Critical Acclaim


2020 Alvarinho

  • Recommended - by Dan Berger, Napa Valley Register
    "A slightly minerally aroma of grapefruit, white flowers, fresh fennel, and a trace of fresh almond make this delightful white wine remarkably appealing. It is dry, has only 13.0% alcohol and has excellent acidity. Though I enjoyed it all by itself, it also worked superbly with halibut. Bill and Betsy Nachbaur have grown mainly red wine grapes on their Russian River Valley Alegría Vineyard since 1990 and recently decided to take a chance on a few white grapes, including this Portuguese variety that’s called Albariño in Spain. This stellar white (it’s actually 80% varietal plus 10 other Portuguese varieties) is an absolute winner."

2017 Acorn Hill

  • Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    “. . . this wine smells of black cherry, cedar, dried flowers, and a touch of earth. In the mouth, flavors of black cherry, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and dried herbs have a nice fleecy tannic texture and good acidity. Easy-drinking and delicious. Shows the magic of the field blend, in this case a cofermentation of Sangiovese, Syrah, Viognier, Canaiolo, and Mammolo. Score: between 8.5 and 9 (out of 10 points.)”

2015 Acorn Hill

  • 93 points - The Drunken Cyclist by Jeff Kralik
    "49% Syrah, 49% Sangiovese, 1% Viognier, 0.5% Mammolo, and 0.5% Canaiolo. Planted in 1991 and 1992, side-by-side on Acorn Hill, the Syrah (field blended with Viognier) and the Sangiovese (with Mammolo and Canaiolo) provide a bit of wing and yang for this wine, which spends an extra two years in bottle. Noticeably smoother. Dark yet inviting with mocha and blue fruit. Impressive on the palate with weight, depth, spice. Lovely. Outstanding."
  • Highly Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of blackberries, black cherry, and exotic flowers. In the mouth, gorgeous bright fruit flavors of boysenberry, cherry, and black currant are wrapped in a fleecy blanket of tannins. There’s a cedar note that creeps into the fruit, along with some grace notes of flowers, while a citrus peel quality lingers in the finish. Unique and boisterous in personality, this wine beautifully showcases the joy of old-school mixed-black wines. Score: around 9 (out of 10 points)"

2017 Cabernet Franc

  • 93 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • 92 points - The Drunken Cyclist by Jeff Kralik
    "92% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 2% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat. Another field blend (are you seeing the trend?) and one of my favorite Cab Francs every year. Dark fruit and just a touch of pyrazine (green pepper) on the nose. Great fruit and bright acidity and lengthy finish. Fabulous food wine. Excellent."
  • Highly Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of black cherry, plum, and a hint of green herbs. In the mouth, wonderfully savory flavors of black plum and sour cherry have a hint of leather, black olive, and licorice to them. Faint dusty tannins wrap around the core of the wine which has a mouthwatering tang, thanks to excellent acidity. A deep wet-earth quality lingers in the finish. Score: 8.5 and 9 (out of 10 points)"

2016 Cabernet Franc

  • 92 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • "Vibrant cassis, blueberries, spring flowers, and forest floor notes all give way to a medium-bodied, Cabernet Franc that has notable purity, fine, polished tannins, impressive balance, and a clean finish. It shines for its elegance and purity, and is a beautifully made effort that will keep for a decade." - Jeb Dunnuck

2015 Cabernet Franc

  • Highly Recommended - Gabe Sasso
  • 90 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report

2017 Dolcetto

  • 93 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • 91 points - The Drunken Cyclist by Jeff Kralik
    "A field blend of 94% Dolcetto, 3% Freisa, 3% Barbera. Bill [Nachbaur] planted the Dolcetto in 1991 (inter-planted with the Freisa and Barbera) and still makes one of the few Dolcettos one can find outside of Piedmont. Fresh and vibrant good fruit and excellent acidity. A hallmark of ACORN wines. Excellent."
  • Highly Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of boysenberries and leather with a hint of citrus peel. In the mouth, smooth, fresh flavors of boysenberry, black cherry, cola and citrus peel are wrapped in a very soft suede blanket of tannins. Excellent acidity keeps this wine quite brisk and delicious, adding an herbal tinge to the dark fruit. Score: between 8.5 and 9 (out of 10 points)"

