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Below you will find a list of ratings and reviews of our current wines. You can also see ratings for our previously released wines.

Occidental

  • Occidental - Antonio Galloni's Reviews

    • "Occidental is Steve Kistler’s new Pinot Noir project, which is starting essentially as a spin-out from Kistler Vineyards.  Steve Kistler remains CEO of Kistler Vineyards and very much in charge of day to day operations.  At the same time, Kistler understandably wanted to manage a small project of his own with an eye towards his two much younger daughters who will one day run Occidental. For the moment, the Occidental range is composed of two Pinots; the Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine and Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth, which are the same wines that were sold under the Kistler label through the 2010 vintage.  Kistler is building a new winery in Bodega, where 20 acres of Pinot are planted and another 60 are in development.  The Occidental Pinots will be marketed through the Kistler mailing list for the next 2-3 years, after which Occidental will become its own free-standing, independent winery.  The focus will continue to be solely on Pinot Noir."
      Antonio Galloni

    • 2011 Occidental Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine

      Occidental, 2011 Cuvee Catherine

      Score: 97
      The 2011 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine is a real stunner.  Still incredibly primary, the 2011 is built on a serious core of fruit.  Voluptuous yet medium in body, the 2011 impresses for its balance and sheer purity.  The 2011 has developed quite a bit since I last tasted it, but the style remains one of fruit density.  Readers should give the 2011 another year or two in the bottle. What a fabulous wine this is.


    • 2011 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth

      Score: 97 
      Whereas the Cuvée Catherine is built on fruit, the 2011 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is a much more inward, structured wine. Here the flavors are bright, precise and endowed with considerable energy.  Cranberry, pomegranate, crushed rocks, rose petals and savory herbs are all supported by veins of underlying acidity and minerality that should allow the 2011 to develop beautifully in the bottle.  All of the 2011 Pinots have really blossomed over the last year, but none to the extent of the Cuvée Elizabeth, which today is stunning.
  • Occidental - Robert Parker, Jr.'s Reviews

    • "A new project owned and managed by Steve Kistler, Occidental has 18 acres of Pinot Noir planted primarily with the Calera clone on low yielding root stock Riparia Glorie.   The vineyard, situated in the Petaluma Gap is extremely windy and cold.  As readers may know, a majority interest in Kistler Vineyards was recently sold to entrepreneur Bill Price, and Steve Kistler, who will continue to consult at Kistler Vineyards, decided he wanted to have his own estate.   I tasted two Pinot Noirs from the 2011 (the debut vintage) and 2012 vintages.  While a lot of noise is made about getting lower sugars in California, and that alcohols have gotten too high, this particular site appears to provide full phenolic ripeness at a much lower sugar level.  Moreover, if the crop yields are kept low, excellent intensity and richness are also present.   So perhaps in selected microclimates, California is capable of making very concentrated, ageworthy wines with alcohols in the 12.5-13.5% range.  Although those terroirs and sites are few and far between, this would appear to be one of them."

      Robert Parker, Jr. 


    • 2011 Occidental Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine

      Score: 93
      The 2011 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine reminded me of a grand cru Musigny from Burgundy. Elegant floral, raspberry, red and black cheery, forest floor and crushed rock aromas soar glass of this medium-bodied, beautifully knit, surprisingly concentrated Pinot.  Made from yields of no more than one ton of fruit per acre, the intensity and depth of flavor were easy to obtain.  It should drink well for 8-12+ years. 

    • 2011 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth

      Score: 95
      The 2011 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth was picked at under 23 brix.  As Steve Kistler admitted, it would have been impossible to get this level of flavor in warmer sites without harvesting at much higher numbers.  Beautiful raspberry, pomegranate, red and black currant, incense, camphor and spring flower aromas jump from the glass of this perfumed, refined, medium-bodied Pinot Noir.  It has the intensity of flavor and length to possibly be a game-changer in terms of picking at low sugars and getting the boldness and drama of flavor that always accompanies the greatest wines.  The 2012s were both gorgeous and again, I wrote the word “game-changers” in my tasting notes for both of them. 

    • 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine

      Score: (95-97)
      The 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine reminded me of a grand cru from the DRC such as Grand-Echèzeaux or Richebourg given its perfume, sweet black raspberry fruit, forest floor note, purity, medium body, wonderful intensity and layered mouthfeel, despite modest alcohols.


    • 2012 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth

      Score: (95-97)
      Even better is the profound 2012 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth.  Notes of sweet earth, damp forest floor, black cherries and black raspberries are followed by a medium-bodied wine with terrific concentration, intensity, purity and balance.  These are phenomenal Pinot Noirs from Steve Kistler (no Chardonnay is permitted to be made under his sales agreement with Bill Price).

