Vintages


2016 Rosé, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

2016 was another in a string of terrific vintages. A small burst of concentrated rain in February helped clear out some of the salts in the soil and prepare the vines for a good growing season. We had another early budbreak and perfect weather during set, allowing for a strong, balanced crop. May, June and July were quite warm and ripening was fairly quick and almost too easy. It was looking like another record early harvest until the coolest August anyone could remember slowed the vines considerably. The grapes slowly and evenly ripened throughout the August and early to mid-September with no heat spikes or other vine stressing events to cause rapid loss of acidity, and we harvested our blocks at almost perfect ripeness. The Grenache for Rosé was in perfect health, and we emphasized that grape in 2016, aided by a small amount of Mourvedre and a tiny bit of Syrah. The final numbers were 88% Grenache, 8% Mourvedre, and 4% Syrah.

Tasting Note: Light salmon color. On the nose, exuberant aromas of strawberry, raspberry and watermelon, with citrus (lemon and orange zest), and a hints of fresh thyme and bay leaf. On the pal¬ate, the wine delivers fleshy and juicy flavors of ripe raspberry and pomegranate, with notes of nectarine and watermelon jolly rancher candy with a hint of anise. Notes of orange peel and citrus along with mouthwatering acidity provide lift and a long, crisp, clean finish.

 

2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

2015 will be forever known as the great drought year; the last in a historically dry five-year period. Due to early warmth, 2015 had an extremely early budbreak, and although we avoided frosts, we had cool windy weather in May, resulting in very poor set, with fewer and smaller clusters. After mid-June, we had constant warm to hot temperatures up until harvest which commenced as early as the end of July. Soil toxicity (from salt buildup) and this poor set led to extremely low yields; in fact, the lowest we have seen. What fruit was on the vines, however, received all of the plants’ energy, resulting in deep, concentrated and remarkably flavorful wines. 2015 is proving to be a great vintage for quality, though there is not much to go around. The 2015 is a 50/50 blend of grapes from Grassini and Vogelzang Vineyards, and it was aged on its lees for 8 months in 70% neutral oak barrels and 30% stainless steel. The wine has perhaps the most concentration and mouthfeel of this blend ever. It should pair terrifically with all manner of seafood, shellfish, and boldly flavored vegetables, as well as poultry and even lighter pork dishes, and it will certainly age well for 7-10 years. The Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine rated this wine 91 points and Wine Enthusiast gave it 90 points.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine delivers a mélange of rich ripe yellow and green fruits (mango, honeydew, kiwi fruit, peach, pineapple and apples) intermingled with varietal notes of fresh herbs (thyme, basil), light green grass and mineral notes of granite and sea shell. On the palate, the wine is at once bold and ripe, with juicy green melon, yellow peach, kiwi fruit and passion fruit, lifted and cut by ripe citrus (meyer lemon, texas red grapefruit), chalk, wet stones, graphite and steel, along with a good dose of dried herbs. The wine is medium bodied and deliciously long, with the juicy fruits held aloft by excellent, palate-cleansing acidity. This young wine promises to continue to blossom with age for at least 5-10 years.

 

2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard

One of the most dramatic, age worthy and consistently well reviewed Sauvignon Blancs in California, the Vogelzang Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is our California interpretation of white Bordeaux. We use barrel fermentation and extended barrel aging to provide incredible depth, complexity and a rich texture for the wine, while maintaining its striking, soil-driven minerality and naturally solid acidity for structure.  The wine is a reserve-level selection of our favorite lots of Vogelzang, aged for 12 months on its lees in 77% French oak barrels (12% new) and 23% stainless steel barrels.  After a draconian selection, the resulting wine is blended and put back down to tank for an additional 6 months for harmonization and freshness. Only 330 cases made. This wine received a glowing review and a lofty 93 points from the Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine.

Tasting Note: This young wine is presently tightly coiled with a long future in store. With a little air the wine displays classically reductive notes of gunflint, alongside a fascinating mélange of rich tropical yellow fruits (mango, pineapple, passion fruit), stone fruits, (nectarine, apricot), melons, golden delicious apples, and ripe pear. The fruit aromas are lifted by notes of white flowers, minerals, graphite, fresh herbs (basil, tarragon, thyme) and hints of baking spice (vanilla, nutmeg and clove). On the palate the wine opens slowly, but forcefully, with rich, mouth-filling waves of tropical fruits, stone fruits and spices, mingling with minerals, flowers, citrus notes (Texas red grapefruit, lemon zest orange peel). The wine is medium to full-bodied and intriguing; the citrus and acids holding the fruits and minerals aloft on the long, penetrating finish.

2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Vineyard

Grassini is an exceptional vineyard located upon small hills and river benches of well drained, super fine clay loam soils and serpentinite.  The vineyard is meticulously managed and farmed to our specifications for low yields and high quality. We source fruit from three distinct blocks and harvest, press and ferment them separately in a mixture of French oak barrels and stainless steel. This single vineyard wine was crafted from our favorite barrels which were given extended aging. Fermented and aged in 88% oak (10% new) and 12% stainless steel. Extremely limited. Only 250 cases produced. The Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine and Wine Enthusiast both rated this wine 91 points and Wine Spectator gave it 90 points.

Tasting Note: On the nose this wine delivers sweet, ripe fruit aromas of honeydew melon, kiwi fruit, white peaches, granny smith apple, young pineapple, fresh coconut milk and chermoya, complicated by wood spices (vanilla, baking spices and sandalwood), mineral notes of granite, stones, and sea shell, and vibrant, fresh herbs (fresh basil, tarragon, and baby thyme) and spices (clove). On the palate, the wine delivers waves of fresh energetic fruits (apple, kiwi fruit, sweet summer nectarines and melon, along with creamy notes of vanilla, key lime pie, and stony minerals. Medium bodied, but complex and expressive, the wine if lifted by excellent, mineral and citrus-laced acidity which delivers extraordinary length on the finish.

2015 Chardonnay, Duvarita Vineyard

Duvarita Vineyard, just west of the Santa Rita Hills appellation lies on south-facing slopes of almost pure sand. The grapes here are farmed biodynamically.  The low vigor soils, small canopy and a low fruit zone combine to make this one of the earliest ripening vineyards we farm. The small clusters here give wines that are lean and elegant, with terrific intensity and minerality. In 2015 we fermented the wine entirely in a combination of barriques and 350 litre French oak barrels, 20% new.  The wine was aged on its lees for 15 months before blending, a gentle cross flow filtration and bottling with minimal sulfur.   Rich and concentrated, the wine shows tropical yellow fruits, stone fruits and melon, interspersed with floral notes (white flowers, orange blossom) and  some well-integrated wood spice, and energy and lift from ample acidity and aromas of stones and graphite. Very young, this wine is starting to open up, but will age for many, many years. Extremely Limited. Only 250 cases produced, almost all of which will go to the wine club. The 2014 version received 93 points in the Wine Enthusiast.

Tasting Note: A step up in concentration and complexity from the lovely 2014, the wine displays dynamic aromas of yellow, green and stone fruits (mango, honeydew, white peach pineapple, passionfruit and guava) with strong notes of white flowers (Camilla) and orange blossom, minerals (iron, gray stones) and hints of baking spices and sandalwood. On the palate, the wine is rich and packed with flavors, yet bright and vibrant, with bold fruits (Greek nectarines, apricot, melons and pineapple) held aloft by exquisitely ripe and fresh acidity, hints of citrus (meyer lemon), a touch of wood and complex minerality (chalk, ore, graphite). The wine finishes serious and long, and will age terrifically over the medium term. Drink 2018-2028.

2014 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 2014 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 2014 the wine was comprised of grapes from John Sebastiano (52%), La Encantada (20%), Cargasacchi (10%), Radian (8%), Fiddlestix (7%) and Duvarita (3%). The wine was aged for 15 months in French oak barrels (10% new). The Wine Enthusiast scored this wine 92 points.

Tasting Note: Medium garnet color. Aromas of fresh cherry, cranberry, raspberry, and strawberry, along with spices (cardamom, vanilla, nutmeg), floral notes of white flowers and fresh herbs (thyme) and minerals. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied and smoothly textured, with complex red fruits (cherry, raspberry, cranberry, lingonberry) held aloft by notes of rhubarb, orange peel and sea shell. Bright, citrus-driven acidity provides energy and lift, and ripe, pliable tannins provide fine structure, giving a long, satisfying finish.

2014 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard

On the far western fringes of the Sta. Rita Hills, Radian sits on dramatically steep slopes with large amounts of diatomaceous earth in the soil. This extreme site is regularly buffeted by high winds, cooling the vineyard and robbing it of moisture.  The vines here struggle to set fruit, and only a tiny crop of small clusters are able to ripen. The resulting wines are lean and intense, with a fascinating mineral streak and a remarkable depth of flavor even at low alcohol levels. In 2014, we sourced fruit from 5 different blocks, fermented the wines with native yeasts and aged the wine for 16 months on its lees.  We carefully tasted all barrels and decided to craft a single vineyard wine from a few barrels from this unique, fascinating vineyard.  This is a truly special place, and we seek to reflect its uniqueness in this singular wine. Very Limited, only 475 cases produced. Wine Enthusiast rated this wine 91 points.

Tasting Note: The wine opens with aromas of deep, ripe, red fruits (red and black cherry, strawberry, and currant), lifted by expressive mineral notes of chalk, sea shell, and gray stones, fresh herbs (thyme, basil and sweet tarragon) along with smoky nori and baking spices (nutmeg, cardamom).  On the palate the wine is medium bodied, silky and smooth, as concentrated red fruits (cherry, strawberry) mingle with minerals, citrus, and hints of earth. The wine has solid, yet round acids and ripe, pliant tannic structure, which provides definition, length, complexity and intrigue as the wine reveals additional fruit and mineral notes on its long finish.

