Fall 2012 Release
Harvest News and New Releases of the 2011 Sauvignon Blancs, the 2010 Syrahs (Seven and MJM) and the Wine Club Only 2011 Pinot Noir, Ampelos Vineyard.
We are entering the homestretch of Harvest 2012. The Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs are put to bed, and the Syrah and Grenache are almost all in. We have had a fantastic season so far and look forward to making terrific wines. Indeed, after 2010 and 2011, this was almost an uneventful growing season. Spring weather was very good; there was no frost, and we had warmth during bloom and set, meaning that yields were reasonable, but not excessive. As we have mentioned repeatedly, we buy fruit by the acre in most cases, and reasonable yields mean healthy crop load for the canopy and, frankly, better economics. Also, we had a good amount of heat this summer, meaning we had sufficient plant energy for ripening, without any of the torrid heat spikes we have seen in past years. Highs briefly climbed into the 100s on a couple of occasions, but nothing like 2010 or 2006. Finally, August, September and October have been mostly rain free, meaning that we have had no botrytis (rot) to speak of. We expect quality to be very high for the 2012s. Stay tuned.
Now, for wines in bottle. We are in the midst of shipping out the new releases to the wine club members, who, as you all know, get the first chance to buy the new stuff. Therefore, we can now announce the release of the newest wines to the wider public. These new wines include two new Sauvignon Blancs; one an appellation blend from Happy Canyon, and the other a single vineyard bottling from the exceptional Grassini Family Vineyard. We also have two new Syrah-based wines to release; the 2010 Seven and the long awaited 2010 MJM. All of these wines are very limited in supply, and we suggest that you act fast to purchase these before they run out again.
We know that many of you (like us) crave Pinot Noir. We did recently bottle a new Pinot Noir, the 2011 Pinot Noir Ampelos Vineyard; however, it is made in such small quantities that it was immediately sold out and will only be available to the wine club. We are saving a few for new wine club signups. Our next Pinot Noirs are months away.
With that, here are the new wines.
Our 2011 Sauvignon Blancs
As most of you know, we are, we think justly proud of our Sauvignon Blanc program. We source fruit from two of the finest Sauvignon Blanc vineyards anywhere, and spend more time out in those vineyards that just about anyone. Consequently, the critics have responded positively:
“Dragonette Cellars has quickly made a name for itself as one of California’s top sources for sauvignon blanc.” Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“[N]o one does [Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc] better than Dragonette.” Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate
“Dragonette Cellars is pushing the boundaries of the Sauvignon Blanc Frontier in the Happy Canyon district of Santa Barbara County.” MaryAnn Worobiec, Wine Spectator
Our new releases are, we think, the best Sauvignon Blancs we have made to date. Part of that is an interesting, but ultimately excellent vintage for Sauvignon Blanc, 2011. Another factor is that we have dialed in our blocks in the two vineyards we work with, and have, we think, come up with an ideal ratio of barrels, stainless barrels and tanks for these fine wines. So here they are; as usual made in very small quantities.
2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara – $28
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.
Our Tasting Note: Aromas of mango, guava, cantaloupe, white peaches, fresh pineapple and lemon curd are complicated by chalky minerals, floral notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom and geranium, and spice notes of fresh ginger, bay leaf and clove. The palate is substantial, with medium to full bodied flavors of peach, melon, pineapple and kiwi fruits that build with air and turn gently creamy. The wine finishes long, with ripe, yet assertive acidity, framed by distinctive, lime and lemon tinged citrus notes and hints of minerals and sea spray.
2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Family Vineyard, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara – $38
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.
Our Tasting Note: This wine displays fruit aromas of honeydew, green apple, yellow watermelon, and fresh coconut flesh, along with floral and herbal notes of white flowers, mint, lavender, fresh tarragon, bay leaves, and hints of balsa wood and bright green grass. As the wine opens it further displays fig, white peach, mint and a resinous note of basil. In the mouth, the wine is medium to full bodied showing riper melon (cantaloupe, honeydew), white nectarine, and creamy key lime and lemon meringue, with complicating tones of raw almond, hazelnut, cardamom and clove.
2010 Seven, Central Coast – $40
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.
Our Tasting Note: Explosive aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry and grape jam, framed by deeply pitched notes of asphalt, peat, bitter walnut, and pine, along with animal scents of smoked and dried meats and rare beef. In the mouth the wine is full bodied and bracing, with blackberry fruits, creosote and dried herbs lifted by a solid spine of brisk acids and large scaled fruit and wood spiced tannins, promising a long life ahead in the bottle.
2010 MJM, Santa Ynez Valley – $58
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.
Our Tasting Note: This Syrah-based blend displays explosive aromas of blackberry, boysenberry, blueberry and grape jam, framed by deeply pitched notes of asphalt, peat, bitter walnut, and pine, along with animal scents of smoked and dried meats and rare beef. In the mouth the wine is full bodied and bracing, with blackberry fruits, creosote and dried herbs lifted by a solid spine of brisk acids and large scaled fruit and wood spiced tannins, promising a long life ahead in the bottle.
2011 Pinot Noir Ampelos Vineyards – $54 (Sold Out – Wine Club Only)
We’ll be brief. This 80 case production was the only Pinot Noir we felt we could bottle after a year in barrel, and it is really coming around nicely. The wine has classic juicy, sexy Santa Rita Hills black cherry aromas and flavors, with some interesting herbal notes, a terrific texture and great length for such a young wine. If you were on the fence about joining the wine club, this wine should push you over. We wish we had more!
It has been an amazing harvest and an incredible year. We are welcoming several new states this month – Hello New York, Washington DC/Virginia, and Florida! Others are hopefully coming on line soon. In the meantime, we are always ready to ship direct to you. Keep in mind that everything here is handcrafted in tiny quantities, so please place your order as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Visit our online store, or come see us in Los Olivos!
As always, thanks for your support.