2018 Spring Release
We are pleased to announce the Spring 2018 release of new wines. This exciting release includes the following low production, handcrafted wines:
2015 Pinot Noir Duvarita Vineyard
2015 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard
2015 Pinot Noir Black Label (Wine Club Only/Sold Out)
2015 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard (Wine Club Only/Sold Out)
2016 Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills (New Wine)
2015 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Vineyard
2015 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard (Wine Club Only/Sold Out)
2017 Rosé, Happy Canyon
Wine Club Members – This Spring Release does not affect your current wine club allocation. You have already received the 2014 MJM, 2015 Pinot Noir Fiddelstix Vineyard and the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Vineyard in the Winter 2018 Shipment. You will receive the fully allocated 2015 Black Label Pinot Noir and 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard and the 2015 Seven in the Spring 2018 Shipment in April/May 2018.
The 2015 Vintage was highly successful quality wise, yet the quantities were extremely low. Thus, supplies of these wines are far below those of prior vintages. Additionally, the growth in the wine club since last year means that only a small number of cases of most of these wines are available for purchase.
2015 was the last year of a historic five-year drought, which combined with significant shatter due to poor weather during set, kept yields extremely low. What little fruit was on the vine however, benefitted from a warm, but not overly hot vintage, allowing for full ripeness at good acid levels. The resulting wines are some of the most concentrated wines we have seen in our fifteen years of production, yet they retain balance and energy from good structure as well. They should age easily into their second decade and beyond.
Details- This offer will remain open until April 1, 2018. Allocations will be made in the order received, based upon wine club membership level and order history. 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 April 15, 2018, weather permitting.
2015 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills)
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 five separate blocks (five different clones) throughout the vineyard, and each is individually monitored, harvested, fermented, barreled, and aged. Each clone contributes complexity to the final blend, as does the selective use of whole cluster fermentation on selected lots (13% of the blend). The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (21% new). Extremely Limited. Only 330 cases produced. The 2014 version of this wine was rated 92+ points by Jeb Dunnuck and 91 points from Antonio Galloni.
2015 Pinot Noir, Duvarita Vineyard (Santa Barbara County)
Duvarita Vineyard, just west of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation lies on south-facing slopes of almost pure sand. The grapes here are farmed biodynamically. The low vigor soils, small canopy and a low fruit zone combine to make this one of the lowest yielding and earliest ripening vineyards we farm. The small clusters here give wines that are lean and elegant, with terrific intensity, minerality and a remarkable depth of flavor even at lower alcohol levels.
2015 was an excellent vintage at Duvarita, perhaps the most concentrated ever, and the wines will absolutely repay aging. The wine was aged on its lees for 16 months in French oak barrels (17% new). The wine has great volume and depth and is, at this point, only hinting at its usual kaleidoscopic aromatics, which are certain to unfold with time. We recently received word that the 2015 Duvarita will receive 95 points in the Wine Enthusiast, and with supplies extremely low, you should secure some without delay. Extremely Limited. Only 140 cases produced.
2015 Pinot Noir, Black Label (Sta. Rita Hills) – Wine Club Only/Sold Out
Our “Black Label” Pinot Noir is our most exclusive wine and is reserved for wine club members only. The Black Label Pinot Noir is a reserve tier blend of our favorite barrels of Pinot Noir from the vintage. Stylistically, this is the boldest, most dramatic Pinot Noir in our portfolio. We select individual barrels for their complexity, intensity, structure and velvety mouthfeel. This wine typically contains the highest percentage of new oak barrels and will be the most long lived of our Pinot Noirs.
In 2015, the wine was comprised of Radian Vineyard (55%), Fiddlestix (27%) and La Encantada (18%). Four different clones were utilized at Radian (114, 115, 667, 777) along with three at Fiddlestix (113, 115, 777) and one at La Encantada (667) adding depth and complexity. The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (55% new). This wine is always well received by the critics, and although the 2015 has not been reviewed yet, the 2014 version of the Black Label received exceptional reviews, garnering 94 points from Jeb Dunnuck and 93 Points from Vinous Media. Wine Club Exclusive. Only 260 cases made.