2014 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard

Fiddlestix is a renowned vineyard at the cool western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. The early morning fog and cool afternoon breezes provide Pinot Noir with a long, even growing season, which allows full phenolic maturity at reasonable sugar levels. We obtain fruit from four separate blocks (four different clones) throughout the vineyard, and each is individually monitored, harvested, fermented, barreled, and aged. Each clone contributes complexity to the final blend, as does the selective use of whole cluster fermentation on selected lots (13% of the blend). The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (13% new) and bottled without filtration. Extremely Limited. Only 380 cases produced. The 2013 version of this wine was given 92 points by the Wine Advocate and 92+ points by Antonio Galloni.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine displays sassafrass, cola, nutmeg and cardamom, intermingling with black cherry, cranberry, and raspberry, along with hints of wood smoke and sandalwood, orange peel and grapefruit pith. On the palate the wine is medium bodied and supple, with good depth and concentration, though also light and fresh, as smoky notes and citrusy acids frame ripe black cherries, loganberries, camphor, and licorice. The wine finishes fresh and energetic, with great lift provided by solid acids and tannic structure and a steely mineral component.

2014 Pinot Noir, Duvarita Vineyard

Duvarita vineyard is located in Santa Barbara County, west of the Sta. Rita Hills. The vineyard lies on gentle, south-facing slopes of almost pure sand. As of 2013, the vineyard has been farmed biodynamically. The low vigor soils, small canopy and a low fruit zone combine to make this one of the earliest ripening vineyards we farm. The small clusters here give wines that are lean and elegant, with terrific intensity, stony minerality, and a firm Pommard-like edge of red fruits, earth and herbs. The 2014 Duvarita Pinot Noir was aged for 18 months on the lees in French oak barrels, 10% new. Extremely Limited. Only 250 cases produced. The Wine Enthusiast rated this wine 92 points.

Tasting Note: The 2014 version of this wine displays a supreme sense of balance, concentration, freshness and the muchsought after sense of “power without weight”. On the nose, high-pitched aromas of red fruits (ranier cherry, strawberry, ripe raspberry) and spices (nutmeg, cardamom, cloves) mingle with sweet herbs (fresh thyme, and summer savory), dark chocolate and hints of pine. On the palate the wine is ripe, medium bodied and velvety smooth, displaying ripe red fruits (raspbery), baking spices and hints of sea shell and granite. Solid, yet pliant tannins and ample cirus laced acidity (blood orange peel, meyer lemon) provide lift and energy on the long lip-smacking finish. Still yound and primary, this wine will continue to blossom in bottle for 5-10 more years.

2014 Pinot Noir, John Sebastiano Vineyard

John Sebastiano Vineyard is a dramatic, steep and windswept vineyard at the north-eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Pinot Noir is the most prevalent grape in the vineyard, which lies in numerous blocks with a tremendous variety of aspects and different clones. We chose Pommard clones at the north edge of the vineyard, where the soils contain a bit more loam to go with the ubiquitous sands, and where the abutting hillside provides some protection from the winds. Though JSV (as we call it) provides the backbone for our Sta. Rita Hills bottling, in 2014, a small group of 7 barrels stood out for their personality, expressiveness and pure yumminess, and we made this single vineyard wine. The 2014 John Sebastiano Pinot Noir was aged for 18 months on its lees in French oak barrels, 28% new. The wine is dramatically spiced, with tremendous fruit and terrific palate presence. It is Extremely Limited; only 165 cases produced. The Wine Enthusiast rated this wine 93 points (Editors’ Choice) and Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine gave it 91 points.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine displays lively aromas of cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, raspberry and blackberry, along with baking spices of cardamom, nutmeg and ground coriander, star anise, mulling spices and fruitcake, and citrus notes of orange peel. On the palate the wine is deep and concentrated in a medium bodied frame, with a silky texture as waves of sweet strawberry, raspberry, and ripe cranberry flavors mingle with barbeque smoke, graphite, thyme, wet earth, forest floor and ginger. The wine’s big fruit flavors are cut by solid stony acidity, steel and ample red earth-tinged tannins, leading to a long, refreshing finish. The wine is impeccably balanced and age gracefully for many years.

2014 Pinot Noir "Black Label", Sta. Rita Hills

Our “Black Label” Pinot Noir represents a blend of our finest few barrels of Pinot Noir from the vintage. In 2014, the wine was comprised of select barrels from these top SRH vineyards: La Encantada (50%) John Sebastiano (17%), Radian (17%), Fiddlestix (8%) and Cargasacchi (8%). The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (25% new) and bottled without fining or filtration. Extremely Limited. Only 285 cases produced. The 2013 version of this wine was called “a sensational effort” and given 95 points by Jeb Dunnick in the Wine Advocate. Antonio Galloni called it “superb” and gave it 94 points.

Tasting Note: This young wine, despite being a bit shy, is broodingly intense, portending a long life in bottle. On the nose the wine is dramatic, with rich ripe Bing cherries, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry and hints of blueberry, framed by significant wood spice, smoke, vanilla, baking spices, and cocoa. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied, deep and concentrated; packed with fruit flavors of cherry, raspberry, and kirsch, complicated by blood orange flesh and Seville orange peel, energetic acidity and substantial yet ripe tannins, which are buried in the fleshy fruits. With air, notes of white flowers, lilies and camellias come out to dance and play with smoke, herbs (fresh basil and thyme), and minerals. The wine is certain to gain aromatic and flavor complexity with time.

2013 Grenache, John Sebastiano Vineyard

Grenache at John Sebastiano Vineyard grows on a steep, south facing hillside of almost pure sand on the eastern edge of the block and slightly heavier sandy clay loam toward the west and at the bottom of the block. The block is typically picked very late but at relatively low sugar levels for Grenache. Indeed, this is one of the coolest Grenache sites anywhere in California.  These grapes produce a cool, energetic, mineral-laden wine with juicy, high toned, aromatic red fruits, fresh herbs, and good structure for aging. We use approximately 15% stem inclusion to add smoky, earthy aromatics and additional structure and complexity. The wine is already showing its aromatics and silky texture, though it promises to improve for 5-10 years. Vinous Media gave this wine 92 points and Wine Advocate rated it 90 points.

Tasting Note: On the nose, this Grenache displays its cool climate origins, with high-register red fruits, such as ripe raspberry, strawberry and loganberry mingling with complex smoky earth notes, pine and herbal notes of fresh thyme, rosemary, mint, and oregano.  On the palate the wine is energetic and lively, as red fruits (strawberries, pomegranate) mingle with citrus notes of blood orange, orange peel and fresh herbs (thyme), anise and tar.  The wine has great lift from fresh tannins and ample, mouth-watering acidity and minerality (stones and seashells), and it finishes with great length and freshness.

2014 Seven

Seven is our Syrah-based blend, originally named for the seven exceptional cool climate vineyard sites from which it was comprised. We have refined our vineyard sources for this wine over the years, selecting precise blocks and clones to increase aromatic and flavor complexity, rather than sheer fruit power. The 2014 Seven is comprised of 88% Syrah, 11% Grenache and 1% co-fermented Viognier. The Syrah portion is sourced from John Sebastiano Vineyard (55%); Stolpman Vineyard (15%), Harrison Clarke (15%) and Thompson Vineyard (15%). Grenache comes from Thompson and John Sebastiano Vineyards. The wine was aged in neutral oak barrels for 20 months and was bottled without filtration. We are thrilled with the performance of this wine, as it is already beginning to show off explosive, complex aromatics (red, blue and black fruits, spices and meats), a rich, yet weightless palate, with beautiful smooth texture and a scintillatingly long finish for such a young wine. We expect this wine to continue to develop over the coming years and to last for well over a decade. Limited. Only 570 cases produced. The Wine Enthusiast rated this wine 93 points (Editors’ Choice) and Wine Spectator gave it 91 points.

Tasting Note: Ruby/Purple color. On the nose, fresh boysenberry, blackberry blueberry mingling with baking spices of cardamom, nutmeg, and herbs (anise, fennel seed and bay leaf), along with dried beef and prosciutto and hints of graphite, camphor and campfire smoke. On the palate, the wine is medium to full bodied, with waves of blue and black fruits, plums and blackberry jam lifted by ripe tannins and ample, yet round acidity and rich, red earth. Still very young, the wine finishes long, fresh and lively, with citrus and stony mineral notes mingling with fresh and dried fruits, orange peel and red roses.

2014 Syrah, John Sebastiano Vineyard

John Sebastiano Vineyard is a dramatic hillside site on the border of the Sta. Rita Hills and is one of the coolest sites planted to Rhone varietals in all of California. We farm two clones of Syrah at JSV; the own rooted 383 is located at the very top of the vineyard, on a steep, south facing hillside of clay loam, and clone 470 on east facing slopes at the northern edge of the vineyard. Due to the cool western location and steep windy aspect, this block enjoys a long cool growing season, giving excellent aroma and flavor compounds. The wines here are cool, energetic and mineral-laden, with high toned red and black fruits, with great aromatics. This wine has been showing well already, with amazing depth and complexity, though it has the stuffing to evolve for 10-12+ years. Extremely Limited. Only 205 cases produced. It received 94 points (Editors’ Choice) from Wine Enthusiast and 90 points from both Connoisseurs’ Guide and Wine Spectator.

Tasting Note: Opaque ruby/purple. Explosive fruit aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry syrup and raspberry liqueur, complicated by gentle herbs (mint, anise, thyme, eucalyptus, juniper berries), spices (nutmeg, black tea), and smoky notes of grilled beef, melted licorice, and asphalt, finishing with a hints of red roses. On the palate, the wine is medium to full bodied, with intense, red and blue fruits (ripe strawberry, raspberry, cherry and blueberry) lifted by energetic acidity and citrus notes (orange peel, pomelo rind) and ripe tannins. Deep and complex, the wine still manages a silky texture and a long finish, as ripe, yet restrained fruit notes dissolve gently into tangy oranges, hints of graphite and flowers.

