2019 Spring Release

Springtime. Brilliant sunshine, green hills from the abundant (thankfully!) winter rains, and the first pushing of the young shoots from the vines. As always, the vigneron is filled with energy and optimism as the vines begin their march toward creating the grapes for the 2019 wines. There will be much work ahead as we monitor the quantity and quality of the shoots and clusters, the potential for vigor in the canopy, and the potential crop. In the cellar, we have completed all bottlings for 2019, and we are now planning for the 2019 harvest (buying barrels, fine tuning vineyard contracts as necessary). And, we have shipped off the Spring wine club; filling an entire 53-footer with happy packages on their way to our valued wine club members.

It is now, therefore, time to announce to the 2019 Spring Release! We have the exciting arrival of the longest aged 2016 Pinot Noirs, the Fiddlestix and Black Label, and the newest MJM, the majestic 2015. For whites, we have a fabulous (though very limited) crop of whites: the 2017 Sauvignon Blancs from Grassini (sold out/wine club only) and Grimm’s Bluff Vineyards, along with the new 2017 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills. Finally, we announce the release of two 2018 wines, the Rosé (Grenache) and the Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon.

Wine Club Members
This announcement of the Spring Release is going out to the general public, and thus it does not affect your current wine club allocation(s).

You have already received the 2016 Pinot Noir Black Label and 2016 Seven in your Winter 2019 shipment and the 2016 Fiddlestix and the 2015 MJM in your Spring shipment. You will receive the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Vineyard in the Fall 2019 shipment.

We did, however, want you to know about other exciting wines that are not part of the wine club program (we can only put so many wines in the club shipments!)

The Wines

Pinot Noirs
2016 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard
2016 Pinot Noir, Black Label (Extremely Limited)

2015 MJM (Extremely Limited)

Sauvignon Blanc
2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Vineyard *Wine Club Only*
2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Grimm’s Bluff Vineyard
2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara (Blend)

2017 Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills

2018 Rosé, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Most of the wines in this offering are extremely limited, some less than 25 cases remaining. Additionally, the warmer weather means that shipping options will be limited. As a result, we are keeping this offer open to May 15, 2019.

The Wines



2016 Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills)

The Fiddlestix vineyard performed admirably in 2016, and we are pleased to introduce our 10th vintage of this wine. Grapes from five separate blocks (five different clones) comprise this wine, each of which was individually monitored, harvested, fermented, barreled, and aged. We fermented this wine with selective use of whole clusters (15% of the blend). The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (15% new).

The 2016 version of this wine is beautifully textured and very long, with great spice intrigue from whole clusters and the signature red fruits of Fiddlestix. Not yet rated, but a worthy successor to the 2015 version of this wine which was given 93 points by Jeb Dunnuck and 92 by Antonio Galloni. Extremely Limited. Only 350 cases produced, most of which was sent to the wine club. Order now!

2016 Pinot Noir, Black Label (Sta. Rita Hills)

Our “Black Label” Pinot Noir is our most sought-after Pinot Noir. It 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 2016, the wine was comprised of grapes from Radian (50%), Fiddlestix (40%) and Bentrock (10%). The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak barrels (37% new). This wine is always well received by the critics – the 2015 version of the Black Label received 95 points from Jeb Dunnuck and 93 Points from Galloni. Only 325 cases made, most of which went to the Wine Club. Only a few remain.


2015 MJM Santa Ynez Valley (Syrah Blend)

Our signature Syrah, 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 2015 this wine was selected from multiple blocks at three great vineyards: Stolpman (45%), John Sebastiano (38%) and Kimsey (17%). After selection and blending, the wine was put back to barrel and ultimately aged 27 months in oak barrels (25% new).

A product of the ultra-low-yielding, highly concentrated 2015 vintage, the 2015 MJM is clearly a wine for the cellar. Drinkable now with a good decanting, the wine is large scaled and intense, with big black and blue fruit flavors, notes of game and spice, the wine features a full-bodied frame with tremendous structure and length. This wine will easily age for 15-20 years.

The 2014 and 2013 MJMs were 95-point wines (Dunnuck and Wine Enthusiast, respectively) and we expect similar acclaim with the 2015. The smaller vintage meant that it is extremely limited. Only 330 cases were produced, most of which was just shipped to the wine club. Order soon or miss out.



2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Grassini Family Vineyard – Wine Club Only/Sold Out.

