Jeb Dunnuck

Click here to read Jeb Dunnuck’s Introduction to Santa Barbara County

Click here to read Jeb Dunnuck’s Review of the 2014 and 2015 Vintages

October 2018

2016 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido- Santa Maria Valley
I suspect one of the finest wines I’ve tasted from this incredibly talented team, the 2016 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido offers heavenly notes of red currants, forest floor, flowers, and spices, with subtle marine-like salinity. A wine that just glides over the palate, with incredible elegance, especially from this more masculine site, it has ultra-fine tannins, perfectly integrated acidity, and a great, great finish. It’s a incredible Pinot Noir from a great winemaker and a great vineyard. Drink it over the coming decade or more. Jeb Dunnuck – 97 Points
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2015 Syrah Bien Nacido- Santa Maria Valley
Deeper colored than the 2016 Syrah Santa Barbara County, the 2015 Syrah Bien Nacido is getting up there in rarified air and is possibly the finest Syrah I’ve tasted from the estate. Thrilling notes of crème de cassis, blackberries, spring flowers, and bacon fat all soar from the glass. With full body, building yet ultra-fine tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and truly awesome purity, it certainly makes the best of this vintage and is a tour de force in Syrah that readers owe it to themselves to taste! It’s going to cruise in the cellar for upward of two decades. Jeb Dunnuck – 97 Points
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2016 Chardonnay Solomon Hills- Santa Maria Valley
One of the standouts is the 2016 Chardonnay Solomon Hills, which comes from a cool site in the Santa Maria Valley, not far from Bien Nacido. This sensational effort offers notes of apple blossoms, crushed citrus, and exotic flowers, with more and more brioche and marzipan notes developing with time in the glass. Deep, layered, and concentrated, yet also incredibly pure and elegant, it’s a remarkably complete Chardonnay that does everything right. Don’t miss it! Jeb Dunnuck – 96 Points
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2016 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega- Sta Rita Hills
I was blown away by the 2016 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega, a dead ringer for a Grand Cru Red Burgundy. Black cherries, black raspberries, sous bois, earth, and loads of spice notes all flow to a medium-bodied, richly textured, concentrated effort that does everything right. I like it today, but it will be even better with another year or so in bottle and keep for 10-15 years. Jeb Dunnuck – 96 Points
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2016 Chardonnay Bien Nacido- Santa Maria Valley
Leading off the Chardonnays, the 2016 Chardonnay Bien Nacido comes from unquestionably one of the Grand Cru sites in Santa Barbara County. This powerful, rich, rockingly textured effort offers loads of ripe orchard fruits, pineapple cream, and white flowers as well as that distinct salinity and minerality that’s the hallmark of this site. Beautifully layered, medium to full-bodied, with vibrant acidity, drink it any time over the coming decade or more. Jeb Dunnuck – 95 Points
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2015 Syrah Duvarita- Santa Barbara County
The cool climate site located just outside of the Sta. Rita Hills has turned out a Northern Rhône-like Syrah in the 2015 Syrah Duvarita. Structured, tannin, and in need of 2-3 years of bottle age, it offers textbook cassis, bay leaf, bacon fat, ground pepper, and tapenade. Possessing gorgeous purity of fruit, good acidity, and a great finish, it’s a stunner. Jeb Dunnuck – 95+ Points
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2015 Syrah Solomon Hills Special Bottling- Santa Maria Valley
First made in 2008, the 2015 Syrah Solomon Hills Special Bottlings comes from the only Syrah vines planted in the Solomon Hills Vineyard (it’s a very cold site for Syrah) and was mostly destemmed and brought up in neutral barrels. This beauty boasts a big perfume of mulberries, cherries, leafy herbs, pepper, and green olives, and I wrote in my notes that it reminded me of a Côte Rôtie from Jamet. Gamey, exotic, medium-bodied, incredibly elegant, and seamless, it’s not for those craving big California fruit but is a gorgeously complex, multi-dimensional Syrah that will drink nicely for a decade or more. Jeb Dunnuck- 95 Points
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2015 Syrah John Sebastiano Special Bottling – Sta. Rita Hills
There are just 200 cases of the 2015 Syrah John Sebastiano Special Bottlings, but it’s another beauty that’s worth the extra effort to track down. Perfumed notes of sandalwood, barbecue smoke, pepper, and both red and black fruits all emerge from the glass and it changed beautifully every time I came back to it. Possessing medium to full-bodied richness, integrated acidity, and moderate tannins, it’s a rock star bottle of wine to enjoy over the coming 10-12 years. Jeb Dunnuck- 95 Points
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2016 Roussanne Bien Nacido- Santa Maria Valley
The medium-gold colored 2016 Roussanne Bien Nacido is one of the finest expressions of Roussanne from California out there. This full-bodied, deep, layered, and concentrated beauty gives up awesome notes of buttered citrus, white flowers, marzipan, and brioche. It’s absolutely the match for a top Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc and will keep for a decade or more. Jeb Dunnuck- 94 Points
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2016 Pinot Noir Puerta Del Mar- Santa Barbara County
The salty, mineral-laced 2016 Pinot Noir Puerta Del Mar offers a distinct Burgundian-style in its forest floor, savory red fruits, moss, river rock, and earth. Fresh and lively on the palate, it stays balanced, layered, and silky, with no hard edges. It’s another singular Pinot Noir from this estate that’s going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for over a decade. Jeb Dunnuck- 94 Points
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2016 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills- Santa Maria Valley
