Vintage Charts

United States

United StatesCalifornia/Pinot Noir

< Return to All Regions

Vintage Score Drink Window Description
Vintage
2021
Score
91-94
Drink Window
NYR
Description

Windy weather at bloom led to a small crop set, then another warm, drought-influenced season produced small berries with thick skins; the early buzz on the vintage is one of concentration and structure

Description

Windy weather at bloom led to a small crop set, then another warm, drought-influenced season produced small berries with thick skins; the early buzz on the vintage is one of concentration and structure

Vintage
2020
Score
87*
Drink Window
Drink or hold
Description

A year to forget for many Northern California producers, with a number of them not releasing wines because of challenging weather conditions, capped by wildfires during harvest leading to issues of smoke taint. Central and Southern California had an outstanding harvest, with a long, even growing season and normal-size crop. Choose carefully from Sonoma; plumb Santa Barbara for the top wines

Description

A year to forget for many Northern California producers, with a number of them not releasing wines because of challenging weather conditions, capped by wildfires during harvest leading to issues of smoke taint. Central and Southern California had an outstanding harvest, with a long, even growing season and normal-size crop. Choose carefully from Sonoma; plumb Santa Barbara for the top wines

Vintage
2019
Score
95
Drink Window
Hold
Description

A benchmark vintage for California Pinot, with wines showing power, finesse and the structure for cellaring; moderate temperatures and an even-keeled season led to a leisurely harvest, while crop size was on the lower side

Description

A benchmark vintage for California Pinot, with wines showing power, finesse and the structure for cellaring; moderate temperatures and an even-keeled season led to a leisurely harvest, while crop size was on the lower side

Vintage
2018
Score
91
Drink Window
Drink or hold
Description

Nearly perfect conditions resulted in fruit-driven and very expressive Pinots, yet the huge crop load means wines have notably less structure and energy than 2019

Description

Nearly perfect conditions resulted in fruit-driven and very expressive Pinots, yet the huge crop load means wines have notably less structure and energy than 2019

Vintage
2017
Score
88
Drink Window
Drink or hold
Description

Spring rains, a warm summer and a September heat wave yielded wines that are showy up front, but mostly lack structure; only Santa Lucia Highlands bucked the trend

Description

Spring rains, a warm summer and a September heat wave yielded wines that are showy up front, but mostly lack structure; only Santa Lucia Highlands bucked the trend

Vintage
2016
Score
92
Drink Window
Drink or hold
Description

Multiyear drought ends as winter rains return; a warm spring and moderate summer delivered elegant wines

Description

Multiyear drought ends as winter rains return; a warm spring and moderate summer delivered elegant wines

Vintage
2015
Score
89
Drink Window
Drink or hold
Description

Santa Barbara and Santa Lucia Highlands shine in a year marked by a large crop of tannic wines

Description

Santa Barbara and Santa Lucia Highlands shine in a year marked by a large crop of tannic wines

Vintage
2014
Score
91
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Even higher yields than 2013, with fleshy, forward, showy wines; Santa Lucia Highlands is a step ahead of the pack

Description

Even higher yields than 2013, with fleshy, forward, showy wines; Santa Lucia Highlands is a step ahead of the pack

Vintage
2013
Score
90
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Another huge crop of generally high quality; Santa Lucia Highlands is a highlight

Description

Another huge crop of generally high quality; Santa Lucia Highlands is a highlight

Vintage
2012
Score
89
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Record-size crop with atypically tannic wines; best in Santa Lucia Highlands and Sonoma

Description

Record-size crop with atypically tannic wines; best in Santa Lucia Highlands and Sonoma

Vintage
2011
Score
87
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Rain wreaked havoc at harvest, resulting in lighter wines of uneven quality; Santa Lucia Highlands is the lone bright spot

Description

Rain wreaked havoc at harvest, resulting in lighter wines of uneven quality; Santa Lucia Highlands is the lone bright spot

Vintage
2010
Score
91
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Weather extremes tested growers, yet vintage is strong, with structured wines from Santa Barbara and Sonoma

Description

Weather extremes tested growers, yet vintage is strong, with structured wines from Santa Barbara and Sonoma

Vintage
2009
Score
93
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Superb in Sonoma and very strong elsewhere, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines

Description

Superb in Sonoma and very strong elsewhere, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines

Vintage
2008
Score
89
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Uneven year; top wines are complex and delicate

Description

Uneven year; top wines are complex and delicate

Vintage
2007
Score
93
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Excellent year; ideal warm, early season, with ripe, complex wines

Description

Excellent year; ideal warm, early season, with ripe, complex wines

Vintage
2006
Score
87
Drink Window
Drink
Description

A cool year with a large crop; uneven ripening and some diluted wines

Description

A cool year with a large crop; uneven ripening and some diluted wines

Vintage
2005
Score
91
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Sleek, balanced and elegant; large crop that got ripe at lower alcohol

Description

Sleek, balanced and elegant; large crop that got ripe at lower alcohol

Vintage
2004
Score
93
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Excellent year; warm, early year, with ripe, concentrated, deeply flavored wines

Description

Excellent year; warm, early year, with ripe, concentrated, deeply flavored wines

Vintage
2003
Score
90
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Very good if mixed; the best are rich, supple and harmonious

Description

Very good if mixed; the best are rich, supple and harmonious

Vintage
2002
Score
88
Drink Window
Drink
Description

Very good; dark, complex wines that have aged well

Description

Very good; dark, complex wines that have aged well

Vintage
2001
Score
86
Drink Window
Drink
Description

A solid year with elegant, delicate, concentrated wines

Description

A solid year with elegant, delicate, concentrated wines

Vintage
2000
Score
83
Drink Window
Past peak
Description

Lean, crisp wines of good quality, with few stars

Description

Lean, crisp wines of good quality, with few stars

Vintage
1999
Score
84
Drink Window
Past peak
Description

Sonoma and Monterey set the pace in a cooler year,with ripe, fleshy wines

Description

Sonoma and Monterey set the pace in a cooler year,with ripe, fleshy wines

Vintage
1998
Score
85
Drink Window
Drink
Description

El Niño conditions resulted in a cool, wet harvest, but Pinot surprised, with some wines still showing well

Description

El Niño conditions resulted in a cool, wet harvest, but Pinot surprised, with some wines still showing well

Vintage
1997
Score
83
Drink Window
Past peak
Description

Excellent in Sonoma, with ripe, forward wines; leaner elsewhere

Description

Excellent in Sonoma, with ripe, forward wines; leaner elsewhere

Vintage
1996
Score
82
Drink Window
Past peak
Description
Description

* This rating is only for Northern California, where many producers did not release wines. Considered on their own, Central and Southern California would garner a rating of 92 points.



Vintage ratings: 95-100, classic; 90-94, outstanding; 85-89, very good; 80-84, good; 75-79, mediocre; 50-74, not recommended

A score range indicates preliminary analysis based on barrel samples and/or a limited sampling; many wines of the vintage not yet reviewed.

Drinkability: "NYR" means the vintage has not yet been released; "drink" means most of the wines of the vintage are ready to drink; "hold" means most of the ageworthy wines have yet to fully mature; "past peak" means most of the wines are declining rather than improving.

SOURCE: WINE SPECTATOR