2013 MJM, Santa Ynez Valley

Our signature Syrah, named in honor of our wives Mitchi, Jen and Michelle, this wine is a selection of our favorite barrels of Syrah, blended with small amounts of Grenache and Viognier, and then given extended barrel aging as dictated by the vintage character of the wine. In 2013, the MJM was painstakingly selected from the top lots of John Sebastiano Vineyard (55%), Stolpman (25%), Thompson (15%) and Harrison Clarke (5%) and was aged for 27 months in oak barrels (30% new) before bottling without filtration. We are thrilled with the 2013 MJM which is ripe, juicy and penetrating, with great big dark fruit flavors, tons of spice and meat notes and a big tannic spine completely buried in fresh fruit goodness. Already approachable now, this wine will easily age for 15 years. You’ll also love the impressive new label and bottle, befitting this special wine.

The 2013 MJM is already getting critical acclaim. The Wine Enthusiast has announced that in its June 2017 issue MJM will be honored with 95 Points and will be a ”Cellar Selection.” We have two other excellent reviews with notes as well. The venerable Connoisseur’s Guide to California Wine, gives 2013 MJM 93 points (two puffs) and Wine Spectator rated it 91 points.

Tasting Note: Heady aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, maraschino cherry and blueberry, mingle with smoky notes of melted asphalt, wood smoke, dried herbs (fennel seed, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf) and spices (coffee, vanilla, nutmeg and smoked paprika). On the palate, the wine is rich and full bodied, but smooth as silk, with fruit flavors of blackberry, strawberry jam, and cherry liqueur, complicated by savory notes of dried beef, salami, black olive tapenade, and myriad herbs and spices including pine needle, juniper berries, peppermint, herbes de provence, black tea, graphite, iron and earthy forest floor. The wine finishes long and rich; held aloft by firm but ripe tannins and excellent citrus laced (orange rind) acidity. Drink 2017-2030.

Prior Releases

2015 Rosé, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

This flavorful energetic and completely dry Rosé pairs beautifully with all sorts of dishes, from appetizers, to mildly spicy foods, and everything in between.  We like to enjoy a glass with olives while we chop vegetables and fire up the grill for the main courses.  The production numbers are down significantly in 2015, but the quality is terrific. We suggest stocking up as this wine has been selling out earlier and earlier each year.  The excitement is already building for the 2015, a worthy successor to the last several vintages of Rosé, all of which have been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle among many other publications. 75% Grenache, 22 Mourvedre, 3% Syrah. Limited.

Tasting Note: Beautiful salmon/garnet color. On the nose, aromas of fresh red fruits (wild strawberry, raspberry) along with floral notes of orange blossom, citrus (lemon and orange zest), some fresh herbs and a hints of spice. On the pal­ate, the wine delivers flavors of strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, ripe  nectarine and blood orange. Light bodied, yet full of flavor and with a lovely smooth texture, the wine lingers in the mouth  until strong but ripe acids, citrus notes and minerality lift the wine, creating a long, clean finish.

2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Happy Canyon, with its unique soils and climate – warm to hot summer days and cool to cold evenings – is ideal for promoting full phenolic ripeness while still retaining critical acidity. This bottling represents an appellation blend of lots we feel express the characteristics of Happy Canyon; explosive, bright yellow and tropical fruits and melons balanced by fresh, clean and present acidity, but without the herbaceousness sometimes associated with the grape. The Happy Canyon bottling is a 50-50 blend of grapes from Grassini and Vogelzang, both top notch vineyards, exquisitely farmed for ultra high quality. The wine was fermented and aged on its lees in 80% neutral oak barrels and 20% stainless steel. The wine demonstrates the classic Vogelzang tropical fruit notes along with the elegant energy of the Grassini vineyard and great body and length.

Tasting Note: The nose features fresh tropical fruits (pineapple and kiwi) and stone fruits (peach and apricot) backed by a strong stony minerality (granite and flint) underpinned by rich citrus notes (lemon curd, lemon zest) and hints of clove, anise and fresh thyme.  On the palate the wines is medium bodied, creamy and complex with rich yet restrained fruits (fresh mango, guava, passion fruit and persimmon, along with melons and pear), sharing time with juicy round acidity, which turns to citrus (lemon peel, and hints of texas red grapefruit) and then finishes with a whiplash of gray stones and lime on the long finish.

2014 Chardonnay, Duvarita Vineyard

This wine hails from Duvarita Vineyard, just west of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. The vineyard lies on gentle, south-facing slopes of almost pure sand. As of 2013, the vineyard has been farmed biodynamically, although it is not certified as of yet. The low vigor soils, small canopy and a low fruit zone combine to make this one of the earliest ripening vineyards we farm. The small clusters here give wines that are lean and elegant, with terrific intensity and minerality. We fermented this wine entirely in barrel, but only 12.5% new, so as to provide just a well-balanced kiss of vanilla and wood spice.  Very young, this wine is starting to open up, but will age for many, many years.  Extremely Limited. Only 180 cases produced, almost all of which will go to the wine club.

Tasting Note: On the nose the wine displays notes of yellow fruits, such as fresh mango and yellow peach, ripe persimmon, fresh pineapple, and passion fruit with notes of white flowers, and a light dusting of baking spices (vanilla) and a strong steak of iron ore, graphite and stones.  On the palate, the wine is supremely balanced, with vibrant, and fresh, yet also restrained fruit flavors held up by nervy acidity, citrus fruit notes, lemon curd, a touch of oak spice and fine minerality.  The wine has great texture, silky smooth and long and finishes with fresh, clean acidity, begging the taster to take another sip…

2012 MJM

MJM is our signature, Syrah-based blend, named in honor of our wives and co-conspirators Mitchi, Jen and Michelle.  This wine is a selection of our favorite barrels of Syrah, blended and then given extended barrel aging as dictated by the vintage character of the wine. Small amounts of Grenache and (co-fermented) Viognier are added for complexity.  In 2012, the MJM was aged for 27 months in oak barrels (43% new) before bottling without filtration. Extremely Limited. It has the dark brooding character of 2012, yet it is also exuberant and expressive with waves of complex fruits and meat notes, and solid structure. We are thrilled with this wine, which will easily age for 15 years.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine displays complex aromas of blackberry, very ripe black cherries and dry vintage port notes, complicated by baking spices of nutmeg, vanilla, coffee and tar and savory notes of Moroccan olive, with orange rind and fine herbs.  On the palate the wine is dramatic and full bodied, with bold flavors of fresh blackberry, boysenberry and maraschino, with notes of espresso, black licorice, pastilles, peppermint and tar, lifted by musty volcanic soils, serious yet pliant tannins and ample acidity, giving a long finish, which echoes with smoke and fresh earth.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon

The Happy Canyon bottling is 50-50 blend of grapes from Grassini and Vogelzang, both top notch vineyards, exquisitely farmed for ultra high quality. Grassini Family Vineyard is planted at high density in thin soils of sandy clay loam with some serpentinite. The grapes produce wines with complex aromas and flavors of sweet ripe melons and kiwi, underpinned by key lime and baking spices. Vogelzang Vineyard has older vines (15+ years) planted on gently slopes of slightly richer maritime soils. With careful canopy management and vigor control, Vogelzang gives Sauvignon Blanc with spectacular and explosive aromatics and tropical flavors of mango, guava and pineapple that are well matched to aging in French oak barrels.

The wine was fermented and aged on its lees in 70% neutral oak barrels and 30% stainless steel. The wine demonstrates the classic Vogelzang tropical fruit notes along with the elegant energy of the Grassini vineyard and great body and length.

Tasting Note: The nose initially features bright tropical fruits (guava and pineapple), fine citrus notes (lemon), lemongrass and dried straw, and then builds into waves of rich stone fruits (peach, nectarine, apricot) and pear, complicated by striking mineral tones of granite and flint, fresh herbs (anise, basil), white floral notes (jasmine), saline notes, gooseberry, and clove. On the palate the wines is medium bodied and complex with rich yet restrained fruits (fresh mango and pineapple, pear) and lemon cream sharing time with juicy energetic acidity, which provides lift and cut on the exceptionally long finish.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Family Vineyard

Grassini is an exceptional vineyard located upon small hills and river benches of well drained, super fine clay loam soils and serpentinite. The vineyard is meticulously managed and farmed to our specifications for low yields and high quality. We source fruit from three distinct blocks and harvest, press and ferment them separately in a mixture of French oak barrels and stainless steel. In 2013 several barrels appeared to us to have the depth and concentration to repay extended aging. This wine was crafted after 16 months aging in 50% oak and 50% stainless steel, and provides the taster with kaleidoscopic aromas and flavors, from peach, honeydew, kiwi fruit, granny smith apple, pineapple and fresh coconut, to mineral notes of granite, stones, and sea shell, fresh herbs (sorrel, sweet basil) and spices (clove). Extremely limited. Only 240 cases produced.

Tasting Note: On the nose this wine delivers sweet, ripe fruit aromas peach, ripe honeydew, kiwi fruit, granny smith apple, pineapple and fresh coconut, along with fascinating mineral notes of granite, stones, and sea shell, herbs (sorrel, sweet basil) and spices (clove), On the palate, the wine delivers waves of fresh energetic fruits (apple, kiwi fruit, sweet summer nectarines and melon, along with notes of key lime, lemon curd and stony minerals. Medium bodied, but complex and expressive, the wine if lifted by excellent, mineral and citrus-laced acidity which delivers extraordinary length on the finish.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard

Situated on a gently sloping bed of well drained, gravelly loam soil with serpentinite, Vogelzang vineyard has been carefully pruned, leafed and deficit-irrigated to our specifications. We obtain fruit from three distinct blocks and harvest them differentially to obtain the highest quality fruit, which is gently pressed and fermented separately in a mixture of French oak barrels and stainless steel. In 2013 we selected a few favorite barrels for extended aging, and this wine is the result. With soaring tropical and mineral aromatics, a rich mouthful of fruits and spices and amazing texture and length, this very serious, yet absolutely delicious wine will benefit from years of development in bottle. If you can wait. Very limited. Only 300 cases produced.

