Press

Review by Jeb Dunnuck on Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate

Issue #226 – Aug 31, 2016

“These are beautiful, distinctive and incredibly high quality wines across the board, and at the top end are some of the most impressive wines I was able to taste from Santa Barbara County.”

95 Points

2013 Pinot Noir “Black Label”, Sta. Rita Hills

A sensational effort, the 2013 Pinot Noir Black Label comes from a mix of vineyards (sites were selected for complexity) and spent 20 months on lees in 64% new French oak. There’s a tiny 225 cases made, and it boasts a vibrant ruby color to go with lots of cassis, sweet oak, licorice, toasted spice and graphite on the nose. Rich, textured, medium-bodied, gorgeously balanced and textured, give this beauty 2-3 years of bottle age and drink it over the following decade.

91 Points

2013 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

Showing a volatile edge in its ripe Bing cherry, raspberry, leather and floral aromas and flavors, the 2013 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard (completely destemmed and aged 20 months in 25% new French oak) is medium-bodied, nicely concentrated and textured, with lots of fruit and upfront appeal. Falling into the more perfumed, lifted edge of the spectrum, it still has tons to love.

92 Points

2013 Pinot Noir Duvarita Vineyard, Santa Barbara County

From a biodynamically farmed site on the western side of the Sta. Rita Hills, the 2013 Pinot Noir Duvarita Vineyard (previously known as Presidio Vineyard) is another cool climate beauty. This beauty has medium-bodied richness, lots of sour cherry, baking spice and forest floor aromas and flavors, and a layered, elegant personality. Completely destemmed and aged 16 months in 12% new French oak, it will keep for a decade.

92 Points

2013 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

Black cherries, leather, scorched earth and licorice are some of the more masculine notes that emerge from the 2013 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix, which spent 20 months (on lees) in 28% new French oak. Slightly reserved aromatically and closed, yet with plenty of potential, it hits the palate with solid depth of fruit, tons of fruit and texture and ripe tannin, all of which suggest it will be better with 1-2 years of bottle age.

92 Points

2013 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

Lighter in color, the spicy, complex, black cherry-scented 2013 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard (9% whole clusters and aged 15 months in 20% new French oak) is medium-bodied, supple and polished on the palate, with plenty of tannin coming through on the finish. This cooler site has resulted in a wine that has plenty of structure, but also a textured, more rounded style that allows it to drink well now. Lovers of spicy, savory Pinot Noirs should check this out.

90 Points

2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

Herbs, toasted spice, licorice and mulled red fruits define the 2013 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills, and, as far as Pinot Noir goes, it’s a terrific value. Possessing plenty of fruit and ripe tannin, it’s delicious now, yet should easily keep for 4-5 years. Note, this is a multi-vineyard blend that’s mostly John Sebastiano and La Encantada, but includes smaller parts from Fiddlestix, Radian, Bentrock and Duvarita. It saw a tiny portion with whole clusters and 16 months all in neutral oak.

90 Points

2013 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley

Leading off the reds and coming from two blocks, one completely sandy soils and the other more clay, is the 2013 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard. (The Grenache vines here fall outside of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation so this is released as a Santa Ynez Valley AVA.) It has a beautiful, floral, feminine style as well as medium-bodied notes of sweet cherries, mulberries, spring flowers and candied violets. It’s not a blockbuster, but it shines for its elegance and impeccable balance. Drink this beauty over the coming 4-6 years.

93 Points

2013 Syrah “Seven”, Santa Ynez Valley

Moving to the Rhone releases, all three of these latest releases are flat out fantastic. The 2013 Syrah Seven checks in as a mix of 89% Syrah, 8% Grenache, 2% Mourvèdre and a splash of Viognier that’s from a mix of vineyards throughout the Santa Ynez Valley. Aged 20 months in 7% new oak, it offers classic notes of blackberries, peppery herbs, smoked game and a kiss of olive in its medium to full-bodied, balanced, layered and seamless personality. There are only 400 cases available, but it’s a seriously impressive red to drink over the coming decade.

95 Points

2013 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley

Even better, the 2013 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard was fermented all with native yeasts and spent 20 months (only racked once) in 25% new French oak. Giving up notes of plums, liquid blackberry, peppery herbs and a tinge of minerality, this medium to full-bodied beauty has a cool climate feel, solid mid-palate concentration and shows a distinct saltiness/marine-like influence on the finish. This is a fabulous, character-filled Syrah that readers need to seek out.

92 Points

2012 Syrah “MJM”, Santa Barbara County

Lastly, the 2012 MJM is a Syrah-dominated blend that incorporates 4% Grenache and one percent Viognier and spent 27 months in 43% new French oak. Giving up lots of smoked herbs, mulled red and black fruits and cured meat characteristics, it’s medium to full-bodied, rounded and textured on the palate, with beautiful concentration and ripe tannin. It’s another winner from this estate that will drink well for a decade.

91 Points

2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Racy, lively and vibrant, with green citrus, buttered lemon and orange blossom, the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara (equal parts Grassini Family and Vogelzang vineyards) is medium-bodied, fresh and lively, with both fruit and texture. It will drink nicely for a year or more.

90 Points

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Vineyard, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard is a sappy, citrus and peach-scented Sauvignon Blanc that doesn’t pull any punches with its grassy, herbal and green streak. Medium-bodied, complex and interesting, with plenty of texture, it walks a fine line on being overtly green, but somehow manages to pull it off.

90 Points

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard is more classic in style. It has ripe stone fruits, lychee, chamomile and floral notes in a nicely textured, rich, yet still balanced and fresh style.


Review by Antonio Galloni of Vinous

September 2016

“This is a superb set of wines from Dragonette. The Sauvignon Blancs and Pinots in particular are quite strong. The Syrahs are perhaps a bit less interesting, but there is plenty of note throughout the range. The Dragonette wines are usually quite forward, juicy and inviting in style.”

91 Points

2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon is soft, open-knit and gracious. Peach, apricot pit and sweet spices meld together in a Sauvignon that favors stone fruit character over the greener, more vegetal side of Sauvignon. This is an especially rich style.

