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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94
points

Mooney Family 2012 Boekenoogen Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands)

  1. $68

Much darker than many other wines of the appellation, this offers a deep, nuanced nose of clove, black soil, tobacco, white sage, violet and deep purple juice. Soil and pine sap jump out on the palate, where herbs and blackberry swirl into a complex, powerful wine that has tannic structure to drink well into 2020.

 — M.K.  (12/1/2014)
94
points

Foxen 2012 Block 43 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)

  1. $58

Violet, root bark, sage and cherry blend for perhaps the best Foxen Pinot Noir of the vintage. There’s bright acidity but also plush juice from really ripe raspberry and black cherry, with amazing black pepper spice as well.

 — M.K.  (12/1/2014)
94
points

Ken Brown 2011 Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)

  1. $42

Ken Brown, who started making Santa Barbara County wine in the 1970s, delivers a deep and earthy appellation blend, with heavily spiced aromas of mashed cloves, black cherry, blackberry and lava rock. The flavor arc begins with boisterous fruit, followed by licorice on the midpalate and a peppery finish, all laid across a velvety texture.

 — M.K.  (12/1/2014)
94
points

Summerland 2010 Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)

  1. $50

Barnyard aromas make a positive showing on this single-vineyard wine, with sour yeast, pungent berries and fired orange rinds. It’s very full on the palate, with lusciously sanguine flavors mixing up with cinnamon and allspice against a blackberry backbone. Very complex.

 — M.K.  (12/1/2014)
93
points

Byron 2012 Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)

  • Editors' Choice
  1. $29

Berry fruit leather, raspberry iced tea and dark spices weave together on the intriguing nose of this wine, which is as good if not better than similar wines from the appellation charging twice the price. Roasted figs and black cardamom rise on the palate, yet the wine remains light on its feet.

 — M.K.  (12/1/2014)
93
points

Chamisal Vineyards 2012 Estate Bottled Pinot Noir (Edna Valley)

  1. $40

Wildly expressive aromas include maple syrup-laced chamomile tea, root beer extract, wild raspberry and menthol. The palate continues the excellent array: red fruits with oregano, thyme, even basil, some sanguine flavors, some coffee. It would be a perfect companion to roasted pork or turkey, or anything that needs some extra spice.

 — M.K.  (12/1/2014)
93
points

Fess Parker 2012 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)

  1. $55

The late actor-turned-vintner’s family keeps producing solid wines, including this bottling that offers earthy scents of beet juice and clove. The flavors are pomegranate-driven, with cardamom and allspice making the wine memorable and lasting on the finish.

 — M.K.  (12/1/2014)
93
points

Mooney Family 2012 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands)

  1. $52

Inviting aromas of strawberry-vanilla chiffon, cinnamon and a hint of anise introduce this richly layered wine from the winemaker behind Chateau Margene, who sources these grapes from high up on Monte Nero. It’s thick and creamy on the palate, with deep flavors of black licorice, beet juice and pomegranate reduction sauce.

 — M.K.  (12/1/2014)
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