2015 Grenache, John Sebastiano Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley – Wine Club Only/Sold Out
John Sebastiano Vineyard is a dramatic hillside site, which lies on the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation (the TTB recently amended the SRH to include all of JSV in the appellation as of the 2016 vintage). It is one of the coolest sites planted to Rhone varieties in all of California. Our Grenache grows on a steep, southeast facing hillside of fascinating diversity. On the eastern edge, the block is almost pure sand, while as one moves to the west, there is heavier clay loam mixed with the sand. Moving west the block contains longer rows which start at higher elevation and extend to lower elevation than the eastern rows. As a result, we pick this block in several different passes, sometimes as much as two weeks apart. Due to the cool western location and steep windy aspect, this block enjoys a long cool growing season, giving excellent aroma and flavor compounds at lower sugars, with solid acidity.
We ferment the grapes from each pick with differing percentages of whole clusters based upon fruit and stem character of each section. The sandier sections tend to give smaller clusters with more high-toned aromatics, and good spicy stems. The more heavily clay sections provide weight, structure and depth. We blend the diverse wines from these sections to make a finished wine that is typically cool, energetic and mineral-laden, with high toned red and black fruits, and great aromatics. The 2015 vintage was easily the most concentrated and deeply intense wines from this terrific site, and we know it will repay aging over the medium term. The wine still retains freshness and a serious tannic spine, and it will age well for at least 10 years. Vinous Media (Galloni) scored the 2014 93+ Points. Only 125 cases produced; this is a Wine Club Exclusive.
2015 Seven, Santa Ynez Valley (Syrah Blend)
Seven is our Syrah-based blend, originally named for the seven exceptional cool climate vineyard sites from which it was comprised. We have refined our vineyard sources for this wine over the years, selecting precise blocks and clones to increase aromatic and flavor complexity, rather than sheer fruit power. The 2015 Seven is comprised of 93% Syrah, 6% Grenache and 1% co-fermented Viognier. The wine is sourced from Stolpman Vineyard (40%), Kimsey (40%) and John Sebastiano Vineyard (20%). The wine was aged in neutral oak barrels and puncheons for 20 months before blending and bottling.
We are thrilled with the performance of this wine, as it is already beginning to show off explosive, complex aromatics (red, blue and black fruits, spices and meats), a rich, yet lifted palate, smooth texture and a scintillatingly long finish for such a young wine. We expect this wine to continue to develop over the coming years and to last for well over a decade. Limited. Only 350 cases produced. Early reviews are spectacular, including a 92 in the Connoisseurs’ Guide, with more to come.
2014 MJM Santa Ynez Valley (Syrah Blend)
Our signature Syrah, named in honor of our wives Mitchi, Jen and Michelle, this wine is a selection of our favorite barrels of Syrah, blended with small amounts of Grenache and Viognier, and then given extended barrel aging as dictated by the vintage character of the wine.
In 2014 this wine was selected from multiple blocks at four great vineyards: John Sebastiano (40%), Stolpman (25%), Harrison Clarke (20%), and Thompson (15%). After selection and blending, the wine was put back to barrel and ultimately aged 27 months in oak barrels (25% new).
We are thrilled with the 2014 MJM which is ripe and juicy yet retains a note of freshness and lift from natural acidity and ripe tannic structure. Signature cool climate Syrah notes of black and red fruits, spices and meat notes are intermingled amongst the sturdy structure. Approachable now, this wine will easily age for 10-15 years.
The 2014 MJM is already getting critical acclaim with a fantastic review and 93 point score in the Connoisseurs’ Guide, with others certain to come (the 2013 MJM was a 95 and cellar selection in the Wine Enthusiast).