91 Points

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Vineyard, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Dragonette’s 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard is laced with ripe peach, apricot, mint, wild flowers, honey and chamomile. Even with all of its richness, the Grassini retains striking freshness and varietal nuance. This, too, is very nicely done.

93 Points

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard is the richest of the Dragonette Sauvignon Blancs. A touch of new oak adds texture and weight to the naturally ripe fruit. Oily and viscous, with superb balance, the 2013 hits all the right notes. Orange blossom, mint, hazelnut and sweet (but not obtrusive) notes from oak add to the wine’s flamboyance. What a gorgeous wine this is.

94 Points

2013 Pinot Noir “Black Label”, Sta. Rita Hills

The 2013 Pinot Noir Black Label, a selection of the best barrels in the cellar, is superb. Rich, generous and inviting, the Black Label possesses remarkable depth from start to finish. Dark red cherry, plum, blood orange, cloves and mint are all fused together.

93 Points

2013 Pinot Noir Duvarita Vineyard, Santa Barbara County

The 2013 Pinot Noir Duvarita Vineyard is another powerful, rich wine. Game, smoke, licorice, savory herbs and leather are some of the signatures. This is the most gamy and savory of the Dragonette Pinots. Virile and imposing, the Duvarita could use another year or two in the cellar.

92+ Points

2013 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

Bright red cherry, blood orange, white pepper and sweet spices, along with a good deal of whole cluster influence, give the 2013 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard its aromatically lifted, exotic personality. The flavors are bright and nicely focused throughout, while the saline finish adds to the wine’s considerable appeal.

94 Points

2013 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills

The 2013 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard is bright, saline and focused, all signatures of this cool site. At the same time, there is gorgeous textural richness and enough depth to suggest the 2013 will drink well for at least a handful of years. Crushed flowers, mint, sweet red cherry and raspberry notes are all fused together. Ample, generous and also structured, the 2013 exudes class.

92 Points

2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

The 2013 Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills) is rich, ample and enveloping, yet also retains gorgeous aromatic lift. Rose petal, mint, anise and sweet dried cherry grace the palate in an exquisite, inviting Pinot endowed with lovely harmony. The natural intensity of the Sta. Rita Hills comes through, yet the 2013 retains notable translucence, with impeccable balance and no excess weight.

92 Points

2013 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley

The 2013 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard is rich, powerful and inviting. Sweet red cherry and floral notes make a strong first impression, but it is the wine’s weight and overall density that truly stand out. This is an especially bold, richly textured Grenache, but even with all of the intensity, varietal notes still come through. Then again, this is John Sebastiano, one of the most pedigreed vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills.

90 Points

2013 Syrah “Seven”, Santa Ynez Valley

The 2013 Seven, a Syrah-based Rhône blend from seven parcels, is a big, powerful wine. There is no shortage of fruit or overall intensity, although the Seven lacks the pedigree of the best wines in the range. Admittedly, that is a high bar in this lineup. Dollops of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier round out the blend. Another year or two in barrel will only help soften the tannins a bit further.

91 Points

2013 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley

The 2013 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard is another big, ample wine in the range. Layers of dark red and purplish fruit pulse through the mid-palate and finish. The Syrah is a bit simple and one-dimensional next to the very best wines in the lineup, but it, too, is delicious.


Wine Enthusiast

Review by Matt Kettmann

93 Points

2013 Chardonnay Duvarita Vineyard, Santa Barbara County

After helping Liquid Farm launch to Chardonnay success, the Dragonette crew took their own stab at making the white grape, and have succeeded wildly. Extremely pithy aromas of lime and yellow grapefruit meet with yogurt, kiwi and chive on the zesty nose, which unleashes a citrus explosion once sipped of lime peels, tangerine flesh and skin, and yellow apples in the midpalate.


Wine Spectator

Issue Mar 31, 2016

91 Points

2012 MJM, Santa Barbara County

Appealingly rich and gamy, with aromas of smoke and peppered beef leading to complex, focused flavors of black raspberry, licorice and coffee. Syrah, Grenache and Viognier. Drink now through 2022. 550 cases made. –TF


Connoisseurs’ Guide

Reviewed on www.cgcw.com, Feb 2016

93 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Vineyard

Among the richest and most expressive Sauvignon Blancs to be had and a wine of remarkable range that marries a wealth of very deep, melon-like fruit with fresh herbs and deft touch of oak, this ample, exceptionally well-balanced effort only adds to our belief that Happy Canyon is a special place for Sauvignon Blanc. It is as complex, as layered and as long on the palate as it is wonderfully rich, and it is so well-constructed that it will age famously.

91 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard

Drawn along fuller, fairly ripe lines and exhibiting loads of very deep, melon- and fig-like fruit with a broad sweep of creamy oak in its ample aromas and very generous flavors, this mouthfilling Sauvignon Blanc ups the ante in richness and size but is uncannily well-structured for the sizeable wine that it is and never once drags its feet or gives way to softness. It is among the more substantial varietal renditions and only distantly suggests grass and herbs, and it is a wine that very much wants saving to pour alongside appropriately rich and full-flavored foods.

91 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Cargasacchi Vineyard

Sweet oak is seamlessly fit to lots of succulent young Pinot Noir fruit in the nose, and the wine fully delivers on its aromatic promise with generous, downright juicy, very long-lasting flavors. It is so nicely polished that it can be enjoyed now, but for all of its tactile charm, it has the balance and brightness to age gracefully, and we anticipate increased complexity as it evolves over the next several years.

90 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Black Label

As deeply fruited and impressively concentrated as it may be, Dragonette’s Black Label Pinot is, at this point, as driven by sweet oak as much as anything else. It smacks of brown sugar in both scent and taste with a full measure of very ripe cherries keeping it on a sure varietal track, but its very rich, wide-open flavors are followed by more than a touch of woody astringency. While it is big, balanced and deep with more than enough central fruit to justify keeping and may see its oaky curtain lifting with age, it is decidedly expressive stuff now.

