2017 Fall Release
We are pleased to announce the Fall 2017 release of new wines. This exciting release includes the following low production, handcrafted wines.
2015 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills
2015 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard (6 Bottle Limit)
2014 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard (Wine Club Only – SOLD OUT)
2015 Chardonnay, Rita’s Crown Vineyard (6 Bottle Limit)
2016 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon
Wine Club Members – This is the general Fall Release; it does not affect your current Fall Wine Club allocation. You have already received the 2014 Grenache, John Sebastiano Vineyard, the 2015 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard and the 2015 Chardonnay Rita’s Crown Vineyard in the Fall 2017 Shipment.
The 2015 Vintage was highly successful quality wise, yet the quantities were extremely low. Thus, supplies of these wines are far below those of prior vintages. Additionally, the growth in the wine club since last year means that only a small number of cases of most of these wines are available for purchase. The result is that we have been forced to allocate these wines, with six (6) bottle limit on the 2015 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard and the 2015 Chardonnay Rita’s Crown Vineyard. The 2014 Grenache John Sebastiano was completely allocated to the wine club and is now SOLD OUT. Join the wine club for access to this and other tiny production wines in the future.
We believe that the 2015 versions of these wines are worthy successors to the highly acclaimed 2014 versions of these wines. 2015 was the last year of a historic five-year drought, which combined with significant shatter due to poor weather during set, kept yields extremely low. What little fruit was on the vine however, benefitted from a warm, but not overly hot vintage, allowing for full ripeness at good acid levels. The resulting wines are some of the most concentrated wines we have seen in our 15 years of production, yet they retain balance and energy from good structure as well.
Details- This offer will remain open until November 30, 2017. Allocations will be made in the order received, based upon wine club membership level and order history. Place your orders before the closing date, and we will attempt to fill those orders based upon available stock. Orders will ship during the week of December 4, 2017, weather permitting.
2015 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills) *6 bottle limit*
Radian is one of the most dramatic, remote and extreme sites in Santa Barbara County. It is located at the far western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, high atop the sparse, chaparral and poison oak studded Santa Rosa Hills, and it literally wraps itself around crevasses and steep cliffs, its tiny roads literally clinging to hillsides in some spots. From here one has a direct sightline to the huge expanse of the mighty Pacific Ocean, whose influence completely dominates the site, from the cold powerful winds, to the high proportion of prehistoric algae skeletons (the silica based diatomaceous earth) comprising the soils. The forces that have pushed up the ocean floor are still present here, with man recognizing he is indeed a very small player in the drama. This vineyard actually seems to rest, somewhat precariously, upon this remarkably hardscrabble land. We were drawn to this vineyard at its inception, and we chose the most extreme blocks, slowly adding to our holdings over the years. Today we have a stable of blocks at numerous locations and aspects and thus a fairly complete representation of the entire vineyard.
Only a tiny crop of small clusters ripen in these very cool, windy conditions. The resulting wines are intense, with a fascinating mineral streak and a remarkable depth of flavor even at lower alcohol levels. 2015 was an excellent vintage at Radian, perhaps the most concentrated ever, and the wines will absolutely repay aging. The wine was aged on its lees for 15 months in French oak barrels (18% new). The wine has great volume and depth and is, at this point, only hinting at its usual kaleidoscopic aromatics, which are certain to arrive with time. The 2015 succeeds, and in many ways, improves upon, the 2014 Radian, which was given a tremendous review (and 94 points) by both Antonio Galloni and Jeb Dunnuck (formerly of the Wine Advocate). Very Limited. Only 400 cases produced.
2015 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
The SRH Pinot Noir is all about complexity and balance. From the inception of our winery we have believed that blending Pinot Noir from diverse vineyard blocks and sites would create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Wines form the warmer parts of the SRH would provide dramatic fruits and baking spices, wines from the cooler portions would provide, higher toned red fruits, fresh herbs, minerals and great acidity. Over the years we have selected vineyard sources for the purpose of crafting this wine, and in 2015 we blended grapes from 6 different vineyards to make this wine sing the song of the Santa Rita Hills – beautifully pure, fairly rich red fruits, excellent spices and big but beautiful structure. We carefully age the wines on their lees to limit movement and retain freshness and energy.
In 2015 the wine was comprised of grapes from Radian (41%), Fiddlestix (30%), John Sebastiano (15%), La Encantada,(7%), Cargasacchi (4%), Duvarita (4%). The wine was aged for 15 months in French oak barrels (10% new), and is displaying excellent power and concentration. It should eclipse the 2014 which was given an exceptional review (called “absolutely delicious”) and 92 points by Antonio Galloni in Vinous Media.
