Occidental Reviews

Occidental Spring January 2017 Release:

 

 

Spring 2017 Release: 2014 Vintage

Robert Parker Jr.

2014 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Score: 96-98
The 2014 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is showing an almost grand cru Musigny-like stoniness, floweriness, and red berry and strawberry notes. Beautiful texture and full-bodied ripeness make this one of my favorites of the 2014s I tasted from Occidental.

2014 SWK Vineyard Pinot Noir

Score: 94-96
The 2014 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard has terrific intensity and should be a prodigious Pinot Noir when bottled and released. It is made mostly from Calera clonal material, offering up notes of black cherries, black raspberries, forest floor, spice box and earth. It is a beautiful wine.

2014 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

Score: 93-95+
Tank samples of the 2014 Pinot Noirs showed gorgeous fruit levels and slightly more body and density than the 2013s, with the 2014 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine showing loads of strawberry and kirsch.

Antonio Galloni

2014 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Score: 94-97
The 2014 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth literally soars out of the glass with an exotic mélange of floral and savory notes wedded to dark red/purplish-hued fruit, mint and spice. Intense, deep and utterly captivating, the 2014 possesses magical richness, exceptional pedigree and tons of sheer potential. — Antonio Galloni

2014 SWK Vineyard Pinot Noir

Score: 93-96
Steve Kistler’s 2014 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard is the most intensely saline, mineral-driven wine in the Occidental range. Classically austere and backward – almost shockingly so for a Kistler Pinot – the SWK is built on power, persistence and structure. Here, too, the flavors are incredibly vivid. Most of the Occidental 2014s are quite showy, even at this early stage. The SWK is the exception, as it is going to need time to unwind. — Antonio Galloni

2014 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

Score: 93-96
Intense blood orange, cranberry, white pepper and cinnamon are some of the signatures in the 2014 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine. Light on its feet and vibrant, with plenty of pulsating acidity in support, the Cuvée Catherine dazzles with its extraordinary inner perfume and captivating personality. Today, the 2014 is sublime. It’s as simple as that. — Antonio Galloni

 

 

Past Reviews: 2013 Vintage

Antonio Galloni

2013 SWK Vineyard Pinot Noir

Score: 96+

The 2013 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard is the most tannic and structured of these Pinots from Occidental. As such, it is going to need at least a few years in bottle to unwind. Beams of chalky tannin underpin a deeply expressive Pinot endowed with intensely mineral and savory overtones. Vivid and beautifully sculpted throughout, the 2013 is impressive, even in the early going. — Antonio Galloni

2013 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Score: 96

The Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is dark and pliant, with terrific underlying energy that gives the wine its dynamic, vibrant personality. Dark cherry, plum, violet and spice all flesh out in the glass. A wine of pedigree and nuance, the Cuvée Elizabeth is super-expressive today, not to mention a real joy to taste. — Antonio Galloni

2013 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

Score: 95

The 2013 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine is gracious, inviting and deeply expressive. Sweet red cherry, blood orange, white flowers and mint are seamlessly melded together. The Cuvée Catherine is the most succulent and overt of the single vineyard Pinots from Occidental. — Antonio Galloni

Robert Parker Jr.

2013 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Score: 96
The 2013 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth displays black raspberries, black and red currants, beautiful purity, a deep, almost DRC-like complexity because of the forest floor, and ethereal lightness in spite of rather intense fruit notes. This beauty should age gracefully for a decade.

2013 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

Score: 95
The 2013 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine, which like its sibling sees about 33% new oak, is made mostly from Calera clonal material. The wine offers up loads of beautiful strawberry, kirsch liqueur notes, a medium ruby color, forest floor and floral notes. A beauty, this wine should drink nicely for at least a decade.