90 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

Led by a toasty, burnt pie crust element in its aromas and nicely filled out by deep and compatible red cherry notes with just the quietest but noticeable hint of ripe tomato, this nose never lacks for depth or range. Full in body and somewhat fleshy at entry, then firming up a bit in progression, it is always more open than tight yet does not give in to extra plumpness at any stop. With a direct quality that will allow it to serve in the near term, it has the stuffing to age well if cellared.


Wine Enthusiast

Best of Year 2015 Issue, Dec 2015

90 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Vineyard

Distinctive elements on the nose of this wine from the Buellton-based winery include dried peach, lemon ice and a touch of yogurt and sour cream. There is a dairy tang to the palate and only the slightest touch of green, with aged lemon peels, sour nectarine and tart plum-flesh flavors.

90 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard

Poached apple, tart nectarine skins and a tiny whiff of petrol decorate the nose of this single-vineyard study that received 14% new oak. It’s clean and easy on the palate, with Golden Delicious apples, cement stoniness and a pear skin tartness.

90 Points

2014 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

There’s a touch of reductive petrol on the nose of this wine, which is a 50-50 blend between Vogelzang and Grassini vineyards. It also offers lime zest, golden pear flesh and barely ripe peach. A cut-grass element shows on the palate as well as sour lime and Bosc pear peels.


Connoisseurs’ Guide

Reviewed on www.cgcw.com, Nov 2015

93 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars MJM Syrah Santa Barbara County

The boldest and most dramatic of the three Dragonette Syrahs and a wine that is likely to be deemed too much of good thing by some, the 2012 MJM is a lavish look at the grape that, while very ripe, exhibits a wealth of deep, well-defined, dark berry fruit and rich oak with meaty Syrah spice to spare. It is surprisingly well-structured for the big and decidedly flamboyant wine that it is, and we have every confidence that it will gain in complexity and polish for no less than another half decade and will provide delicious drinking for years after that.

91 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Seven Syrah Santa Barbara County

Again a ripe and substantial offering but one that stops short of excess and keeps articulate Syrah fruit in its sights at all times, this nicely layered effort smacks of blackberries, pepper and game with touches of raspberries tossed in for good measure. It is big yet quite well- balanced with a firm, tannic spine, and its potent, wonderfully insistent fruit is not in the least threatened by a bit of late-arriving heat. Like its mates, it is rich and very expressive right now, but the smart money says to stash it away in the cellar for at least three or four years.

90 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars John Sebastiano Vineyard Syrah Santa Ynez Valley

Intense, fully ripened and very specific in its gamy varietal spice, this is not a Syrah for the timid, yet fans of unbridled richness will find much to like. It is mouthfilling stuff to be sure, but it is more supple than tough, and there is more than enough fruit to buffer its minor finishing heat. It is a full-blown Syrah that wants service with appropriately full-flavored foods, and, while so rich that it invites drinking sooner, it will not reach its best for five or six years.


Wine Spectator

Reviewed on www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/52285, Oct 2015

90 Points

2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Vogelzang Vineyard

Floral and spicy, with roasted peach, Meyer lemon and rose water accents to the orange sherbet, apricot and passion fruit flavors, set on a medium body. Very expressive, coming into focus on the long, juicy finish.

90 Points

2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Shows a lovely toasted edge to the marmalade, honeysuckle, dried apricot and citrus flavors, adding a warm spicy note. Smooth and supple, with a jolt of lemony acidity that sneaks in on the finish.


Vinous Media

Review by Joshua Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com, Apr 2015

91 Points

2014 Dragonette Cellars Rosé Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Light, bright orange. Deeply pitched blood orange, redcurrant and cherry aromas are complemented by yellow mustard seed, chamomile and honey. Sappy and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and red berry flavors that flesh out with aeration. Shows very good energy and thrust on the long, spice-tinged finish, leaving a suave floral pastille note behind.


Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar / Vinous Media

Review by Joshua Raynolds, www.vinousmedia.com, Dec 2014

92 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard

Bright yellow. Heady aromas of poached pear, honey, jasmine and iodine, along with a smoky, leesy overtone. Offers pliant orchard and ripe citrus fruit flavors and a touch of sweet butter, complemented by anise and honeysuckle. Smooth and expansive on the clinging finish, showing very good intensity and bright stony cut.

92 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard

Vivid yellow. Explosive aromas of poached pear and tangerine, with exotic notes of smoky minerals, peach and white flowers adding complexity. Juicy, penetrating pit and orchard fruit flavors show very good depth and vivacity, picking up a hint of honey with air. Really coats the palate, finishing with outstanding clarity and lingering floral character.

91 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Pale yellow. Highly perfumed citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complicated by honeysuckle, chamomile and anise. Juicy and penetrating on the palate, offering bitter lime zest and pear skin flavors that put on weight with air. Closes dry, stony and tight, with excellent focus and building floral character.

90 Points

2013 Dragonette Cellars Rosé Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

(aged in one-year-old French oak barrels): Light orange. Aromas of red berries and blood orange, with notes of talc-y minerals and white flowers adding complexity. Tightly wound and nicely focused, offering vibrant strawberry and ruby-red grapefruit flavors and a kick of white pepper. This very fresh, energetic wine finishes with strong lift, clarity and cut.

93 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Black Label

(80% new oak): Bright ruby. Explosive, smoke-accented scents of blackberry, cherry compote and potpourri show excellent purity and a suave mineral topnote. Broad, deep and seamless, offering palate-staining red and dark berry and cherry-cola flavors complemented by licorice, allspice, vanilla and rose pastille. Finishes with building intensity and superb floral persistence, leaving behind notes of boysenberry and smoky minerals.

92 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard

Bright violet color. Intensely perfumed aromas of cherry pit and red and dark berries, with smoky mineral and potpourri elements adding complexity. Nervy bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors are underscored by a cool mineral quality, with a deeper note of bitter chocolate emerging as the wine opens with air. Turns spicier on the penetrating finish, which leaves floral pastille and cherry notes behind.

