Pinot Noir

Our Borderline Marin County AVA wine showcases high quality pinot noir that dedicated growers produce near the Marin - Sonoma County border.  These vineyards lie along the southern edge of the Petaluma wind gap - a break in the coastal hills that funnels afternoon winds and summer fog straight off the Pacific, across the Point Reyes National Seashore, and into the San Francisco North Bay.  Easing the summer heat of Marin's interior hills allows pinot noir to benefit from a long growing season.

The mild Spring and near-perfect September in 2009 produced limited yields of  fully ripened fruit, with a core of refreshing acidity.  Our Borderline Pinot leads with aromas of Bing cherry and cedar, with light caramel notes and hints of roasted arabica beans.  On the palate, a round center of bright cherry flavor is layered over a structure of nicely resolved tannins.  The finish is crisp, and is followed by complex flavors of asian spice and vanilla.  This wine is a well poised, lively wine that pairs well with herb crusted roast chicken and a Sunday family dinner.

Winemaker Notes

The two vineyards in this cuvée were harvested two weeks apart, due to their different micro-climates.  Clusters were hand-sorted to cull damaged or under-ripe fruit.  Grapes were fully de-stemmed into small open top fermenters, and chilled with dry ice.  The must was cold-soaked for three full days, and then inoculated with two distinct yeast strains to kick off fermentation.  Yeasts were selected for their ability to unlock pinot noir's characteristic aromatics and spiciness.  The fermenting must was gently punched down 3 times a day.  Upon completion of fermentation, the wine macerated on the skins to further build the aromatics and soften the tannins.  We pressed the wine off into French oak cooperage chosen to impart elements of spice and earthiness.  The wine was racked in Spring 2010 and the final blend made in the Fall.  The wine was bottled in March 2011 after spending 17 months in oak.


  1. GOLD MEDAL - San Francisco International Wine Competition

  2. Prince of Pinot - “Very Good”
    “Moderately light reddish- purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with cherries, strawberries, spice and dried rose petals. Red- fruited, featuring lighter-weight flavors of cherries, raspberries, sandalwood, baking spice, leaf and tobacco. Crisp, with good acidity and polished fine-grain tannins. Very good.” 
    - Rusty Gaffney - 11/1/12

  3. Wine Enthusiast - 92 points
    “So savory and easy to like, you might miss the complexity, but it’s there. Offers flashy raspberry and cherry pie, red plum, pie spice and sandalwood flavors, packed into firm but gentle tannins, and brightened with crisp acidity. The finish is entirely dry despite all the sweet fruit. Really defines the modern coastal California style, even if there’s no particular Marin County signature.”
    - Steve Heimoff - 5/1/2012

  4. PinotReport - 93 points
    “Medium ruby color; rich raspberry and cherry aromas with herbal and earthy notes; deep, bright raspberry and cherry flavors with herbal and spice notes; sweet oak; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Bright, flavorful Pinot with a lot of great things going on. Drinks well now and will age.”
    - Greg Walters - 2/15/12

  5. RJ on Wine - 90 points         

  6. Grapenutz



Marin County


Chileno Valley, Kendric


Mark Pasternak, Stewart Johnson

Harvest Dates

10/2/09, 10/16/09

Clonal Content

Pommard, Dijon, Swan Selection

Alcohol / pH

14.0 % / 3.52

Titratable Acidity

0.62 gms / 100mL

Barrel Aging

17 months in French Oak

(44% new)

Cases Produced


Suggested Retail Price