2016 Occidental Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Vineyard Cuvee Elizabeth

Year: 2016
Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Country: USA - California
Wine Advocate: 93
Vinous Media: 96
Jeb Dunnuck: 98
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.4%
Price :


"The 2016 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth has a pale to medium ruby-purple color with scents of crushed red cherry, rhubarb, cranberry, red berries and black cherry sparks with touches of dusty earth, stone, bergamot and rose petal. Light to medium-bodied, it's elegant in the mouth with purely defined red fruits and floral layers. It has a silky texture of very fine, softly grainy tannins, and the long finish is refreshed by lip-smacking acidity. Yum!

Although the first vintage of Occidental was 2011, Steve Kistler began developing the vineyards for the project back in 1999. In a year or two, he says, some of the later planted vines will be old enough to put into production. About 6,000 cases of Pinot Noir are made annually—the Freestone Occidental is a blend of fruit from several sites, and four vineyard-designate bottlings are made as well. 2016 is the current release.

Kistler says, “To me 2016 is a great vintage. It produced intense, concentrated, delicious wines. The fruit out here reached the early edge of ripeness, where the skins were mature but sugar levels were very moderate. And just as it reached that point of maturity, the weather turned cool for a couple weeks and we had this amazing picking window where we could allow each block to ripen at our leisure. So, the wines to me absolutely reflect their coastal origin. They couldn’t be made in the Russian River Valley. They have this sort of chiseled red fruit character and saline aspect that really takes them to a different level. And it’s not every year, on the coast, that you can make wines that truly scream of where they’re from. 2016 was that vintage. So, when I’m teaching my daughters, this is the style I want.” These wines are stunning for their finesse, elegance and purity of fruit and are some of the finest examples of a truly coastal style of Pinot Noir from California." (WA)

"The 2016 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is a fascinating wine to taste for a number of reasons. One of them is that the Bodega Headlands Pinot was formerly in the Kistler range, which makes for an easy comparison of the wines Steve Kistler made at Kistler and those he makes now at Occidental. The stylistic shift between then and now is startling. Once a dark, inky Pinot, the 2016 Bodega Headlands Cuvée Elizabeth is perfumed, intensely savory and nervous in feel. Crushed rose petal, mint and chalk add nuance to a core of bright, red-toned fruit. Intensely saline and vibrant, the 2016 is magnificent today." (VM)

"The 2016 Pinot Noir Bodega Headlines Vineyard Cuvee Elizabeth is another more elegant, almost perfect wine from this estate. Thrilling notes of smoked red cherries, earth, forest floor, and graphite all give way to a medium-bodied, vibrant, racy wine that has flawless balance, crunchy, vibrant fruit, notable tannins, and a great finish. This is another awesome wine that will benefit from a year or two of bottle age and keep for a decade." (JD)

Winery Notes:
High-pitched aromas of red raspberry, crushed stone, and rose petal. A pure, crystalline wine that features a stunning combination of precision, finesse, and razor-edged salinity. This is a beautifully layered and balanced wine that finishes with bright red fruit and floral intensity. -SK