Josh Raynolds writes for Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. This is the second time Josh has reviewed our wines and he seems to like our style. Thanks Josh! We always enjoy having you out!

Kathryn andPaul Sloan’s vineyard management company, called Small Vines Viticulture, oversees a number of sites throughout theRussianRiverValleyandSonomaCoast. The Sloan’s began making small quantities of their own pinot noir with the 2006 vintage. They plant their vineyards in a tight 4 by 4 foot spacing or even 4 by 3 fashion after a traditional Burgundy model (as opposed to the more common 8 by 12 foot spacing of many California vineyards) and the vines are cropped for minimal fruit load, which is compensated for by the higher number of vines planted per acre-about double to triple the standard number. This planting regimen requires a serious investment in manpower as most vineyard machinery is designed to work with wider vine spacing.Paul Sloantold me that in the 2008 season, for example, a ton of grapes from vines that they manage cost around $9,000 to farm, which means that anybody willing to make such a substantial investment in their grapes is clearly shooting for the top of the market.

2008 Small Vines Wines Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

($50) Vivid red. Vibrant aromas of raspberry, flowers and Asian spices, with a hint of anise. Sappy red fruit, pepper and spice flavors stain the palate and are lifted by tangy minerality, picking up silky tannins with air. This coats the mouth with flavor but seems weightless. Finishes with resonating notes of minerals and spices and very good clarity.



2008 Small Vines Wines Pinot Noir MK Vineyard Sonoma Coast

($65) Saturated red. Highly expressive scents of raspberry, Asian spices, blood orange and sexy oak. Youthfully tight on entry but gains sweetness and flesh in the mid-palate, offering lively red berry and cherry flavors, a hint of candied rose and late-arriving tannins. Attractively sweet on the finish, leaving behind spice, red fruit and floral notes. (JR)