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A Look at Scott Family Estate’s 2014 Offerings

Scott Family EstateScott Family Estates is a family farmed wine producer, that creates Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Dijon clonal selections in the Arroyo Seco appellation in Monterey County.  Low yields result in limited production wines which showcase the matching of terroir and varietal fruit.  Recently they have added a Sonoma Russian River Pinot Noir, as well as a Carneros Chardonnay.  Our first experience with the Scott Family line of wines happened at this year’s Boston Wine Expo, where we were impressed with the quality to price ratio and decided to do a more in-depth look at them.

Arroyo Seco is adjacent to the very popular Santa Lucia Highlands, one of the hot beds for Pinot Noir.  Arroyo Seco (‘Dry MCVGA_4panel_broch_091910Creek’) is part of the larger Monterey AVA (American Viticultural Area), and carries it’s own AVA designation.  Here the climate is a bit cooler than in Napa, and the grapes can see an additional 2-4 weeks on the vines comparatively.  This is a small AVA by California standards, covering only 18,240 acres.  For comparison, the Russion River Valley covers 96,000 acres, and the California AVA encompasses over 3 million.  There is a nexus of diverse geographic features here, as the Santa Lucia mountains loom to the west and the cool waters of Monterey Bay are only 40 miles to the northwest.  Granted AVA status in 1983, there are now several famous wineries in the valley, and names such as J. Lohr, La Crema and Wente are familiar to most wine lovers.

We have four wines from Scott to review here, a Pinot and a Chardonay from the Arroyo Seco vineyards, as well as the new Russian River Pinot Nori and the Napa Valley Carneros Chardonnay.  All of the wines are from the 2014 vintage.  Let’s see what we have.


2014 Scott Family Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – It was a dry winter and spring, and the harvest was IMG_2038once again early.  However the Russian River Valley brought in some of the highest quality fruit in recent memory.  The wine saw partial whole cluster fermentation and 11 months in French oak.  On the nose there are complex herbal notes along with cherry, rasberry and vanilla.  You also get some bacon fat.  On the palate there is brisk acid and nice length.  The bacon fat fades on the palate, and the cherry comes through.  There is a nice depth to the wine, and the acid keeps it fresh.  The Pursuit of Balance crowd should love this.  We liked it.  This is quality juice.

IMG_20402014 Scott Family Estate Arroyo Seco Chardonnay – Dijon Clone – This wine saw malolactic fermentation and significant time on the lees, and was aged in French and American oak.  It’s a light straw color, with just a hint of a deeper hue and a potentially rich wine.  The nose is very aromatic, with apple, apricot and tropical fruits.  On the palate the sur lee creaminess and texture are evident.  You really get the tropical fruit on the palate.  It’s rich yet fresh, with great length.  This is an aromatic, elegant wine we really liked, and we’ll add it to our Value List at under $20.

2014 Scott Family Estate Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir – Dijon Clone – A medium to dark red, this wine has a nose with IMG_2042red fruit, earth and spice.  Some charred oak also makes an appearance.  On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, with black cherry and some of that charred wood.  Tannins are mild but noticeable.  There is some brisk acid, and a long finish.  We thought there was a touch of bitterness at the back end.  This is a good wine, but we think the 2013 version was better.  You can read a bit about that wine by clicking here.

IMG_20412014 Scott Family Estate Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay – this wine spent time on the lees and in American and French oak.  It is a substantial Chardonnay, checking in at 14.5% alcohol.  The nose is tropical fruit and oak.  It has a nice texture and richness.  The oak is very present on the palate, and immediately out of the bottle you get a buttery profile, although this becomes less pronounced with some exposure to air.  It finishes long.  Definitely a well made wine, this should appeal to those who like oaked, buttery Chardonnay.

With different vineyard areas and styles to choose from, Scott Family is a good choice when your looking for a well made, quality Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.  The Arroyo Seco versions are actually our favorites, and can probably be had for under $20.  You’ll spend a bit over $20 for the Carneros Chard and the Russian River Valley Pinot.

Scott Family Estates is part of the Rutherford Wine Company, which produces many other lines including Rutherford Ranch and Round Hill.  You can find additional information about Scott Family Estate, and read more about the Rutherford Wine Company and all of their various wines at

A votre santé!


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