Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Wine & Spirits: 100 Best Wines of the Year - Newcomers Lumos and Laurel Glen

Wine & Spirits' Top 100 wines for 2015 was unveiled this week and the list includes nine wines from organic vines. (There are probably more among the foreign producers; I just am not as familiar with those wineries as I am with the domestic ones.)

Many are from repeat producers (and huzzah for them), but a few are new to the list - Laurel Glen and Lumos.

Bettina Sichel at Laurel Glen Vineyard (April 2015)
Laurel Glen

Laurel Glen is going through a revival. I visited the vineyard with proprietor and general manager Bettina Sichel this spring. Once a great vineyard (and still a stellar site), the 16 acre, dry farmed Sonoma Mountain estate had declined, due to neglect, over the years when Sichel and her business partners bought it in 2010.

Organic vineyard manager Phil Coturri was brought in to bring the vines back to their glory, and top tier winemaker Randall Watkins (formerly of Carmenet) now mans the cellar. The results from this all star team are just beginning to show.

The site is a special spot on Sonoma Mountain, at 800-1,000 feet of altitude on a sunny site above the fogline. The soils are complex, shallow, thin and rocky, yielding a beautiful Cabernet.

And not that price is the determining factor, but compare this $60 bottle with Napa prices (generally $100+). A thousand cases were made.

Dai Crisp at Temperance Hill Vineyard (March 2015)
Lumos Wine Co.

Lumos Wine Co. proprietor and winemaker Dai Crisp may be one of the only vintners more famous for wine grape growing than for winemaking (yet). Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that says something about great wine making; wine is made in the vineyard.

As the vineyard manager of Temperance Hill Vineyard, a 100 acre organic vineyard in Oregon's Eola-Amity Hills that regularly produces award-winning bottles of Pinot Noir from 10+  wineries, his own production of grapes from this vineyard is just a fraction of the overall wine made from this star site. And yet...his is on the list (and the others are not).

And not that price is the determining factor, but both the 2010 and 2012 vintages of this wine were featured in the prestigious International Pinot Noir Festival in Oregon - a very high bar as this is a very competitive category. And this wine lists for $38 a bottle (or $35 only at KLWines.) Only 415 cases made.




Ridge Vineyards, 2011 Monte Bello ($165), 96 pts. (about 95% organically grown at this point, heading toward 100% within a year)

Laurel Glen, 2011 Sonoma Mountain ($60), 95 pts.

Pinot Noir

Lumos, 2012 Temperance Hill ($38), 94 pts.


Radio Coteau, 2012 Dusty Lane ($60), 96 pts.


Storybook Mountain Vineyards, 2012 Estate Reserve ($68), 94 pts.



Alsace White

Zind Humbrecht, 2012 Alsace Goldert Grand Cru Gewurztraminer ($80), 93 pts.

Ostertag, 2012 Alsace Heissenberg Riesling ($48), 93 pts.

Rhone Red

Domaine Jerome Gradassi, 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape ($50), 93 pts.


Domaine Sigalas, 2014 Santorini Asyrtiko ($24), 94 pts.

*As I am not as familiar with these producers, let me know if you find a wine from this list that is from certified organic vines.

No comments:

Post a Comment