Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2011
Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2011
Wine Spectator's Top 100

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Wine Spectator's Top 100 - #01

Kosta Browne
Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2009

95 points / $52
5,818 cases made
Sonoma County, California

Central to the story of Pinot Noir’s steady rise in California has been the improbable ascent of a small Sonoma winery, started more than a decade ago by two waiters who pooled their tips so they could make wine.

With no formal winemaking training, Dan Kosta and Michael Browne stumbled along a path of trial and error. Their first Pinots weren’t inspiring, but since 2002, they’ve made 66 wines that have earned 90 points or higher—though they don’t own a single vine and make wine in a rented warehouse. In 2009, the greatest vintage yet for California Pinot, the team—which now has the financial backing of Vincraft—made 11 outstanding Pinots, including our Wine of the Year for 2011.

The Sonoma Coast bottling showcases Browne’s meticulous winemaking and the quality of their grape sources. Making a few hundred cases of great Pinot is hard enough; making nearly 6,000 cases is an admirable accomplishment. The 2009 comprises fruit from three vineyards—Gap’s Crown, Terra de Promissio, and a new site, Walala Vineyard—and spent about a year in new oak.

Read Wine Spectator's upcoming Dec. 31 issue for more about Kosta Browne

Learn about KB investor and Vincraft founder Bill Price

 Dan Kosta (left) and Michael Browne
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