2016 Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills
A new wine from the Dragonette Cellars team, the 2016 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills is crafted much in the same manner as the Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. We source fruit from committed growers from multiple exceptional sites across the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, each with its own terroir, and then blend these wines to achieve great complexity and balance. From a stylistic perspective, the wine is decidedly cool climate, with beautiful mouth filling flavors hoisted and held aloft by terrific mineral-laden acidity. The overall package is perfectly balanced to encourage continued sipping, and ultimately bottle aging for the rest of your bottles.
Grape sources are all organic or biodynamic and include Spear, Donnachadh (formerly Stowaway) Radian, Duvarita, and Rita’s Crown. We chose multiple blocks and clones at each vineyard, and individually harvested each block in the cool morning hours, with field sorting. We gently pressed the whole clusters, settle the juice overnight and then transfer the juice directly to barrels for fermentation and aging, with partial malolactic fermentation occurring spontaneously in barrel. The resulting wine is aged for 15 months on its lees without stirring, before selection, blending and bottling.
We love the complexity and energy of this wine, which represents a true cross section of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. A tiny production, this wine will likely not leave California. Very Limited. Only 325 cases produced.
2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard – Wine Club Only/Sold Out
Vogelzang is situated on a gently sloping bed of well drained, gravelly loam soil with serpentinite in the heart of Happy Canyon. We’ve leased several acres here for a decade now, taking full responsibility for pruning choices, canopy and crop management and deficit-irrigation strategies. Fruit from Vogelzang is of the highest possible quality, with yield goals of about three tons per acre, and harvests in multiple passes across the blocks to ensure ideal ripeness levels. The wine is immediately whole cluster pressed, briefly settled and then transferred to oak barrels of varying sizes (228L, 350L, 500L, 276L “cigars”), a small portion of which is new oak, for fermentation and aging. After one year in barrel, the wine is racked to tank where it harmonizes for approximately 4 months before bottling.
In 2015, the grapes were extremely low yielding due to set issues and the lingering multi year drought, and the wines are intensely concentrated; showing great depth, even at solid acidity levels. The wine is rich but precise, with tropical fruits balanced by spices, hints of fresh herbs and intense, stony minerality. This is very serious wine that will age extremely well, yet it is already capable of providing great pleasure. The wine is a worthy successor to the 2014 version, which was one of the highest scoring Sauvignon Blancs of the year (93 Points; Two Puffs) in Connoisseurs’ Guide and 90 points from Robert Parker and Jeb Dunnuck. The 2015 wine is SOLD OUT, as it is a Wine Club Exclusive. Only 200 cases produced.
2015 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Family Vineyard.
Grassini is an exceptional vineyard located upon small hills and river benches of well drained, super fine clay loam soils and serpentinite in the southern part of Happy Canyon. 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 85% oak (12% new) and 15% 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 200 cases produced.The 2014 vintage of this wine received 92 points from Antonio Galloni’s Vinous and Jeb Dunnuck’s JebDunnuck.com.
2017 Rosé, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
2017 saw the first wet vintage in some time, with deluges in January and February that flooded Northern California, while dumping a good 25 inches on us in Santa Barbara. Despite the rain, we did not have excess vigor as spring was cooler than normal, punctuated by poor weather at set, leading to a smaller than average crop. Summer was warm, even hot at times in Happy Canyon, and was punctuated by a massive heat spike over Labor Day weekend. Our Grenache was picked before the heat, giving us good ripeness, yet plenty of acid to provide structure and lift. The 2016 vintage of this wine received 91 points from Joshua Raynolds of Vinous Media.
The 2017 Rosé is highly flavorful, with strawberry, raspberry and watermelon notes, filling the mouth until a whipsaw of mineral and citrus laced acids. It is a tad more substantial than the 2016, yet with plenty of juicy acids and great energy. The Rosé pairs with all manner of food, from appetizers and olives to seafood and vegetables. This wine will be a great accompaniment to sunshine as well. Enjoy!
Please enjoy these wines in happiness and health. And do join our wine club so that you can gain access to the wine club exclusive wines and special events. Call the Tasting Room at 805-693-0077 for details or go online at www.dragonettecellars.com.
As always, we thank you for your continued support,
John, Steve, Brandon and the entire Dragonette Cellars Team