Reviews

94 — Antonio Galloni

2014 Peay Vineyards Scallop Shelf Pinot Noir

The most complete of these wines, the 2014 Pinot Noir Estate Scallop Shelf is the most aromatically intense and sensual of the Peay estate Pinots. A host of sweet red berry, raspberry, orange peel, mint and cinnamon give the Scallop Shelf its distinctive feminine personality. Silky and gracious on the palate, the 2014 is vivid and exceptionally polished. Another year or two in bottle will only help the wine be at its most expressive. Overall, readers should expect an understated Pinot built on finesse.

94 — Antonio Galloni

2013 Peay Vineyards Pomarium Estate Pinot Noir

One of the real surprises in this tasting, the 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Pomarium has really blossomed over the last year. The Ama possesses quite a bit more tannin and structure than the Ama, along with a darker flavor profile that tend towards the dark red/purplish end of the spectrum. Violet, lavender, mint, cloves and crushed rocks add further shades of dimension. This is an especially vertical, structured Pinot from the Peay family.

93 — Antonio Galloni

2013 Peay Vineyards Ama Estate Pinot Noir

The 2013 Pinot Noir Estate Ama is striking. Sweet red cherry, rose petals, mint and wild flowers open up in a gracious, mid-weight wine endowed with striking aromatic and flavor purity. Mid-weight and translucent, the 2013 will drink well for the next decade. Attractive blood orange and spice notes add an exotic element on the finish. Over the last year, the Ama has acquired a dimension of finesse that was not evident when I tasted it a year ago.

91 — Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

2012 Viognier Estate Sonoma Coast

Light yellow-gold. Smoky orchard and pit fruit aromas are lifted by suggestions of citrus pith and gingery spices. Sappy and floral on the palate, offering ripe pear and nectarine flavors plus a touch of bitter quinine. Firms up on the lingering spicy finish. In an uncompromisingly dry, racy style for the variety, showing the bite and cut to work with sashimi or even raw bivalves. This energetic viognier checks in at a very low 3.1 pH and it shows.

91 — Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

Pale yellow. Pungent, perfumed bouquet evokes poached pear, smoky minerals, mint and white flowers, with a zesty mineral overtone. Dry and nervy on entry, then fleshier in the mid-palate, offering ripe orchard and citrus fruit flavors and a touch of sweet butter. A smoky quality builds with air and carries through the smooth, subtly sweet, persistent finish. Fruit for this wine was drawn from Peay’s own vines as well as from the Campbell Ranch and Serby vineyards.

92 — Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

2011 Peay Vineyards Chardonnay Estate Sonoma Coast

Vivid gold. A sexy, highly perfumed bouquet evokes nectarine, honeysuckle, orange and smoky minerals. Juicy, penetrating citrus fruit and pear flavors are given lift and spine by tangy minerality and become more pungent with air. Finishes with excellent clarity, length and lingering pear and mineral notes. Andy Peay told me that about 70% of the fruit for this wine came from the Peay estate vines.

94 — Wine and Spirits

Peay 2012 Sonoma Coast Ama Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

Ama is one of three pinot noirs that the Peays make from their Annapolis estate, four miles from the Pacific, the vines cooled by ocean fog. Winemaker Vanessa Wong focuses this wine around blocks planted in 2001, mostly clone 828 and a “suitcase” selection. Her 2012 is seductive, violet-scented with a penetrating brightness and silken texture. There’s no need to drink it right away, but its youthful energy is already hard to resist.

93 — Wine and Spirits

Peay 2011 Sonoma Coast Ama Pinot Noir

Selected from blocks planted at the Peay’s Annapolis vineyard in 2001, this is brisk with spicy raspberry depths and muscular, racy tannins. It’s is a dynamic pinot noir, shading from red to dark fruit the way forest sunlight moves into shadow (or, in more direct terms, the way a vine’s canopy shifts from cool, dappled light into full-on sun). There’s power in the tannins, a concentrated force that will broaden and expand as the wine ages.

