Dovecote in the Press

Wine Reviews and Media Coverage

A Note About Wine Reviews and Scores

We submit our wines for review for the purpose of receiving feedback from industry professionals who sample thousands of wines around the world annually. We relish the conversations and valuable observations as well as the uniqueness of sensory detail these folks can offer in their descriptions. We believe the relationships we have with high-integrity critics help keep our eyes open to potential ways we can strive for even better results in the vineyard and cellar.

While we're deeply honored to receive such positive reviews and impressive scores from critics, it is important to point out that we do not set out to create wine for the purpose of attaining a "high score". Our immutable philosophy is to craft wine that we and our members enjoy drinking, that elevates our collective culinary experience, and that honestly reflects the terroir of our home here at Dovecote.

Below is a selection of reviews and media coverage that we hope you find informative.

Forbes Magazine recommends Dovecote in its story: “How Santa Ynez Valley Quietly Stole The Spotlight From California’s Prestige Wine Regions”

Occupying a swath of Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez Valley has evolved from rural ranching and vineyard hinterland, into a world class culinary and lodging destination that’s giving Sonoma and Napa a run for their money. I’ve visited multiple times over the past 15 years, typically to explore the outstanding wine scene while watching as tangential wine tourism services, from hotels, restaurants to boutique shops, caught up with its bottled offering. Typically, the problem with such rural gentrification is that it erodes a region’s longstanding cultural history and character in favor of flash and glitz, the Silicon Valley transformation of Napa being an oft-cited example. For now, Santa Ynez Valley has maintained a firm connection to its roots, given the economy is still driven by agriculture and ranching, the equine industry, and tourism.

In Alisos Canyon, exquisite small-batch Rhône-inspired wines can be sampled by appointment at Dovecote Estate Winery.

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Wine Enthusiast Magazine names Dovecote as one of “The Best Wineries to Visit in the Santa Ynez Valley Right Now”

Just south of Santa Maria between Foxen Canyon and Highway 101 is the Alisos Canyon appellation, whose 2020 creation was spearheaded by Noah Rowles of Dovecote Estate Winery. A decade ago, he purchased the renowned Thompson Vineyard, which was planted in 1989, and took its stewardship seriously.

“He had to nurture the incredible history that takes place at this ranch,” says Kace Sarvis, the wine and hospitality director at Pico in nearby Los Alamos. “He’s done an incredible job with the property and has made some exceptional wines.” Tastings are held in a pond-side cabana, totally relaxed and unpretentious. “I bring friends and family here all the time to walk around the pond, enjoy the rich history and taste while relaxing at my own pace,” Sarvis says.

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Newly Established Alisos Canyon AVA profiled in Wine Enthusiast Magazine

After six years of research, work and waiting, Alisos Canyon is an official American Viticultural Area, or AVA. Today, the federal government approved the creation of this small appellation in Santa Barbara County, California.

Located near the tiny town of Los Alamos, between the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez Valleys, Alisos Canyon stretches into the sandy hills on both sides of Alisos Canyon Road. It runs roughly from Highway 101 to Foxen Canyon Road.

At nearly 5,800 acres, the appellation is home to about 240 acres of wine grapes planted on nine ranches. That includes vineyards known for Syrah, Grenache and other Rhône grapes.

Noah Rowles, owner of Thompson Vineyard, spearheaded the campaign to recognize the area soon after he bought the property in 2014.

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Estate Syrah

96 Points Wine Enthusiast (2020)

"The warm vintage of 2020 worked well for this bottling, which begins with bursting aromas of elderberry, blueberry and acai as violet and lavender elements add a floral elegance. The palate is wrapped in a firm texture and a persistent acidity, yet it remains accessible due to warm flavors of blackberry and more purple flowers."

94 Points Wine Enthusiast (2017)

"Black plum, cardamom and more baking spice aromas kick off the nose of this bottling from a historic vineyard in the newly christened Alisos Canyon appellation (approved after this wine was bottled). Flavors of lavender, lilac and rose petal meet açaí and peppercorns."


95 Points Jeb Dunnuck (2020)

"One of my favorites in the lineup as well as a world class example of the variety, the 2020 Syrah Noumenon Thompson Vineyard brings another level of density and depth while staying remarkably pure, silky, and balanced. Fresh plums, black cherries, ground pepper, violets, and subtle meaty notes all define the aromatics, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a beautiful mid-palate, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Mostly destemmed (93%) and aged 18 months in one-third new oak, this classic, exceptional California Syrah will keep for 10-12 years."

95 Points Wine Enthusiast (2018)

"This is an impressive bottling from a 28-year-old, own-rooted, Estrella River clone block of Syrah. Zesty aromas of cracked white pepper meet with violets and plum on the nose. That peppery power cascades through the palate, picking up thyme, lavender and more spicy floral notes while riding lively acidity."

94 Points Wine Enthusiast (2019)

"Dense aromas of cassis and lilac show power on the nose. Roasted strawberry and purple-fruit flavors come alive on the palate, which also offers accents of freshly plucked lavender, thyme and anise."


94 Points Wine Enthusiast (2020)

"Jubilant aromas of boysenberry, red flower and peppery spice make for a very inviting nose on this proprietary Rhône blend. The palate is energetic in acidity that carries the strawberry and white pepper flavors."


94 Points Wine Enthusiast (2019)

"Freshly smashed boysenberry aromas meet with bright violet and lavender on the excellent nose of this blend. It's vibrant, fresh and yet dark on the palate, where purple-flower and blackberry flavors are elevated by thyme and oregano, with hints of game on the midpalate."

93 Points Wine Enthusiast (2020)

"Dovecote Redtail Thompson Vineyard The 2020 Redtail Thompson Vineyard checks in as 52% Syrah, 28% Grenache, 13% Mourvèdre, and the rest Petite Sirah. Lots of wild strawberry, red plum, leafy herbs, and floral notes define the aromatics, and it's medium-bodied, with a plump, rounded mouthfeel, fine tannins, and outstanding length."

Estate Petite Sirah

93 Points and Editor's Choice Wine Enthusiast (2019)

"This is a bold argument for the viability of Petite Sirah in this relatively cool appellation. Extremely dark and intense aromas of cassis, elderberry and burnt roast beef ends entertain the nose. The palate is framed by creamy yet edgy tannins, showing unctuous, dense flavors of cassis and elderflower."

93 Points and Editor's Choice Wine Enthusiast (2018)

"Petite Sirah is a rarity in Santa Barbara County, but this vineyard makes one wonder why. Aromas of lilac, Concord grape, iodine and elderberry jam slide into an upright, acid-washed palate of violet candy and just-smashed black currant."

93 Points Jeb Dunnuck(2020)

"Lastly, the 2020 Petite Sirah Thompson Vineyard is also terrific, with a sexy, sweetly fruited, balanced style. Ripe plums, blueberries, scorched earth, chocolate, and hints of peppery herbs all flow to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, yet balanced, supple Petite Sirah that stays nicely balanced and focused, with notable tannins. It will evolve for 10-12 years."

93 Points Jeb Dunnuck(2019)

"The 2019 Petite Sirah Thompson Vineyard, which is all varietal, was destemmed and brought up in neutral oak. It brings some classic Petite Sirah power and richness yet also stays nicely balanced. Black plums, blackberries, licorice, graphite, and chocolate notes all emerge on the nose, and it's medium to full-bodied, with good balance and a great finish. It would make one hell of a steakhouse red and should drink well for a decade or more."