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Blog: Dispatches from Bassi 

Mike Sinor
August 6, 2022 | Mike Sinor

Old dog, new tricks......

Time Posted: Aug 6, 2022 at 8:57 AM Permalink to Old dog, new tricks...... Permalink
Mike Sinor
April 6, 2019 | Mike Sinor

PinotFile reviews

Sinor-LaVallee, Avila Beach, Ca

92 Points-2016 Pinot Noir White Label Bassi Vineyard

Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Pleasant, slowly emerging aromas of black fruits. A flood of black and purple berry flavors meet the mid palate and carry over through an intense finish. The satiny texture is welcoming and is the wine’s best feature. Nicely integrated tannins and a deft touch of oak. More open and delightful when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle


90 Points-2016 Pinot Noir Black Label-Bassi Vineyard

Moderate garnet color in the glass. Reserved aromas of black raspberry and boysenberry with a bit of vanilla. Mid weight plus in concentration, featuring a plush mouthfeel, a full monty of blackberry fruit and firm, but engaging tannins. This wine reminds me of Meiomi Pinot Noir. When tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle, the seductive texture endured, but there was plenty of oak vanillin overlay. Remarkably, this wine seemed to be in balance from an alcohol perspective


90 Points- 2015 Pinot Noir Anniversary Cuvee

Moderately light garnet color in the glass. This wine needs time to unwind and yield its charms. Aromas of fresh black cherry and dark red berry with a touch of oak-driven vanilla, toast and marzipan. Smooth and sleek on the palate in a mid weight style,exhibiting expansive purple and blackberry fruits. The wine is giving now, with gentle tannins and sound acidity


89 Points- 2016 Pinot Noir Estate

Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of cherry, strawberry and tobacco leaf. Mid weight flavors of black cherry and purple berry with oak in the background. Easy to drink, with mild tannins, a velvety mouthfeel and some noticeable finishing length. Much better integration of oak when tasted the following day from a previously opened bottle


??? Points- 2018 Ancestrle (Pet Nat) Sparkling Pinot Noir

Wine is under high pressure and bottle cap must be removed slowly as abundant bubbles emerge. White gold color in the glass. Very fragrant with aromas of apricot, nectarine, apple and botanical notes. Bubbles dissipate quickly. Quite enjoyable on the palate, with flavors of pineapple, lemon and white peach. A bone dry wine that has a little Muscat, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir Blanc character. Not scored as I have never had a comparable wine, but I recommended it.


Volume 11, Issue 41 March 24,2019


Time Posted: Apr 6, 2019 at 12:56 PM Permalink to PinotFile reviews Permalink
Mike Sinor
May 1, 2018 | Mike Sinor

Nice mention in LA Mag

LA Magazine May 2018 by Matt Jaffe


Tips From a Vintner
Mike Sinor of Sinor-LaVallee winery

As a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student, Mike Sinor planned to teach high school shop. He hadn’t even tasted wine until the night before interviewing for a job in an Edna Valley tasting room. Now Sinor makes acclaimed estate pinot noirs at his Sinor-LaVallee winery. He offers some wisdom.

Go for Albariño: “The Edna Valley might have the most albariño in California. It’s very oceanic in its heritage, and it was the Niven family— they own Baileyana and Tangent and Zocker— who went over to Spain and Portugal and identified albariño as a unique, aromatic white. They brought quite a bit of it back.”

Go Easy:  “Readupona region and put a theme together. Maybe visit three wineries but focus on a single varietal. Right now lower alcohol by volume is trendy, so you could figure out who has the lower-alcohol pinot noirs. Wineries are trained to sell as much as they can. But it’s OK to say no and focus on one thing.”

Go Grande: “Arroyo Grande has two new tasting rooms. One winery, Qupé, is historic and right in the awesome part of town. And Timbre is a new brand from sommelier-turned-wine-maker Joshua Klapper, who just opened a quaint spot. He’s also got an apple cider—ciders are definitely on trend.”

