2020 Kosta Browne Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Region: Sta. Rita Hills
An explosion of red fruit with an understated yet elegant savory quality. Nostalgic notes of cinnamon stick and clove mesmerize. Deeply rich with an earthy core and copious amounts of fruit. Refreshingly light on the palate with well-integrated tannins and unique flair.
Founded in 1997, Kosta Browne is one of North America’s most revered wineries, recognized for making some of the world’s finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Located in Sebastopol, Sonoma County, and guided by an acclaimed team that includes renowned Winemaker Julien Howsepian, Kosta Browne makes appellation and single-vineyard wines from the most coveted cool-climate vineyards across the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Lucia Highlands appellations. In addition to partnering with the finest growers in California, Kosta Browne has an estate program that features 170 acres of vineyards through ownership or long-term leases that includes the Cerise Vineyard in Anderson Valley, Keefer Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, and a prized section of the Gap’s Crown Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. Kosta Browne has earned a place on Wine Spectator’s annual list of the world’s “Top 100 Wines” seven times since 2005, including “Wine of the Year” in 2011.
That’s Kosta Browne, which was hatched when Dan Kosta and Michael Browne were working at Sonoma County restaurant John Ash. Neither had experience making wine, but they had the itch. They started by putting $10 each in an envelope on nights they worked together, and in a few months they had a thousand dollars. After one of the restaurant’s chefs ponied up $400 more, they set off.
Over the next five years, they persevered, scouring Northern California for grapes and capital. Their huge breakthrough came in 2005 when Wine Spectator crowned two of their 2003 Pinots with 95-point scores and named the Sonoma Coast bottling the #11 wine on their Top 100 list. Almost overnight, the challenge changed from keeping afloat to keeping up with demand.
Kosta Browne kept climbing Spectator’s Top 100: Their Russian River Pinot took #7 in 2006, and the Sonoma Coast landed at #4 in ’09 and claimed the top spot in 2011. And the demand? The queue to get on their mailing list is now endless.
The Kosta Browne pedigree is on full display in their 2020 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Sourced from some of the best vineyards in the AVA—including famous sites like Sanford & Benedict, Hilliard Bruce, and Rita’s Crown—it’s bold and lush, with soaring aromatics and a rich, silky texture.
This bottle delivers the kind of complex, elegant Kosta Browne experience that keeps collectors clamoring, mailing-list members salivating, and those on the outside green with envy. Pinot lovers, take note.
WS 93 Wine Spectator, May 2022
Very alluring, with Damson, griottes and mulberry fruit seamlessly layered with black tea, sous bois and sandalwood hints. Long, refined finish lets all its perfume linger prettily. Drink now through 2029. — J.M.