2016 Dolcetto

  • 93 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • 90 points - "It has a juicy black and blue fruited core as well as plenty of cedar, sandalwood, and pepper aromatic, medium-bodied, a rounded, balanced profile, and a great finish. As with the Cabernet Franc, it shines for its purity and elegance more so than overt power and richness." - Jeb Dunnuck
  • 90 points - Erin Brooks, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2015 Dolcetto

  • 92 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report

2014 Dolcetto

  • 95 points & Platinum Medal - 2017 Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition
  • 92 points & Gold Medal - 2017 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition
  • Gold Medal - San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
  • 91 points - 2017 California State Fair Wine Competition
  • Highly Recommended - Gabe Sasso

2018 Medley

  • Highly Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of cherry and strawberries mixed with a touch of cocoa powder and dried flowers. In the mouth, juicy and bright cherry, strawberry, and licorice flavors mix with a touch of cedar and cocoa powder. Excellent acidity and fine tannins make this a pleasure to drink. Quite delicious. A mix of field blends from various plots, which include Syrah, Zinfandel, Dolcetto, Cinsault, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese, but ultimately adds up to more than 60 different grape varieties. Score: around 9-9.5 (out of 10 points)"
  • Our 100 Most Amazing Sonoma County Wines in 2022 ~ The Press Democrat, chosen by wine expert Linda Murphy

2017 Medley

  • 93 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • Highly Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of blackberries, woodsmoke, cherries, and cedar. In the mouth, juicy blackberry, cherry, and strawberry flavors swirl under a fleecy blanket of tannins. There’s a hint of cedar and incense that lingers in the finish along with a touch of oak. Excellent acidity and wonderful balance. Very compelling. Score: around 9 (out of 10 points)"

2016 Medley

  • 93 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • 93 points - The Drunken Cyclist by Jeff Kralik
    "A field blend of 60 grapes: 20% Syrah, 20% Muscats (8 different varieties), 18% Cinsaut, 14% Zinfandel, 4% Dolcetto, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Sangiovese, 2% Alicante Bouschet, 2% Petit Sirah, 1% Mourvedre, and the remaining 12% includes Einset, Blue Portuguese, Viognier, and others. Perhaps the pinnacle of the ACORN line, the Medley really showcases Bill’s approach to farming and winemaking. An intense process that I could never begin to explain, but this is the wine that is made first, all other decisions follow. Rich and fruity on the palate with considerable depth. Really a lovely wine and the wine that for many defines what Bill and Betsy are doing at ACORN. Fantastic. And a whoa. Outstanding."

2015 Medley

  • 93 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report

2014 Medley

  • 91 points - Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
  • Double Gold Medal - 2017 American Fine Wine Competition
  • Double Gold Medal - 2018 American Fine Wine Competition
  • One of blogger Sarah Stierch's Top Wines of 2018
  • Highly Recommended - Gabe Sasso
  • Discovery of the Week - Dan Berger
    "...it’s a splendid, savory and complete wine (24 percent zinfandel) that should work with a wide variety of foods because of its lower tannins and good acidity. The intriguing thing is that the wine has 17 percent of various muscats, which actually show up in the aroma. What a delightful find."

