2014 Fall Release

September 2014

Fall Release: 2012 Pinot Noir Black Label, 2011 MJM, 2012 Seven, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon 

The Wines

2012 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, “Black Label” – $75  *Allocation: 6 bottles*

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.

Our 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.

2011 MJM, Santa Barbara County (93% Syrah, 6% Grenache, 1% Viognier) – $65  *Allocation: 6 bottles*

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.

The Wine Advocate, in a pre-release tasting, called the 2011 MJM “outstanding” as it “offers additional spice, cedar, white pepper and licorice to go with core of ripe black raspberry and currant fruit. Medium to full-bodied, balanced and nicely textured, it has loads of character and scores high on drinkability.”

Our 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 Seven, Central Coast (89% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 1% Viognier) – $40

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.

Jeb Dunnick of the Wine Advocate, tasting a barrel sample wrote of the 2012 Seven, “[I]t has beautiful richness, medium to full-bodied palate weight and complex aromas and flavors of cassis, blackberry, chocolate, wild herbs and plenty of spice. This nicely textured, balanced effort will drink well on release and age gracefully for 5-7 years. 90-92 Points.”

Our 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.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara – $28 

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 but 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 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.

Our 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 wine 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.