Matt Kettmann

Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from California

Matt Kettmann reviews and reports on wines from the Central and South Coasts of California for the magazine. Santa-Barbara based Kettmann is senior editor for the weekly newspaper The Santa Barbara Independent, for which he has covered local news, lifestyle and beverage beats since 1999, and has reported on local and general wine topics for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Smithsonian, Sunset and Wine Spectator. In addition to organizing successful regional wine food and drink events in Santa Barbara and moderating at the annual Paso Robles CAB Collective seminar at the California Wine Festival last fall, in 2009, Kettmann cofounded New Noise Santa Barbara, an annual music conference and festival, and also serves on the board for Notes for Notes, a nonprofit providing free access to musical instruments and recording studios for music-interested youth.

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95
points

Talley 2012 Rincon Vineyard Estate Bottled Pinot Noir (Arroyo Grande Valley)

  1. $60

This delivers inviting aromas of a cherry pie with buttery crust that’s made more serious with pencil-lead minerality and a slightly sanguine touch. Flavors are ripe yet restrained. Raspberry, pomegranate and cranberry fruit lead to burnt orange, singed lemon, rose petals and violet, finishing on lingering Bing cherries with just enough tannins and tartness.

 — M.K.  (5/1/2015)
94
points

Byron 2012 Monument Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)

  1. $60

The winery’s top-end bottling, this presents rich aromas of black cherry and blackberry pie, with sweet hickory smoke, pipe tobacco and graphite shavings. The expertly balanced palate is quite broad, with ripe pomegranate and raspberry fruit, yet it’s not jammy at all, thanks to black clove, Earl Grey tea and violet candy. Ample tannins and acidity enliven the mouth.

 — M.K.  (5/1/2015)
94
points

Center of Effort 2012 Chardonnay (Edna Valley)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $30

This phenomenal bottling from the winemaking team of Mike Sinor and Nathan Carlson hits the nose with a judicious touch of vanilla-laced buttercream as well as scorched lemon slices and orange peels. It’s playfully lithe on the palate, with just a touch of oak warmth, racy acidity, chalky grip and a faint hint of dill. It’s great for now, but will age with nutty…

 — M.K.  (5/1/2015)
94
points

Giornata 2012 Luna Matta Vineyard Aglianico (Paso Robles)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $35

Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi’s studies of this black grape are fascinating. This shows a very distinct nose of purple fruit meeting charred wood, with elderberry jam, dried violet, scarlet rose and truffle elements. It’s meaty, with soy, teriyaki and prime rib flavors on the palate, yet also ripe, with plum jam and toasted sage accents. The strong but not…

 — M.K.  (5/1/2015)
94
points

Talley 2012 Stone Corral Vineyard Proprietor Grown Pinot Noir (Edna Valley)

  1. $54

Aromas of a raspberry torte with flaky crust mix with cardamom and marjoram spices on another compelling wine from the region’s historic producer. Tart cranberries kick off the palate, followed by wet slate and graphite minerality in the midpalate that barely hide riper fruits. It culminates in a cola-laced finish.

 — M.K.  (5/1/2015)
93
points

Byron 2012 Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)

  1. $45

There’s an amazing array of fruit on the nose, from the deep richness of blackberry to the tartness of cranberry, all set against wet-slate minerality and dashes of clove cigarettes, soy sauce and white pepper. It proves light and airy on the well-balanced palate, with dark fruit, sandalwood spice and the right amount of acidity and tannins to finish clean.

 — M.K.  (5/1/2015)
93
points

Tanner DaFoe 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez Valley)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $110

This luxury-level project by Jeff Tanner and Rob DaFoe delivers aromas of rich blackberry jam nuanced with wet tobacco, loam, tomato leaf and a touch of spearmint. Blackberries and blueberries also line the edges of the palate, but the core is all about spicy tobacco and black pepper. There’s lot of acidity four years in, so this will stand the test of time in the…

 — M.K.  (5/1/2015)
93
points

Williams Selyem 2009 Vista Verde Vineyard Port (San Benito County)

  1. $40

Dark and viscous, this greets the nose with expected aromas of raisin and prune, but rises above with nutmeg, cardamom, clove and sleek graphite notes. The first impression on the palate is sweet plum nectar, but the grippy tannins prove seductive and the ripping acidity keeps it quaffable. The fascinating finish is all about chocolate-covered nuts.

 — M.K.  (5/1/2015)
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