Antonio Galloni

September 2018

Click Here to read an introduction to the 2018 vintage from Antonio Galloni

Readers will find a large number of terrific choices in this lineup of new releases from Adam Tolmach and Fabien Castel at Ojai. The entry-level whites are especially fine, as are the 2016 Chardonnays. I find the 2016 Pinots a bit more variable than the Chardonnays, while the 2015 Syrahs are consistently brilliant. As always, the Ojai wines are distinguished by a very hands-off, almost stark approach in which the personality of each site is allowed to be fully expressive. I have also included notes on a few older wines I tasted during my most recent visit.

2015  Syrah John Sebastiano Special Bottling- Santa Maria Valley

A stunning wine, the 2015 Syrah John Sebastiano Special Bottling is simply tremendous, even after all the other whites and reds that precede it in this comprehensive survey of new releases. I am blown away by the wine’s immense freshness, nuance and aromatic intensity, all of which are quite rare for a wine of this site. The whole clusters are nearly buried by the voluptuousness of the inky dark red and purplish berry fruit. Readers who can find the 2015 should not miss it, as it is monumental. 2020-2030  95  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Roussanne Bien Nacido- Santa Maria Valley

One of the many highlights in this range, the 2016 Roussanne Bien Nacido Vineyard is a total stunner. Rich, sumptuous and radiant, the 2016 Roussanne Bien Nacido Vineyard offers stunning depth and complexity. Honeysuckle, orange peel, hazelnut and honeyed notes are all laced together in a white that hits all the right notes. Wow!. 2018-2024  94  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Syrah Grenache John Sebastiano- Sta. Rita Hills

The 2016 Syrah Grenache John Sebastiano (No SO2) is a rockstar wine from Ojai. The combination of Syrah and Grenache works wonders. Pliant, deep and resonant, the 2016 is full of character. The 2016 offers terrific persistence and impeccable overall balance. It is a wine of unusual class. I loved it. 2020-2030  94  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Chardonnay Bien Nacido- Santa Maria Valley

Ojai’s 2016 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard is beautifully layered and expressive, with so much of the nuance that makes wines from this Santa Maria site so distinctive. Bright floral notes infuse the polished, nuanced finish in a Chardonnay endowed with terrific energy, cut and verve. 2018-2024  94  Antonio Galloni
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2015 Syrah Roll Ranch – Upper Ojai, Ventura County

The 2015 Syrah Roll Ranch offers striking interplay of the natural richness of the year with a good bit of freshness and translucence, especially for such a big wine. Dark red and purplish berry fruit, rose petal, lavender and spice all flesh out effortlessly. In 2015, the Roll Ranch Syrah stands out for its finesse and total sense of class. The Roll Ranch emerges from a parcel of own-rooted vines. 2020-2030  94  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills- Santa Maria Valley

The 2016 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills offers terrific depth and intensity, but it is also a bit reduced, something I am not used to seeing in Ojai Pinots. Even so, the purity of the dark red cherry and plum fruit is striking. The 2016 is a wine of deep intrigue, but it is not anywhere near ready to show all of its cards. 2020-2031  93+  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido- Santa Maria Valley

The 2016 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard is endowed with striking inner perfume. Deep and resonant on the palate, with tons of nuance, the 2016 is also quite open at this stage. Dark red plum, cinnamon, sweet tobacco and dried flowers build into the creamy, inviting finish in a Pinot that has so much to offer. 2019-2031  93+  Antonio Galloni
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2015 Syrah Solomon Hills Special Bottling- Santa Maria Valley

The 2015 Syrah Solomon Hills Special Bottling is a two barrel lot from a half-acre parcel. Rich, deep and expansive, the 2015 possesses magnificent textural intensity and unctuousness, both of which belie the 12% alcohol on the label. Whole clusters add considerable aromatic nuance, but the long hang time of 120 days most likely explains the wine’s sublime balance and sense of proportion. Hints of game, smoke, tobacco and wild herbs build into the powerful, explosive finish. I would consider cellaring the 2015 for at least a few years, as it has tremendous potential. 2020-2030  93+  Antonio Galloni
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2015 Syrah Duvarita – Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Syrah Duvarita Vineyard is incredibly primary at this stage, with little in the way of aromatic nuance that will surely develop in bottle. Inky red and purplish berry fruit flavors are very much front and center, with a level of sheer depth that pretty much buries the tannins. Floral top notes add nuance to the silky finish in a Syrah that needs time in the cellar to show off its considerable pedigree. There is so much to look forward to. 2021-2030  93+  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Chardonnay Solomon Hills- Santa Maria Valley

The 2016 Chardonnay Solomon Hills is quite open and accessible in this vintage, almost surprisingly so. Orange, apricot and lightly tropical notes give the Solomon Hills its distinctive feel in this vintage. There is plenty of intrigue as well as near term appeal to the Solomon Hills in 2016. 2018-2024  93  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Grenache John Sebastiano- Sta. Rita Hills

