2012 Wayfarer Pinot Noir
The Traveler

Tasting Notes

The soulful expression of a single “suitcase clone", The Traveler pays homage to the legendary journey of the original vine cutting from Burgundy’s most revered vineyard. Deep ruby red in hue, the nose on this wine opens gently with fresh floral notes of lavender and violet segueing to blackberry, boysenberry, cranberry and raspberry. Exceptionally focused, the structure is elegant with fine-grained tannins that present grip and finesse in concert. With time in the glass, the wine blooms and deepens, displaying notes of wild red berries, roasted nuts and vanilla bean while sustaining its bright acidity. The intriguing finish lingers long with minerality and ringing aromatics. This focused, complex wine invites further aging to fully reveal its remarkable eloquence and power.

Updated tasting notes :

September 2022: Black raspberry, savory umami, dark earth and fresh forest air emerge from the glass. The tannin quality is extraordinarily fine, and the lengthening acidity carries through to a long, persistent finish. The 2012 is shy out of the bottle, but given time in the glass, transforms into a vivacious wine.  

Winemaking Notes

We hand-picked and hand-sorted the fruit, reserving 22% for whole-cluster fermentation prior to de-stemming. The remaining berries were de-stemmed and hand-sorted again before transfer to tank. Five to seven days of cold maceration preceded more than two weeks of 100% native yeast fermentation. The fruit was then gently pressed, its free-run juice transferred to 63% new French oak barrels for 15 months of aging.

Vintage Notes

The 2012 growing year began with average rainfall and steady, moderate temperatures. A mild spring led to a warm, dry summer, providing ideal conditions for vine growth. Our vineyard crew worked diligently to control vigor and manage the leaf canopy to ensure well-formed, consistent clusters by early summer. Veraison occurred in early August. Mid-to late-summer temperatures never spiked, allowing the fruit to ripen slowly and steadily – the hallmark of a great vintage. We harvested Block 18 on September 28, when the fruit achieved both ideal aromatic maturity and optimal physiological development. The length and depth of tannins, in combination with amazing natural acidity, allowed for significant whole-cluster fermentation.

Blocks Map





97 Points

Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, February 2015

From an estate block planted to a mysterious suitcase clone, this is an insanely memorable and indelible Pinot. High in acidity, it discloses a touch of cedar on the back palate, richly luxurious and just aching for wild Sonoma duck adorned in a cherry reduction sauce. Cherry pit, berry, lavender and violet play on the nose and tongue, infusing the wine with a playfulness balanced by power.

95 Points

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, December 2014

A DRC-­like bouquet of forest floor, black raspberries and spring flowers jumps from the glass of the dense ruby/purple-­tinged 2012 Pinot Noir The Traveler. Made from an undeclared single suitcase clone (based on the aromatics, it appears the grapes originally came from the village of Vosne‐Romanée). It is a sensational, medium to full-­bodied, expansive, savory, complex, intense Pinot to consume over the next 10-­12 years.

92 Points

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, February 2014

The 2012 Pinot Noir The Traveler is the richest and most powerful of these wines. Made with clonal material sourced from one of Burgundy's top sites, the Traveler is layered with black stone fruit, cherries, menthol, cola and licorice.

95 Points

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate, October 31, 2017

Medium ruby colored, the 2012 Pinot Noir The Traveler (made from the “suitcase clone”) is scented of baked cherries and warm cranberries with smoked ham, spice box, underbrush and menthol. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a pleasant restraint of savory layers with a firm tannin backbone and great freshness, all of which really define this singular wine.

Wine Data

Bibiana González Rave
Wayfarer Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma Coast
Double Guyot
Vine Yield:
Less than 3 pounds
September 28, 2012
December 20, 2013
Spring 2015
100% Pinot Noir
6.2 g/l
Cases Produced:
170 cases

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