2013 Spring Release

May 2013

 New Releases:  Fiddlestix and Black Label Pinot Noirs.  Sauvignon Blanc, on the Horizon. Upcoming Events.

Greetings Everyone:

Pinot Noir.  The noble red grape of Burgundy. The ethereal and mysterious chanteuse who stimulates the nose and dances across the palate.  Complexity, texture, seamlessness, power and concentration without weight. A wine that makes extraordinary matches with food, and which can be drunk both young, for its primary fruit or aged for its maturity and secondary nuances.  Thirsty?  Well we are.  And we are proud to announce that two of our favorite wines have now been bottled and are ready for sale and consumption. But before we go there; be advised that these are, naturally, made in miniscule quantities and will likely disappear soon. Because both show immediate charm and the depth and balance to age over the medium term, we suggest grabbing as many as you can as soon as you can.  But you all know the drill by now.  And, without further adieu…

New Release: 2011 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard ($54 retail)

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.

Our Tasting Note: Despite its youth, this wine already displays terrific depth and complexity within its medium bodied frame.  The nose is a mélange of high toned red fruits; black cherry, raspberry and pomegranate, interspersed with smoky notes of charcoal, nori and black licorice and Asian spices of cardamom and star anise. On the palate is medium bodied, presenting classic Santa Rita Hills black cherry fruit with notes of dried cranberry, rhubarb, strawberry jam, complicated by energetic citrus notes of blood orange zest and pomegranate pith which then merge with herbs (thyme), wet earth and stony minerals. The wine has solid acids and fine grained tannins providing lift and a long, complex and fascinating finish.

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2011 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, “Black Label” ($75 retail)

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.

Our Tasting Note: The deepest, darkest and richest of our 2011 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.
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Upcoming Release – 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon

As you may have heard, the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc sold out much faster than expected. We have a host of (pleasantly) angry brokers, distributors, and restaurants who wanted that wine and who were severely disappointed by its quick disappearance. We have spent the last few months cajoling them and promising great things from the 2012.  Well, we can report that the release date for the 2012 Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc is fast approaching – perhaps as early as the middle of May. And it will be a remarkable wine, with depth, concentration, and style to spare.  At once serious and deep, it is also brash and energetic. A child prodigy that plays Beethoven, but also reads Henry Miller and listens to Pearl Jam.  Keep a lookout; this wine is going to make quite a splash when it arrives.  And we will all breathe a sigh of relief. Coming Soon.

Upcoming Events

A quick note on upcoming events.  We have a very busy May and June ahead of us and will send the full slate of events soon.  However, we did want to let you know about some events taking place in the next few days:

Thursday May 9th 

Winemaker Pouring at The WineYard

WineYard, Thousand Oaks, CA

5:00 – 8:00pm

Join Brandon for a taste of the new releases.  Please call Stacey or Lisa at the WineYard for more details: 805-230-2773

Saturday May 11th 

Winehound’s: “Big Santa Barbara Wine Tasting”

SoHo, Santa Barbara, CA

1:00 – 4:00pm

Please call Winehound at (805) 845-5247 for tickets and more info.

Monday, May 13th

Sta. Rita Hills Tasting  

The Firehouse at the Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

Trade Tasting Noon – 3:00pm

Consumer Tasting 5:00 – 7:30pm | $39.00


We’re hitting the road along with our friends from the Sta. Rita Hills.  Come and taste a wonderful range of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah (We’ll be pouring a few surprises “under the table” so ask for a taste!)

Tuesday, May 14th

Sta. Rita Hills Tasting

Starks Steak House, Santa Rosa

Consumer Tasting at Starks Steak House

5:00 – 7:30pm | $30.00

For tickets email:

We’re excited to be venturing North with our friends from the Sta. Rita Hills.  Come and taste a wonderful range of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah (We’ll be pouring a few surprises “under the table” so ask for a taste!)

Wednesday, May 15th

Dragonette Winemaker Dinner

Fig Restaurant, Santa Monica

We are extremely excited to announce a one-of-a-kind Winemaker Dinner at the beautiful Fig Restaurant in Santa Monica.  Chef Ray Garcia will personally visit the world-famous Santa Monica Farmers Market and then he and his team will craft a unique seasonal menu to pair with our wines.  Don’t miss it!

RSVP: For Reservations, please call Fig at 310.319.3111.

And Finally

As always, we thank you for listening and for your support.  We have enjoyed meeting so many of you in the tasting room and out on the road, and we are always thankful to find, somewhere in this vast country, there are like minded souls who appreciate not only the goal of quality but also the journey that it, as an element, inspires. No matter what walk of life you come from, we are happy to meet such like-minded folks, and we get great pleasure from hearing your stories as well. We find a great commonality with you in the search for and recognition of quality; whether it be in wine, food, travel, experience or, especially, love.  This is why we make these wines; to share with you our most sincere efforts to divine a great wine from a patch of soil.