What to do with a wine with only 99 cases?
Well, this one I’m recommending.
It’s the 2004 Native 9 Santa Maria Valley Rancho Ontiveros Vineyards Pinot Noir, and it’s a smooth, rich, supple charmer with sassafras and black cherry fruit that retails for $48.
Why bother tasting this wine, or writing about it? I don’t spend much time on wines with such tiny production, and at 99 cases, that’s about four barrels' worth. Usually I prefer to review wines with at least 500 cases and decent distribution.
But there are days when I do sample a few small-production wines, especially with Pinot Noir, in hopes of coming across a gem. And there are readers who are interested in these rarities.
This wine is outstanding, it comes from a well-regarded vineyard and there’s a story behind it. Plus, this is one way to use our Web site and mention a wine that would otherwise not get a published review.
It’s the work of James Rey Ontiveros, who represents the ninth generation of the Ontiveros family to reside in Santa Barbara County.
The grapes have gone into single-vineyard wines made by Loring and A.P. Vin.
So with a choice of recommending it or not, I’ve opted for a vote of "yes."
David Nelson — CA — October 31, 2006 3:14pm ET
David Nelson — CA — October 31, 2006 3:22pm ET
Sao Anash — Santa Barbara — October 31, 2006 4:28pm ET
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — October 31, 2006 4:50pm ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — October 31, 2006 5:35pm ET
Paul Anderson — Longview, TX — November 1, 2006 11:11am ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — November 1, 2006 1:09pm ET
Joseph Tredici — Ramsey / NJ — November 1, 2006 1:15pm ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — November 1, 2006 1:47pm ET
Robert Caruana Jr — East Islip, NY — November 1, 2006 3:26pm ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — November 1, 2006 3:34pm ET
Michael Keen — Urbandale, Iowa — November 22, 2006 4:28pm ET
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