Dragonette Cellars Fall 2015 Release

Greetings from the Santa Ynez Valley:

For the first time ever, we write this release letter after the conclusion of the harvest.  Thanks in large part to extreme drought conditions and poor set, the 2015 harvest has gone down in history as the earliest and lightest yielding harvest we have ever experienced.  Quality, however, appears excellent, and we are excited to watch these wines evolve over the next year and a half.   

Back to the present. Now that we have fulfilled our fall wine club allocations, we are pleased to announce the release of our fall wines for 2015.  This release is a special one for us, as it includes our Black Label wines, the always excellent Pinot Noir from Fiddlestix and two new wines for us: a Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noir, and our first ever single vineyard Syrah from the spectacular John Sebastiano Vineyard. It also includes the new 2013 Seven, the 2013 Grenache from John Sebastiano Vineyard, and the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon, which is already tasting great, with beautiful expressive fruits pairing with terrific energy and lift. We are excited at the quality of all these wines.  Indeed, the 2013 reds are already opening up and tasting great; the vintage seems to be exuberantly expressive, with complex aromatics, brilliant fruit and round, juicy texture.  They are not to be missed.

Offer Details

This offer will remain open until November 5, 2015. There are 6 bottle limits on the following wines:

2013 Pinot Noir, Black Label

2013 Pinot Noir, Cargasacchi Vineyard

2013 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard

2012 MJM

Allocations will be made based upon online orders.  Place your orders before the closing date, and we will attempt to fill those orders based upon available stock.  Orders will ship during the week of November 9, weather permitting.

Click here to place your order 

As we wrap up another successful harvest season and prepare to launch new vintage and new wines, we have much to be grateful for. In particular, we thank you for your continued support; it allows us to live our dream and inspires us to craft the finest wines for your table. Enjoy the wines!

The Wines

Pinot Noirs

2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, “Black Label”  *Allocation: 6 bottles*

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.

2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Fiddelstix 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.

2013 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Cargasacchi Vineyard” – *Allocation: 6 bottles*

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.


2012 MJM (Syrah-based blend), Santa Ynez Valley – *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. 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. 

2013 Syrah, John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley  *Allocation 6 bottles*

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.

2013 Seven, Santa Barbara County (89% Syrah, 8% Grenache, 2% Mourvedre, 1% Viognier)

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; 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.

2013 Grenache, John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley 

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.

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. 


As you can see from the case production numbers, these wines are all in short supply; most being made in amounts less than two or three hundred cases – or less.  Act now to avoid disappointment.  

Happy Fall,

Brandon, John, Steve and the entire DC team