2021 Rosato

  • 92 points - The Drunken Cyclist by Jeff Kralik
    "20% Syrah, 20% Zinfandel, 15% Dolcetto, 15% Sangiovese, 5% Cinsaut, 10% various Muscats, 2% Blue Portuguese, 3% Viognier, Liatiko, and other varieties. Dark, even really dark, particularly for a rosé. Meaty and fruity on the nose, a bit of mint or eucalyptus here, too. Rich, fruity, big for a rosé as one might expect from the color. Very nice. Excellent."
  • Wine of the Month – Wine Road. Sonoma County
    “Just reading the list of varieties in this ACORN field blend sets my expectations for a wine that will be both thrilling and delicious—and it is! Composed primarily of Syrah, Zinfandel, Dolcetto, and Sangiovese—the ACORN Rosato is nod to the Italian style of Rosé made from a range of indigenous Italian grapes. Initial aromas of pomegranate, strawberry and pink peppercorn are followed by notes of watermelon and fleshy ripe cherry. Balanced and complex, it’s full of juicy red fruit flavors, with a creamy raspberry finish. Pair with grilled chicken and warm goat cheese salad.” — Marcy Gordon

2020 Rosato

  • 93 points - The Drunken Cyclist by Jeff Kralik
    "20% Cabernet Franc, 19% Sangiovese, 19% Dolcetto, 19% Zinfandel, 6% Syrah, 3% Merlot, 2% Cinsaut, 2% Blue Portuguese, 2% Petite Sirah, 2% Viognier, 2% Barbera, and 4% includes Liatiko, Dornfelder, Einset, Freisa, Suffolk, Chardonnay, Einset, and Aromatico. Medium color, fruity aromas, lovely nose. Fantastic acidity with wonderful fruit. One of my faves. Outstanding.."

2018 Rosato

  • "An interesting wine and blend. Very Good." - The Drunken Cyclist
  • ". . .it's a rare age-worthy rosé.” - Sarah Stierch, northbayvoyager.com

2017 Rosato

  • Highly Recommended - Gabe Sasso
  • Selected as one of 20 Best Sonoma Rosés ~ Sonoma Magazine

2018 Sangiovese

  • Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of earth and cherry and cocoa powder. In the mouth, cherry and cocoa powder mix with the sweetness of oak. Muscular tannins have a leathery grip and the wine finishes with a hint of wood. Good acidity. A field blend of 26 different clones of Sangiovese co-fermented with Canaiolo and Mammolo. Score: around 8.5 (out of 10 points)"

2016 Sangiovese

  • 92 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • "...smoked red fruits, toasted nuts, ground herbs, and pepper. Medium-bodied, nicely textured, with notable tannins and moderate acidity, it stays light and balance on the palate and has plenty of charm." - Jed Dunnuck

2015 Sangiovese

  • Highly Recommended - Gabe Sasso

2018 Axiom Syrah

  • Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of wet metal, blackberry, and blueberries. In the mouth, flavors of iodine and rust mix with dark berries and deeper earth notes. Very savory and deep, with a faint note of incense. Brooding. Includes a small amount of Viognier. Score: between 8.5 and 9 (out of 10 points)"

2017 Axiom Syrah

  • 95 points - The Drunken Cyclist by Jeff Kralik
    "98% Syrah, 2% Viognier field blend and co-fermented. A ho-hum field blend (at least for Bill [Nachbaur], I imagine) of only two varieties which is quite dark in the glass with dark red fruit and considerable mocha. Quite floral and aromatic, thanks no doubt to the Viognier. Wonderful. Holy cow. Bill makes a lot of fantastic wines but this might just be his best. Yum. Outstanding."
  • 92 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • 90 points - Wine Enthusiast
  • Highly Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of black cherry and cassis. In the mouth, black cherry and blackberry flavors are smooth and stony, with a gauzy tannic texture to them. Excellent acidity keeps the wine quite fresh, while dark, earthy savory notes blend perfectly with the blackberry fruit and a hint of wet chalkboard. Score: 8.5 and 9 (out of 10 points)"

2016 Axiom Syrah

  • 93 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report

2015 Axiom Syrah

  • 90+ points - Robert Parker Wine Advocate
  • 91 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report

2018 Zinfandel ~ Heritage Vines

  • Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    “ . . . this wine smells of blackberry, black cherry, and licorice. In the mouth, juicy black cherry, blackberry, Worcestershire sauce, and licorice flavors have a leathery tannic texture to them and excellent acidity that keeps the mouthwatering, as the wine finishes with notes of sweet blackberry pie. . . While this is labeled Zinfandel, it is really a traditional mixed-backs field blend of 78% Zinfandel. 11% Alicante Bouschet, 9% Petite Sirah, and 2% of a bunch of other varieties (Carignan, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouschet, Negrette, Syrah, Black Muscat Cinsault, and Grenache all planted together in 1890). The grapes are all harvested together and fermented together. Score: between 8.5 and 9 (out of 10 points).”

