The 2018 Pinot Noirs from Kutch, one of California’s leading Pinot producers

Over the last few years Kutch has emerged as one of California’s leading proponents of Pinot Noir, and this line up cements the reputation of Jamie Kutch. Working with talented cool-climate (and often marginal) sites he’s making some very exciting wines. His Chardonnays (not reviewed here) are also worth checking out.

For more on the Kutch story, see this article. And there are reviews of the 2017s and 2016s elsewhere on this site.

Kutch Wines Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2018 Sonoma, California
13.2% alcohol. 42 barrels made, from a mix of vineyards aged 19-36 years old. 100% whole cluster, wild ferment, minimal SO2. This has nice density: there’s firm tannin under the raspberry and cherry fruit. There’s freshness but also some sleek texture, with a little lushness. This is bright with some grip, and there’s lots of potential for development, although you can drink it now. Some fine herbal hints in the background. 94/100

Kutch Wines McDougall Ranch Pinot Noir 2018 Sonoma Coast, California
13.5% alcohol. From a vineyard planted in 1998 on Greywacke and Sandstone soils at 1010 feet on an exposed southern slope, 3.5 miles from the Pacific. 100% whole bunch, naturally made with minimal SO2 additions. It’s a warm site with rocky soils and you can taste it in the wine: ripe and beautifully aromatic with sweet berry and cherry fruits, framed by gentle herbal notes, as well as lavender and mint. The palate is concentrated and beautifully poised, with some ripeness but also freshness, and a lovely berry fruit core. This has the structure to age, as well as quite a bit of concentration, but it also has some approachability. At its heart, though, this is an immense wine, combining concentration, intensity, freshness and finesse. 96/100

Kutch Wines Signal Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018 Mendocino Ridge, California
From 1999 plantings, seven barrels made. This vineyard is 8.9 miles from the Pacific at an altitude of 2800 ft, above the fog line. It’s the highest vineyard in Sonoma and Mendocino. 13.2% alcohol. 100% whole cluster. Floral and enticing with sweet raspberry fruit and some sappy green notes. The palate has bright spicy framing with some sweetness on the mid-palate. There’s a smoothness and silkiness here with some green hints. Shows nice grip: you can taste the stems, which add freshness and a bit of end-palate spicy edginess. 94/100

Kutch Wines Falstaff Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018 Sonoma Coast, California
1999 plantings 8.2 miles from the Pacific on Goldridge soils. This is a marginal site in a cold and foggy pocket of the Sonoma Coast. 23 barrels made. Supple and fresh with lovely red cherry and berry fruit. This has a nice fine, sleek texture with some rounded structure. There’s some maturity to the fruit, which is ripe and lush. Textural and elegant with great finesse. Nice grainy, grippy structure here with finesse and purity. Light and elegant. 95/100

Kutch Wines Bohan Vineyard Pinot Noir 2018 Sonoma Coast, California
From vines planted in 1972 at 1400 feet, 3.5 miles from the Pacific on Goldridge soils. 100% whole cluster. Aromatic, floral, peppery nose with some fine herbal hints. The palate is bright, quite light and really expressive. Generous and quite silky with some spicy, herbal framing to the red and black fruits. Just so drinkable and easy, but with a hint of seriousness. 93/100

Kutch Bohan Graveyard Block Pinot Noir 2018 Sonoma Coast, California
Four barrels made from a vineyard planted in 1988 on sandstone soils, 3 miles from the Pacific. This is supple and refined with sweet cherries and plums, showing incredible elegance and refinement. There’s some structure here, but also lovely textured fruit, with a faint cedar and spice framing. Complex and with substance, but also an incredible lightness. 96/100

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