[Editor: Mr. Minor never really left. What went missing was the author’s brain.]
We were excited to get an e-mail from this old favorite. And we were even more thrilled to discover that Sean is still making pinot noir. We ordered a mixed case. This review will cover tastings made over the course of a week. We’ve reviewed Sean’s wines before, but somehow he fell through the ever-widening cracks in our brains.
We had remembered – incorrectly, as it turns out – that Sean had stopped making pinot noir. Thankfully, a helpful employee refreshed our ever more failing memory. He stopped making Carneros pinots, shifting instead to the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast AVAs.
His 2016 Central Coast pinot “Four Bears” ($16) opens with mild aromas of black cherries and leather. The palate is lush and full with flavors of chocolate covered cherries and a hint of spice. The finish features long, smooth, silky tannins. Another terrific deal.
The 2016 Central Coast chardonnay “Four Bears” ($14) tends to lemon curd. Aromas of citrus and smoke lead to pineapple and lemon curd palate. A nice long finish rounds out the experience.
But the real champion is the 2015 Sonoma Coast pinot noir ($22). Aromas of cranberries and bing cherries lead to a palate that features more cherries and spices. A long, complex finish opens with smooth tannins and a touch of acid, merging seamlessly into more spice. At $22 per bottle this counts as a major bargain. Get this one while it lasts. And don’t be afraid to let it sit for a year or two. This one has some aging potential.
The website has been updated significantly since our last visit. Vibrant colors with a sparse, almost Japanese, layout. The design is warm and welcoming. Here’s an example:
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Sean and Nicole are the perfect winery couple. For those who are curious, the “Four Bears” designation refers to their four kids.
Followed by a clear, clean statement of purpose. Companies searching for a mission statement could learn a lot from this:
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An interesting side note: Sean was born in Kansas “surrounded by surrounded by agriculture and the hard work and values responsible for the enviable work ethic of Midwestern people.” It happens that Tony’s maternal grandparents owned a farm in Kansas. He spent many summers there when he was a child. [Editor: That’s what Tony claims. Given the state of his memory, I would be skeptical.]
These are good folks making wines that are incredible values. If you’ve never tried them before get online and order a case or two! Here’s their team:
Stuart, Nicole, Larry, Barbara, Sue, Sean, Kristi