92 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard

(22% new oak): Brilliant ruby-red. Vibrant, floral aromas of red berries, minerals and Asian spices, with a subtle note of cola emerging with air. Sweet, seamless black raspberry, floral pastille and spicecake flavors display very good intensity and put on weight in the glass while maintaining vivacity. Finishes with smooth, harmonious tannins and very good cut, the spicy quality repeating.

91 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

Bright ruby-red. Vibrant raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by hints of smoky minerals and potpourri, with a touch of white pepper coming up with aeration. Tightly wound red berry flavors stain the palate and are deepened by a note of candied licorice. Turns spicier and smokier with air and finishes with excellent clarity, supple tannins and a lingering floral quality.

92 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard

(raised in older 500-liter casks): Bright ruby-red. A sexy, expansive bouquet displays candied red fruits, potpourri, anise and allspice, with a lively mineral nuance emerging with aeration. At once rich and lively, displaying strong snap and lift to its juicy raspberry and bitter cherry flavors. Acts like a weighty pinot, finishing spicy, gently sweet and very long, with just a hint of fine-grained tannins.

93 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Seven

Dark purple. Smoky, mineral-accented black and blue fruits on the deeply perfumed nose and in the mouth, with hints of cola and licorice adding complexity. Spicy and precise, displaying excellent back-end lift and building sweetness. Quite elegant in style, in the manner of a Cote-Rotie, finishing spicy, seamless and very long, with a suave floral note sneaking in late.

93 Points

2011 Dragonette Cellars MJM

Inky purple. A heady, exotic perfume presents fresh blackcurrant and cherry, along with suggestions of candied violet, Indian spices and smoked meat. Sappy, penetrating and pure, offering intense dark berry preserve and floral pastille flavors underscored by juicy acidity and a touch of black pepper. Finishes long and minerally, with building silky tannins adding gentle grip. This bottling has a solid track record for aging gracefully, as a recent bottle of the still youthful 2007 proved.


Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Review by Jeb Dunnuck, eRobertParker.com, #214 (Aug 2014)

“This is a beautiful set of new releases from Dragonette, and they excelled with both their Pinot Noirs and Rhone blends.”

90 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

Kicking off the Pinots, the 2012 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is a beauty. Giving up classic, earthy notes of underbrush, forest floor, spice and assorted red berry fruits, it’s medium-bodied, supple and beautifully textured. Coming from John Sebastiano, Fiddlestix, La Encantada, Zotovich, Bentrock & Radian vineyards and aged 15 months in 18% new French oak before being bottled un-fined and unfiltered, drink it over the coming 4-6 years.

93 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard

My favorite of the two Pinots, the 2012 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard comes from miniscule yields of 0.57-0.88 tons per acre and was completely destemmed and aged 15 months in 22% new French oak. Bottled un-fined and unfiltered, it’s a smoking effort that offers fabulous concentration and richness to go with earthy blackberry fruit, ground herbs, crushed rock and tinges of sweet oak. Medium to full-bodied as well as thrillingly textured and layered, it stays classy and focused from the start to the finish. It’s hard to resist now, but will evolve gracefully through 2022.

90 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard

A blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah that spent 15 months (on lees) in neutral French oak puncheons, the 2012 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard offers sweet kirsch and strawberry fruit, pepper, licorice and hints of toast to go with a medium-bodied, supple and elegant profile on the palate. Coming from one of the coolest sites for Grenache, all from sandy soils, and harvested in October, it has good ripeness, fine tannin and solid length. Enjoy it over the coming 5-6 years.

90-92 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Syrah Seven

The 2012 Seven checks in as a blend of 89% Syrah, 10% Grenache and 1% Viognier. Coming from mostly Santa Barbara vineyards (a few from Westside Paso) and spending 20 months in neutral oak, it has beautiful richness, medium to full-bodied palate weight and complex aromas and flavors of cassis, blackberry, chocolate, wild herbs and plenty of spice. This nicely textured, balanced effort will drink well on release, and evolve gracefully for 5-7 years.

90 Points

2011 Dragonette Cellars MJM

The 2011 MJM is a step back from both the 2009 and 2010, yet is still an outstanding wine. Made from 93% Syrah, 6% Grenache and 1% Viognier that spent 22 months in 90% new French oak, it offers additional spice, cedar, white pepper and licorice to go with core of ripe black raspberry and currant fruit. Medium to full-bodied, balanced and nicely textured, it has loads of character and scores high on drinkability. Enjoy bottles over the coming 4-5 years.

93 Points

2010 Dragonette Cellars MJM

Similarly styled, yet showing the cooler nature of the vintage, the 2010 MJM (92% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 3% Mourvedre and a splash of Viognier) spent less time in oak compared to the 2009, spending 22 months in 22% new barrels. Due to this change in aging, it was actually released before the 2009. Showing rocking aromas and flavors of cassis, black raspberry, licorice, smoked meats, graphite and hints of iodine, it flows onto the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, fabulous concentration and a seamless, layered and silky texture. I love the overall purity and balance here, and it will continue to impress through 2022.

92 Points

2009 Dragonette Cellars MJM

Finishing up with a small vertical of their MJM cuvee, the 2009 MJM is 91% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 3% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier that spent a full 33 months in 78% new French oak. It offers beautiful smoked plums and currant-styled fruit as well as notions of chocolate, lead pencil and roasted herbs to go with a rich, full-bodied and voluptuous style on the palate. Made in a pedal-to-the-metal style, it stays lively and fresh, and will continue to thrill for another 2-4 years.

90 Points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard

More classic in style, yet still a ripe, rich effort, the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard has plenty of peach, mint and citrus blossom in its medium-bodied, balanced and textured profile. As with the Vogelzang Vineyard, it stays nicely balanced, has nicely integrated acidity and a clean, beautifully focused finish. Drink it over the coming year.

89 Points

89 Points

The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard (aged 16 months in 83% French oak and 17% stainless steel barrels) gives up notions of mint, flower oil and ripe peach to go with a medium-bodied, layered and textured profile that stays fresh and clean. It will be versatile on the dinner table and drink nicely for a year or two.


