Antonio Galloni

Click here to read Antonia Galloni’s update on Santa Barbara County

Click here to read Antonio Galloni’s introduction to Santa Barbara County

September 2017

Adam Tolmach describes 2015 as an early year with tiny yields and relatively low acidities. Even with the low yields, the 2015’s are not especially dense wines. Based on what I tasted at Ojai, 2015 looks stronger for reds than whites. There are a number of terrific wines in this range beyond the Ojai signatures that are particularly of note, including the Sangiovese and Barbera. Among the 2015 Pinots, the Bloom’s Field is superb, while the lineup of 2014 Syrahs is consistently outstanding.

2014 Syrah Solomon Hills
Santa Maria Valley

The 2014 Syrah Solomon Hills Special Bottling is one of the many highlights in this range. Intensely floral and savory, it floats on the palate with superb aromatic and flavor intensity. The 2014 was done with only 20-25% whole clusters, but the overall impression is of a wine with considerable stem influence. This is in an especially bold, pungent style with a lot of varietal character. The 2014 is intense, but not at all tannic. I loved it.- AG 96 points

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2014 Syrah White Hawk 
Santa Barbara County

One of the standouts today, the 2014 Syrah White Hawk Vineyard is an explosive wine of serious intensity. Dark cherry, plum, leather, spice, menthol and licorice provide considerable aromatic savoriness, but today, the 2014 is seriously tannic and forbidding. This is a wine for readers who can be patient.- AG 95 points 

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2015 Pinot Noir Blooms Field 
Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Pinot Noir Bloom’s Field is a wine of pedigree and nuance. There is a real sense of aromatic and flavor intensity lurking behind the tannins. Pliant, textured and fleshy, the 2015 has it all. Readers will have to give the wine at least a few years for it to be at its best. Even today, though, the 2015 is a total knockout.- AG 94+ points 

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2014 Syrah Roll Ranch
Upper Ojai Ventura County

The 2014 Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard is defined by its implosive, reticent feel. Inward and totally shut down, the 2014 will need quite a bit of time to be at its most expressive. Today, it is the wine’s persistence and sheer thrust that stand out most. The 2014 was done with 75% whole clusters. Drops of co-fermented Viognier round out the blend.- AG 94 points

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2014  Syrah Bien Nacido 
Santa Maria Valley

A powerful, meaty wine, the 2014 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard packs a real punch. Hints of lavender, plum, herbs and leather emerge, but only with considerable reluctance. Readers will have to be especially patient with this structured, tannic young Syrah, but there is quite a bit to look forward to. The 2014 was done with 15% whole clusters.- AG 94 points

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2015 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido
Santa Maria Valley

Ojai’s 2015 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is bold, punchy and racy. Even with all of its flavor intensity, the 2015 is wonderfully nuanced from start to finish. Sweet red cherry, crushed flowers and earthy undertones add the closing shades of flavor complexity. Drink this attractive midweight Pinot over the next decade or so. – AG 93 points 

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2015 Sangiovese White Hawk 
Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Sangiovese White Hawk Vineyard is a gorgeous wine. Although not especially varietal, the 2015 possesses terrific depth and overall intensity. The flavors are bright, nuanced and delineated, and plenty of red-toned fruit runs through the wine’s midweight frame. The Sangiovese is often one of the hidden gems in the Ojai range, as it is once again this year. – AG 93 points

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2015  Pinot Noir Fe Ciega 
Sta. Rita Hills

The 2015 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard is a very beautiful, impeccably balanced wine. There is lovely purity to the sweet red berry fruit. Attractive floral and savory notes give the wine its distinctive aromatic signature, but here those elements are subtly layered rather than dominant. Deceptively medium in body, the 2015 is quite reticent and in need of time to fully unwind. – AG 92+ points

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2015 Barbara Rich Vineyard
Upper Ojai Ventura County

Ojai’s 2015 Barbera Rich Vineyard is plump, juicy and forward – in other words, exactly what Barbera is supposed to be. Inky red and purplish-hued stone fruit, spice, leather, mint and lavender flesh out in a supple, midweight Barbera loaded with personality. The 60% whole clusters are not especially perceptible in the wine’s flavor profile, although they are a bit more evident texturally.- AG 92 points

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2015 Pinot Noir Puerta Del Mar 
Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar comes across as a bit edgy and tightly wound. Then again, that is the personality of this cool-climate site near the Pacific Ocean. Intensely savory and mineral, the 2015 is going to need at least a year in bottle to unfurl. Even so, expect it to remain somewhat angular and austere in its expression. – AG 92 points

