Wine Reviews: Alma Fria
By Isaac Baker
2014 Sonoma Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are something to behold. Coming off the heels of the exceptional 2013 vintage, I have been blown away by the vibrancy, freshness and purity of flavors in a lot of these wines. And while many seem to show well on release, I think patience will pay off for a lot of 2014s.
I recently tasted through the 2014 releases from Alma Fria, and was very impressed. I’ve enjoyed their Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs before, although “enjoy” is an understatement. I find these wines thrilling and stunningly delicious.
Terroirist also ran an interview with Alma Fria’s proprietor and winemaker Jan Holterman, which you can check out here for more background information on this exciting project. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.
2014 Alma Fría Chardonnay Plural- California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Medium yellow color. Aromatically, wow: orange, lemon curd, rich and exotic but oceanic as well, with bright floral, sea salt, chalky notes. Vibrant acidity, mouthwatering throughout but plush texture. Lemon curd, apricot, orange, pineapple, lime zest, lots of fruit complexity but also mixed with seashells, chalk, white tea, honeycomb. Packed with flavor and complexity but a bright style. Gorgeous now but I’d love to see this in three or four years. (92 points IJB)
2014 Alma Fría Chardonnay Campbell Ranch Vineyard- California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Medium yellow color. Aromatically, wow: apricots, orange marmalade, lemon curd, also some raw almond, hay, honeyed green tea, so complex and exotic. Precise acidity frames the palate, generous texture for a wine of 13.3% alcohol, but it shows such vibrancy and balance. Tangerine and lemon curd, kiwi, generous fruit laced with almond, chalk dust, dandelion, baby’s breath. Nuanced, exciting, mineral-encrusted finish, this is drop-dead delicious now but should award several years in the cellar. (93 points IJB)
2014 Alma Fría Pinot Noir Plural Sonoma Coast- California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
A pale ruby color, an explosion of vibrant red fruits and spice on the nose: red cherry, red apple peel, cranberry, white pepper, sliced rhubarb, some slight mushroom matched with that Sonoma Coast cola signature. On the palate this is crisp and lively, medium bodied, with structured but fine-grained and smooth tannins, the balance is there, as is the brisk, crunchy red fruits. Notes of white pepper, oregano, cola, clove, rhubarb, lots to unpack. Accessible now but should be nice with two years on it. (92 points IJB)
2014 Alma Fría Pinot Noir Doña Margarita Vineyard- California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Light ruby color. Nose: brisk, tart, wild red cherries and raspberries on the nose, some red apple peel, notes of rhubarb, white pepper, potting clay and eucalyptus. Medium-bodied but structured nicely with fine tannins, refreshing acidity and pretty, tart red fruits (red cherry, McIntosh apple peel, wild raspberry), complemented with notes of clay, white pepper, sage, clove, just a touch of cola and cedar, woven in expertly. Long, vibrant, mineral-laden finish, this is so, so refreshing, complex, delicious. From a site in Freestone, CA, planted in 2002, aged in 30% new French oak. 13.2% alcohol. (93 points IJB)
2014 Alma Fría Pinot Noir Holtermann Vineyard- California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
Light ruby color. Aromas of bright red cherries, wild raspberries, pomegranate, rose petals, an earthy, savory streak with clove and grilled Portobello. Juicy and vibrant on the palate with silky but well-framed tannins, bright acidity, lots of crisp red fruits (raspberry, pomegranate, some black cherry), more savory elements in this wine, like sage, white pepper, leather, mushroom, lots more to coax out with a few years in the cellar. Long, slightly chewy but vibrant finish. From a site in Annapolis, planted in 2002, aged in 20% new French oak. 13.1% alcohol. (94 points IJB)