Wine Spectator

Review by MaryAnn Worobiec, winespectator.com, July 2014

90 Points

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Aromatic, with floral and tropical details adding intrigue to the mango, melon, peach and citrus flavors. A juiciness weaves in and out, leading to a long, detailed and spicy finish. Drink now. 1,100 cases made. –MW

90 Points

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Grassini Family Vineyard

Offers an intriguing mix of sweet grass, basil and hay aromatics up front, with a core of lemon juice, candied orange peel and grapefruit pith. Whiffs of smoke and gunpowder mingle on the intense, smooth and refreshing finish. Drink now. 170 cases made. –MW

90 Points

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Vogelzang Vineyard

Presents a laser beam of white grapefruit, lime and lemon notes, with tangy acidity and fresh accents of thyme, watercress and lemon verbena. Powerful and refreshing. Drink now. 290 cases made. –MW


Wine Enthusiast

Review by Matt Kettmann, October 2014

93 Points (Editors’ Choice)

2012 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard

Rather dark and intimidating at first glance, this bottling comes from a big elevation vineyard planted on starkly white diatomaceous soils above the Sta. Rita Hills. Aromas of cherry, uplifting spices and stone minerality lead into a silky palate of tar, black fruit, violet and fleshy meats. It’s heavy duty but elegant, and likely to sell out quickly at just 200 cases. Editors’ Choice -M.K.


Wine & Spirits Magazine

August 2014 issue

91 Points

 


Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

Joshua Raynolds, Issue 171 November/December 2013

91 points

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara

($28) Green-tinged yellow. White peach, poached pear and toasty lees powder on the complex nose. Offers intense, spice- and floral-accented flavors of fresh citrus and orchard fruits, with complicating herb and buttered toast elements. Finishes long and pure, with very good breadth and lingering spiciness. This very serious, extremely well made white wine will age effortlessly thanks to its vibrant acidity. 75% of this wine was fermented in neutral oak and the balance in stainless steel.

92 points

2012 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara

($38) Light, bright yellow. Highly pungent aromas of Meyer lemon, poached pear, smoky minerals and fresh flowers. Fleshy and very rich but also lively, with deep pear and passion fruit flavors underscored by a nervy citrus zest nuance. The mineral and floral notes linger on a long, sappy finish with excellent clarity and precision.

93 points

2011 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara

($48) Light yellow-gold. Pungent aromas of ripe pear, peach nectar, beeswax and white flowers, with a bright mineral overtone. Precise, spicy pit and citrus fruit and vanilla flavors are supported and sharpened by chalky minerality and a gingery nuance. Concentrated and powerful but lithe, in the manner of the best Loire Valley versions of the variety. Finishes on a smoky note, with outstanding clarity and persistence.

91 points

2011 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

($44) Vibrant ruby-red. Powerful aromas of red and dark berries, cola and sassafras, with subtle woodsmoke and vanilla components adding depth. Spicy, incisive raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good depth and energy, picking up a floral pastille note with air. Supple and sweet on a finish framed by fine-grained tannins.

92 points

2011 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills

($54) Bright red. Energetic red berry and Asian spice aromas are complicated by notes of smoky minerals, orange zest and pungent herbs. Taut, linear and gently sweet, offering vibrant redcurrant and raspberry flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate. A sexy floral pastille element comes up with aeration and carries through a long, supple and gently tannic finish.

92 points

2011 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills

($54) Bright ruby-red. Dark berries, cherry pit and smoky minerals on the perfumed nose. Bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors are sweetened by notes of cola and rose pastille and lifted by zesty minerality. Shows impressive clarity and urgency on the lengthy finish, which is firmed by dusty, fine-grained tannins.

92 points

2011 Pinot Noir Black Label Sta. Rita Hills

($75) (made from the five best barrels from the vintage) Deep ruby. Intense red and dark berry scents are given depth by notes of vanilla, cola and licorice. A suave floral nuance emerges with aeration and melds with spicy blackberry and cherry-cola flavors on the palate. Closes smooth and very long, with excellent clarity and soft, harmonious tannins.

90 points

2012 Rosé Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara

($20) (75% grenache, 20% mourvedre and 5% syrah) Pale pink. Aromas of fresh red berries and lavender, with a bright touch of white pepper. Juicy and penetrating, offering silky raspberry and redcurrant flavors and a touch of orange zest. A smooth, spicy and floral-tinged finish shows very good clarity and cut.

91 points

2011 Grenache Santa Barbara County

($40) (made with 25% whole clusters) Bright ruby-red. An alluring bouquet displays scents of red and dark berries, with suave floral and Asian notes adding further complexity. Deep and sweet but energetic as well, offering palate-staining black raspberry and blueberry flavors, a floral pastille nuance and very good clarity.

92 points

2011 Syrah Seven Central Coast

($40) (95% syrah, 3% grenache and 2% mourvedre that was aged in a combination of barrels and puncheons) Inky ruby. Smoky aromas of black and blue fruit liqueur, cola, olive tapenade and floral oils, with a peppery topnote. Very syrah, offering gently sweet blueberry and cassis flavors that provide impressive palate coverage. Becomes spicier and more floral with air and finishes smooth, sweet and long, with only a suggestion of tannins.

93 points

2009 MJM Central Coast

($58) (91% syrah, 5% grenache, 3% mourvedre and 1% viognier; 78% new oak) Opaque ruby. Strongly perfumed scents of blackberry, blueberry, candied violet and sexy oak spices. Seamless and sweet, offering energetic dark berry compote flavors, a hint of cola and an exotic floral pastille quality. Gains richness with air and finishes long, with clinging sweetness and a slow-building vanilla note. Powerful but surprisingly light on its feet, with the depth to age.


Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

WA, Issue #208 Aug 2013

90 points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Rosé

The 2012 Rosé is outstanding. Made in a dry, Provencal style it gives up plenty of orange blossom, citrus rind, dried rose petals and salty minerality as well as a medium-bodied, pure and fresh palate feel. Drink it over the coming summer months. Drink now-2014.