Full story here:

Time Posted: May 1, 2018 at 1:47 PM Permalink to Nice mention in LA Mag Permalink
Mike Sinor
January 11, 2018 | Mike Sinor

Nice write up from "the drunken cyclist"

the drunken cyclist....I have three passions: wine, cycling, travel, family, and math.  Posted on October 20, 2017

If there were a “typical” winery owner in SLO, Mike Sinor would probably not be it. He grew up in Visalia, California in the San Joaquin Valley about halfway between Fresno and Bakersfield, where he worked in his father’s auto wrecking yard. After high school, he travelled about 150 miles west and south and attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, with designs on becoming a high school shop teacher. Needing money to pay for school (and other “activities’), a friend convinced him to take a job at a local winery, despite not knowing the first thing about wine or its production. During his time at Cal Poly, he worked at six different wineries–after his first harvest in 1993, he was hooked.........

Read more here:  

Time Posted: Jan 11, 2018 at 4:28 PM Permalink to Nice write up from Permalink
Mike Sinor
November 10, 2017 | Mike Sinor

Harvest 2017 Recap

Time Posted: Nov 10, 2017 at 4:17 PM Permalink to Harvest 2017 Recap Permalink
Mike Sinor
May 30, 2017 | Mike Sinor

Recent Scores

Reviews from Matt Kettmann- Wine Enthusiast
issue 7/1/2017

93 Points- 2014 Syrah- Estate/SLO: This feral and gamy wine shows roast lamb, rosemary, dried fennel, rose petal and forest floor aromas on its dynamic nose. The palate leads with explosive acidity, before waves of Concord grape and blackberry flavor take hold. It's light on its feet but has some textural firmness, finishing on rosemary, lavender and game notes.

92 Points- 2014 Pinot Noir-Estate/SLO: Mike Sinor ekes out every last ounce of richness from his extreme coastal vineyard for this bottling, which shows mulberry and dark plum aromas along with loamy soil and dried rose petal. The flavors are equally hearty, evoking mulberry and black plum, but underlying black pepper, olive and herbal notes keep that ripeness in check. Its tannins are dense and the finish minty.

93 Points- 2014 Chardonny Estate/SLO (Editors Choice): There's a smoky touch to this bottling by Mike Sinor, with buttercream, light butterscotch, macadamia nut and toast on the nose. The palate is also full of nutty and toasty notes, yet dissected by a razor-sharp, nervy acidity, rounded on the edges with soft butter flavors. It's a great combo of savory spice and acidic structure.

88 Points-2016 Pinot Gris Estate/SLO:This bottling is Alsatian in style and almost reductive, with pink grapefruit pith, bitter orange, rounded peach and quinine touches. It's tightly wound on the palate, with high-toned petrol flavors accenting its crisp stone fruit core

92 Points-2016 Ancestral by Sinor-LaVallee. (Editors Choice)  Pet Nat. Mike Sinor's pet-nat experiment scored big in 2016. This pink sparkler offers complex yeasty bread, crushed rock and turned clay aromas. Zingy and racy, it grabs hold of the palate. It's all about fascinating texture and refreshing acidity.

Time Posted: May 30, 2017 at 4:42 PM Permalink to Recent Scores Permalink
Mike Sinor
April 8, 2017 | Mike Sinor

Never say Never.....


So more than a few friends of mine resently reminded me of saying...."I dont make sparkling wine.....I buy it"......well that all changed a few years ago when a local winemaker friend of my tipped me off to a new/old way of making it. That technique is called Methode Ancestrale. The resulting wine is called a pétillant naturel.(French literally for “naturally sparkling”) You more often hear them refered to as "Pet Nat's" Its just fun and eazy to say is what I figure. One of the best articles I have found on it is here

So above is a picture of our 2016 Anscestrale. For us we are using the word Anscestrale as a fanciful name. For this vintage it is made from Pinot Noir but we are loving this techique so much we might use different grapes in the future. This wine is plain fun to make and drink so you can count on more of this in the future.

We started buying as many Pet Nats as we could starting in 2014. There is no one style. Some are super sweet, others are cloudy and just explode when you pop the cap. Its with good reason people say Pet Nats are the Russian roullette of winemaking!  A winemaker friend gave me some great advice..."dont ever open other peoples Pet Nat experiments" So with that knowledge we started expermenting in 2015 by bottling 4 cases each with a different finishing method to try and learn what to do. With that little experence and with advice from winemaker friends who have more vintages doing it we bottled 60 cases of some in 2016. 