Tasting Note: On the nose, deep, complex aromas of pineapple, mango, stone fruits, sweet golden delicious apples and ripe pear, with hints of raspberry, complicated by intense granite and chalk notes, sweet fresh herbs (thyme, tarragon), white flowers, and wood and baking spices (vanilla, balsa wood, cinnamon and clove). On the palate the wine is taut, but also rich and mouth-filling, with waves of tropical fruits, sweet apples, and stone fruits, lifted and cut by racy notes of chalk, granite and graphite, intermingled with citrus fruits (lemon, lime, texas red grapefruit) and round acidity. Medium to full-bodied with a long finish, this wine is serious and penetrating, and it will age gracefully for many years.

2014 Rosé, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

This wine is a southern French inspired blend of Grenache and Mourvedre, specially farmed for Rosé at the Vogelzang vineyard. We harvest these blocks in several cool night and early morning picks, and bring them straight to the winery where they are gently, whole cluster pressed over a long slow press cycle to provide just the right amount of skin contact while gently extracting maximum flavors. Always a huge hit with the critics and in the tasting room and being poured by the glass at several top restaurants, this wine will not last the summer. Stock up now for sipping by the pool, at parties, and with all your favorite grilled foods.

Tasting Note: Beautiful copper/salmon color. On the nose, aromas of fresh fruits (wild strawberry, raspberry, peach) along with floral notes of orange blossom, and hints of citrus (orange zest) and pine. On the pal¬ate, the wine delivers flavors of strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, red apple, nectarine and seville orange. Light bodied but expressive, the wine lingers in the mouth as taut acidity provides lift and stony minerality on the long, clean finish.

2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

This wine is blend of wines from across the appellation, from north on the Hwy 246 corridor to south on Santa Rosa Road and from east to the far western edge, allowing us to create layers of aromatic and flavor complexity. Vineyards include John Sebastiano (43%), La Encantada (25%), Fiddlestix (10%), Radian (10%), Bentrock (8%), Duvarita (4%). The ultimate blend marries expressive, black and red cherry fruit, with higher toned, raspberry-fruits, minerals and loads of spices (cardamom, nutmeg, clove) in a medium bodied wine of smooth texture and purity, held up by fine acids and tannic structure.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine is beautifully aromatic, combining notes of ripe, fresh cherry, rasberry, and strawberry jam, along with intense floral notes of hibiscus and orange blossom, baking spices of cardamom, cacao and vanilla, and a touch of fresh herbs (bay leaf, celery leaf). On the palate the wine is medium bodied and silky, with waves of complex ripe red fruits (cherry, raspberry, cranberry) complicated by notes of rhurbarb, fresh herbs and hints of wood smoke. The wine has ample, bright acidity, and sturdy tannins which provide structure, energy and cut on the long smooth finish.

2013 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard

After 15 months of aging on the lees, we carefully tasted all barrels and decided to craft a single vineyard wine from a few barrels from this unique, fascinating vineyard. Much like the 2012 Radian, this wine screams minerality, with great aromatics of red fruit, spices, shells and stones, terrific concentration, smooth texture, and energetic, yet pliant structure. This is a truly special place and we seek to reflect its uniqueness in this singular wine.

Tasting Note: Hailing from steep hills of diatomaceous earth, this wine deftly balances rich, concentrated fruit notes with a chalk-laced minerality. The wine opens with aromas of ripe, red fruits (cherry, strawberry, cranberry preserves), eventually supplemented by intense mineral notes of chalk, sea shell, and stone and fresh herbs (anise, thyme, sweet tarragon). On the palate the wine is medium bodied, silky and smooth, with concentrated red fruits (cherry, strawberry) mingling with minerals (stone,), red earth, herbs and citrus. The wine has proper acidity and tannic structure, providing definition, length, complexity and intrigue as the wine reveals additional fruit and mineral notes on its long finish.

2013 Pinot Noir, Cargasacchi Vineyard

In 2013, we found the lots from Cargasacchi Vineyard so distinct and unique that we decided to craft our first ever single vineyard wine from that vineyard. Cargasacchi Vineyard is located at the cool, western end of the Sta. Rita Hills, hidden in the hills near Sweeney Canyon. This mysterious, extraordinary vineyard is farmed by one the true characters (and true vignerons) of the valley, Peter Cargasacchi. Our section within the vineyard is small and typically yields tiny amounts of intensely flavored Pinot Noir. In 2013 we produced a whopping four barrels, aged them for 20 months in French oak barrels (25% new), and then bottled without fining or filtration.  The wine has solid concentration and length, being held aloft by ripe tannins and fresh acidity and will age well over the medium term. Extremely Limited. Less than 100 cases produced.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine display rich dark black cherry, raspberry and hints of blueberry, complicated by espresso, cacao and nutmeg, with notes of menthol, fresh herbs, and orange peel. On the palate the wine is medium bodied and silky smooth, with red fruits (dark cherries and very ripe strawberries) intermixed with maraschino liqueur, dark chocolate, pumpkin pie spices, black licorice, and forest floor.  As the wine finishes, it displays a mélange of fascinating, complex minerals including chalk, granite, graphite and iron.  The wine has solid concentration and length, being held aloft by ripe tannins and fresh acidity and will age well over the medium term.

2013 Pinot Noir, Duvarita Vineyard

Like us, many of you fondly remember our 2009 and 2010 Presidio Vineyard Pinot Noirs, which were widely acclaimed but produced in tiny amounts and therefore disappeared quickly. The good news is that this unique vineyard has been revitalized under new ownership, and we have partnered with them to farm three different blocks here. Farming follows biodynamic principles, and the vineyard will be certified in 2015. The wine from 2013 is aromatic and expressive, with smooth, lithe texture, and great acidity, lift, and length. Extremely limited, only 180 cases produced.

Tasting Note: Grown on steep hills of thin sandy soils, this wine displays high-pitched aromas of red fruits (cranberry, strawberry and sour cherry) flowers, dried herbs (thyme, tarragon), pine and eucalyptus. On the palate the wine is light to medium bodied and smooth, as ripe red fruits mingle with herbs, smoky spices (paprika, clove, cumin) and hints of sea shell. Gentle tannins and ripe, round acidity provide energy, citrus notes of blood orange and lemon zest and a sense of lightness though the long silky finish.

2013 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard

Fiddlestix is a renowned vineyard at the cool western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. The early morning fog and cool afternoon breezes provide Pinot Noir with a long, even growing season, which allows full phenolic maturity at reasonable sugar levels. We obtain fruit from four separate blocks (four different clones) throughout the vineyard, and each is individually monitored, harvested, fermented, barreled, and aged.  Each clone contributes complexity to the final blend. The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (28% new) and bottled without filtration.  Extremely Limited. Only 350 cases produced.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine featuring layers of dark red fruits including Bing cherry, plum sauce, raspberry, boysenberry, and pomegranate along with candied cherry, baking spices of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and smoky notes of nori, pine and forest floor. On the palate the wine is medium bodied and fresh, with waves of plush red and black fruits (cherry, blackberry, & blueberry), fully integrated with kirsch, wood spice, tar, anise, bay leaves and chalky minerality. The wine has velvety texture and excellent length, lifted by fine acids and round tannins, and will age gracefully for several years.

2013 Pinot Noir, "Black Label"

Our “Black Label” Pinot Noir represents a blend of our finest few barrels of Pinot Noir from the vintage. In 2013, we selected barrels from Fiddlestix, La Encantada, Radian, Bentrock and John Sebastiano, to create a wine worthy of the same black label we use for the MJM.  The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (64% new) and bottled without fining or filtration.  Extremely Limited. Only 225 cases produced.

Tasting Note: This young wine is still tightly coiled, presently displaying only hints of its ultimate potential. Beautiful fragrant wood spice, baking spices, espresso, and cacao frame deep dark fruits (black cherry, blackberry, ripe strawberry) and raspberry liqueur, complicated by notes of menthol, camphor, fresh bay leaf and vanilla extract. On the palate the wine is substantial, yet silky smooth, as waves of cherry, raspberry, and blackberry, mingle with notes of tar, baking spices, licorice, and subtle hints of graphite and minerals.  The wine is deep, concentrated and long, held aloft by substantial tannins, which are deftly buried in fruit and spices. This wine currently benefits from a lengthy decanting, and it will age gracefully for many years.

2012 Grenache, Thompson Vineyard

Thompson is one of the more venerable sites in the Los Alamos area and is well known for producing amazing Syrah and Grenache. In 2012 we decided that the Grenache here was unique and distinctive enough to merit bottling on its own. A tad riper and more blue fruit driven than our John Sebastiano Grenache, this wine fills the palate with expressive Los Alamos fruit (raspberry, blueberry), underpinned by spices (nutmeg), smoke and ample, citrus-laced (orange peel) acidity. With a tiny production of 180 cases, this wine is available only at the tasting room.

Tasting Note: Rich aromas of strawberry, raspberry liqueur, plum and black cherry, with hints of smoke, spices (nutmeg) and herbs (pine and anise). On the palate, the wine is rich and ripe, with medium bodied, silky red and blue fruits (raspberry, plum and blueberry) complicated by earth notes of forest floor. Full in the mouth, the wine is lifted by ample acidity, giving hints of citrus (orange), and solid but ripe tannins.

2013 Seven

Seven is our Syrah-based blend (89% Syrah, 8% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre, 1% Viognier), originally named for the seven exceptional cool climate vineyard sites from which it was comprised. We have worked with each of these vineyards for several years and have selected these sites and clones to add complexity and balance to the eventual blend. The wine is comprised of late ripening Syrah from steep slopes in the cool, windy John Sebastiano vineyard on the edge of the Santa Rita Hills; meaty, dark and deep Syrah from Stolpman and Harrison Clarke in Ballard Canyon and remarkable blue fruited, well structured Syrah from Thompson in Los Alamos Valley.  The wine was aged in neutral oak barrels for 20 months and was bottled without filtration. Although an infant, it is already starting to show off its aromatics (black, red and blue fruits with spices and hints of meat) purity and concentration. We expect it this wine to age effortlessly for 10 years and beyond. Limited.  Only 400 cases produced.

