97 points Vinous: "Highly perfumed aromas of ripe red and dark fruits, incense and potpourri, along with an exotic spice nuance and a hint of smoky minerality. Palate-staining black raspberry, cherry and fruitcake flavors show sharp definition and deepen steadily as the wine stretches out. Deftly plays richness off elegance and finishes impressively long and chewy, with repeating cherry and floral character and building tannins adding final grip. 8% whole clusters and 26% new French oak."
2017 vintage notes
96 points Vinous: "Assertive red berry liqueur, cherry cola, potpourri and incense aromas show outstanding clarity and mineral lift. Offers concentrated yet impressively energetic black raspberry, bitter cherry, spicecake and floral pastille flavors. A subtle blood orange flourish adds refreshing back-end cut. Gains weight and sweetness with air and finishes spicy, subtly tannic and extremely long, with resonating florality and a touch of smokiness. 50% whole clusters and 20% new oak."
It comes down to one word: brilliant. As much as the wine, the vineyard and the mind behind it. The rigorously intellectual, deeply mystical fostering of ecological diversity and complexities in Mimi Casteel's Hope Well vineyard is translated into contemplative and celebratory wine. For the third year in a row, the finest expression of Pinot noir in the Lingua Franca cellar.
Mimi's Mind is a combination of a wall-sized color palette, a bookshelf of encyclopedias, a grand piano with an extra octave on each register. It is elegant, energetic, deeply structured -- a treat to savor over days or even better, to tuck away for a future special moment. - Marcus
2016 vintage notes
95 points Vinous, Josh Raynolds: "A complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes red fruit preserves, incense and potpourri, with smoky mineral and Asian spice accents building as the wine opens up. Juicy, appealingly sweet and concentrated yet lithe on the palate, offering intense raspberry, cherry liqueur, spicecake flavors and a hint of candied rose on the back half. Delivers solid punch but comes off graceful, showing absolutely no rough edges on its extremely long, vibrant, red fruit-driven finish."
2015 vintage notes
94 points Wine Spectator: "Lissome and polished, with expressive violet and blueberry aromas and precise but richly complex flavors of plum, mineral and spiced cinnamon. Drink now through 2023."
Mimi Casteel’s beautifully maintained vineyard is a product of her creative and unique farming practices. However, they are grounded in a very thoughtful--philosophical and scientific--study of natural farming practices that include Biodynamic and organic, but escape any single categorization. You may see her pruning in winter while her dwarf sheep, herded by a prized lama, are keeping the flowers and grasses around the vineyard trimmed. The balance of life in her vineyard is obvious to anyone open to the natural world around, with little apparent intervention necessary on her part, except to provide the minimal amount of spraying required to fight fungus in a wet year. We love the example this vineyard sets for us, because it is just above the town on Hopewell, sloping to the east, and has a little wash of Woodburn soils at the bottom of the vineyard that graduate up into Nekia and Jory—similar to the situation at Lingua Franca. We hope to learn from her example.
This is the finest expression of our series of wines this year. Deeply flavored with complex interplay of mineral, floral and fruit elements, with spice, truffles, savory herbs and “tension” so important to a vibrant wine. The finish goes on and carries the complex of flavors to the end, diminishing ever so slowly. It is a wine to contemplate.
Foods: The simplest and most classic of roasted and grilled beef, lamb, veal and pork. Served with morels, porcini or truffles, or Rossini-style. Fish dishes with richer hoisin or oyster sauces, or with fish sauce laced miso dashi. Can even be served with a Neopolitan pizza margherita. Also goes with game birds with classic sauces and preparations, pressed duck, glazed duck, duck with sauce veneur. Venison sauce grand veneur. Roast beef with truffle jus and Yorkshire pudding, Connaught style.