92 points

2011 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard

A step up is the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard. Coming from clay and loamy soils and barrel-fermented and aged (11 months), it boasts knockout aromatics of lemon curd, cut grass, white peach and saline-like minerality as well as a medium-bodied, smooth and polished feel on the palate. Showing a fantastic mix of richness and freshness, it should continue to thrill for 5-6 years. Drink now-2019.

91 points

2012 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara

An outstanding white, the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc offers up subtle grassy notes as well as white peach, cream and citrus blossom to go with a medium-bodied, richly textured palate that stays pure and fresh. Barrel-fermented and aged just under eight months on lees, it has notable richness, yet never seems heavy or cumbersome. Enjoy it over the coming 3-4 years. Drink now-2017.

92 points

2011 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard

Brilliant, with ripe golden fruits, apple, vanilla cream and mineral-driven aromatics, the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard shows loads of class and depth on the palate with integrated acidity and beautiful overall balance and freshness. It, too, strikes a good balance between overall richness and freshness, has fantastic clarity and focus, and will be versatile on the dinner table. As with the other Sauvignon Blancs, it was barrel-fermented and aged on lees. Drink now-2019.

90 points

2011 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Fiddlestix

Earthy and more mineral-driven, with a slightly reticent bouquet of saline-like minerality, ripe cherries and loamy earth the 2011 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix is medium-bodied, structured and broad shouldered, with a big frame that needs time to fill in. Give it 2-4 years in the cellar and enjoy through 2023. Drink 2015-2023.

91 points

2011 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Black Label

Also beautiful and showing a darker slant, the 2011 Pinot Noir Black Label (a selection of the top four barrels) is a seamless, rich and textured 2011 that has plenty of ripe black cherries, toasted spice, underbrush, dried flowers and earthy nuances to go with a full, layered profile on the palate. Enjoyable now due to its texture and overall depth of fruit, it should evolve gracefully. Drink 2015-2023.

91 points

2009 Dragonette Cellars MJM

A big, full-bodied blend of 91% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 3% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier, the 2009 Syrah MJM spent a full 33 months in 78% new French oak prior to being bottled unfiltered. Loaded with blackberry, currants, roasted herbs, charred beef and chocolate, it hits the palate with a layered, decadent feel that stays classy and balanced. It’s a big wine, but done beautifully. Enjoy it through 2019. Drink now-2019.

92 points

2010 Dragonette Cellars MJM

More fresh and lively, with black raspberry, wild herbs, licorice and charcoal nuances all emerging from the glass, the 2010 Syrah MJM (92% Syrah, 4% Grenache and the balance Mourvedre and Viognier) was aged in slightly less new oak than the 2009, spending 22 months in 37% new French oak. Medium to full-bodied, pure and beautifully layered and rich, with clean acidity, it’s a beautiful blend and will continue to shine for another decade. Drink now-2022.

90 points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Syrah Seven

The 2010 Syrah Seven is comprised of 92% Syrah, 5% Grenache and the balance Mourvedre and Viognier. Spending 22 months in 42% new French oak, it dishes up beautiful aromas and flavors of smoky black fruits, bacon fat, spice and dark chocolate along with a medium-bodied, rich and concentrated palate. Ripe tannin and clean acidity frame the finish here nicely and this beauty will evolve gracefully through 2020. Drink now-2020.
— Jeb Dunnuck


Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

Joshua Raynolds, Issue 165 November/December 2012

93 points

2010 Proprietary Blend Mjm

(92% syrah, 4% grenache, 3% mourvedre and 1% viognier; 15.2% alcohol)

Opaque ruby. Black and blue fruits, incense and a touch of candied plum on the highly perfumed nose. Lush and powerful, offering sweet blackberry and boysenberry flavors and suave floral pastille and spicecake nuances. Bright acidity gives this fleshy wine lift, spine and focus. Closes with substantial but harmonious tannins and a jolt of exotic candied violet.

92 points

2010 Syrah Seven Central Coast

(92% syrah, 5% grenache, 2% mourvedre and 1% viognier; 15.2% alcohol)

Inky purple. Pure, vibrant aromas of raspberry, cherry and white flowers. Juicy, silky and penetrating, with excellent lift to its red berry preserve and floral pastille flavors. At once deep and vibrant, in a strikingly elegant style that’s eerily pinot-like(!). Finishes bright and persistent, with an alluringly delicate touch and no obvious tannins.

91 points

2011 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara

(85% raised in small, older French oak barrels and the rest in small stainless steel barrels)

Pale yellow. Orange and lime aromas are complemented by deeper pit fruit and honey nuances. Fleshy and smooth but energetic too, offering lively pear and orange zest flavors and notes of white flowers and anise. Shows smoky, spicy qualities on the finish, which clings with impressive tenacity.

92 points

2011 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara

Pale gold. Pungent, mineral-driven nose evokes fresh pear, tangerine and peach, with toasty lees, chamomile and anise qualities adding complexity. Juicy and tight, with bracing acidity and a strong floral character to its taut orchard fruit flavors. Finishes firm, spicy and very long, with the mineral element repeating.

91 points

2010 Grenache Mourvedre Syrah Santa Barbara

Bright ruby-red. Aromas and flavors of cherry compote, licorice and lavender, with smoke and herb overtones. Lush and open-knit on the palate but finishes with solid punch and silky tannins. Pretty sexy stuff and approachable now, but I wouldn’t rush to drink this one.

90 points

2010 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills

Bright ruby-red. Expansive bouquet of smoky black raspberry, boysenberry and pipe tobacco; suave cola and vanilla nuances gain power with air. Sappy red and dark berry flavors stain the palate, picking up spiciness on the back end. Juicy, nicely concentrated pinot with very good finishing thrust and cling.

91 points

2011 Pinot Noir Ampelos Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills

Vivid ruby. Explosively perfumed aromas of red berry preserves, incense and candied rose. Silky, palate-staining raspberry and cherry flavors show very good depth and seamless texture. Fine-grained tannins come up on the smooth, sweet, very long finish.