Tasting Note: This Syrah blend is noteworthy for its explosive aromatics, with thick, rich fresh fruits of blackberry, boysenberry, plum and blueberry mingling with kirsch, chocolate truffles and subtle dried meat notes of Sopressata and iberico ham, along with the hints of fresh herbs and baking spices. On the palate, the wine is rich and full bodied, with waves of red, black and blue fruits, jam, and chocolate coating the mouth before being lifted by ripe tannins and amble, yet round acidity and finishing with hints of meats (bacon, salami), anise and rich dark earth. The wine finishes extraordinarily long and fresh, as acid and mineral notes continue to support the rich fruits for upwards of a minute.  The wine will age well for many years.

2013 Syrah, John Sebastiano Vineyard

John Sebastiano Vineyard is a dramatic hillside site on the border of the Sta. Rita Hills and is one of the coolest sites planted to Rhone varietals in all of California. We farm two clones of Syrah at JSV; the own rooted 383 is located at the very top of the vineyard, on a steep, south facing hillside of clay loam, and clone 470 on east facing slopes at the northern edge of the vineyard.  Due to the cool western location and steep windy aspect, this block enjoys a long cool growing season, giving excellent aroma and flavor compounds. The wines here are cool, energetic and mineral-laden, with high toned red and black fruits, with great aromatics. This is the first single vineyard Syrah we have produced, as the signature JSV terroir was simply too interesting and expressive to be blended.  Measured use of stem inclusion adds another dimension of interest and smoky, spicy intrigue.  This wine has been showing well already, with amazing depth and complexity, though it has the stuffing to evolve for 10-12+ years.  Extremely Limited.  Only 180 cases produced.

Tasting Note: On the nose, this Grenache displays its cool climate origins, with high-register red fruits, such as ripe raspberry, strawberry and loganberry mingling with complex smoky earth notes, pine and herbal notes of fresh thyme, rosemary, mint, and oregano.  On the palate the wine is energetic and lively, as red fruits (strawberries, pomegranate) mingle with citrus notes of blood orange, orange peel and fresh herbs (thyme), anise and tar.  The wine has great lift from fresh tannins and ample, mouth-watering acidity and minerality (stones and seashells), and it finishes with great length and freshness.

2013 Rosé, Happy Canyon

This wine is a southern French inspired blend of Grenache and Mourvedre, specially farmed for Rosé at the Vogelzang vineyard. We harvest these blocks in several cool night and early morning picks, and bring them straight to the winery where they are gently, whole cluster pressed over a long slow press cycle to provide just the right amount of skin contact while gently extracting maximum flavors. We added 5% Syrah, which had been bled off the Syrah fermenters, for additional complexity and body. 2013 was a terrific vintage for these grapes; the Mourvedre was picked at low sugars, giving a lean, citrus-tinged, energetic backbone to the more juicy and complex, wild red fruits of the Grenache.

Tasting Note: Beautiful light pink to copper color. On the nose, aromas of wild strawberry and raspberry, peach skin and blood orange, with a touch of pine and earth. On the palate, the wine delivers flavors of strawberry, raspberry, pear, nectarine, fuji apple and crenshaw melon, with acidity-inspired notes of orange peel and stony minerals. Light to medium bodied, but expressive and completely dry, the wine has a smooth velvety texture and a long, clean finish.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard

The Vogelzang Sauvignon Blanc is a reserve-level, draconian selection of our favorite lots from the exceptional Vogelzang vineyard, with whom we have long term, per acre contracts, allowing us to control the farming practices, limit yields, manage the canopy and harvest in selective picks. Vogelzang fruit is particularly well suited to barrel fermentation and longer aging, and we aged this wine for 12 months on its lees in 80% French oak barrels (20% new) and 20% stainless steel barrels and then placed this wine in tank for 6 months extended aging before bottling. Only 290 cases made.

The spectacular 2012 growing season created a terrific rendition of this wine which has been much lauded by the critics in the past. In fact the 2011 version was 92 points in the Wine Advocate and was the second highest scoring domestic sauvignon blanc in that publication. Similarly, Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar scored the 2011 wine 93 points, also the second highest scoring domestic sauvignon blanc in that publication. In both cases, our wines matched or out performed wines costing 2 to 3 times more. We are confident that the 2012 will perform similarly well with the critics, but more importantly with our customers.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Family Vineyard

Grassini is an amazing site in Happy Canyon, and in 2012 we were able to work with two blocks of Sauvignon Blanc hand harvested meticulously in multiple, selective, picks. The 2012 vintage was aged on the lees (with minimal stirring) for 11 months in a combination of 20% stainless steel and 80% neutral barrel. This wine is a strict selection of our favorite barrels of Grassini, and it features the distinct minerality, lovely floral aromatics, and green-tinged citrus and tropical fruits that are the signature of this great vineyard. Extremely limited. 170 cases made.

Tasting Note: Aromas of pear, stone fruits (peach, apricot) ripe honeydew, with gentle baking spices (star anise and clove), notes of granite and sea shells, and a touch of fresh herbal notes (pine and thyme). On the palate, the wine delivers an explosive jolt of apple, kiwi fruit, sweet summer nectarines and crenshaw melon, with hints of tart wild strawberry and cranberry fruits, lifted by energetic citrus (key lime, orange peel) and stony minerals. Light to medium bodied, but complex and expressive, the wine has a smooth velvety texture and clean, refreshing acidity which deliver length and an excellent finish. The wine would be terrific with meaty fish, shellfish, roasted poultry, goat cheese and pasta with lighter cream sauces.

2012 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

This wine is a blend of several top sites in the Sta Rita Hills. John Sebastiano lies on steep, windswept slopes, and our several distinct blocks (Clones 4, 828 and 777) yield intense, fruit dominated wines. The justifiably renowned Fiddlestix vineyard provides higher register red fruits and spice. We select wines from four different blocks at Fiddlestix, representing clones 113, 115, 667 and 777, for even more complexity. La Encantada, planted by SRH pioneer Richard Sanford, gives intense, textbook black cherry fruits and baking spices in an intense, structured package. Zotovich, which is planted on almost pure sand, grows tiny berries giving elegant, high-register red fruited wines of character. Radian sits, north facing, and at high elevation on almost pure diatomaceous earth. These soils, plus the high winds and fog severely limit yields here and the wines are highly concentrated, but with great minerality and complexity. Radian’s sister vineyard, Bentrock, gives intense, energetic and concentrated wines, which are at once flavorful but elegant and balanced. We are thrilled with the blend which we think represents itself as a perfect expression of Sta. Rita Hills; juicy, rich and flavorful, yet impeccably structured and balanced.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine combines classic Santa Rita Hills notes of dark black cherry, fresh and preserved red fruits (raspberry, strawberry) and kirsch, along with baking spices, cacao, hints of fresh herbs and a touch of vanilla. On the palate the wine is concentrated and intense with ripe red fruits (cherries, raspberries) complicated by notes of rhurbarb, fresh and dried herbs (bay leaf, tarragon) and wood smoke. The wine is medium bodied, yet intense, as bright, citrus-tinged acids and round ripe tannins provide structure and energy on the long, complex finish.

2012 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard

Fiddlestix almost needs no introduction. This renowned site is located at the cool western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, where early morning fog and cool afternoon breezes provide a long, even growing season. Again in 2012 we obtained fruit from four separate blocks, consisting of clones 113, 115, 667 and 777 in precise locations in the vineyard. After careful harvesting and fermentation, this wine was aged on its lees for 17 months in French oak barrels, 22% new, without racking, before rigorous selection, blending and bottling without fining or filtration. Only 400 cases produced.

Tasting Note: Vibrant ruby color. The nose is deep and complex, featuring layers of red fruits including fresh plum, cherry, strawberry and pomegranate. High toned fruits are complimented by spices of cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and white pepper, along with a refreshing cola component and hints of pine. Well integrated on the palate, the flavors echo the nose, and build on the long finish. The wine is youthfully structured with firm, but subtle tannins which benefit from decanting.

2012 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard

Radian is a new and exceptionally promising vineyard at the very western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills. We selected our blocks from the most extreme portions at the very top of the vineyard. Our blocks are therefore at high elevation on steep, north facing slopes, and planted in almost pure diatomaceous earth. Our blocks are regularly buffeted by high winds and/or covered in fog, which severely limits yields to under 1 ton per acre. The wines are unique, highly concentrated red fruits, but with great acidity, an intense mineral streak, and complexity from earth and fresh herb notes. This wine is extremely limited and will sell out fast.

Tasting Note: This wine displays aromas of deep, concentrated red fruits (sour cherry, strawberry and sweet cranberry) along with intense mineral notes of sea shell, and wet stones and a fascinating melange of fresh and dried herbs (bay leaf, anise, thyme, tarragon) and smoky nori. On the palate the wine is rich, yet measured, as concentrated fresh red fruits intermingle with herbs and stones in a light to medium bodied frame. A solid tannic spine and notable, tangy acids provide citrus notes and intrigue, and the wine dances across the palate to a satisfying, contemplative finish.

2012 Pinot Noir, "Black Label" Sta. Rita Hills

Our “Black Label” Pinot Noir represents a blend of our finest few barrels of Pinot Noir from the vintage. In 2012, we selected barrels from Cargasacchi Sta. Rita Hills, Fiddlestix, La Encantada and John Sebastiano, to create a wine worthy of the same black label we use for the MJM. The wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels (88% new) and bottled without fining or filtration. Extremely Limited.