2015 Chardonnay, Rita’s Crown Vineyard. *6 bottle limit*
Rita’s Crown is a spectacular vineyard at some of the highest elevations in the Santa Rita Hills. Located right above the historic Mount Carmel monastery, our chardonnay block is incredibly steep and windswept. The block faces south/southwest and has an incredible view of much of the notable, even famous vineyards along Santa Rosa Road. Up here, one feels a certain indescribable timelessness, although one knows intuitively that vineyards have only been in the area for 40 years. It is as if the land had been waiting a long time for us, although she certainly seems to relish making it difficult to grow grapes here. Then again, great wines are born of grapes that struggle. Soils here are sand and clay loam, with large deposits of diatomaceous earth, giving the sand a ghostly white color and reflecting heat off the ground. The winds are constant and strong, with a feeling of saltiness from the nearby ocean and a decided marine chill.
The chardonnay from the site struggles to grow, though we have been able to coax a reasonable canopy and a small yield of intensely flavored grapes. A strong sensation of minerals and chalk seems to permeate the resulting wines, despite their intense tropical and stone fruits and laser-like acidity. The wines are dramatic, even magisterial. It is indeed a special place.
The 2015 wine was harvested in two separate passes and each fermented separately in French oak barrels, 20% new. The resulting wine aged for 16 months on its (very clean) lees without stirring, before selection, blending and bottling. This wine is extremely limited and almost completely reserved for wine club, as a mere 220 cases were produced.
The wine received a glowing review and 93 points from Antonio Galloni in Vinous Media, wherein he stated: “The 2015 Chardonnay Rita’s Crown captures all the phenolic and structural intensity that is such a signature of this site. Tangerine, apricot and floral notes make a strong first impression. Even with all of its fruit depth, the 2015 has an intense saline quality that is impossible to miss. What a gorgeous wine this is!” Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media, September 2017.
2014 Grenache, John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley – SOLD OUT
John Sebastiano Vineyard (JSV) is a dramatic hillside site, which lies on the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation (the TTB recently amended the SRH to include all of JSV in the appellation as of the 2016 vintage). It is one of the coolest sites planted to Rhone varietals in all of California. Our Grenache grows on a steep, southeast facing hillside of fascinating diversity. On the eastern edge, the block is almost pure sand, while as one moves to the west, there is heavier clay loam mixed with the sand. Moving west the block contains longer rows which start at higher elevation and extend to lower elevation than the eastern rows. As a result, we pick this block in several different passes, sometimes as much as two weeks apart. Due to the cool western location and steep windy aspect, this block enjoys a long cool growing season, giving excellent aroma and flavor compounds at lower sugars, with solid acidity.
We ferment the grapes from each pick with differing percentages of whole clusters based upon fruit and stem character of each section. The sandier sections tend to give smaller clusters with more high-toned aromatics, and good spicy stems. The more heavily clay sections provide weight, structure and depth. We blend the diverse wines from these sections to make a finished wine that is typically cool, energetic and mineral-laden, with high toned red and black fruits, and great aromatics. The 2014 vintage added an additional level of depth, character and intensity with which we truly fell in love. The wine still retains freshness and a serious tannic spine, and it will age well for at least 10 years. With only 200 cases produced; this is a Wine Club Exclusive.
From Antonio Galloni’s Santa Barbara Report September 2017 – 93+ Points:
“One of the many highlights in this range, the 2014 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard is a wine of real distinction. It is also going to take a few years to come into its own, as the tannins need to soften. Bright acids nicely perk up the red-toned varietal Grenache flavors.”
2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Happy Canyon, as we all know by now, is one of the top appellations for Sauvignon Blanc in California, if not the entire US. Its unique climate, warm to hot summer days and cool to cold evenings, is ideal for promoting full phenolic ripeness while still retaining critical acidity, and its maritime soils (laced with magnesium rich serpentinite) provide a fascinating mineral component to the wines. This bottling represents an appellation blend of lots we feel express the characteristics of Happy Canyon; explosive but bright yellow and tropical fruits and melons balanced by fresh, clean and present acidity. The wine is a 50/50 blend of grapes from Grassini and Vogelzang vineyards. Grassini is planted high density on thin soils of sandy clay loam with some serpentinite, which gives wines with complex aromas and flavors of sweet ripe melons and kiwi, underpinned by key lime and baking spices. Vogelzang’s sloping blocks give yellow spectrum, tropical flavors of mango, guava and pineapple, with laser like acidity.
The 2016 version of this wine is again, delicious, with perhaps a bit more immediate verve and energy than the 2015 version (which received 92 points from Antonio Galloni in Vinous Media, and 90 points from the Wine Advocate). The wine has wildly effusive aromatics, plenty of midpalate fruit, and a crisp yet juicy finish, laced with stony minerals. Despite its immediate appeal, it will age effortlessly for 3-5 years and drink well for many years after.
Please enjoy these wines in good health with friends and family and great food. We are proud of each of them and believe they will be great additions to any meal (holidays, weeknights, occasions, or even non-occasions). We hope you have a wonderful Fall season.
As always, we thank you for your continued support,
John, Steve, Brandon and the entire Dragonette Cellars Team