94 pts — Wine Spectator

2012 Sonoma Coast Ama Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir

2012 Sonoma Coast Ama Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir Ama is one of three pinot noirs that the Peays make from their Annapolis estate, four miles from the Pacific, the vines cooled by ocean fog. Winemaker Vanessa Wong focuses this wine around blocks planted in 2001, mostly clone 828 and a “suitcase” selection. Her 2012 is seductive, violet-scented with a penetrating brightness and silken texture. There’s no need to drink it right away, but its youthful energy is already hard to resist. Peay Vineyards, Annapolis, CA —Luke Sykora

93 points — Tanzer’s IWC

2010 Peay Vineyards Chardonnay Estate, Sonoma Coast

Pale yellow-gold.  Intensely perfumed bouquet of melon, pear skin, white flowers and iodine, with a chalky overtone.  Deeply pitched, palate-staining orchard fruit and lemon curd flavors are lifted by zesty acidity and pick up a smoky quality with air.  Rich but light on its feet, finishing with outstanding thrust and lingering florality.  I also had the chance to retaste the 2009 bottling of this wine and it has put on weight since last year without loss of vivacity; I’d bet on it being at its peak in about three years.

Very good — PinotFile

2009 Peay Vineyards Scallop Shelf Estate Sonoma Coast

13.8% alc., 850 cases, $54. This wine takes its name from the fossils found in the soil at this site. It is a blend of six clones, including Pommard. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Brooding aromas of red and black fruits with toasty oak and spice. Delicious core of red plums and assorted berries accented with mineral qualities. Juicy and bright with lively acidity and an appealing softness in the mouth. A sophisticated wine of great promise that will require a few years more in bottle for full enjoyment. Very good. Reviewed January 11, 2012.

94 points — Tanzer’s IWC

2009 Peay Vineyards Pinot Noir Pomarium Estate Sonoma Coast

Vivid ruby.  Sexy aromas of pungent cherry, spice cake and fresh rose, with an almost liqueur-like suggestion of raspberry compote.  Suave, silky and densely packed, with intense minerality giving the primary but complex red fruit and floral flavors terrific definition and cut.  Impressively balanced pinot with the spine to age slowly and gracefully.  The endless finish features harmonious tannins that are broad and very fine.

93 points — Tanzer’s IWC

2009 Peay Vineyards Pinot Noir Ama Estate Sonoma Coast

Vibrant red.  Pungent, sexy aromas of black raspberry, cherry pit, cocoa powder and incense.  More serious, even masculine, compared to the Pomarium.  Fresh and gripping, with impressive sappiness and extract to its dark berry and bitter cherry flavors.  Finishes vibrant and very long, with palate-dusting floral, mineral and spice nuances.  This is the inaugural vintage for this wine, which is sourced from a section of the Peay vineyard that’s planted to a suitcase clone and Dijon clone 828.

PinotFile

2009 Peay Vineyards Pinot Noir Ama Estate Sonoma Coast

14.2% alc., 650 cases, $46. Inaugural vintage from a section of the Peay Vineyard planted to a suitcase clone and Dijon clone 828. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of black raspberries, black cherries and potpourri with a hint of oak cask. Very charming on the palate with dancing flavors of dark red and black berries and cherries with a complimentary hint of spice and cola. Maybe some pheromones are lurking as well. A bit daunting, brooding and linear now and sporting plenty of ripe tannins, but this wine has sensational upside potential. More expressive and interesting the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Reviewed January 11, 2012

Good (+) — PinotFile

2009 Peay Vineyards Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

13.5% alc., $40. Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. The wine offers a complex array of aromas including dark red cherries and berries, underbrush, leaf, violets and a hint of oak. Unusually complex and layered for an appellation bottling offering flavors of black cherries, black raspberries, cola, dark chocolate and spice. Nicely composed and very user friendly with well-mannered dry tannins. Reminds of a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. A solid, even special wine for current every day drinking. Good (+). Reviewed January 11, 2012