Tasting Note: The deepest, darkest and richest of our 2012 Pinot Noirs, the young wine is still tightly coiled, presently displaying only hints of its ultimate potential. Initially shy, with air, the wine delivers a solid core of deep, dark, black cherry flavors, complicated by creamy blackberry, raspberry and strawberry, with a solid dusting of new oak spices; vanilla, cocoa, coffee and nutmeg. On the palate the wine is substantial, yet silky smooth, as waves of cherry and raspberry laced fruits are interspersed with baking spices and vanilla. The wine, at once deep and concentrated, is held aloft by substantial, yet ripe and pliant tannins and refreshing acidity, resulting in a long, velvety-textured and satisfying finish. This wine will age gracefully for several years.

2012 Grenache, John Sebastiano

John Sebastiano Vineyard is a dramatic hillside site on the border of the Sta. Rita hills and is one of the coolest sites planted to Rhone varietals in all of California. The Grenache grows on a steep, south facing hillside of almost pure sand on the eastern edge of the block and slightly heavier sandy clay loam toward the west and at the bottom of the block. Due to the cool western location and steep windy aspect, this block enjoys a long cool growing season, permitting long hang time and the opportunity to develop excellent aroma and flavor compounds at lower sugars, and with solid acidity. We pick this block in several different passes and ferment the grapes from each pick with differing percentages of whole clusters, based upon taste and stem character. The wines here are cool, energetic and mineral-laden, with high toned red and black fruits, with great aromatics. The 2012 vintage, as described above, was excellent. A long season of warm to hot sunny days allowed the small berried Grenache to develop thicker skins, and deep, concentrated, complex flavors, while the cool nights helped the grapes retain critical acidity. This wine has great early appeal for its concentrated and sexy fruits and spices, but the backbone to age well over the medium term.

Tasting Note: Deep, rich aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberry liqueur and sour cherry, with smoky notes of nori and camphor, along with herbal notes of dried thyme, bay leaf, and anise and baking spices such as cardamom and nutmeg. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied and silky, with waves of sexy red fruits (strawberry, raspberry, sour cherry cranberry) complicated by earth notes of forest floor and pine along with black tea and black olives. The wine is lifted by energetic, citrus-laced (orange peel) acidity, while solid, yet ripe tannins provide structure for aging.

2012 Seven, Central Coast

Seven is our Syrah-based blend, originally named for the seven exceptional cool climate vineyard sites from which it was comprised. We have worked with each of these vineyards for several years and have selected these sites and clones to add complexity and balance to the eventual blend. The wine is comprised of late ripening Syrah from steep slopes in the cool, windy John Sebastiano vineyard on the edge of the Santa Rita Hills; spicy exuberant red fruited Syrah from the rocky slopes of Shadow Canyon in far west Paso Robles, meaty, dark and deep Syrah from Stolpman and Harrison Clarke in Ballard Canyon and remarkable blue fruited, well structured Syrah from Thompson and Watch Hill in Los Alamos Valley. The wine was aged in neutral oak barrels for 18 months and was bottled without filtration.

Although an infant, it is already starting to show off its aromatics (black, red and blue fruits with spices and hints of meat) purity and concentration. We expect it this wine to age effortlessly for 10 years and beyond.

Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine displays complex, multi-fruit aromas beginning with blackberry, then moving into raspberry, late season strawberry, and rhubarb pie, complimented by spices and fragrant herbs such as pine, anise, fennel seed, nutmeg, mulling spices, cinnamon, mint, and hints of citrus and citrus flowers along with dark violets. On the palate the wine is medium bodied and richly flavored, yet taut and suave, as complex black and blue fruits mingle with high toned raspberry and ripe pomegranate, fresh mint and bay leaf, pine needles, and tar. The flavors are supported by fine tannins, citrus tinged acidity and a refreshing stone/granite minerality which gives the wine a long finish now and promises further development over the next several years.

2011 MJM

MJM is our signature, Syrah-based blend, named in honor of our wives and co-conspirators Mitchi, Jen and Michelle. This wine is a selection of our favorite barrels of Syrah, blended and then given extended barrel aging as dictated by the vintage character of the wine. In 2011, the MJM was aged for 22 months before bottling without filtration. Extremely Limited.

Tasting Note: Though young, the wine already displays rich and complex aromas of blackberry, blueberry, very ripe black cherries and kirsch, along with fresh burning wood smoke and spice (vanilla, nutmeg, coffee), savory notes of tapenade and fresh beef, orange rind and herbs de provence. On the palate the wine is dramatic, with bold flavors of fresh blackberry, boysenberry and maraschino liqueur, and dark notes of espresso, black licorice, pastilles, peppermint and tar. The wine is full bodied, yet lifted by serious yet pliant tannins and ample acidity, which gives a long finish echoing mint, smoke and fresh earth.

2012 Rosé, Happy Canyon

In 2012 we selected precise vineyard blocks for red grapes that would be used specifically for this wine. After a long cool growing season, we harvested (with field sorting as always) Grenache and Mourvedre and whole cluster pressed the grapes over a long slow press cycle to provide just the right amount of skin contact while gently extracting maximum flavors. We added 5% Syrah, which had been bled off the Syrah fermenters, for additional complexity and body. 2012, as you are no doubt starting to hear, was a terrific vintage, and these grapes benefitted from being grown in almost perfect conditions. The juiciness of the Grenache and the complex, wild red fruits and orange zest of the Mourvedre work perfectly together in 2012.

2012 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

A small production run (75 cases) that we sell out (quickly) in the tasting room, this wine will be familiar to long time fans of ours. Saignée from our Pinot Noir fermenters, this wine hails from several esteemed vineyards in one of the top growing regions anywhere. Approximately 24 hours after these precious grapes are destemmed, we draw off small amounts of juice and transfer it to older French oak barrels for fermentation. At dryness, the wine is consolidated into full barrels, and malolactic fermentation blocked to retain critical acidity. The wine ages for several months before bottling.  A more full bodied Rosé, it hints at red Pinot Noir, while remaining crisp, energetic and palate cleansing.

2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon

The Happy Canyon bottling is a blend of grapes from Grassini (60%) and Vogelzang (40%), both top notch vineyards, exquisitely farmed for ultra high quality. Grassini Family Vineyard is planted at high density in thin soils of sandy clay loam with some serpentinite. The grapes produce wines with complex aromas and flavors of sweet ripe melons and kiwi, underpinned by key lime and baking spices. Vogelzang Vineyard has older vines (15 years) planted on gentle slopes of slightly richer maritime soils. With careful canopy management and vigor control, Vogelzang gives Sauvignon Blanc with spectacular and explosive aromatics and tropical flavors of mango, guava and pineapple and are well matched to aging in French oak barrels. The wine was fermented and aged on its lees in 75% neutral oak barrels and 25% stainless steel. The wine demonstrates the classic Vogelzang tropical fruit notes along with the elegant energy of the Grassini vineyard and great body and length.

Tasting Note: Pale golden in color, the wine displays aromas of guava, honeydew, white peaches, green apple, kiwi, lemon and other citrus notes and hints of fresh pineapple, complicated by mineral notes, sea salt, white flowers, gentle fresh basil and thyme and faraway hints of fresh cut grass. On the palate the wine is medium bodied, yet substantial, as waves of fresh tropical fruits, nectarines, and melons build in the mouth before being enveloped in ripe round acidity and mineral notes of granite, and sea shells. On the finish, the wine displays a fascinating complexity, as the fruit, mineral and herbal notes intermingle and dance across the palate, ending with a slight creaminess, which still maintains freshness and balance.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard

As you all know, we believe that Sauvignon Blanc is one of the great white wine grapes of the world, and we aim to produce reference point wines from this varietal. Vogelzang, in the Happy Canyon area of the Santa Ynez Valley, is particularly well suited to growing this noble grape.  Happy Canyon’s unique soils and climate – warm to hot summer daytime high temperatures and cool to cold evening lows – create wines demonstrating riper spectrum fruit flavors balanced by vibrant refreshing acidity. We purchase Vogelzang  fruit by the acre, permitting us to control the farming practices, limit yields, manage the canopy and harvest in selective picks. We feel Vogelzang fruit is particularly well suited to barrel fermentation and longer aging, and we aged this wine for 16 months in 80% French oak barrels (25% new) and 20% stainless steel barrels. Bottled unfiltered. Extremely Limited. Only 150 cases produced.

Tasting Note: The wine displays energetic, intense aromas of tropical and yellow fruits, such as mango, fresh pineapple, and sweet nectarine, complicated by gentle herbal notes, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and toasted brioche. On the palate the wine is rich and full-flavored in a medium bodied frame, as tropical fruits, melons and apricots at first appear creamy, before a racy note of chalk, minerals and wet stones provide energy and focus. The round acidity gives a long, serious and penetrating finish.

2011 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard

Fiddlestix is a renowned, expertly farmed, vineyard at the cool western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. The early morning fog and cool afternoon breezes provide a long, even growing season, which allows full phenolic maturity at reasonable sugar levels. In 2011 we obtained fruit from four separate blocks, consisting of clones 113, 115, 667 and 777 in precise locations in the vineyard. Each clone contributes unique characteristics, adding complexity to the final blend; however, the wines all bear the signature characteristics of Fiddlestix.  As always, the grapes were harvested in the early morning (or night), and we personally hand sorted the clusters in the field. We processed the fruit within hours; some is fully destemmed without crushing, some is fermented with a percentage of whole clusters (approximately 15-20% of the final blend). We cold soaked the grapes for 4 to 7 days before permitting fermentation to commence with native yeasts, and using a mixture of pigage, pumpovers and gentle punchdowns for extraction. At dryness, free run juice was drained directly to barrel and the remaining berries gently pressed separately. The wine was aged on its lees for 18 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, without racking, before rigorous selection, blending and bottling without fining or filtration. Limited.  Only 300 cases produced.