  • Kistler Spring 2014

    • 2011 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse

      Antonio Galloni
      94
      The 2011 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse is one of the highlights in this range. Bright focused and lively, the 2011 flows across the palate with high-toned floral notes, white and green pears, mint and slate. The style is aromatic, lifted and precise throughout. with a level of crystalline purity and translucence that Is a marvel to behold. Density, understated power and finesse- all supported by saline minerality-come together in the Trenton Roadhouse. This is much more polished in bottle than it was from tank.
       
      Robert Parker, Jr.
      91 
      A new offering for me comes from the Goldridge soils of the Russian River and Sonoma Coast. The 2011 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse is a dead-ringer for a Chassange-Montrachet premier cru. Roasted hazelnuts, buttered citrus and wood smoke notes are followed by a full-bodied, honeyed Chardonnay that is best consumed over the next 3-4 years.  

    • 2011 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard

      Antonio Galloni
      94
      Broad and expansive on the palate, the 2011 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard has more than enough fruit to fill out its frame. Apricot, mint and light floral-infused honey notes abound in a creamy Chardonnay endowed with gorgeous depth and layers of flavor.
       
      Robert Parker, Jr.
      95
      From Kistler’s home property, not far from the winery, the 2011 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard bursts from the glass with superb aromas of tangerine oil, white peach, pineapple and wet stones. With good acidity, a long, full-bodied finish, and a precocious personality, it should provide plenty of pleasure over the next 3-4 years.

    • 2011 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard

      Antonio Galloni
      96
      The 2011 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard is one of the more exotic wines in the range. Orange peel, mint, flowers, honey and butter meld together in a luscious Chardonnay loaded with class and complexity. Hints of tropical fruit grace the expressive, layered finish. This is a fabulous showing from Kistler.
       
      Robert Parker, Jr.
      95
      The 2011 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard exhibits a greenish hue to its light gold color (a positive sign), and is a much more structured Chardonnay with a long finish.  Deep and rich with such exotic fruits as mango, guava, peach, honeysuckle and wet rocks. This full-bodied beauty should drink well for 5-6 years.

    • 2011 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard

      Antonio Galloni
      95
      The 2011 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard is the only Chardonnay here that includes some Mt. Eden clone fruit. which gives the wine a level of aromatic nuance and translucence generally not found In the other wines. White flowers, apples, pears and lemon are some of the many notes that take shape in Chardonnay that captures a gorgeous stylistic
      middle ground in the Kistler range. The 2011 is all about crystalline purity and delineation. At the same time, there is plenty of mid-palate depth and pliancy.
       
      Robert Parker, Jr.
      94
      The top Chardonnay cuvées emerge from the Kistler Vineyard, which includes the famous Mt. Eden clone. The 2011 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard displays a Corton-Charlemagne-like character with lots of wet stones and white currants, a strong minerality intermixed with acacia flower, peach and honey characteristics. This beautiful, subtle but authoritatively flavored, full-bodied white can be enjoyed over the next 5-6 years. 

    • 2011 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvlée Cathleen

      Antonio Galloni
      96
      The flagship 2011 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvlée Cathleen emerges from the rockiest portion of this site, which is dry-farmed and pianted exclusively with the Wente clone on St. George rootstock. One ofthe many highlights in this range, the 2011 brings together the natural richness and depth of the Wente clone, but as seen through
      the lens of the Sonoma Coast. a brilliant contrast of aromas, flavors and textures. Apricot. peach, white flowers and Chamomile all meld together in a creamy, vivid Chardonnay that captivates all of the senses. This a great showing from Kistler.
       
      Robert Parker, Jr.
      95
      The finest Chardonnay barrels from Kistler Vineyard are used to fashion the Cuvée Cathleen offering.  The 2011 Chardonnay Cuvée Cathleen.  Made from an Old Wente clone, it exhibits a greenish hue to its color along with notions of tangerines, honeysuckle and orange marmalade, wonderful texture and opulence, a wet gravelly nuance, and a full bodied finish. One of the top Chardonnays in Kistler’s 2011 portfolio, it should drink well for 5-6 years. 
       
       
  • Fall 2013

    • 2011 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard

      The Wine Advocate
      92-94
      The 2011 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard is all about detail. Subtle, yet expressive yellow orchard fruits meld into floral notes that add lift and freshness. The McCrea impresses for its delineation and nuance. It is a gorgeous wine all around. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2021.


    • 2011 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      93-95
      One of the juicier, more immediate wines in the range, the 2011 Chardonnay Durell Vineyard is supple and juicy throughout. Precision and sensuality are the name of the game. Lemon, jasmine and green pears come alive beautifully in a wine that balances tension and generosity with impeccable grace. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020.


