94 Points - Robert Parker

94 Insider Points


A classic expression of this site in the Sta. Rita Hills, the spice-filled 2015 Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard is medium-bodied and seamless on the palate, with a complete, balanced feel and tons of red plums, spice, crushed berry fruit and floral characteristics. It will easily be an outstanding Pinot Noir and have upwards of a decade of longevity. -Robert Parker

Parker Raves, and I Have to Agree With Him Here

Every rater & critic has their own palate style to speak of. That is, a particular wine that appeals to wine might not to another. That's the great thing about wine tasting; it's completely subjective. Which is why I try to be as clear and concise in these reviews as I can. All that being said, Loring's Clos Pepe Pinot is as fantastic as Robert says. Most of my Pinot love goes to Burgundy, but we also get some stellar juice right here out of California. Loring stands out among those. 

Bright raspberry jam on the nose. Medium-full bodied on the palate, showing strawberry, earl grey and cranberry skin. Tart cherry and a dash of oaky spice through the finish. Just getting into its best drinking years, and has a long life ahead of it. 94 Points - JZ Sept '18

    Pinot Noir
    Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County
  • SIZE

A 150-case production makes this single-vineyard collectible from cult producer Brian Loring about as difficult to lay your hands on as the mythological Golden Fleece. But since one measly bottle recently made its way into invino’s tasting room, we can say with utter confidence that this treasure actually exists!

Culled from one of California’s most sought-after vineyards (and appellations!), the 2015 Loring Clos Pepe Pinot got 92-94 points from the Wine Advocate, which noted: “A classic expression of this site…seamless on the palate, with a complete, balanced feel and tons of red plums, spice, crushed berry fruit and floral characteristics. It will easily be an outstanding Pinot Noir and have upwards of a decade of longevity.” The wine was aged for 10 months in French oak (just 15% new), and while still on the young side, is already a memorably delicious drink.

  • Winemaking Brian Loring is a self-described Pinot Noir fanatic and has been obsessed with perfecting California Pinot (and only Pinot) since the 1990s.
  • The Clos Pepe Vineyard sits in the northern valley of the Santa Rita Hills AVA. The fruit from this heralded site is snapped up by a host of California’s top Pinot producers including Siduri, Brewer-Clifton, Copain and of course—Loring.
  • Clos Pepe is still owned by the same family who planted the vineyard (and long before the Sta Rita Hills was an actual AVA. Today, son Wes Hagen manages the vines and does so with absolute devotion.
  • This red is made from Pinot clones 115 and 777—two of the top Pinot Noir selections currently en vogue throughout California.

From the winemaker:

Clos Pepe Vineyard is in the northern valley of the Sta. Rita Hills. Planted in sandy soils, the fruit is very deep, well structured, and shows a lot of white pepper and baking spice character.


From the winery:

White writing software for the aerospace industry, Brian felt that he just wasn't busy enough, so he decided to moonlight as a winemaker starting in 1999. His sister, Kimberly, decided that Brian shouldn't have all the fun, so she decided to spend her free time away from work (designing data processing systems for credit card companies) at the winery as well. As the winery grew, more and more people kept bugging Brian and Kimberly, looking to buy their wines. It eventually go so annoying that in 2006, they decided to quit their day jobs and spend all their time at the winery, hoping to make enough wine to get everyone to stop complaining. They now produce about 6500 cases of wine a year, which seems to keep everyone happy.


This Pinot will pair best with a poultry dish like chicken or duck. If you're looking for a vegetarian option, try it with grilled veggies and mushrooms.