Dragonette Cellars 2016 Spring Release

The mere mention of the word “Spring” automatically triggers, in our minds, a vision of crisp, brilliant sunshine, grass-covered hills, cool afternoon breezes, and, ultimately, the sights and sounds of clinking glasses filled with pale, beautifully pink (actually, light orange with tinges of strawberry) wine.  There is a grill…and there are friends, smiling. Smiles turn to laughter. The now-fading sunlight illuminates large swaths of fantastically shaped clouds upon which we gaze in rapt attention. It is cool, but lovely to be outside, at least for a while.

Of course, we cannot expect the perfect late afternoon Central-Coast-in-Spring setting every day or everywhere, but we can picture it and its ethereal, pure beauty. We think that good wine is a natural accompaniment to such reflections; an almost required “prop” in the idealized vision of Spring, and of enjoyment more generally.

Wine is a creature born of sunshine and the earth, and it represents (perhaps as well as anything) the bounty of Mother Nature. Wine pairs so well with the great foods we grow here on planet earth because it of the same firmament. Indeed, the Europeans regulate wine (and beer) as agriculture, not as “alcohol”.  Good wine, lovingly made, is a food; a food which connects us to the earth and to each other. We share wine with family and friends, deepening the connections between us; we relax at the table, we converse and laugh and argue and interact with feeling, as humans were meant to do. Wine is a fulcrum around which pleasure can and should gently ebb and flow. Thus wine becomes a symbol of joy and happiness, and it helps us celebrate, on a daily basis, the riches that we obtain from nature.

We look forward to releasing new wines in Spring.  Wines of freshness and youth.  Wines that bring excitement today while promising great things for the future. 

Here are the Spring releases from Dragonette Cellars.  We hope they can inspire you and bring you joy.

Note to Wine Club Members: Your Spring wine club shipment will include the 2014 Chardonnay Duvarita from this general release, 2013 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard and 2013 Seven.  Your Spring shipment will begin shipping the week of May 2nd, weather permitting. ** Future shipments may include the Grassini Sauvignon Blanc and the Radian Pinot Noir, but likely those wines will be otherwise sold out.  The Rosé will not be in the club, and will be very limited this year.  We recommend ordering soon.

The New Releases

2015 Rosé, Happy Canyon. Well, it is Rosé time again! Here in Santa Barbara County we can always expect a day or two of beautiful sunshine even between the winter El Nino rainstorms which we have welcomed. But warm weather is absolutely not required for Rosé. This flavorful energetic and completely dry Rosé pairs beautifully with all sorts of dishes, from appetizers, to mildly spicy foods, and everything in between.  We like to enjoy a glass with olives while we chop vegetables and fire up the grill for the main courses.  The production numbers are down significantly in 2015, but the quality is terrific. We suggest stocking up as this wine has been selling out earlier and earlier each year.  The excitement is already building for the 2015, a worthy successor to the last several vintages of Rosé, all of which have been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle among many other publications. 75% Grenache, 22 Mourvedre, 3% Syrah. Limited.

2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Family Vineyard. We are thrilled to welcome the Grassini Sauvignon Blanc back! Always one of the favorites, this wine always disappears quickly.  Grassini is an exceptional vineyard located upon small hills and river benches of well drained, super fine clay loam soils and serpentinite.  The vineyard is meticulously managed and farmed to our specifications for low yields and high quality. We source fruit from three distinct blocks and harvest, press and ferment them separately in a mixture of French oak barrels and stainless steel. This single vineyard wine was crafted from our favorite barrels which were given extended aging. Fermented and aged in 88% oak (10% new) and 12% stainless steel, the wine developed kaleidoscopic aromas and flavors, from peach, honeydew, kiwi fruit, granny smith apple, pineapple and fresh coconut, to stony mineral notes of granite, graphite, and a touch of sea shell, to fresh herbs (thyme, basil) and spices (nutmeg, clove). Extremely limited. Only 250 cases produced. The 2013 vintage of this wine received 93 points from the Connoisseurs’ Guide (one of its highest ratings for Sauvignon Blanc).

2014 Chardonnay, Duvarita Vineyard.  Here it is. Our long-awaited and poorly-kept secret; the first Dragonette Cellars Chardonnay. As you all know, we made Chardonnay for another label for half a decade, farming and working with some of the finest vineyard sources around. In 2014, we decided to make Chardonnay for ourselves. This wine hails from Duvarita Vineyard, just west of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. The vineyard lies on gentle, south-facing slopes of almost pure sand. As of 2013, the vineyard has been farmed biodynamically, although it is not certified as of yet. The low vigor soils, small canopy and a low fruit zone combine to make this one of the earliest ripening vineyards we farm. The small clusters here give wines that are lean and elegant, with terrific intensity and minerality. We fermented this wine entirely in barrel, but only 12.5% new, so as to provide just a well-balanced kiss of vanilla and wood spice.  Melon and yellow fruits are interspersed with floral notes (white flowers, orange blossom) and gentle spices, with energy and lift from ample acidity and exceptional stone, sand and iron-ore-laced minerality. Very young, this wine is starting to open up, but will age for many, many years.  Extremely Limited. Only 180 cases produced, almost all of which will go to the wine club.

2014 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard. This vineyard is rapidly rising to the forefront of great sources for Pinot Noir in Sta. Rita Hills.  On the far western fringes of the Sta. Rita Hills, Radian sits 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. The resulting wines are lean and intense, with a fascinating mineral streak and a remarkable depth of flavor even at low alcohol levels. In 2014, we sourced fruit from 5 different blocks, fermented the wines with native yeasts and aged the wine for 16 months on its lees.  We carefully tasted all barrels and decided to craft a single vineyard wine from a few barrels from this unique, fascinating vineyard.  Much like the 2013 Radian, this wine has intense chalky minerality, which is evident on the nose along with high toned, red fruits, some baking spices (nutmeg) and earth. It has terrific concentration, smooth texture, and energetic, yet pliant structure. This is a truly special place, and we seek to reflect its uniqueness in this singular wine. Very Limited, only 475 cases produced.

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Invitation to Visit

Our winter storms (more to come!) have turned our beautiful valley the most gorgeous shade of early season green. All Californians, it seems, have been thrilled and energized by the rain, the new growth, snow on the mountaintops (a huge Sierra snowpack!) and water in the rivers and streams. In between storms, we have enjoyed the usual central California sunshine, with occasionally warm (70s-80s) days. It is truly an excellent time to visit. A relatively short ride from LA/OC/SD or the Bay Area, and you are in a wine country paradise; not only beautiful, but overflowing with cutting-edge, world class wines. So come visit us in the tasting room in bucolic Los Olivos or make an appointment for a winery tour.  Details are on the website

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to seeing you soon,


John, Steve and Brandon and the Dragonette Cellars Team

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