The 2016 Grenache John Sebastiano is gorgeous. Deep and fleshy on the palate, with tremendous varietal character, the 2016 is a real winner. Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, mint and wild flowers all flesh out effortlessly in the glass. Over the last handful of years, John Sebastiano has emerged as one of the top vineyard sites in Santa Barbara. Ojai’s Grenache is one of many wines that show the potential of this large, sprawling ranch. 2019-2026  93  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar- Santa Barbara County

The 2016 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar offers tremendous cut and focus. Citrus, white flower and mineral note abound in a Chardonnay that shows the more steely side of the year. Expressive saline notes add lovely direction and energy. The Puerta del Mar is especially vivid and persistent in this vintage. There is so much to like. 2018-2024  93  Antonio Galloni
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2015 Syrah Bien Nacido- Santa Maria Valley

The 2015 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard is a powerful, explosive wine. A rush of smoke, incense, tobacco, dark plum and leather gives the 2015 its decidedly exuberant personality. Although the 2015 is quite expressive today, readers will have to wait a few years for the full range of Syrah aromatics to develop.There is so much to like. 2020-2030  93  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Pinot Noir Kessler Haak- Sta. Rita Hills

The 2016 Pinot Noir Kessler Haak Vineyard is delicate and very nicely balanced, with all of its elements in the right place. Sandy soils and 50% whole clusters both accent the aromatics and inner perfume. The 2016 finishes with terrific energy and cut to round things out. 2018-2026  92  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Pinot Noir Kick On- Santa Barbara County 

The 2016 Pinot Noir Kick On Ranch is another pretty and highly expressive wine in this range. Done in a slender, slightly nervous style, the 2016 is built on expressive aromatics and notable persistence, with the fruit lying more in the background. It will be interesting to see if this reticent, tightly wound Pinot gains a bit more flesh with time in the bottle. 2018-2026  92  Antonio Galloni
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2015 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar- Santa Barbara County

The 2015 Chardonnay Puerta del Mar has a bit more focus and energy than the Bien Nacido tasted alongside it. White peach, apple and floral overtones give the wine tension and brightness throughout. This is in an especially fresh style for the year. 2018-2026  91  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Syrah Santa Barbara

The 2016 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) is a delicious entry-level wine from Ojai. Fresh and light on its feet, the 2016 is beautifully nuanced from start to finish. A drop (10%) of Grenache rounds out the blend. All the elements fall into place in this overachieving wine from Ojai. The 30% whole clusters are mostly felt in the wine’s mid-weight structure rather than in the flavor profile. Vineyard sources are Roll Ranch, Bien Nacido and John Sebastiano. 2018-2026  91  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Riesling Kick On- Santa Barbara County   

The 2016 Riesling Kick On Ranch is another fabulous white from Ojai. Lime, white flowers and citrus are nicely pushed forward in the 2016 Riesling Kick On Ranch. Beautifully perfumed and expressive, the Riesling has so much to offer. 2018-2024  91  Antonio Galloni
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2011 Apricot  

The 2011 Apricot, an eccentric blend of Sangiovese (from White Hawk) and Grenache (from John Sebastiano) is certainly not lacking in personality. Wild cherry, earthiness, tobacco and leather add complexity to this decidedly wild, unrestrained red. The cold season and long hang time yielded a powerful and incredibly distinctive wine. 2018-2026  91  Antonio Galloni
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2017 Rosé

The 2017 Rosé is subtle, gracious and open-knit, with softer curves than is the norm for this bottling, which I personally think makes the wine easier to enjoy. This Grenache-based Rosé is a winner from Ojai. 2018-2021  90  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Pinot Noir Puerta Del Mar- Santa Barbara County

The 2016 Pinot Noir Puerta Del Mar is marked by distinctive floral, savory and mineral character, while the fruit lies very much in the background. Somewhat austere in style, the Puerta del Mar is certainly distinctive, although I would have liked to see a bit more depth to the mid-palate and overall freshness. 2018-2024  90  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley- Santa Ynez Valley

The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley Vineyard is quite soft in this vintage, with a lovely interplay between varietal fruit character and the soft curves that make the wine such a delight to taste now. Candied lemon, orchard fruit, white flower, chamomile and almond all grace a very pretty and expressive wine that emphasizes fruit over the green/grassy notes that are typical of many Sauvignon Blancs. 2018-2022  90  Antonio Galloni
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2016 Viognier Roll Ranch- Upper Ojai, Ventura county

The 2016 Viognier Roll Ranch is classy, understated and polished, with striking aromatics and lovely texture. Jasmine, mint, apricot and scented citrus notes abound in this gracious, understated wine. 2018-2022  90  Antonio Galloni
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