2013 Winter Release

February 2013

New Releases – 2011 Sta Rita Hills and Radian Vineyard Pinot Noirs and 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang. 

Greetings from the Santa Ynez Valley:

Happy Winter! December and January have brought with them several (always needed) rainstorms and cold frosty mornings – often in the 20’s.  The vines are completely dormant at this point, and we will soon start pruning back last year’s growth and preparing the vines for (hopefully) another excellent growing season.  As is typical this time of year, the icy mornings are accompanied by absolutely brilliant sunshine, bathing the freshly green hills and mountains in glorious yellow light, against a backdrop of piercing blue skies. With a cold storm or two, we can also see snow covering the Los Padres Mountains to the north and occasionally even the San Marcos Pass to the east. With any luck, the sunshine will warm us up into the upper 60s or 70’s and we will feel as if we have stolen a few hours of springtime.  We love the crisp beauty of this time of year, which really is a perfect time to visit, away from the crowds and heat of the summer.     

In the cellar, we have been busy crafting several new wines, which are now safely in bottle and ready to hit the streets. In particular, we are thrilled at the return of the Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, our complex, energetic blend of wines from several renowned vineyards.  We sold out of the 2010 Sta Rita Hills in record time, and it feels great to finally have the 2011 in stock.  Additionally, we are extremely excited about a tiny production (48 cases!), single vineyard Pinot Noir from the extreme, hauntingly dramatic Radian Vineyard at the far western edge of the Santa Rita Hills.  This high toned, spicy, earthy, concentrated wine is sure to disappear in a matter of weeks, so you will have to act fast to obtain some.  Finally, there is the new release of the 2011 Sauvignion Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard, which spends 16 months in barrel in order to fully integrate its amazingly complex flavors and aromas. This largely oak aged, reserve level wine is a singular expression of Sauvignon Blanc, made in tiny quantities, and will also disappear fast (as did the 2009; there was no 2010).   

Now that the wine club has had its first shot at these wines, we can release them all to the wider public.  Place your orders quickly; we don’t want anyone disappointed. 

2011 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills – $44

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. 

The 2010 version was 92 points in the Wine Spectator and 90 from the Wine Advocate and International Wine Cellar.

Our Tasting Note: On the nose, the wine is dramatic, combining large scaled black cherry, raspberry and kirsch notes with vanilla, cocoa, baking spices and hints of fresh herbs and nori. On the palate the wine is full bodied but measured, marked by waves of ripe fruit (fresh and preserved cherries and rhubarb) intermixed with notes of vanilla, caramel and fresh and dried herbs (bay leaf, tarragon) and pine.  Fresh acids give the wine energy and lift, before handing it off to ample tannins for a long, velvety-textured and satisfying finish.

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2011 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard – $54

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.  

Our Tasting Note: A dynamic, yet intense nose is highlighted by strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and Rainier cherries, complicated by citrus notes (orange peel), anise, sweet tarragon, cloves and cardamom.  The wine is elegant and focused on the palate, as waves of fresh ripe fruits and hints of preserves mingle together with earth notes in a medium bodied package. The wine is intriguing and complex, as it is amply supported by round, ripe acids and noticeable but pliant tannins.  Extremely limited, only 48 cases made. Maximum purchase – 6 bottles.

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2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard – $48

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 month in 80% French oak barrels (25% new) and 20% stainless steel barrels. Bottled unfiltered. Extremely Limited. Only 150 cases produced.

The 2009 version was 92 points in the Wine Advocate.

Our 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.
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A Note on Supply, Timing, and Shipping

As you can see from the above, these wines are made in miniscule quantities.  Historically, we have seen these wines disappear within weeks. We process orders in the order they are received, and we simply cannot guarantee that these wines will remain available for long. Act fast to ensure your wishes are met. All out of town orders will be safely held at the winery until the weather permits them to be shipped. Most California orders will be shipped beginning on approximately February 15. 

In Closing

We continue to be pleased with the progress we have made over these last several years, and we thank for your part in our story.