Very good — PinotFile

2008 Peay Vineyards Pomarium Estate Pinot noir, Sonoma Coast

14.2% alc., $53. The name refers to “apple orchard” and is pronounced “po-mare-ee-um,” as a nod to the days when the hill where the vineyard sits was planted to apples. Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely composed aromatics with plenty of fresh cherries and mixed berries accented by forest floor and mountain air. Hearty and fairly bold attack of berry and black cherry fruit augmented by oak. Earthy and savory with a faint aftertaste of smoke on the persistent finish. Still has some tannins to shed and should improve over time, assuming the smoke affect doesn’t become accentuated. Very good. Reviewed August 24, 2010

90+ points — International Wine Review

2008 Peay Vineyards Estate Pinot noir, Sonoma Coast

The Estate Pinot Noir offers a medium ruby hue and aromas of high toned cherry and raspberry fruit that are mirrored on the palate along with white pepper and toasted oak. It has a silky smooth texture with moderate fruit intensity, medium plus acidity, good balance, and a lingering finish. Destemmed and fermented whole berry in small open top fermenters and aged in French barriques 23% new for 11 months.

91 points — International Wine Review

2008 Peay Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

The Estate Chardonnay exhibits a medium straw hue with fragrant floral aromas of pear and a touch of mint and lime. The palate is refined and nicely focused, with a velvet texture and beautifully integrated ripe fruit and toasted oak. The oak treatment shows the deft hand of winemaker,Vanessa Wong, who has produced an elegant bottling in perfect harmony and balance with an impressive finish. Whole cluster pressed and fermented with 100% natural yeast and aged sur lie in 50% new French barriques for 11 months.

93 points — Tanzer’s IWC

2008 Peay Vineyards Syrah Les Titans Estate, Sonoma Coast

Bright purple.  Sexy black raspberry and floral aromas are complicated by smoky minerals, Moroccan spices and a hint of licorice.  Silky, alluringly sweet dark berry flavors pack a serious punch but come off as almost weightless, with tangy minerality adding spine and back-end cut.  Gains weight and power with air and finishes with lingering smokiness and a hint of candied violet.  This clocks in at a low 13.4% alcohol but hardly wants for power, depth or ripeness.

95 points — Wine & Spirits

2007 Peay Vineyards Scallop Shelf Estate Pinot noir, Sonoma Coast

Scallop Shelf takes its name from the fossils found in the soil at this old fruit orchard, a vineyard site four miles from the Pacific. It’s a blend of six clones, emphasizing the spicy red fruit character of the Pommard clone, which, when it hits on the far Sonoma Coast, makes some of the region’s most distinctive pinot noirs. The wine is transparent in color and in its strawberry-like fruit, bright and intense against the smoky conifer minerality of the soil. There’s a weave of energy to it, tart and brash as a young wine, growing more focused and refined with air. Cellar this for five years, then serve with grilled arctic char and hen of the woods mushrooms.

between 9.5 and 10 — Vinography

2007 Peay Vineyards Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

Palest gold in color with a hint of cloudiness, this wine smells like crushed stones and crushed nuts with hints of citrus zest that waft in at the last moment. In the mouth it is jaw-droppingly mineral in quality, more so than any California Chardonnay has any right to be (but to which most should aspire). Flavors of lemon zest, pine sap, and crushed stones slide silkily across the palate poised on the rails of perfect acidity. Aromas of hazelnut skin emerge on the incredibly long finish. Truly a masterpiece and definitely one of the best Chardonnays made in California.

