2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir | Olivia Brion | Winestyr

2012 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Club Price

Learn More or

( 2 )

Appellation: Sta. Rita Hills AVA

By: Olivia Brion

In: Napa Valley, CA

750mL / 14.1% ABV

Winestyr Review

Only five barrels of this stunning side project were produced thanks to a rare opportunity for Dave Mahaffey to get his hands on Central Coast fruit. The wine is red fruit forward with wild strawberries, dried violets, and oak spice that has integrated beautifully.

What We Love

  • Prestigious wine making
  • Aged Sta. Rita Hills

Drinks this next to young Pinot and marvel at the development.


Olivia Brion is the first winery we discovered via instagram and we highly recommend you give @oliviabrion a follow. Proprietor David Mahaffey is a true adventurer, storyteller, and used to be a photographer and all of those passions come through in the Olivia Brion Instagram feed. David Mahaffey and his partner, John Newmeyer, pioneered the Wild Horse Valley AVA and the famed Heron Lake Vineyard (In Jon Bonné's top pick for Chardonnay in his 2015 top 100 wines went to Enfield Wine Company's 2012 Chardonnay from the Heron Lake Vineyard). The site lies between Napa and Solano counties at 1,400 feet of elevation. It's windswept and cool and the fruit and wines are beautifully unique.


Heron Lake Vineyard is in the south end of Wild Horse Valley, 1,200 feet higher than the Napa Valley floor and five miles east of Napa town. Wild horses frolicked in the cool climate of Wild Horse Valley in the 19th century, but since then the area has been the home of a gentler breed: grape growers. Grapes were first grown there by Joseph Volpe and Constantino Malandrino, who planted in the 1880's.

Today, the 3,300-acre valley has just about 40 acres of vines in two vineyard operations. Wild Horse Valley is a distinct viticultural appellation: while Napa Valley has hot summer afternoons, Wild Horse's proximity to the San Pablo and Suisun bays exposes it to cool westerly winds. That weather, along with the rocky volcanic soil, results in small yields and fruit of great color, intensity and minerality.

More from this winery

Where are the ratings?

Are the wines any good? Yes, they are and we taste every wine that is considered for our site. We seek out the best wines from the best small-producers in the U.S. and Winestyr is a collection of our favorites. Most of the wines have impressive accolades, however, don't look for "expert" ratings here - we think it's more important to buy wines you find interesting and to decide for yourself. Need some specific recommendations? Chat us in the lower right box or send our lead curator an email at bob@winestyr.com.

Customer Reviews

No reviews yet