2017 Zinfandel ~ Heritage Vines

  • 93 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • 90 points - Wine Spectator
  • Highly Recommended - Vinography by Alder Yarrow
    ". . . this wine smells of blackberry pie and freshly ground black pepper. In the mouth, juicy blackberry and licorice flavors have excellent bounce thanks to great acidity. Licorice and berry pie linger in the finish along with barely perceptible tannins. Score: around 9 (out of 10 points)"

2016 Zinfandel ~ Heritage Vines

  • 94 points - The Drunken Cyclist by Jeff Kralik
    "78% Zinfandel, 11% Alicante Bouschet, 9% Petite Sirah. The remaining 2% includes Carignane, Trousseau, Sangiovese, Petit Bouschet, Negrette, Plavac Mali, Syrah, Tannat, Muscat Noir, Peloursin, Cinsaut, Béclan, and Grenache. Another ACORN, another field blend. This one has 16 varieties (!), but we are just getting started (check out the Medley). The fruit for this wine comes from the oldest part of the vineyard, mostly planted in 1890. Dark in the glass with bramble red and blue fruit. Whoa. The nose on this is off the charts. Yowza. Fruity but by no means “big” this is always one of my favorite Zins. Whoa. Outstanding."
  • 92 points - Wine Spectator
    "Precision meets a zesty, briary quality, with snappy raspberry and blueberry flavors, accented by green peppercorn and roasted sage notes. Finishes with sleek tannins." - Tim Fish
  • 91 points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
  • 91 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • "It's nicely textured, has a medium-bodied, balanced textured, fine tannins, and impressive length on the finish. It's a solid, enjoyable, borderline outstanding wine that I suspect will keep for over a decade." - Jed Dunnuck
  • 4.5 stars - The Press Democrat Wine of the Week
    "A tasty zin with a range of flavors — blackberry, raspberry, mocha and cracked black pepper. Spicy undercurrent. Lingering finish. Well-crafted." - Peg Melnik

2015 Zinfandel ~ Heritage Vines

  • 91 points & selected as one of the Year's Best US Zinfandels - Wine & Spirits
  • 90 points - Robert Parker Wine Advocate
  • 91 points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
  • Gold Medal - 2018 American Fine Wine Competition
  • Highly Recommended - Gabe Sasso
  • 2019 ZAP Tasting Top Recommendations - Pierre du Mont

2014 Zinfandel ~ Heritage Vines

  • 93 points - 2017 California State Fair Wine Competition
  • 93 points - Cliff's Wine Picks
  • 92 points - The International Wine Review
  • 91 points & Gold Medal - 2017 Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition
  • Listed as one of the best Zinfandels from the 2017 ZAP Grand Tasting by Pierre DuMont of the Piedmont Post.
    "I've been a huge fan of this wine for years...This variety provides amazing aromatic and taste complexity. There are layers of blueberry, plum, spice box, earth and the perfect touch of vanilla. A fascinating wine to contemplate on it own..."

    To view the Critical Acclaim for wines from past vintages, please go to the All Wine Vintages page, select the varietal and vintage of choice, and be sure to remove the check from the Available for Purchase box. Click on the wine you want to see. The critical acclaim listings will be at the top of the page for each wine.
Acorn's wall of gold medals taken by Dr. Michael H. Huang
ACORN Winery's wall of acclaim
Photo: Michael H. Huang, M.D.