2011 Vintage Awards & Press

2011 Carlton Hill Wine Company Pinot Noir Estate Reserve

  • 88-89 pts - Wine Advocate

While only around 10% of whole clusters were included in the fermentation of the corresponding basic bottling, Polite’s 2011 Pinot Noir Estate Reserve – constituting a mere hundred cases worth, still residing in its four barrels when I tasted – was half vendange entier. A fascinatingly pungent nose brings juniper berry, licorice, orange rind, cinnamon and clove to bear on cherry and red currant that then inform a firm and delicate palate. The flavor fascination here follows in the direction adumbrated on the nose, but there is a faint drying in the finish that I attribute to the 50% new barrel. I’d tentatively plan to follow this through 2017 but with hopes of reassessing.

2011 Carlton Hill Wine Company Estate Pinot Noir

  • 87 pts - Wine Advocate

An understated, relatively lightweight Carlton Hill 2011 Pinot Noir Estate is scented with sweat, beef broth and lentil, along with intimations of the red currant that then tartly informs the palate. While demure, the finish here is certainly as interesting as the nose led me to anticipate, and it preserves an admirable sense of primary juiciness, thus offering some genuine refreshment of the sort frequently encountered from this vintage. I would tentatively plan to enjoy it by 2016.

David Polite – who has been vinifying fruit from his Carlton Hill estate since 2002 – opined that “among the bizarre things about 2011 was that the really late veraison was interrupted when the vines began shutting down” during the short-lived early September heat-spike. “I’ve typically been picking earlier than my peers,” notes Polite, “but in 2011 you just had to wait,” and he did not harvest until October 26.

2011 Carlton Hill Wine Company Pinot Noir Estate Whole Cluster

  • 89-90 pts - Wine Advocate

A fan of whole-cluster fermentation, Polite set aside two barrels vinified entirely vendange entier and at the time I tasted them was just a week from bottling them as 2011 Pinot Noir Estate Whole Cluster. Rose petal and rose wood; licorice and chocolate-covered orange rind; cherry and red currant make for a complex aromatic and gustatory performance, the faintly torrefied and oxidative elements presenting a bit of disharmony with the tart fresh side of the wine, but that may ultimately prove synergistic and is certainly distinctive. There is impressive sheer grip and plenty of primary juiciness in the finish of this firm Pinot that needs a few years, I suspect, to really show its personality and should prove worth following through at least 2018.