The 2017 Pinot Noirs from Kutch

One of California’s leading producers of Pinot Noir

It was great to be able to taste the new releases from Jamie Kutch, who has emerged in recent years as one of California’s most able proponents of Pinot Noir. For background on his story, see here.

Kutch Pinot Noir 2017 Sonoma Coast, California
12.5% alcohol. This is truly delicious. It has lovely floral red fruits on the nose with a sense of prettiness and a subtle green hint. The palate is elegant with lovely red cherry fruits, a sort of weightlessness and really fine-grained tannins. It has a luxurious, generous feel with all the sweet fruit, yet it’s also balanced and precise. So elegant, showing finesse and purity. 93/100

Kutch McDougall Ranch Pinot Noir 2017 Sonoma Coast, California
13% alcohol. Supple, elegant, herby and juicy with sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit, with some silky texture, a bit of green, and some nice sappy, spicy herby notes. There’s some floral elegance here but also some green, spicy, structural notes. Grippy and assertive with a slight cola edge to the sleek fruit. Very fine, with potential for development. Nice freshness. 94/100

Kutch Signal Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 Mendocino Ridge, California12% alcohol. 150 cases. The Mendocino Ridge appellation is small, and high altitude – this vineyard is at 2800 ft, and the lowest allowed in this subregion is 1200 ft. It’s a northern extension of the Sonoma Coast. This wine is 100% whole cluster and aged for 11 months in neutral French oak. This is pure, fine and delicate, but also has nice concentration of red cherry and berry fruits. There’s good structure and nice acidity, creating an impression of freshness. But there’s also a lovely seductive, fine, floral, fine-grained prettiness to it, as well. There’s such harmony here: this isn’t a wine that’s giving away too much too soon, and it has a lot of potential for development. Crunchy and taut but also harmonious. 95/100

Kutch Bohan Vineyard Graveyard Block Pinot Noir 2017 Sonoma Coast, California
12.9% alcohol. 100 cases. George Bohan’s father was the first to plant the ‘true’ Sonoma Coast back in the 1970s, and this is made from some of those original vines, planted on their own roots some 40 years ago. This is from that block, which is very rocky, and this year for the first time Jamie bottled it separately. He destemmed the grapes because he wanted to tame the structure a bit. So this is from sandstone soils, vines planted 1972, destemmed and then aged in neutral French oak. Aged without racking for 11 months. This is pure, floral and refined with lovely silky red cherry and plum fruit, underpinned with some firm, grippy structure and hints of tar and spice. This has good structure, and a lot of potential for development. Serious stuff. 95/100

Kutch Bohan Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 Sonoma Coast, California
12% alcohol. So fresh and supple, with hints of tomato and dried herbs on the red cherry fruit nose, with a bit of baked plum on the palate, as well as sappy cherry fruit. There are notes of cinnamon and spice, with a very gentle, light, expressive personality. This is deceptively light at the moment, but there’s some structure here and I think it will develop really nicely in bottle. 94/100

Kutch Flastaff Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017 Sonoma Coast, California
12.5% alcohol. This is ripe and seductive, with very pure red cherry and blackberry fruit on the smooth palate, but also with amazing elegance and focus. It leads you in with the sweet red fruits character, then holds your gaze with lovely supple, integrated green notes and attractive, well defined tannins. This is a masterpiece in careful infusion, not heavy extraction of flavours. There’s the tiniest hint of beetroot in the background, but it works so well. This is serious stuff. 95/100

see also: the 2016s from Kutch