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2015  Pinot Noir Kessler Haak 
Sta. Rita Hills

The 2015 Pinot Noir Kessler Haak Vineyard is one of the most exuberant wines in this range. A rush of dark red and purplish-hued stone fruits, flowers, spices and new leather makes a strong opening statement. This is an especially exotic, flamboyant, dense wine. The 50% whole clusters are felt in the 2015’s aromatic intensity, while the decision to vinify only with pumpovers seems to have brought out considerable fruit intensity.- AG 92 points

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2015 Chardonnay Bien Nacido
Santa Maria Valley

The 2015 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard is juicy, supple and forward. Apricot, peach and lightly tropical notes give the 2015 much of its exotic, voluptuous personality. Even so, it retains the classic Ojai midweight style. The 2015 is very pretty, but it needs bottle age to be at its best.- AG 92 points 

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2015 Chardonnay Solomon Hills 
Santa Maria Valley

The 2015 Chardonnay Solomon Hills is the most intriguing of the three 2015 Chardonnays from Ojai because it expresses the natural intensity of the year while retaining plenty of energy and aromatic freshness. There is a lovely sense of oiliness and texture to the 2015, but no excess weight at all.- AG 92 points

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2016 Riesling Kick On Dessert
Santa Barbara County

The 2016 Riesling Kick On Ranch Dessert Wine is an absolutely delicious dessert wine that emphasizes freshness. Orchard fruit, sweet floral notes and mint add brightness and aromatic lift. The 250 grams of residual sugar are not especially evident. – AG 92 points

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2015  Syrah / Grenache (No So2) 
Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Syrah-Grenache (No SO2) is one of the most distinctive wines in the range. Lavender, violet, mint and a host of blue/purplish stone fruits are front and center. Beams of tannin give the wine its shape and overall persistence. This is yet another delicious, juicy 2015 from Ojai and Adam Tolmach. – AG 92 points

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2015 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar
Santa Barbara County

Coming from a very western, downright cold site that’s farmed by the Jonata team, the 2015 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar is clean, crisp and classically styled. Lemon, white flowers, ripe citrus and plenty of salty minerality give way to a gorgeous, tight, crisp beauty that will blossom with another 2-3 years in bottle.- AG 91 points 

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2015 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills 
Santa Maria Valley

The 2015 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills is a very pretty wine, but it also shows quite a bit of whole cluster influence in this vintage. Dried flowers, tea leaves, mint, pine and sweet dried cherries all lift from the glass, while silky tannins in the background provide a supportive underpinning. Readers who enjoy floral, savory Pinots will find much to admire. I confess I prefer the Solomon Hills when it has a bit more fruit and midpalate stuffing. – AG 90 points

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2015 Viognier Roll Ranch
Upper Ojai Ventura County

The 2015 Viognier Roll Ranch is gorgeous. Light honey, chamomile, mint, apricot and peach are nicely delineated in the glass. Medium in body and gracious, with good varietal expression, the 2015 is absolutely delicious. Bright saline notes add energy throughout.- AG 90 points

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2015 Syrah Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) is a gorgeous wine that punches above its weight. Sweet tobacco, herb, licorice, menthol and dark-fleshed fruit meld together effortlessly. Dark, pliant and inviting, but not at all heavy, the 2015 has much to offer. Floral and savory overtones from a combination of cool sites and 30% stems add notable character. The 2015 is a bit tannic for an appellation-level Syrah. Even so, this is impressive stuff.- AG 90 points

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2015 Riesling Kick On Ranch
Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Riesling Kick On Ranch is another delicious white from Ojai. Expressive floral overtones and white stone fruit give it much of its exotic, inviting personality. Classy, silky and polished, the 2015 can be enjoyed upon release and for several years thereafter.- AG 89 points

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2015 Sauvignon Blanc Mcginley Vineyard 
Happy Canyon

The 2015 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley Vineyard is pretty, delicate and nuanced. Orchard fruit and floral notes are nicely pushed forward. Low yields and an early harvest resulted in a fruity, supple Sauvignon Blanc with less in the way of greener, grassier varietal tones.- AG 89 points

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2015 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County) is a joyous wine. Orange peel, mint, tobacco, mint, sweet red berry and earthy notes give the 2015 its distinctive personality. Aromatic, beguiling and light on its feet, this is a terrific entry-level Pinot from Ojai.- AG 89 points

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2016 Rose 
California

Ojai’s pale-colored 2016 Rosé is soft, pretty and nuanced, featuring plenty of lively cranberry and floral notes. Drink it over the next year or two.


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