Bannister Wines is a small production label focused on chardonnay, pinot noir, and zinfandel from specific vineyard plots in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Founded by Marty Bannister, a wine industry veteran, she began her own label in 1988 and handed it off to her son Brook in 2010.
Today we look at a range of Bannister releases, all currently available in the market.
2017 Bannister Chardonnay Alexander Valley – Heavily perfumed, with notes of coconut and pineapple heavy on the nose. The palate is a bit more traditional, with lots of butter, vanilla, and spice, with a creamy texture on the tongue. Cinnamon notes make for a particularly dessert-like finish. A- / $32
2018 Bannister Riesling Cole Ranch – A downright wacky orange riesling, produced with skin contact during extended maceration and full malolactic fermentation. Far from what I expect from riesling, but wholly worthwhile, with a more intense fruitiness that tempers the usual floral and perfume-heavy elements of this unique grape. The malolactic is evident, giving this often racy wine a surprising creaminess, though the slightly bitter finish takes things a bit far afield. B+ / $28
2015 Bannister Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Campbell Ranch – An opulent, almost decadent wine — a classic exemplar of Sonoma Coast. Bold blackberry and black cherry notes provide the backbone for layers of nuance, including notes of sandalwood, licorice, baking spice, and a surprisingly strong floral element. Lilacs, perhaps? Hard to say amidst everything else in the mix. Either way, really delightful. A / $50
2016 Bannister Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Lancel Creek – This wine hails from a fairly inland vineyard — and it’s a much different wine than the Campbell Ranch. Vibrant with acidity, the wine crackles on the palate as a showcase of raspberry and spice notes, with hints of licorice, pine needles, and chocolate. Just a bit gummy and pruny on the back end. Chill this one just a bit before serving. A- / $60
2017 Bannister Zinfandel Saini Farms – This Dry Creek Valley wine is quite dry for a zin, with elements showcasing plum and ripe raspberry over the denser cassis and chocolate notes common in zinfandel. A touch of herbs and a dusting of cinnamon give the wine an exotic character and a slightly peppery element — and make for a much more approachable zin than the usual fare. A- / $36