2013 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard "Branciforte Creek" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1408469 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2013 Pinot Noir Branciforte Creek Vineyard reveals aromas of plummy fruit, raw cocoa, cedar and rich soil, followed by a medium-bodied, richly tannic palate with a juicy core of fruit and a flavorful but rustic finish. Founded by Ken Burnap in 1975, the current proprietor and winemaker of Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard is Jeff Emery. While the wines can be variable, they can boast some real successes over the past four decades--including a superb 1975 Pinot Noir that I tasted last year. They're characterful wines cut from old-fashioned cloth, and they won't be for everyone, but some of these offerings are well worth consideration. (WK)  (5/2018)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 From a vineyard planted in 1988, this bottling offers aromas of lavender and sweet incense, with a woody spice uplifting the exotic plum and mulberry fruits. Ripe wild berries meet with elderflower and lilac on the very perfumed palate. (MK)  (12/2017)

K&L Notes

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard describes the site and resulting wine: "Branciforte Creek Vineyard is located on Jarvis Road in the Vine Hill area of the Santa Cruz Mountains, just a mile away from our well-known Estate Vineyard on the same road. The vines were planted in 1988 in a site that originally had grapes since 1863. This vineyard has low yields of very flavorful fruit year after year. This vineyard represents the best of 'old school' Pinot Noir, before all of those cola-cherry focused 'modern' clones became so popular. This vineyard is Pommard Clone, a clone that results in a more traditional, Burgundian take on the variety. You don’t just get lots of cherry/berry fruit -- you get all kinds of intriguing back flavors and aromas. Things like dried leaves, damp earth, warming spices and fennel can be found in nuances layers behind and around the fruit. This wine really opens up with some time in a decanter or an open bottle, with new layers of complexity appearing as you enjoy the wine."

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Price: $39.95

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By: Adam Winkel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/24/2019 | Send Email
This is the wine that first got me interested in Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir, and I'm still working on a case of 2007 that is showing great right now. Bearing little resemblance to the modern style of California Pinot, this wine shows deep savor, sappy persistence, and an upright acid spine with very moderate alcohol.

Additional Information:


Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some Rhône varietals prosper as well.