Wine Reviews: Cartograph Wines

Posted by | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-10-2019

Cartograph dates back to around 2009, when founders Alan Baker and Serena Lourie came to Healdsburg with two barrels of Pinot Noir.

Alan had been making his own wines at CrushPad, the San Francisco custom crush facility. Drawing on his tech consulting experience, he also oversaw CrushPad’s online platform, Crushnet. It was at this facility where he met Serena Lourie (whose background was in healthcare administration, technology and finance), and they came up with the idea for Cartograph. In 2016 Alan and Serena purchased their first vineyard, 10 acres of Pinot Noir near Sebastopol and Cotati.

This was my first time tasting Cartograph wines, and it was a very pleasant experience tasting these wines together and seeing the nuanced differences, but also the stylistic similarities. The Pinot Noirs are fresh and lively, and the fruit has this fresh, red, early-picked quality, while maintaining the juiciness and fruitiness that you’d expect from Russian River Pinot. The inaugural vintage of their Estate Pinot Noir is something special, a really bright, elegant, floral, spicy Pinot. And their sparkling wines are on the leaner, zippier side, while showing solid complexity and depth.

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

thumbnail (11)2013 Cartograph Pinot Noir Brut Zéro Leonardo Julio Vineyard California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $68
Deep yellow color. Brisk and inviting on the nose with oyster shells and chalk dust over top of salted butter, biscuits, bread dough, apricot and lemons. Zesty and light-bodied on the palate but there’s plenty of texture and depth. Green apples, apricot and lemon work really well with these notes of saline, crushed seashells, chalk and minerals. A bracing (in a good way) Brut Zero that would pair wonderfully with shellfish. All Chardonnay, 11.9% alcohol. (91 points IJB)

2013 Cartograph Pinot Noir Brut Rosé Leonardo Julio Vineyard California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $68
Pale copper color. Bright nose of strawberries, raspberries, rose petals, with bread crumbs, chalk dust and mint notes. Light-bodied, bright acid, fine bubbles, but there’s a nice creamy depth. Lemon meringue, sweet red apples, white cherries, the fruit is laced with chalky, mineral notes. Lovely depth, lots of chalky-dusty vibes, this is delicious, zippy, complex stuff. 11.9% alcohol. From the Leonardo Julio Vineyard (90 points IJB)

2018 Cartograph Dry Gewürztraminer Starscape Vineyard California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $26
Deep yellow color. A peach explosion on the nose, with lemon-lime, guava, sea salt, and a spiced white tea and white pepper note. Dry, bracing, crisp on the palate, this has a really pleasantly brisk quality with lots of minerals and chalk elements. Peaches, guava and lime mix well with verbena, white pepper and honeysuckle notes. A nuanced, vibrant, complex California Gewurztraminer – that’s not something I’m used to writing! 13.3% alcohol. (90 points IJB)

2016 Cartograph Pinot Noir Estate California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $68
Medium ruby color. Rhubarb pops from the nose, along with roses, cola, sweet strawberries and raspberries. The palate is fresh and bright with dusty tannins and juicy fruit (strawberries, red currants, raspberries). I get notes of raspberry leaf, mint and white pepper that add complexity. Juicy, fruity and fun but really vibrant and lively. I’d like to see where this goes in 2-3 years. 13.6% alcohol. (91 points IJB)

2017 Cartograph Pinot Noir California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
SRP: $48
Deep ruby color. Nose shows fresh but chilled red fruits (cherries, raspberries, strawberry jam) along with rhubarb, cola and some mushroom and pepper notes. Medium+ bodied, velvety tannins, medium acidity. Tangy yet juicy raspberries, red plums and strawberries, mixed with notes of cinnamon, clove and roasted chestnut. The earthy-complexity is very attractive and melds well with the ripe red fruits. 13.9% alcohol. (90 points IJB)

2015 Cartograph Pinot Noir Transverse California, North Coast
SRP: $64
Light purple color. Nose of sweet raspberries, cherries and strawberries, with healthy dollops of violets, rose petals and sweet herbs. Medium-bodied, brisk acidity, juicy and lively red fruits (cherries and raspberries). Notes of savory spices, mesquite barbecue, rose petals and cola add complexity. This is a ton of fun, shows a lot of personality, exuberant but balanced and lively. A blend of fruit from Choate Vineyard, Saltonstall Vineyard and Starscape Vineyard. 13.4% alcohol. (90 points IJB)

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