I continue to love this vineyard, which is located in the cooler Santa Maria Valley, just west of Bien Nacido, and the 2016 Pinot Noir Solomon Hills from Tolmach certainly delivers the goods in 2016. Black cherries, spring flowers, damp underbrush, and a kiss of reduction all flow to a focused, fresh, and tight Pinot Noir that has terrific balance, a focused texture, and a great finish. It needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will have over a decade of prime drinking. Jeb Dunnuck- 94+ Points
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2015 Syrah Roll Ranch- Upper Ojai, Ventura County
Another age-worthy wine is the 2015 Syrah Roll Ranch, which comes from a site just outside of Ojai. Beautiful notes of lavender, blueberries, ground pepper, and assorted leafy herbs all give way to a medium to full-bodied, silky, impeccably balanced Syrah that shows ample underlying structure and tannic grip. Nevertheless, it has a beautiful layer of fruit and offers pleasure even today. Jeb Dunnuck- 94 Points
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2016 Pinot Noir Kessler Haak- Sta Rita Hills
Lots of cherries, strawberries, savory herbs, and salty minerality flow from the 2016 Pinot Noir Kessler Haak, which is medium-bodied and more structured and tannic than some of the other releases. With plenty of fruit, rock solid mid-palate depth, and building tannins, give it a year or three. Jeb Dunnuck- 93+ Points
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2016 Viognier Roll Ranch – Upper Ojai, Ventura County
The 2016 Viognier Roll Ranch is rocking stuff and has real Viognier typicity in its white peach, pineapple, white flowers, and salty minerality. Medium-bodied and vibrant, with both richness and freshness, it’s ideal for drinking over the coming 2-3 years. Jeb Dunnuck- 92 Points
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2016 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar – Santa Barbara County
The 2016 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar offers more citrus and white flowers as well as a crisp, tart, salty style on the palate. This cool site has yielded a chiseled, focused Chardonnay that’s going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age. Jeb Dunnuck- 92 Points
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2016 Pinot Noit- Santa Barbara County
Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County is another winner that readers should snatch up. Ripe cherries, raspberries, forest floor, and salty minerality all flow to a medium-bodied, elegant, impeccably balanced effort that shows both the quality of the vintage as well as the style of the estate. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years. Jeb Dunnuck- 92 Points
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2016 Pinot Noir Kick On- Santa Barbara County
The medium-bodied, vibrant 2016 Pinot Noir Kick On is another age-worthy effort that has everything in the right places. Perfumed notes of mulberries, dried flowers, strawberries, and menthol, medium body, bright acidity, and fine tannins all make for a beautiful Pinot Noir that will benefit from short-term cellaring and keep for a decade. Jeb Dunnuck- 92+ Points
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2016 Syrah – Santa Barbara County
I loved the 2016 Syrah Santa Barbara County, a wine to buy by the case. Elegant, perfumed notes of blue fruits, peppery herbs, violets, and a touch of minerality all give way to a rounded, fruit-forward, fleshy beauty that’s geared for drinking over the coming 4-5 years. Jeb Dunnuck- 92 Points
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2016 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley – Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara county
The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley offers a richer yet still elegant style. Beautiful notes of lime, white peach, and hints of grapefruit all emerge from the glass and it’s clean, impeccably balanced, and pure on the palate. I’d drink it over the coming 2-3 years, but it will keep for a decade or more. Jeb Dunnuck- 91 Points
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2011 Apricot – California
Only the second vintage of the cuvée, the 2011 Apricot is a blend of Sangiovese and Grenache that has a medium-bodied, elegant, incredibly charming style, with the Sangiovese taking center stage at the moment. Tart cherries, cedar, mint, and hints of leafy herbs all emerge from this balanced, silky red that’s going to shine on the dinner table. It’s ready to go today but should keep nicely through 2021. Jeb Dunnuck- 91 Points
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2016 Riesling Kick On – Santa Barbara County
I always love the Riesling from this team and the 2016 Riesling Kick On is another terrific example of the variety. Lychee nut, lime, mints, and ample citrus notes all emerge from this pure, medium-bodied, slightly off-dry effort that’s going to be about as versatile as it get on the dinner table. Jeb Dunnuck- 91 Points
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2017 Rose- California
Adam has always made a vibrant, slightly lean rose in the past, yet the 2017 Rosé offers more richness and depth, with classic Provençal notes of ripe strawberries, salted orange peel, and spice. This medium-bodied beauty is balanced, refreshing, and high class all the way. Jeb Dunnuck- 90 Points
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2016 Grenache John Sebastiano- Sta Rita Hills
Made in a more elegant, lightly textured style, not far from a Pinot Noir, the 2016 Grenache John Sebastiano comes from a site on the eastern side of the Sta. Rita Hills and was brought up in neutral barrels. It’s incredibly floral, with notes of blueberries, black cherries, peppery herbs, and spice, and it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, an elegant texture, and moderate tannins. It’s going to drink nicely for 4-5 years. Jeb Dunnuck- 90 Points
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2016 Barbera Rich- Upper Ojai, Ventura County
I loved the 2016 Barbera Rich Vineyard, an undeniably charming, fruity, forward effort that has explosive fruit, medium body, no hard edges, and a great finish. Drink up. Jeb Dunnuck- 90 Points
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