Annette Hoff Danzer – Queen of the Hill

By March 1, 2018 April 2nd, 2018 No Comments

Meet Annette Hoff Danzer, winemaker of Cima Collina in Carmel Valley, CA. Annette, a California winemaking veteran, started her career at Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1994. Since then, her career and curiosity haven taken her many places physically, philosophically and enologically.

She has worked stints locally at Sterling Vineyards, Saintsbury, and abroad in New Zealand. These experiences allowed her hone her winemaking skills and identify her own calling within the industry: Producing artisan Pinot Noir that conveys a sense of place and the people involved in its creation.

Annette was never interested in producing wines for the sake of big scores or to achieve rock star status. Instead, her mission has always been to produce wines that are the purest expressions of their terroir. In 2004, Intrigued by the blank slate and potential Monterey county offered, Annette left Napa and accepted a position at Cima Collina as winemaker. For the past 10 years, Annette has been influential in defining the quality of the region not only through her work with Pinot Noir but other varieties including Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Collectively, her wines beautifully express the diversity of the Monterey climate.

Despite her many accomplishments, Annette feels her best years as a winemaker are yet to come and is very excited about entering what she believes is a new level of winemaking.

The name Cima Collina means “top of the hill,” in a combo of Italian and Spanish.

The winery produces 3,000-4,000 cases of wine per year. Their current portfolio includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cab Franc and Chardonnay offerings. Two wine club selections are available through their website


Tasting Notes:

2014 Antle Swan Pinot Noir – Limited Release

100% Pinot Noir, Swan Clone – Aging: 14 months – Cooperage: French Oak Barrels, 33% New

Thrilled to have had the opportunity to taste this wine made from the heritage Swan Pinot Noir clone. The origin of this clone is a bit of a mystery but some believe it came from the Romaneé-Conti Vineyards and was brought to the US by Joseph Swan who originally planted it in the Russian River Valley. This is a bright and rich Pinot Noir with intense aromatics – fresh cranberries, raspberries, strawberries and a distinctive spiciness. This vibrant wine is still young and will only continue to evolve and improve as it bottle ages. I highly recommend it!


2012 Tondré Grapefield Pinot Noir

100% Pinot Noir, Pommard, Dijon 115 & Dijon 667 clones – Aging: 10 months – Cooperage: French Oak Barrels, 60% new

An very elegant and well balanced pinot noir. Aromas of leather, earth, cherries and silky tannins on the palate. Oak is present but beautifully integrated. The acidity is well balanced as well. This wine paired insanely well with grilled lamb but would be equally enjoyable on its own. A very different Pinot Noir from the 2014 Antle Swan. Both equally impressive and enjoyable in their own way. I highly recommend both!

Annette is also currently experimenting with non-vintage white wines. Her starting theory was that she would be able to produce more interesting wines by blending. I’ll be tasting her first non-vintage Chardonnay, which is a blend of 2014 & 2016 vintages, soon! Tasting notes to follow.