    • 2011 Chardonnay Stone Flat Vineyard

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      92-94
      Kistler's 2011 Chardonnay Stone Flat Vineyard is one of the fleshier, more voluptuous wines in the range. Hazelnuts, smoke, incense and yellow stone fruits all make an appearance in a wine that impresses for its fleshiness and exuberance, within the context of the year, of course. It will be interesting to see where this goes over the next year. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021.


    • 2011 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      93-95
      The 2011 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is another standout. I marvel at Kistler's ability to achieve density and depth, but without any sense of excess weight. At once rich and creamy, but also beautifully delineated, the Dutton Ranch is a model of elegance and precision. I can't wait to taste this from bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021.


    • 2011 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      93-95
      Kistler's 2011 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard emerges from the glass with rich, baritone inflections in its fruit. Hazelnuts, pastry, lemon oil and flowers meld together in a seamless, beguiling Chardonnay of the very highest level. In 2011, the Hudson is loaded with personality. It is also one of the more overt wines in the range, but at the same time that trait is a bit subdued by the personality of the year. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021.


    • 2011 Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvée Natalie

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      92-94
      A fascinating wine, the 2011 Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvée Natalie shows many of its trademark notes, albeit in a smaller-scaled style than normal. Dark cherries, flowers and spices inform the supple, juicy finish. It will be interesting to see if the 2011 fleshes out over the next year. Today it is quite beautiful. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020.

  • Spring 2013

    • 2010 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      95
      The 2010 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard is another wine with superb aromatic presence. Silky and gracious on the palate, the 2010 stands out for its pure balance and harmony. Absolutely nothing is out of place. Sweet, beautifully articulated fruit, expressive aromas and a silky finish round out the impeccable Vine Hill Chardonnay. This is a wine of total finesse. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020.

    • 2010 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      92
      The 2010 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard is one of the most reticent wines in this range. Hints of butter, passion fruit and French oak emerge over time, but the 2010 remains difficult to assess as the structural elements currently dominate. There is a lot going on in the glass, though. This is one of the few 2010s that could benefit from another 6-12 months in bottle, as the elements aren't quite in place yet. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018.

    • 2010 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      95+
      A striking wine in its aromatics alone, the 2010 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard is another of the highlights in the range. Totally live in the glass, the 2010 is beautifully nuanced throughout. Apricots, orange blossoms and honeysuckle are some of the many nuances that emerge in a Chardonnay that impresses for its oily, expansive feel. This is another drop-dead gorgeous wine from Kistler. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020.

    • 2010 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvée Cathleen

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      94
      The 2010 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvée Cathleen emerges from a single block within the Kistler Vineyard. Here the flavors are bright, nuanced and highly articulated, in stark contrast with the Kistler Vineyard. Today, the Cuvée Cathleen gives the impression of being almost weightless on the palate. Crushed rocks and a host of saline notes underpin the gorgeous finish. My sense is that the 2010 will blossom even more with additional time in bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020.

    • 2010 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      94
      Kistler's 2010 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse is one of the bigger, richer wines in this lineup, but at the same time, there is a huge center of minerality running in the fruit. Orange blossoms, nectarines and tropical all make an appearance in this striking, totally exciting Chardonnay. At times, the Trenton Roadhouse appears to have the structure and frame of a red wine, yet all the elements are in the right place. The 2010 is a wonderfully complete, exciting wine from Steve Kistler. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018.

    • 2010 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      94
      The 2010 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine blasts from the glass with waves of seamless dark fruit. A brooding wine, the Cuvée Catherine is endowed with serious power for the year. Ash, smoke, tobacco and incense add complexity as the wine opens up in the glass. The 2010 boasts serious structure, with big tannins supporting the huge, dramatic finish. Readers will have to give the 2010 another year or two in bottle. For now, it is the wine's structure that dominates. It will be very interesting to see the direction the 2010 takes over the coming years. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022.
       

    • 2011 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard

      Robert Parker
      The Wine Advocate
      92-94
      The 2011 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard is exceptionally beautiful. In 2010, the Kistler Vineyard Pinot is a bit more slender than normal, but that in no way detracts from the wine's gorgeous purity of fruit and fabulous overall balance. An expressive, totally layered finish rounds things out in this supple, hugely promising Pinot from Steve Kistler. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021.

  • Spring 2012

    • 2009 Kistler Vineyard Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      96
      The 2009 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard, on the other hand, bursts onto the palate with endless layers of white peaches, apricots and white flowers. The deep texture turns delicate and haunting on the finish. There is an exotic, floral note that is very much unique to this bottling that Steve Kistler ascribes to the Mt. Eden and Wente selections planted on this site. This is a marvelously complete, stunning wine. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.


    • 2009 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      96
      The 2009 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard is one of the most complete wines in this lineup. It boasts extraordinary class and elegance from start to finish. All of the elements are in the right place in this multi-dimensional, textured Chardonnay. Pineapple, mango, spices, white flowers and creme brulee are some of the many nuances that inform the understated, polished finish. This striking wine is all about nuance and transparency. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. 


