Vinous 94 "Once again, Occidental's Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) punches above its weight. Readers who want to understand how magical 2014 is for Pinot Noir in Sonoma might want to start here. The 2014 is vivid, precise and wonderfully nuanced from the very first taste. A host of dark red/purplish fruit, lavender, mint and rose petal infuse the deep, resonant finish. Far from an easygoing entry-level offering, the 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot is a serious, powerful wine that will thrill readers for a number of years to come."
Occidental is the highly-lauded side project of famed winemaker, Steve Kistler and his business partner, Mark Bixler. Steve is most well-known for his eponymous label, Kistler Vineyards, which has been dedicated to making world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from California’s north coast for over 30 years
While Steve remains CEO of Kistler Vineyards and is very much in charge of day to day operations, his desire to focus solely on Pinot Noir was the impetus behind creating Occidental. Situated just 4 miles from the Ocean in western Sonoma’s Bodega Headlands, Occidental currently has 20 acres of primarily Calera clone Pinot Noir planted, with another 60 acres in development. The vineyards benefit from an ideal south-facing aspect (not shared by neighboring sites), as well as the Petaluma Gap’s cold, windy climate. In fact, the area rarely sees temperatures over 80 degrees. In short, it is a wonderland for Pinot Noir.
Similar to his philosophy at Kistler Vineyards, Steve embraces a “less is more” approach to viticulture and winemaking at Occidental. Steve’s ultimate goal was to reduce the size of the operation and increase the level of attention in order to make Pinot Noir that is rich with flavor, but not overly extracted or tannic.