92 points

2010 Pinot Noir Presidio Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills

Ruby-red. Black raspberry, cherry and rooty sassafras on the pungent nose. Fleshy and expansive, offering deeply pitched, smoke-accented red and dark berry flavors and a suave note of candied rose. Picks up spiciness with air and finishes on a smoky dark berry note, with very good power and length. This hefty pinot could handle richer foods with ease.

92 points

2010 Pinot Noir Black Label Sta. Rita Hills

Vivid ruby-red. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes candied red fruits, Asian spices, potpourri and cola. Pliant, sweet and light on its feet, offering intense raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors complicated by star anise and zesty blood orange. Finishes silky and very long, with a resonating floral nuance and excellent focus.


“Dragonette is one of the most fascinating wineries in the Central Coast. The best wines are truly world class, and I don’t use those words lightly. ” Antonio Galloni


E. Robert Parker

Wine Advocate # 202 (Aug 2012)

93 Points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara

Crushed rocks, mint, wild flowers and herbs are some of the notes that take shape in the glass in the striking 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara. Today, the 2010 comes across as quite cool, inward and tightly wound, which is surprising for a barrel-fermented Sauvignon. Nevertheless, this is a hugely impressive showing. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.

91 Points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley

The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley opens with a beautiful bouquet redolent of mint, peaches and apricots. This is a plush, very nicely done Sauvignon. Layers of flavors build to a creamy, delineated finish supported with notable energy. The Sauvignon was fermented in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak barrels/puncheons. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.

92 Points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Presidio

The 2010 Pinot Noir Presidio Vineyard wraps around the palate with savory herbs, dark red cherries, mint, spices and licorice, showing tons of complexity. The finish turns a bit more feminine, with bright floral notes and a hint of black pepper. Even though the fruit was fully destemmed, there is a slight suggestion of stems in the Presidio, as there is in other wines in this lineup. The Presidio is firing on all cylinders today. It is a fabulous effort from Dragonette and a beacon for the level the estate can reach with their best fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.

90 Points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Fiddlestix

Although a solid effort, I find less to get excited about in the 2010 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard, which comes across as austere and unyielding, especially next to the Presidio. Firm tannins frame hints of dark red fruit, smoke, tar and incense. Dragonette used 17% whole clusters on the Fiddlestix, and my impression is that the wine still needs time to integrate. Today, the Fiddlestix comes

across as a bit burly and foursquare, yet there is something fascinating about it as well. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018.

89 points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Grenache / Mourvedre / Syrah

Dragonette’s 2010 Grenache/Mourvedre/Syrah emerges from the glass with sweet red berries flowers, spices and herbs. This is a relatively delicate, pretty wine with good depth and concentration to match its feminine, gracious personality. The blend is 55% Grenache, 36% Mourvedre and 9% Syrah, from Thompson, McGinley and Watch Hill. This is an excellent showing from Dragonette. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.

Connoisseurs’ Guide

96 Points

2010 DRAGONETTE Black Label (Reserve) Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills

One has to use the label color to differentiate this bottling from its non-Reserve mate here, but that brief spot of effort separates wines of substantial difference in both price and character. This handsome, compelling bottling offers up aromas of ripe cherries and sweet plums with plenty of youthful energy to lift its deep, rich character. The wine is somewhat supple and on the velvety side at first impression, yet its firm, almost stern mix of tannin and acid dissuades early drinking while its depth and solidity promise lots of joy to come. Reviewed: October 2012

94 Points

Dragonette’s Happy Canyon bottling is among the richer wines of the current Sauvignon crop and plays to ripe melons, quince and fresh thyme. It is comparatively full-bodied and weighty in feel with a fine sense of solidity, and its complex, strikingly long finish shows layers of minerals, citrus, spice and dried herbs. If a fascinating and involving wine now, it is a structured Sauvignon Blanc that reminds us of the variety’s ability to age, and it will only get better with time. Reviewed: August 2012

Wine Spectator

92 points

DRAGONETTE Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills 2010

Rich and ethereal, with plush, deep, dark berry, herb, mineral and exotic spices; gains depth, dimension and focus, without weight. Should only get better. Best from 2013 through 2023. 300 cases made. —J.L.

91 Points

2010 DRAGONETTE Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills Black Label

Broad-shouldered, rich and intense; well-oaked, too. The concentration and focus of the loamy earth, mineral, blackberry and wild berry character persists on the finish. Best from 2013 through 2023. 100 cases made. —J.L.

90 Points

2010 DRAGONETTE Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills Fiddlestix Vineyard

Exhibits ripe, rich, generous plum, raspberry and wild berry fruit in spades, with touches of spice and mineral, firming on the finish. Best from 2013 through 2022. 150 cases made. —J.L.


“This up-and-coming producer sources fruit from some of the Central Coast’s best vineyards and has quickly made a name for itself as one of California’s top sources for sauvignon blanc. Sparks-Gillis spent time working at Torbreck, in Australia, and also at Sine Qua Non, but the wines [they are making] at Dragonette show a more restrained personality than most of those made by those two highly lauded producers.”


Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

Joshua Raynolds, November/December 2011

92 Points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon

Bright gold. Musky, lees-accented aromas and flavors of orange pith, pear and nectarine, with sexy oak spice and honey nuances adding complexity. Juicy and broad but quite lively, with noteworthy intensity to its oak-spiced orchard and citrus fruit flavors. The spicy quality carries through the long, gently smoky, precise finish. Emphatically in the white Bordeaux school, with the depth and heft to handle rich foods.

91 Points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley

Light, bright gold. Potent aromas of lemon gelato, green cardamom, mint and white flowers. Offers a suave mix of plump orchard fruit and bitter citrus qualities, with a spicy top note. Finishes tight and clean, with excellent clarity, refreshing bitterness and a lingering note of candied lime.

92 Points

2009 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Hilliard Bruce Vineyard

Vivid ruby-red. Pungent aromas of cherry, black raspberry, cola and Asian spices, with a touch of vanillin oak. Deeply pitched but impressively energetic red and dark berry flavors show very good clarity, with notes of anise, allspice and sassafras adding nuance. The red berry and spice elements repeat on the long, sappy, seamless finish. Very sexy and drinking well now, especially with some aeration.