92 points — Tanzer’s IWC

2007 Peay Vineyards Estate Roussanne/Marsanne, Sonoma Coast

Pale yellow. Exotic aromas of spicy orchard and pit fruits are complemented by zesty lemon rind, flowers and anise. Deep, chewy peach and pear flavors coat the palate and are firmed by tangy lemon/lime notes. Gains weight with air and finishes with lingering floral character and excellent chewy persistence. This clocks in at 13.7% alcohol, which is lower than most examples of these varieties in the New World.

93 points — Tanzer’s IWC

2007 Peay Vineyards “La Bruma” Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast

Glass-staining purple.  Spicy raspberry and candied cherry aromas are complicated by smoky minerals, dark chocolate and fresh violet.  Sweet red berry flavors show very good depth and definition, with subtle anise, smoke and violet pastille qualities building with air.  The clean finish offers a brisk bite of cracked pepper, a touch of darker fruit and very persistent spiciness.  This very seductive Syrah displays no rough edges and wonderful energy.

92+ points — International Wine Review

2007 Peay Vineyards “La Bruma” Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast

The La Bruma Estate Syrah displays an opaque ruby color with attractive aromas of violets, blueberry and plum. It has a refined and elegant palate with ripe fruit, a silky texture, and firm round tannins. It is beautifully balanced with medium plus acidity and red berry and black fruit flavors. Long lasting on the palate with good concentration, it shows increased elegance and flavor after one-two hours of decanting.

93 points — Tanzer’s IWC

2007 Peay Vineyards “La Bruma” Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast

Bright purple. Vibrant raspberry, cherry, potpourri and incense on the sharply focused, highly expressive nose. Dense, juicy and sweet, with graceful strawberry and raspberry flavors and a supple, seamless texture. Picks up spiciness and floral character, as well as a hint of smoke, with a few minutes of aeration. Finishes very long, with gentle tannins and a strong note of candied flowers. I marginally prefer this wine’s elegance to the power of the Les Titans today.

93 points — International Wine Review

2007 Peay Vineyards “Les Titans” Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast

The Les Titians Estate Syrah reveals an attractive opaque ruby color and boasts earth and fruit aromas of blueberry, plum and blackberry. On the palate, it displays a soft and silky texture with ripe round concentrated fruit and acidity with a touch of minerals. With decanting the wine reveals more aromas and flavors of earth, pepper, and minerals. This is a powerful wine in a silk glove. Processed like a Pinot Noir with whole berry fermentation in small open top fermenters.

around 9.5 — Vinography

2007 Peay Vineyards Estate Viognier, Sonoma Coast

Pale yellow in the glass, this wine has a stunning nose of mineral, peach, and lemon curd aromas. In the mouth it is equally arresting, with flavors of lemon curd, jackfruit that are electric in their zingy crispness. This is Viognier done right, without the oily heavy quality that mars so many interpretations of the grape in California. Perfect acidity, amazing balance, and a fantastic finish make you want to drink this all day long.

score around 9.5 — Vinography

2007 Peay Vineyards Estate Roussanne/Marsanne, Sonoma Coast

Pale green gold in color, this wine has an exotic, ethereal nose of honeysuckle, paraffin, and saffron aromas. On the tongue it is a remarkable combination of neon citrus — lemon and tangerine mostly — with amazing ginger and nutty qualities that surface in a very long finish. Perfect acidity adds a mineral quality to the wine that is quite fetching. Quite possibly the best Roussanne/Marsanne blend made in California, I only wish they made about 10 times as much of this as they do. It’s quite hard to get ahold of. Made in entirely neutral barrels.

95 points — Wine & Spirits

2006 Peay Vineyards “La Bruma” Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast

The fog at Peay’s far-coast vineyard seems to invest syrah with meaty peppercorn spice, the element in this wine that powers the red fruit with a nearly electric buzz. The color translates the fog into a vibrant, rosy edge: the tannins take it to mean minerals, as if picking up on the same soil character that pinot noir might translate into wine. La Bruma continues to grow more distinctive and elegant with each vintage.