As most Santa Barbara cognoscenti know, Greg Linn is a huge fan of Burgundian wines, and has dedicated his projects in Santa Barbara to making potentially long-lived, elegant, flavorful wines in a more European style – at least from an alcohol perspective as rarely do these wines exceed 14%. All of the above wines are ageworthy, including some impressive whites.
2008 Greg Linn Wines Sauvignon Blanc White Hills Vineyard – 92 Points RP
The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc White Hills Vineyard is a classic Sauvignon with more stoniness and minerality than most California examples. Crisp honeydew melon, lemon grass, and fig notes emerge from this medium-bodied, impressively concentrated white. It should continue to drink well for another 2-3 years.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Chardonnay Grangerville Vineyard – 94+ Points RP
Also 100% barrel-fermented, the 2007 Chardonnay Grangerville Vineyard reveals a light medium gold color along with aromas of nectarines, white peaches, crushed rocks, creme brulee, and honeyed lemon. Fresh, full-bodied, rich, and structured, with little oak in evidence, I would not be surprised to see this Chardonnay age for a decade or more.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Pinot Noir Hudson Vineyard – 90+ Points RP
The 2007 Pinot Noir Hudson Vineyard (from a site further north in Carneros, is 100% destemmed. This wine has undeniable elegance, crisp sweet and sour cherry, red currant, pomegranate, and spring flower notes, medium body, and silky tannins. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Pinot Noir le Bon Climat Vineyard – 93+ Points RP
The stunning 2007 Pinot Noir Le Bon Climat Vineyard was fermented with 100% whole clusters. Its dark plum/ruby color is accompanied by a sweet bouquet of damp earth, forest floor, fresh porcini mushrooms, black currants, sweet cherries, and spice. Deep, full-bodied, rich, and long, this wine is still tightly coiled, but it should unfold over the next 10+ years.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Pinot Noir Rimrock Vineyard – 95+ Points RP
Only 1,080 bottles were produced of the 2007 Pinot Noir Rimrock Vineyard (100% whole cluster fermentation was utilized). It exhibits copious aromas of tobacco leaf, red cherries, fresh mushrooms, and black currants. The earthy character, full-bodied mouthfeel, stunning concentration, and fresh acids result in a wine that requires several more years of bottle age. It should age effortlessly for 10-15 years.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Pinot Noir Grangerville Vineyard – 90+ Points RP
Greg Linn’s love affair with acidity appears to have gone over the top with the 2007 Pinot Noir Grangerville Vineyard from the Santa Maria hills. Fashioned from 100% whole clusters, it displays a dense ruby/purple color. The proprietor believes this may be the greatest wine he has ever produced, and perhaps it will prove to be that in ten years’ time. At present, the acids are higher than most. It is a pure wine with plenty of interesting aromas, but it is virtually impossible to penetrate. I think it should turn out to be outstanding. Those who like pure native acids in their Pinot Noirs will undoubtedly rate is higher than I did.
2006 Greg Line Ambullneo Vineyards Rim Rock Vineyard Syrah – 94 Points RP
The prodigious 2006 Syrah Rim Rock is pedal-to-the-medal Syrah with great balance in addition to great power and precision. From limestone soils, this wine offers up notes of black raspberry, black currant, blackberry, licorice, and graphite. The wine is dense, full-bodied, yet combines power with a sense of elegance and equilibrium. Very layered in the mouth, with silky, sweet tannins, but a sense of structure and delineation, this is a beauty that can be approached now or cellared for 10 or more years.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Ambullneo Vineyards Chardonnay Big Paw – 93 Points RP
The 2007 Chardonnay Big Paw from Ambullneo Vineyards is Linn’s attempt to produce a full-bodied, Chablis-styled Chardonnay with no oak aging. Aged 16 months in stainless steel tanks, with full malolactic fermentation (indigenous as well), this beauty offers up aromas of lemon and lime zest intermixed with honeyed nectarines, orange rind, white currant, quince, and crushed rocks. This light straw-colored Chardonnay has a greenish hue (which I consider to be a good sign), excellent acidity, and a full-bodied, intense style. It should drink nicely for 3-4 years, possibly longer.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Ambullneo Vineyards Chardonnay Fang Blanc – 94 Points RP
Although the 2007 Ambullneo Vineyards Chardonnay Fang Blanc (100% barrel-fermented) is tightly coiled at present, there is no doubting its terrific potential. Tart acids underlie this light straw-colored wine that offers up notes of honeyed pears, tropical fruits, nectarines, and white peaches. Full-bodied, fresh, and crunchy, it is a total delight to smell and taste. Enjoy it over the next 5-7 years.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Ambullneo Vineyards Pinot Noir Bulldog – 93 Points RP
Ambullneo Vineyards’ 2007 Pinot Noir Bulldog (named after his affection for both the English and American Bulldog breeds) is a serious winner meant for connoisseurs. Made from at least seven different Pinot Noir clones, and including 75% whole stems in the vinification, it boasts a dense ruby/purple color as well as a tight but promising nose of white chocolate, black cherries, raspberries, and forest floor. Full-bodied with bracing acidity, moderate alcohol (13.4%), and an exceptionally long finish, this cuvee will benefit from another 1-2 years in the bottle, and should last for a decade thereafter.
2006 Ambullneo Vineyards Syrah Howling – 92 Points RP
There is nothing oafish about the 2006 Howling Syrah, a wine that screams blackberry and exotic flowers, with a full-bodied, fleshy, multi-layered personality. Fat and densely purple, it displays a big, sweet kiss of blackberry and cassis with that hint of 2% Viognier present in the background. The luscious texture and seductive style make for a Syrah to drink over the next 7-8 years.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Zito Chardonnay – 90 Points RP
The 2007 Zito Chardonnay reveals plenty of fresh, poached pear, crisp lemon zest, and nectarine characteristics in a medium to full-bodied, fresh, lively style with no evidence of wood. It should drink well for 2-4 years.
2007 Greg Linn Wines Zito Pinot Noir – 89+ Points RP
The least expensive Pinot Noir is the 2007 Zito Pinot Noir. Its dark ruby/plum color is followed by a sweet kiss of cranberries, pomegranates, and ripe currants presented in a seductive, lush (by Greg Linn’s standards) style with decent acidity and a plush, richly fruity mouthfeel. It should drink nicely for 4-6 years.