TN: 2018 Ceritas Pinot Noir Senna (USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast)

  • 2018 Ceritas Pinot Noir Senna - USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast (1/19/2021)
    It’s all there, really integrated tannins and an acid that feels very feminine. It’s on the lighter, more elegant side (like most Ceritas), but here perhaps a little less fruit than I’ve encountered from their outings before. It’s a little muted somehow - imagine a great PN that had already been open for a day and you came back to it - that’s how this feels. Contradicting what I just said and perhaps confusing myself and everyone, maybe it just needs longer open time, as it kept getting better and better towards end…

I actually don’t think this will improve with age as it’s neither got high tannins or that high acid - I’d drink it over the next 5 years. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Cool. I’m not familiar with this vineyard. Judging by the alcohol, was it a fairly early pick?

Me neither. But I don’t think John Raytek does any manipulation in the form of RO, so probably the ABV is where he picked, around 22-23Brix, depending on yeast conversion.

I tried a couple of Ceritas based on the hype from this board, but I agree with the OP that it seemed muted with little upfront fruit, so I didn’t repurchase. It was a well made wine, just not my cup of tea. Cheers!

Just a general Ceritas pinot question. Does anyone think that given their old-school style of winemaking, that any of the Ceritas wines will age (ex: 20-30+ years) like producers such as Hanzell, etc? I’ve been buying Ceritas wines since 2011 with the hope that they will. Obviously, they source from vineyards all over, spanning across Sonoma down to Santa Cruz. However, I’m curious if anyone is in my camp, or am I just wishing for something unrealistic. FYI, I love older wines…that are alive and nuanced and selected Ceritas when I asked a sommelier (well respected) several years ago “what old-school pinot maker in CA is making age-worthy pinots.” Ceritas was the first producer he mentioned. Since then, I’ve been buying…

I’ve had Senna many times, but not the Ceritas wine version.

It’s an unknown, and it’s an interesting and expensive gamble, with producers like Ceritas, Rhys, Arnot Roberts, Kutch, etc.

And even as you try some of their early bottles now and see how they aged, the more recent vintages may not age the same as the early efforts – vines getting more mature, young wineries and winemakers adjusting their processes and style, changing vineyard sources, etc.

I’d say open one or two of the oldest bottles you have or can source, and see what you think. It’s not only “how they’ve aged,” but “how much do you personally like them at that age versus how much you like them younger.” And of course post about it on here, so everyone else can learn from your experience.

Good question and nobody really knows but if there is one Pinot (and Chard) producer whose wine will age AND IMPROVE (that’s the point right) it’s Ceritas. Just my two pennies worth.


Have you had a 2011 or something else with some age recently? If not, you should open some to see how your theory is going.

Thanks for the note Adam. I’ve just started buying Ceritas over the last two years and have only tried a handful, so very interested to read all these opinions. My gut instinct based on the young versions I’ve had are that they would age gracefully. I picked up plenty of notes on nose and palate in youth, but also a healthy amount of structure, which made me think they would be just fine, and maybe better, in 5-15 years. But just a hunch as I have zero experience with them older than about 3-4 years at this point.

Tried a 2011 Costalina back in Apr 2019 and found it to be near or at peak, just couldn’t tell if there was only 5 years left, or another 20. That’s just it, 2011s are the oldest CA pinots in my collection so I guess only time will tell if they will move into secondary flavors or just dud-out.

Great question…I’ve been an avid buyer since 2014 vintage and…I’d say that if I had to pick a single producer whose Chardonnays and Pinots would offer dividends for patience, it would be Ceritas. When friends ask for a single producer who I would not want to miss…it’s Ceritas. Plenty to great California producers…but if I had to pick just one…John and Phoebe would get my nod.

I’ve only made it to eight years with a Ceritas wine, but every time I drink the last bottle of something I’ve had I always think I could have aged it for longer. My experience is that they show delicacy and finesse young, and pick up flesh and texture over time (while maintaining the elegance).

No beef with Ceritas, although I sometimes wonder if their Chards have the stuffing to get past a decade. But the winery we know can make ageworthy Pinot and Chard is Mount Eden. They’ve been doing it for 40 years with the same winemaker.

This is similar to my experience. I have had the Chards at 6-7 years, and many of them seem to have the structure and stuffing to last and improve. I am less experienced with Pinots, but when I have opened a 5-7 year old Ceritas Pinot, invariably it is better the second day, suggesting to me that these could improve for a while. These are all guesses, but I am fairly confident that even if they do not improve measurably by the ten year mark, I am pretty sure I will still like them – and probably longer than that. Like others here, I tend to prefer older wines over younger ones, so I can see something that I might really like others would think was past peak or even over the hill.