemed to enjoy both wines, saying that the 2008 La Encantada “tastes like fall in a glass,” with “great acidity” and a lovely aroma. One person said that the La Encantada was in their “top 3″ wines of the entire day at Pinot Days, with others commenting, “this is my favorite so far.” In terms of the 2008 Amber Ridge, people said that it was “velvety,” had a “great aroma,” pointed out that “this could be a staple [wine]” and that it is “very food-friendly” and could pair with an entree right through to dessert.
Probably most gratifying of all, we had several people stop by at the end of the day (when things were starting to get sloppy at Pinot Days!) and said that after being around the entire room our wines were still their favorites. It was equally satisfying to meet people who had been to our table in past years, several of whom had bought our wines before.
Our “#1 Fan” Luke came by again this year and greeted us by exclaiming, “These are Alchemists!” He’s a charmer and we swear we don’t have him on our payroll, although his pronouncements about our wine would make great ad copy. He also said to us that our winemaking project is “like a cause.” We couldn’t agree more!
After talking all day, Jennifer was also happy to have a taster tell her, “You don’t have to talk, the wine speaks for itself,” especially since she was choking on a chocolate-covered espresso bean at the time. Sweet!
Thanks to Luke and to everyone else for making us feel like rock stars this past weekend. We’re not sure that we’ll be able to quit our day jobs just yet (as one taster predicted), but all of the kind words at Pinot Days Chicago surely made our day.
Filed under: Events | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, Buena Vista, C. Donatiello, ENO Wine Room, La Encantada Vineyard, Pinot Days Chicago 2010, Waits-Mast Family Cellars
Harvest has come and gone and Pinot Days Chicago 2010 is just around the corner. Waits-Mast Family Cellars will be pouring at Pinot Days Chicago Grand Festival on Saturday, November 13, 2010. The festival starts with a trade tasting from 11 am to 1pm, then the public tasting from 1 pm to 5 pm. Over 60 producers from North America and other pinot noir regions will be pouring that day.
This will be the third year that Waits-Mast Family Cellars will be pouring at Pinot Days Chicago. We love the event because it’s smaller than the SF event and we recognize more and more faces every year we go back. When you’re a new producer and nobody has heard your name – despite how good your wine is – it’s nice when you start to get attendees heading to your table first, or at least within the first hour of the public tasting.
In addition to the Grand Festival, we are also pouring at a couple of other events. On Thursday, November 11, we’ll be pouring at a “Meet the Winemakers” tasting at the ENO Wine Room at the Fairmont Millenium Park in Chicago. Other participating producers including Native9, Fog Crest, C.Donatiello, Three Sticks, Buena Vista Carneros, and Lachini.
The Fairmont will also be carrying our 2008 La Encantada Vineyard pinot noir following the event, so if you are unable to make it, you can find that wine there. This is exciting because it is the first retail account we have in the Chicago area. We’ll also be pouring at a distributor-only tasting at the Whitehall Hotel in downtown Chicago on Thursday afternoon from 2:30pm to 5:00pm.
We’re looking forward to coming weekend and hope to see all of our returning friends and meet new pinot-enthusiasts as well. We’ll also provide our usual recap of the event and all of its colorful observations.
Filed under: Awards | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, Burl Ives, La Encantada Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Waits-Mast Family Cellars
Waits-Mast Family Cellars was proud to take home silver and gold medals for its first ever entries in the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Yes, when we think of silver and gold we can’t help but think of that Burl Ives song from the Rankin-Bass Christmas classic, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Perhaps we’ve got a little bit of Christmas in July going on here, but it’s always nice to receive such accolades for our humble wines.
Both our 2008 Amber Ridge Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley and 2008 La Encantada Pinot Noir(due to be released in the early Fall) from Sta. Rita Hills received silver medals in the pinot noir category. The competition was stiff and included wines from Oregon, France, New Zealand and other regions, so we’re honored to be included among some greats. See the entire list here.
The competition also included a label competition to recognize excellence in label design in the industry and our 2008 Amber Ridge label won a gold medal. Our wine label (for all wines, not just the Amber Ridge) went through a revamp in the 2007 vintage, with the intention of creating a more sophisticated, yet down-to-earth look.
The panoramic “band” label is designed to emphasize the foggy grandeur of the landscape photo and to also stand out on the shelf at a wine shop or wine bar. In the end, it is meant to reflect the quality and experience of our cool-climate pinot noirs. Yes, it’s okay to judge a book by its cover as well. Special thanks to designers Alyssa Ure and Hayley Partridge who helped us design the wonderful label and packaging for our wines.
The San Francisco International Wine Competition is in its 30th year now, and includes over 3,800 different wines from over 1,200 wineries across 28 states and 27 countries. 45 wine industry professionals served as judges for the competition, which took place in mid-June.
The Waits-Mast 2008 Amber Ridge is currently available in our webstore. Stay posted to this blog for the release of the 2008 La Encantada.
Filed under: Events, New releases, Wine bars | Tags: Amber Ridge Vineyard, Bird & Beckett, Canyon Market, Glen Park, Pinot Noir, Red & White wine bar, Russian River Valley, Waits-Mast Family Cellars
Hey! We’re havin’ a party! A Spring release party in Summer. Yes, you read that right. Spring just got away from us, so we decided that it was better late than never to hold a party in honor of our newest Pinot Noir.
So, please join us Sunday, July 11 at our favorite neighborhood wine bar, Red & White in Glen Park, as we celebrate the official launch for the 2008 Waits-Mast Family Cellars Pinot Noir from Amber Ridge Vineyard in Russian River. To read more about the crush and pressing of this wine and see tasting notes and specs, see our blog post from the Spring.
We’re excited to share this wine with you, as it marks our return to the very first vineyard from which we made wine in 2005 and we just got word that it scored a silver medal in the 2010 San Francisco International Wine Competition.
We’ll be pouring our 2008 Amber Ridge Pinot Noir at promotional prices — $12 for a glass and $6 for a taste (half-glass) — during the event and you will also be able to purchase bottles to drink at Red & White or to take home with you. Red + White also has some great food to nosh on with our wine, as well as a unique selection of red, white and sparkling wines by the glass or bottle.
Location: Red & White Wine Bar
Street: 678 Chenery Street (near Diamond) in the Glen Park neighborhood (accessible via BART or MUNI)
City: San Francisco, CA
Date: Sunday, July 11, 2010
Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pm PT
View and RSVP to the invite in Facebook.
New to Glen Park? Glen Park is a great little hamlet, tucked within the hills of the southern part of San Francisco. We feel very lucky to live just up the hill from this burgh. Here are a few ideas to make a day of it:
- Take a hike in Glen Canyon, located at the West end of Chenery Street.
- Pick up some sandwiches or cheese for your hike at Canyon Market on Diamond Street, a great local market with everyday and specialty foods (and wines, including ours!)
- Browse away the afternoon and maybe catch some poetry or live music at Bird & Beckett, an amazing independent bookstore located on Chenery Street.
- Cross the street to continue browsing wonderful gifts at Perch and say hi to our friend Zoel.
- Getting hungry? Lots of options. One of the best Neopolitan pizza places in the Bay Area is Gialina. Or get a reservation at Chenery Park, a great upscale neighborhood restaurant with contemporary American food with a Cajun touch.
We hope to see you there! And if you can’t make it to the party, swing by Red + White another time and you should be able to order the Amber Ridge Pinot Noir by the bottle to share with friends at the bar or take home to enjoy with dinner.