    • 2009 Kistler Cuvée Cathleen Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      95
      The 2009 Chardonnay Kistler Vineyard Cuvee Cathleen, from Wente clones, saturates the palate with honey, yellow flowers, marzipan, tangerine and apricots. It possesses stunning depth and intensity, along with persistent saline notes that add lift on the creamy, expansive finish. The Cuvee Cathleen is considerably richer than the straight Kistler Vineyard. Both are striking; which one readers ultimately prefer is strictly personal preference. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.


    • 2009 Trenton Road House Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      96
      The 2009 Chardonnay Trenton Roadhouse is one of the more intense wines in the lineup. The Trenton Road House is all about textural power and depth. It will appeal most to readers who enjoy the richer style of California Chardonnay. Layers of fruit build to an explosive finish that won’t be denied, yet the wine turns intensely mineral, pointed and multi-dimensional with time in the glass. This is another great showing. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. 


    • 2009 Vine Hill Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      93
      The 2009 Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard comes across a bit inward and less expressive than the other wines in the collection. Scents of lemon, almonds and pastry emerge from the glass. The overall impression is of a small-scaled wine that, while quite pretty, lacks the visceral thrill of the top wines here. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. 


    • 2009 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      95+
      The 2009 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvee Elizabeth comes across as a bit firmer and less expressive than the Cuvee Catherine. There is a salty, saline quality that runs through the fruit in this powerful, structured wine. Waves of fruit crescendo on the explosive finish. This is a dazzling Pinot Noir, but it will require at least another year or two in bottle to reveal its pedigree. I loved it. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021. 


    • 2009 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      97
      The 2009 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvee Catherine is flat-out beautiful. All of the elements are in the right place in this majestic, towering Pinot. Layers of fruit emerge gracefully in a wine that seems to never end. The finest, silkiest of tannins frame the fruit through to the exceptional, sensual finish. This kaleidoscopic, marvelously complete wine is a stunning effort from Steve Kistler and his team. The wine continues to open up in the glass in a fabulous display of class and elegance. I can hardly wait to own this extraordinary Pinot. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021. 

  • Fall 2011

    • 2009 Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      96+
      The 2009 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard bursts onto the palate with waves of fruit. This is yet another dazzling wine from Kistler endowed with tremendous depth, detail and classiness. Smoke, crushed rocks and apricots are woven into the fabric of this seamless showstopper. The creamy, expansive finish makes it hard to resist a second taste. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. 


    • 2009 McCrea Vineyard Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      94
      The 2009 Chardonnay McCrea Vineyard is impeccable from start to finish. Fresh pastry crust, lemon, spices and vanilla are some of the many nuances that flow from this subtle, totally refined wine. This is all understated class and elegance. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.


    • 2009 Stone Flat Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      95
      The 2009 Chardonnay Parmelee-Hill Stone Flat Vineyard is one of the more structured, mineral-driven wines in this lineup. It shows marvelous focus and length in an energetic style that is immensely appealing. This head-spinning Chardonnay boasts tremendous integration of fruit, acidity and overall textural elegance. Give it another year or so in bottle and enjoy it over the next few years. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2019. 


    • 2009 Silver Belt Cuvée Natalie Pinot Noir

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      95
      The 2009 Pinot Noir Silver Belt Cuvee Natalie is a deep, dense wine imbued with black cherries, spices, violets, mint and crushed rocks. It possesses stunning depth and richness, all supported by a persistent vein of minerality that gives the wine its focus and energy. The Cuvee Natalie is pure, powerful and simply a beauty to behold in the glass. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021. 


    • 2009 Kistler Vineyard Pinot Noir

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      95
      The 2009 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard bursts from the glass with an exotic array of sweet red fruit, flowers, licorice and spices. It is a dazzling, totally beguiling wine that impresses for its sheer grace and classiness. A subtle yet precise saline-infused finish leaves a lasting impression. This is the most approachable and complete of the 2009 Kistler Pinots. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2021. 


    • 2009 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      96
      The 2009 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch fleshes out beautifully on the mid-palate with layers of expressive, radiant fruit. The wine finds its minerality and center on the mid-palate. Apricots, pears, flowers and subtle, darker hints of earthiness come to life on the finish. This is a very complete, beguiling Chardonnay loaded with complexity and sheer class. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. 


    • 2009 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay

      Antonio Galloni
      The Wine Advocate
      95
      The 2009 Chardonnay Durrell Vineyard shows the more tropical, lush side of Chardonnay. There is plenty of underlying minerality to provide support. Layers of fruit build towards the effortless, gracious finish. The Durell can be enjoyed today or cellared for a handful of years. Here, too, the balance of fruit, acidity and structure is compelling. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.

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