2011 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, "Black Label"

In stylistic contrast to the Fiddlestix, the Black Label, rather than expressing the nature of a single vineyard, utilizes the winemakers’ art of blending to achieve a wine whose whole exceeds the sum of its parts. Thus, after extensive tasting of the 2011 barrels, we selected five distinctive barrels of Pinot Noir: two from Cargasacchi Sta. Rita Hills, and one each from Fiddlestix, La Encantada and John Sebastiano, to create a wine worthy of the same black label we use for the MJM.  The wine was produced in the same method as usual: harvested in small, careful picks with vigorous field sorting, a 4 to 7 day cold soak, careful fermentation largely with native yeasts, and aging, on the lees, without racking, in the finest French oak cooperage, with careful and constant supervision. Ultimately we aged the wine for 18 months in French oak barrels (80% new) and bottled without fining or filtration.  Extremely Limited. Only 125 cases made.

2011 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

This wine is a blend of top sites in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, where foggy mornings give way to windy afternoons with brilliant sunshine, perfect for Pinot Noir. This wine is composed of grapes from several noteworthy vineyards including the renowned Hilliard Bruce and Fiddlestix vineyards, the dramatic, steep and windswept slopes of John Sebastiano Vineyard which provide complexity from several different clones in several distinct microclimates, the brilliant Zotovich and La Rinconada vineyards and the fascinating new Pence vineyard.  Each site is chosen to add complexity to the final blend, and is individually harvested after meticulous vineyard sampling and analysis. The grapes are hand harvested and sorted in the vineyard in the cold early mornings, destemmed without crushing (sometimes with partial whole clusters), given a 4-7 day cold soak, carefully fermented (native yeast where possible), drained and pressed straight to barrel.  After 15 months aging in barrel, without racking, the wine is painstakingly blended for complexity and balance and then bottled without filtration.

2011 Seven, Central Coast

This wine is a Syrah-based blend originating from Seven renowned and exceptional vineyards in cooler regions of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.  We have worked with each of these vineyards for several years and have selected these sites and clones to add complexity and balance to the eventual blend.  The wine is comprised of late ripening Syrah from steep slopes in the cool, windy John Sebastiano vineyard on the edge of the Santa Rita Hills; spicy exuberant red fruited Syrah from the rocky slopes of Shadow Canyon in far west Paso Robles, meaty, dark and deep Syrah from Stolpman and Harrison Clarke in Ballard Canyon and remarkable blue fruited, well structured Syrah from Thompson and Watch Hill in Los Alamos Valley.  We add small amounts of Grenache and Mourvedre for additional complexity.  The wine was aged in oak barrels (17% new) for 18 months.  The wine was bottled without filtration.

Tasting Note: Explosive aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry and grape jam, framed by deeply pitched, higher toned notes of asphalt, leather, and tar with fresh and dried herbal notes and pine, along with animal scents of smoked and dried meats and rare beef. In the mouth the wine is medium to full bodied, with great concentration and length, demonstrating fruit notes of blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, ripe plums an hints of cherry, along with tar and a mélange of dried herbs. The wine is lifted by a solid spine of brisk acids and large scaled fruit and wood spiced tannins, giving a sensation of lightness and energy. The wine will age effortlessly for several years, but is already a natural fit for both grilled and braised meats, hearty pasta (mushrooms/cream/salty Parmesan cheese) and stews.

2011 Grenache, Central Coast

After five years of patiently watching the newly planted vines grow, 2011 marks the debut vintage for our custom planted Grenache at John Sebastiano Vineyard.  Our Grenache block sits just east of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation on a gentle slope featuring two distinct soil types (sand and clay loam).  This cool climate location allows the grapes to develop full phenolic maturity and layers of delicious flavors at very modest natural alcohol levels which results in truly balanced wines.  The 2011 Grenache also features Grenache from older vines at the famed Thompson Vineyard in Los Alamos. Thompson provides Grenache with riper, rich round flavors and solid structure.  For complexity we added some Mourvedre from Jack McGinley (red fruits, spice and tar) and Shadow Canyon Syrah (intense, ripe red berries and baking spices). Very Limited.  Only 275 cases made.

2009 MJM, Central Coast

MJM is our signature, Syrah-based blend, named in honor of our wives and co-conspirators Mitchi, Jen and Michelle.  We feel that Syrah from cooler sites in Santa Barbara and Paso  Robles make wines of extraordinary depth, aromatic complexity,  elegance and longevity, on par with those from the great growing  regions of the world. We purchase fruit from renowned sites on acreage contracts so we may dictate farming, limit yields and harvest selectively, resulting in grapes of intensity and balance. 2009 was a classic cool climate year, punctuated by an early September heat wave which blasted overly exposed vineyards. Careful canopy management was critical to protect the crop from sunburn. After a mid September rain storm, October was sunny and cool, with plenty of light, allowing slow but determined ripening. The grapes were carefully harvested in late September to early November in several passes. The resulting wines were extremely intense, with great extraction and structure, and we decided to age them for nearly three years in barrel, so that the wines could fully integrate their spectacular raw materials. As you all know, we released the 2010 MJM before the 2009, and the resulting year in bottle has given the 2009 MJM even further development.  Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar reviewed this wine a few weeks after bottling and rated it “92+?”.  We think it has developed significantly since that time.  Extremely Limited.  225 cases made.

2010 Seven, Central Coast

This wine is a Rhone blend of Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre. It comes  from Seven spectacular vineyards and the hands of Seven people. Predominantly from Syrah, it represents a blend of wines from truly outstanding vineyards from diverse locations, each adding complexity and interest to the final bland.  The Syrah was aged in oak barrels (50% new) for 22 month before we blended in small amounts of Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier for additional complexity and bottled without filtration.  Although an infant, it is already starting to show off its aromatics (black fruits, meat and effusive floral notes (roses)), with plenty more to come.

2010 MJM, Santa Ynez Valley

As most of you know, MJM is the cornerstone of our Rhone program.  It is the most penetrating and ageworthy of the Syrahs we make and therefore we dedicate it to our wives, Mitchi, Jen and Michelle.  Unlike prior years, the cool 2010 vintage gave wines for more upfront fruit and softer tannins, and therefore, we bottled the wine after 22 months in barrel (approximately 37% new).  We added splashes of Grenache, Mourvedre and Viognier for complexity.  We have been sold out of MJM for a long time, and we are thrilled to have it back.  As always, this wine  is extremely limited and likely to sell out quickly.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon

The Happy Canyon bottling is a blend of grapes from Vogelzang (55%) and Grassini (45%).  The wine was fermented and aged on its lees for 11 months in 85% neutral oak barrels and 15% in stainless steel barrels. The wine demonstrates the classic Vogelzang tropical fruit notes along with the elegant energy of the Grassini vineyard and great body and length.  Goes with everything, and nothing. We think this wine improves significantly upon the 2010 Santa Ynez Valley bottling, which received glowing review and 91 points in several publications.

2011 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard

Radian vineyard is located at the far western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills on dramatically steep slopes with large amounts of diatomaceous earth in the soil. This extreme site is regularly buffeted by high winds, cooling the vineyard and robbing it of moisture.  The vines here struggle to set fruit, and only a tiny crop of small clusters are able to ripen. In 2011 the average yield was no more than .4 tons per acre, making the wine scarce. The cold site produces wines that are lean and intense, with a fascinating mineral streak and a remarkable depth of flavor even at low alcohol levels. This wine was aged in two neutral French oak barrels and promises to improve for several years.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Family Vineyard

A small production, reserve level blend of our favorite lots coming off the Grassini vineyard.  This extremely limited, 125 case bottling is a blend of 5 barrels of wine; one stainless steel, three neutral French oak and 1 new.  The wine is incredibly complex, built in a more mineral style, but with plenty of green spectrum fruits, spice and great length. It has been a big hit with all who have tasted it.  It will sell out quickly, so act fast.

2011 Pinot Noir, Ampelos Vineyard

Ampelos vineyard is carefully managed using organic, biodynamic and sustainable practices. The vineyard is located on the north and west sloping hillsides at the eastern end of the cool Sta. Rita Hills Appellation. Ampelos gets early morning cooling breezes and fog from both its proximity to the Santa Rosa corridor and the Hwy 246 corridor. Just 80 cases produced. If you were on the fence about joining the wine club, this wine should push you over.  We wish we had more!

2010 Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Santa Barbara County

This wine is a blend of top sites in Santa Barbara County: Thomson, Watch Hill and McGinley. We personally hand sorted the fruit in cool early morning picks. Within hours, we processed the fruit; a portion of the whole clusters was placed directly into 1.5 ton fermenters, and the rest was destemmed, leaving whole berries. The fruit was cold soaked for for 5-10 days, then fermented, largely with native yeasts, using a combination of pumpovers and punchdowns to gently extract maximum flavor and complexity. At dryness, the wines were pressed to barrels and puncheons and aged on their lees for 16 months.

2010 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

This wine is a blend of top sites in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, where foggy mornings give way to windy afternoons with brilliant sunshine, perfect for Pinot Noir. This wine is composed of grapes from the dramatic, steep and windswept slopes of John Sebastiano Vineyard, with some additions from Cargasacchi, Fiddlestix, La Encantada and Zotovich. The grapes are hand harvested and sorted in the vineyard in the cold early mornings, destemmed without crushing,  given a 4-7 day cold soak, carefully fermented (native yeast where possible), drained and pressed straight to barrel.  After 15 months aging in barrel, without racking, the wine is painstakingly blended for complexity and balance.

2010 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard

The famed Fiddlestix vineyard performed terrifically in the tricky 2010 vintage.  For the past several years, we have selected clones 113 and 115 from particularly well situated blocks in this expertly managed vineyard. The 113 gives spice and high toned red fruits, the 115 a deeper darker classic black cherry fruit with great structure. With partial whole cluster fermentation and 33% new French oak adding complexity, this wine has all the stuffing to improve for several years in bottle. Compared to the 2009 this wine is more vivacious and exuberant early on, showing lots of rich fruit flavors.