Grassini is one of the stars of Happy Canyon. It was planted 2007, with high density spacing on thin soils of sandy clay loam with some serpentinite. We purchase the fruit from three distinct blocks here, paying by the acre so that we can employ special pruning, canopy management and crop load strategies, limit irrigation and control yields. We harvest, press and ferment each block (or portion of a block) separately in a mixture of French oak barrels (75% of the total, 5% new) and stainless steel (25%). The result is highly complex, expressive and concentrated wine.

The 2017 wine was crafted from our favorite barrels from the vineyard, which were given extended aging. The wine shows 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). The 2016 version of this wine received 92 points from Galloni and the Wine Enthusiast. Wine Club Exclusive. Only 250 cases produced, which is all going to the wine club in the Fall.

2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Grimm’s Bluff Vineyard

Grimm’s Bluff is one of the most exciting projects in the Santa Ynez Valley. The vineyard was planted for the purpose of producing the highest quality grapes, and it has been lovingly farmed with biodynamic methods since its inception. We source fruit from three blocks here, the largest section in the unique head trained section of the vineyard. The vineyard produces tiny clusters for Sauvignon Blanc, resulting in low yields and extreme concentration. This fruit demands fermentation and aging in French oak barriques and specially designed cigar shaped barrels, sur lie, in order to match the texture of the wine, and to allow for a long slow evolution.

In 2017, we aged the wine for 16 months before a gentle cross flow filtration and bottling. The wine is simply loaded with character; it is incredibly taut and precise, with large scaled flavors and concentration in a steely, mineral flecked, highly driven style. We think this wine will age extremely well, 10 to 15 years at a minimum. Only 125 cases produced, we know this wine will be very well received. Get some while you can.

2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

By now, most of you will have heard about Happy Canyon’s unique soils (marine, sand and serpentinite) and climate (warm to hot summer days and cool to cold evenings) which are ideally suited for producing exquisite Sauvignon Blanc. We have been sourcing fruit here for over a decade now (and prior to the establishment of the AVA) and have gained a solid reputation for crafting wines of distinction from these grapes. We utilize acreage contracts at several exceptional sites here and work continuously with the vineyard teams throughout the season to achieve plant balance at lower yield in order to maximize fruit quality.

2018 was a surprisingly cool vintage, coming after a series of very warm, early harvest years. Late budbreak and a cool summer led to a long season that extended into late September. Yields were healthy further extending the season. Late August and September were quite cool, with moderate daytime highs, lots of clouds and cold nights. The grapes, generally, moved very slowly toward full ripeness, with harvest being spread throughout September.

The wine is a blend of grapes from three top vineyard sources: Grassini (60%), Vogelzang (34%) and Grimm’s Bluff (6%), with a total of 9 separate and distinct blocks represented in the final blend. The site diversity provides complexity to the wine which was fermented and aged for 7 months in oak barrels (73%) and stainless steel (27%). The wine admirably succeeds the 90-91 point wines from past several vintages, with perhaps an little extra energy and freshness, but no less flavor. Enjoy with fish and shellfish, vegetables and sunshine.


2017 Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills

The 2016 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills was a huge hit, and we think the 2017 is even better. Lower yields and new vineyard blocks make this wine even more chiseled and intense, while still enjoying solid ripeness, flavors and texture. Grape sources for his wine are all organic or SIP certified sustainable and include Donnachadh (Clones 4 and 548) – 50%, Spear (Clones Wente & 96)(30%) & Bentrock (96)(20%). The use of multiple blocks and clones increased complexity, as did fermentation and aging in French oak (10% new), 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; only 225 cases were produced.


2018 Rosé, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara

Here it is! The 2018 Rosé is officially released, and it is a winner. 2018 saw a return to the weather of the cooler years such as 2010/2011 which allowed the grapes more hangtime than during the last several years. Flavor development was excellent, even at lower sugar levels. This wine is a blend of Grenache from Vogelzang vineyard and another mystery vineyard of great promise of which we are sworn to secrecy.

We are debating internally whether this is the best Rosé ever. Wild strawberry, watermelon jolly rancher, citrus notes of ripe orange and a blast of juicy acidity highlight this energetic lip-smacking wine. The perfect wine for spring and summer! Only 575 cases produced, most of which is already spoken for at restaurants and shops. It will not last long.

In Conclusion

Please enjoy these wines; we had a fantastic time crafting them. We also recommend joining the wine club to ensure access to the most limited production wines as well as special events, such as pick up parties, vineyard walks and library tastings. Call the Tasting Room at 805-693-0077 for details or go online at

John, Steve, Brandon and the entire Dragonette Cellars team