92 Points

2009 Dragonette Cellars Syrah SEVEN Central Coast

Opaque ruby. Complex, intensely perfumed bouquet of dark berry preserves, olive tapenade, fresh violet and an exotic touch of black cardamom. Spicy and penetrating, with very good depth to its sweet blackberry and mulberry flavors. Juicy acidity gives this wine good spine. Picks up smokiness with air and finishes with impressive clarity and length. With aeration, this wine drinks very well now.

92 Points

2008 Dragonette Cellars Proprietary Blend MJM California

Glass-staining ruby. Pungent, oak-spiced aromas of dark berries, cola, violet and incense, with a smoky overtone. Deeply pitched and chewy in texture, with impressive freshness to its black raspberry and boysenberry flavors. Gains spiciness with air and picks up a suggestion of palate-numbing white pepper. Finishes on a sweet note of vanilla bean, with gripping tannins and excellent length. This is still a baby.


“This is an impressive set of wines from Dragonette Cellars. Sauvignon Blanc is unusual in the Central Coast, where most regions are too warm for this aromatic grape, but no one does it better than Dragonette.” Antonio Galloni, August 2011


Reviews from issue #196, August 2011

92 Points

2009 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard

The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard is the richest and deepest of these 2009 Sauvignons. It spent 16 months in French oak (47%) new, on its lees. Lemon peel, white peaches and jasmine are some of the nuances that emerge from this dazzling Sauvignon. Pointed mineral notes add energy, texture and balance. This is a striking effort. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016.

91 Points

2009 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

The 2009 Pinot Noir fleshes out nicely on the palate with black cherries, cola, spices and flowers. This is a beautifully balanced wine with no hard edges, tons of harmony and plenty of personality.

 

92 Points

2009 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Presidio Vineyard

The 2009 Pinot Noir Presidio shows wonderful delineation and nuance. Sweet dark fruit, tobacco, crushed flowers, spices and herbs come together nicely in this subtle, elegant Pinot. The refined finish is impressive.

92 Points

2008 Dragonette Cellars Syrah

Black pepper, blackberries and creme de cassis are some of the notes that emerge from the 2008 Syrah. This is a beautifully ripe, sensual Syrah loaded with character and personality. Mint, flowers and crushed rocks linger on the understated, classy finish

92 Points

2008 Dragonette Cellars MJM

The 2008 MJM is a plush, dark wine bursting with black fruits, sweet spices, vanillin and licorice. It shows gorgeous textural richness and volume, but is slightly marked by the oak, in both the flavors and the slightly drying tannins that emerge on the finish. With air, though, the wine comes together quite nicely. MJM is 92% Syrah, 6% Grenache, 1% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier that spent 26 months in French oak barrels, 86% new. The Syrah was sourced from three vineyards; Shadow Canyon, Los Tres Burros and Paderewski. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018.


“Dragonette Cellars is pushing the boundaries of the Sauvignon Blanc Frontier in the Happy Canyon district of Santa Barbara County …
The new names on this year’s list of top-scorers include … Dragonette.” MaryAnn Worobiec, Aug 2011


90 Points

2009 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard

There’s terrific intensity to this smoky, toasty version, with plenty of fruit flavors of nectarine, peach, marmalade and pineapple to create balance. Richly textured, with a juicy, lemony finish.

 

91 Points

2008 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard

A rich, smoky, exotic style, brimming with flavor, this shows tiers of plum, wild berry, blueberry and spice. Full-bodied and persistent, with a black licorice aftertaste.


Wine Spectator
August 2012 issue


91 Points

2011 Rosé, Santa Ynez Valley

92 Points

2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley

A terrific Sauvignon Blanc, pure and bright in citrus and tropical fruit, mineral and honeysuckle flavors, finished with a little bit of creamy oak.Finishes sweet in fruity essence, yet clean and dry. Shows how compatible the Sauvignon Blanc grape is with the valley’s climate and soils.

Editors’ Choice.

92 Points

Dragonette Cellars 2008 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard

A first-class Pinot from this great vineyard, in the heart of the southern Santa Rita Hills. The wine is dry and silky and super-complex, offering waves of raspberry tart, cherry pie, cola, sweet oak and dusty Asian spice flavors. For all the richness, it’s dry and crisp in acidity. Now–2014.

92 Points

2008 Dragonette Cellars Syrah

Here’s a rich, savory Syrah, made Northern Rhône-style. Dense and full-bodied, it displays complex flavors of blackberries, dark unsweetened chocolate, plums, tobacco, leather and black pepper. The tannins are robust, but very finely ground.


San Francisco Chronicle


“A dramatic new chapter for Santa Rita Hills”
— Jon Bonne, March 2012

2009 Dragonette Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

($42, 13.7%) This taps sites nearly everywhere in the hills – north-facing Encantada, nearby Cargasacchi-Jalama, the new Kessler-Haak near Clos Pepe in the north valley and a touch of Fiddlestix. Proper delicacy amid a whack of new oak, and if the mix of sites doesn’t clarify things, it does bring a tension and compelling raspberry fruit and brooding earth notes.


TOP 100 WINES OF 2010

2008 Dragonette Cellars Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard Pinot Noir

This young label founded by Steve and John Dragonette and Brandon Sparks-Gillis is tapping into some of Santa Barbara’s best vineyards. This effort from a colder site southwest of the Santa Rita Hills, aged in neutral oak, landed at just 13.3 percent alcohol – and with that has come remarkable depth and refinement – roasted orange highlights and a warm mace spice and musk, plus radiant raspberry and cherry.


Los Angeles Times Magazine

2008 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills, Fiddlestix Vineyard

A great example of a handcrafted pinot. Still tasting very young, it took some time to open but was well balanced. The wine showed bright cherry and raspberry fruits with a spicy finish and some herbaceous notes. The texture was wonderful.

92 Points

2009 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

I really enjoy the blackberry and ripe plum character to this with a cocoa and light cream character. Full body, with silky tannins and a delicious finish. A very fine wine indeed. Best in 2013, but who can wait?