2010 Pinot Noir, "Black Label"

A remarkable blend of our best barrels of 2010, this is destined to the best Pinot we have made to date. The wine is comprised of 2 barrels of Cargasacchi Santa Rita Hills clone 115, 1 of Fiddlestix clone 115 and one barrel of La Encantada clone 667. The La Encantada barrel (new Francois Freres) was so deep, concentrated and complex that we simply had to consider making a reserve level wine. Blending trials confirmed that it married perfectly with Cargasacchi, and the addition of the spicy, higher toned Fiddlestix made it even better.  This is the MJM of Pinot Noir, and so it received the Black Label.

2010 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

Speaking of Pinot Noir, we made a tiny amount of Rosé from the saignee of our fantastic 2011 Pinots.  Juice is pulled from the fermenters after 24 hours of skin contact, transferred to neutral barrels and fermented to complete dryness.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley

As with the 2009, this is s a blend of grapes from Vogelzang, Grassini and Refugio Ranch, fermented and aged on its lees in 40% barrel and 60% stainless steel tanks.  2010 was a super cool year, and so we picked a full 2 weeks later than in 2009 to obtain sufficient ripeness, while retaining dynamic energy from proper acidity.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

A small production, reserve level blend of our favorite barrel fermented and aged lots, this wine combines grapes roughly half and half from Vogelzang and Grassini.  Barrel aging and occasional lees stirring, gives this wine heightened richness, while still representing the cool, minerally, energetic nature of this historically cool year. Only 275 Cases Produced.

2009 Seven, Central Coast

This wine is a Rhone blend of Syrah, Grenache & Mourvedre. It comes from Seven spectacular vineyards and the hands of Seven people. Predominantly from Syrah, the Seventh most widely planted grape in the world, it is more than just Syrah, it represents an apogee of our goals as winemakers; we help tend the finest vineyards and hand pick the best barrels for the wine, we pour all our knowledge and labor into its elevage, and we patiently wait for two years until the wine was perfectly ready for bottling.  We are extremely proud of this wine, of which we only made 425 Cases.

2011 Rosé, Santa Ynez Valley

In 2011 we selected precise vineyard blocks for red grapes that would be used specifically for this wine.  After a long cool growing season, we harvested (with field sorting as always) Grenache and Mourvedre and whole cluster pressed the grapes over a long slow press cycle to provide just the right amount of skin contact while gently extracting maximum flavors.  We added 5% Syrah, which had been bled off the Syrah fermenters, for additional complexity and body.  We think this is the best Rosé we have made to date (the competition is fierce), as the juiciness of the Grenache and the complex, wild red fruits and orange zest of the Mourvedre work perfectly together in 2011.

2010 Pinot Noir, Presidio Vineyard

We only put this at the end because it is a miniscule production wine (only 50 cases made), and most of it is gone already. Yields of 0.6 tons per acre (crazy we know), the wine is intense and juicy. The 2009 got a great review and 92 points from Antonio Galloni in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.  We think the 2010 is equally as good, perhaps even a bit more lush, with sweet dark red and black cherry aromas and flavors,  a well integrated dash of sweet vanilla from the 50% new oak, and a gentle note of anise and bay leaf.   The wine is already starting to drink well, but will reward another 2-5 years in bottle as well.

2009 Grenache, Santa Barbara County

The beautiful clusters of Thompson Grenache were largely destemmed (about 20% was left whole cluster), then fermented in open top fermenters (a mix of pumpovers and punchdowns) and raised in a mixture of 500L puncheons and small barriques for 16 months. These puncheons were often the “ooh” barrels in the cellar (and we “sometimes” snuck some out to take home and “sample” with the wives). In 2009 we also had Grenache from the nearby Watch Hill Vineyard (we get their lovely Syrah as well), which was completely destemmed.  To add complexity in the final wine, we blended the Grenache with 20% Syrah (also from Watch Hill) and 5% Mourvedre (from McGinley Vineyard) and then bottled the wine without filtration. 200 Cases Produced.

2008 MJM, California

2008 MJM is comprised of Syrah grapes from several cooler climate vineyards: Los Tres Burros in Los Alamos Valley, Shadow Canyon Vineyard in York Mountain, and Paderewski vineyard in West Paso Robles. These spectacular, ultra low-yielding vineyards produced grapes of incredible depth and intensity. Due the incredible intensity of these grapes we felt it appropriate to age them for an extended period in a significant percentage (approx. 86%) of new French oak barrels and Puncheons (coopers: Sylvain, Ermitage, Radoux, Seguin Moreau).  Each lot was fermented and aged separately for 22 months before being selected for the MJM blend. The wines were then blended (including additional varietals) and aged 4 additional months before bottling without fining or filtration. 175 Cases produced.

2009 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard

The grapes for this wine were harvested in the early morning hours, and we personally hand-sorted the clusters in the vineyard to remove unripe or damaged clusters and leaves. The grapes were processed within two hours of harvest as follows: 70% of the fruit was destemmed without crushing and 30% of the fruit remained whole cluster. The grapes were placed in fermenters and cold soaked for 4 days before fermentation was allowed to commence with native yeasts. Fermentation lasted 14-18 days. At dryness, the free run juice was drained directly to barrel and the remaining berries were pressed in a small basket press and barreled separately.  The wine was aged in French oak barrels, 33% new, for 18 months without racking and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. 175 Cases Produced.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley

In 2009 we obtained grapes from spectacular sites in the Santa Ynez Valley: Vogelzang and Grassini Family Vineyard in Happy Canyon, and an exciting new vineyard called Refugio Ranch, which is located along the northern slopes of the Santa Ynez Mountains.  We harvested the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc in selective picks, carefully harvesting only the ripest clusters. We gently pressed the grapes then separately fermented the resulting juice in a mix of stainless steel tanks and French Oak barrels (5% new).  The wine was aged its lees for 11 months prior to bottling. 600 Cases Produced.

2008 Syrah

The 2008 Syrah is comprised of grapes from several cooler climate vineyards: Watch Hill and Los Tres Burros in Los Alamos Valley and Shadow Canyon Vineyard in York Mountain, west of Paso Robles. 2008 was marked by a punishing early frost which lowered yields significantly.  The vintage was generally quite cool with only short periods of intense heat and a long cool September.  Our low yield philosophy was extremely helpful in 2008 as ripening less fruit is critical in cool years.  The grapes for the 2008 Syrah were hand harvested and sorted in the cool early morning hours throughout late September and mid October, fermented separately, and aged on its less in barrel (30% new) for 22 months prior to bottling on August 20, 2010. 325 cases Produced.

2010 Rosé Santa Ynez Valley

We sure love Grenache as a component for Rosé.  In addition to the high toned red fruits, there are refreshing pine-like and mineral notes that give lift and complexity.  Mourvedre adds slightly darker red fruits (sweet raspberry) and hints of herbs and tar.  Darker still, Syrah provides body and weight. We crafted this Rose from a blend of saignee from our Syrah fermenters and whole cluster pressed Grenache and Mourvedre.  We bottled it without fining or filtration, so it may throw a little sediment. We think it’s worth it for the flavors.  125 Cases Produced.

2009 Pinot Noir Presidio Vineyard

Presidio is an ultra-low yielding, biodynamic vineyard west of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation.  Its super-cool climate and sandy soils really struggle to ripen the persnickety Pinot Noir, which is of course, great news for winemakers. The tiny bunches of grapes yield intense, spicy wines with great aromatics. This is going to be the connoisseur’s wine, and we only made 3 barrels of it, so know that it will not be around long. 75 Cases Produced.

2009 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

In 2009 we worked with several fantastic vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills. La Encantada, planted by Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir pioneer Richard Sanford, is located on Santa Rosa Road, at the cool western margin of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, where foggy mornings give way to windy afternoons with brilliant sunshine, perfect for Pinot Noir.  Kessler-Haak is a newer project located on Hwy 246 abutting Clos Pepe, growing tiny bunches of dark, expressive Pinot Noir.  Cargasacchi-Jalama is located west and south of Santa Rita Hills, in the foggy, windswept, low-lying hills near the surging Pacific Ocean where low yields and intense Burgundian character are the norm.  Clone 113 grapes from the famed Fiddlestix vineyard provide elegance and spice.  The 2009 wines were aged on the lees in French oak barrels, 33% new, for 15 months and bottled unfined and unfiltered. 225 Cases Produced.

2009 Pinot Noir Hilliard Bruce Vineyard

Hilliard Bruce is a fantastic new Pinot Noir project at the far western edge of the Santa Rita Hills appellation. The grapes are expertly farmed in a “no expense spared” manner and destined only for their soon-to-be-announced estate label and super-serious wineries like ourselves. Our blocks consisted of clones 115 and 777 from steeply sloped hillsides with well-drained sandy soils. The early morning fog and cool afternoon breezes provide the perfect climate for ripening the fickle Pinot Noir. The wine was aged in French oak barrels, 25% new, for 15 months and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. These were some of our favorite barrels in the cellar, matching deep blue and black fruit flavors with ultra-fine texture and ripe round tannins for a long smooth finish. 100 Cases Produced.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard

Vogelzang is situated on a gently sloping bed of well drained, gravelly loam soil. The fairly rich, nutritious soil produces healthy plants which are then carefully pruned, leafed and deficit-irrigated to focus the plant’s energy on fruit development. We purchase this fruit by the acre, permitting us to control the farming practices, limit yields, manage the canopy and harvest in selective picks.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

In 2009 we had the pleasure of working with some of the finest Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in Happy Canyon including a section of older vines at the Vogelzang vineyard, and the soon-to-be famous Grassini Family Vineyard.   Our Happy Canyon bottling represents the best, most concentrated and distinctive Sauvignon Blanc we produced in 2009.  The Happy Canyon bottling is a barrel selection of our favorite barrel fermented and aged Sauvignons from 2009.  Fermented and aged in neutral French oak barrels, the wine was left on its lees for 11 months prior to bottling.  150 Cases produced.

2008 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard

At the cool western end of the Sta. Rita Hills, Fiddlestix is ideally situated for Pinot Noir.  We selected two blocks, consisting of clones 113 and 777. The 113 provides a nice bright cherry tone and spicy aromatic lift, while the 777 provides waves of darker fruit and structure.