 

 

Past Reviews: 2012 Vintage

Antonio Galloni’s Reviews

Steve Kistler’s 2012 Occidental Pinots are off the charts gorgeous. My sense is that over time, the Occidental Pinots will become increasingly stylistically differentiated from the Kistler Pinots. Part of that is a reflection of the inherent personalities of the sites that are part of the Occidental range, but it also is quite evident that with Occidental Steve Kistler has a desire to get back to a smaller, more hands-on operation. Readers who can find the Occidental Pinots should not hesitate to grab them, as they are truly magnificent.

2012 SWK Vineyard Pinot Noir

Score: 97+
The 2012 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard, from a parcel just above Bodega Headlands, is the wine where all of the concepts Kistler is developing at Occidental converge. Vertical, structured and explosive on the palate, the SWK is built on a serious core of minerality. Graphite, smoke, violets and a host of mineral-inflected notes hit the palate in an intense, saline Pinot that is going to need time to fully come together. Today, the SWK is totally crystalline and nuanced, but it is also very, very young and in need of time in bottle. — Antonio Galloni

2012 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Score: 97
Darker tonalities of red and purplished hued fruits emerge from the 2012 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth. Lavender, violets, cloves, new leather and spices blossom in the glass as this sensual, layered Pinot shows off its compelling personality. As is often the case, the Cuvée Elizabeth is all about texture and resonance. The 2012 is a total model of finesse. — Antonio Galloni

2012 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

Score: 96
Finesse is the name of the game in the 2012 Pinot Noir Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine. Firm yet nicely integrated tannins give the 2012 its spine and pulsating energy. Expressive aromatics, layers of deep fruit and a striking finish are just some of the signatures.  — Antonio Galloni

Robert Parker Jr.’s Reviews

2012 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

Rating: 98
There is another Occidental Pinot that is profound. There are 2,000 cases of the 2012 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth. This wine reminded me of my earlier days in Burgundy tasting the Grand Cru Musigny. Incredible floral notes, sweet raspberries and blueberries as well as wet rocks soar from the glass of this profound, medium to full-bodied, gorgeous Pinot Noir made from 100% Calera clone. Stunning ripeness, great acids, and terrific delineation are all present in this super-intense, fragrant, modern classic from Steve Kistler. It should drink well for at least a decade, possibly a lot longer. Steve Kistler’s new Pinot Noir project from his 65 acres in the very cool-climate of the Sonoma Coast area is starting off with enormous potential and promise. These wines are primarily made from the Calera clone of Pinot Noir. He is able to achieve terrific ripeness and relatively low brix numbers, so alcohol-phobes among readers will be pleased to know that the alcohols of these wines run in the low range, between 13.6 to 14.2, yet the wines are very powerful, rich, concentrated and intense.

2012 SWK Vineyard Pinot Noir

Rating: 98
The 2012 Pinot Noir SWK Vineyard also comes from his 65 acres planted in Occidental. This is a 1,000-case cuvée from a site that sits above the Bodega Headlands Vineyard. With a dark ruby color like its siblings, it is made from 100% Calera and sees only about 30% new French oak. This wine offers a copious mouthful of red, blue and black fruits, medium to full body, terrific acidity, and intense black raspberry and black cherry fruit along with spring flowers, forest floor and spice box. This is a stunning, super-complex, compelling Pinot Noir to drink over the next decade or more. Steve Kistler’s new Pinot Noir project from his 65 acres in the very cool-climate of the Sonoma Coast area is starting off with enormous potential and promise. These wines are primarily made from the Calera clone of Pinot Noir. He is able to achieve terrific ripeness and relatively low brix numbers, so alcohol-phobes among readers will be pleased to know that the alcohols of these wines run in the low range, between 13.6 to 14.2, yet the wines are very powerful, rich, concentrated and intense.

2012 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

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. -Robert Parker, Jr

 

Past Reviews: 2011 Vintage

Antonio Galloni:

2011 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

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 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

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.

Robert Parker Jr.:

2011 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth Pinot Noir

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.

2011 Occidental Station Cuvée Catherine Pinot Noir

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.