It has been a huge success. We sold out with in a month and Wine Enthusiast gave us 92 points !

We look forward to making more next year! 




Time Posted: Apr 8, 2017 at 2:37 PM Permalink to Never say Never..... Permalink
Mike Sinor
November 11, 2016 | Mike Sinor

Harvest is complete !

As I write this we have only 2 bins of Syrah still in fermenter and they will get pressed off on Monday. I am taking the next two days off and that will be the first two days off in a row since early August...I know, waaa, waaa, waaa poor me.
I just wanted to share with everyone our harvest stats for Vintage 2016. We talk a lot about small lot wine making and the following data backs it up. These numbers are what we start with. In the end, you the consumer will only find about 12 different wines from 5 different grapes all from our Estate Vineyard, Bassi. (SLO County, White label, Black label, etc...)

From 14.4 acres of Pinot Noir we created 43 different wines.

Form 3.69 acres of Chardonnay we created 19 different wines.

From 4.14 acres of Syrah we created 15 different wines

From 2.85 acres of Albarino we created 10 different wines

From 2.40 acres of Pinot Gris we created 4 different wines

These wines vary by picking dates, yeast type, fermenter type, time on skins, location on ranch, whole cluster or not, etc......

Here is picture of our Crush Crew for 2016. Left to right is Joey (intern 16) me (post shave and hair cut) Kristen (wine club/Cellar rat/garden queen) and Greg (Cellarmaster)

Thank you guys for a great vintage


Time Posted: Nov 11, 2016 at 11:56 AM Permalink to Harvest is complete ! Permalink
Mike Sinor
April 29, 2016 | Mike Sinor

Wine Enthusiast showing us some Love....

Wine Enthusiast Magazine  Reviews June 1, 2016 

94 points    Editor’s Choice

2013 Black Label Bassi Vineyard Pinot Noir (San Luis Obispo County)  This is a heady wine from Mike Sinor, with blackberry and blueberry fruit aromas that are enhanced by clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, candied lilacs and loamy soil scents. Tannic depth and sizzling acidity frame the palate, where grilled black plum and mission fig meet with pencil lead, anise, bay leaf, juniper, cocoa and beef flavors, finishing with a menthol kick. – Matt Kettmann

93 points

2013 Black Label Bassi Vineyard Syrah (San Luis Obispo County)  Mike Sinor is taking his fans on an experimental ride through his new ocean view vineyard, here presenting a rich take on Syrah. It's lush on the nose with olallieberry and blackberry fruit as well as rich bacon fat, vanilla bean and milk chocolate notes. Concentrated black cherry thrives on the palate alongside caramel and vanilla cream. – Matt Kettmann

92 points

2013 White Label Bassi Ranch Chardonnay (San Luis Obispo County)  This extreme-coastal vineyard bottling shows fresh, expressive yet diligently restrained aromas of Key-lime pith, scratched tangerine, wet chalk, Meyer lemons and a touch of dairy. Tongue-tingling acidity starts the sip, followed by sea salt, warm Marcona almonds, toasted sunflower seeds, a flinty minerality and citrus oil toward the finish. – Matt Kettmann

91 points

2013 White Label Bassi Ranch Pinot Noir (San Luis Obispo County) Though a lighter style from Mike Sinor's estate vineyard, this is still meaty, with black cherry, smoked pork, licorice, purple flowers and flashes of pretty cranberry notes on the edges. The tannins are quite firm right now on the palate, where boisterous boysenberry fruit meets with anise, black rocks, a touch of herbs and tar. – Matt Kettmann

91 points

2013 Anniversary Cuvee Syrah (San Luis Obispo County) Full of lavender, lilacs and purple flower aromatics on the nose, this also shows touches of fennel, dill and a complex herbal array. The palate is also consumed by savory herbs and purple-flower flavors, with thyme, dill, graphite and cedar framing the tight elderberry fruit. – Matt Kettmann


Time Posted: Apr 29, 2016 at 5:07 PM Permalink to Wine Enthusiast showing us some Love.... Permalink