2019 Fall Release
Greetings from Dragonette Cellars
We are pleased to announce the Fall Release of new wines from Dragonette Cellars.
Wine Club Members
This Fall Release does not affect your current wine club allocation. Your orders from this Fall Release will be shipped together with your Fall Wine Club allocation. You will receive these wines in your Fall 2019 Shipment (October 2019):
*2017 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard
2017 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard
2017 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard
* Red-Only members will receive the 2017 Pinot Noir Duvarita Vineyard
A club shipment announcement will be coming your way soon with further details on your upcoming Fall allocation.
The Fall Release wines all come from the extremely low quantity 2017 vintage, and include the following handcrafted wines:
2017 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard (Wine Club Fall 2019)
2017 Pinot Noir, Duvarita Vineyard (Certified Biodynamic Vineyard, Extremely Limited)
2017 Syrah, John Sebastiano Vineyard (Wine Club Exclusive Fall 2019)
2017 Syrah, “Seven” (95% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 1% Viognier) (Will be featured in Wine Club, Spring 2020)
2017 Grenache, John Sebastiano Vineyard (Red-Only Wine Club Only, Winter 2020)
2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard (Will be featured in Wine Club , Winter 2020)
Notes on the 2017 Vintage
2017, was an extremely small crop across all varieties; however, what was produced was of extremely high quality, particularly the Pinot Noirs and Sauvignon Blancs. The hallmark of the vintage was extremely cool and rainy weather during flowering, leading to shatter, particularly in the Pinot Noir and Syrah. As a result, we had a much smaller than normal crop, in many cases as much as 40% below normal. The weather was good throughout the summer and the vintage looked extremely promising, until a massive heatwave over the Labor Day weekend sent the mercury to 111 degrees Fahrenheit in the Sta. Rita Hills (and higher elsewhere!) for several days. Fortunately, we saw the heat coming and picked all the grapes that would have been damaged. Thus, we finished picking all of the Sauvignon Blanc and most of the Pinot Noir (all of the Duvarita and Fiddlestix) before the heat. Some of the cooler vineyards, such as Radian, Bentrock and Rita’s Crown were still weeks away from harvest and were able to withstand the heat, albeit with further reduction in yields due to a bit of dehydration. The quality of what was harvested, however, was excellent, with very good natural acidity. The Syrah and Grenache were not significantly affected by the heat.
The wines of 2017 show intense concentration and brooding power, and we expect that they will age well. However, they were produced in significantly smaller amounts than in past years and will not last long. This is not a vintage to wait around on.
The Release will remain open until October 3rd. Orders will ship in mid to late October, weather permitting.
Announcing Upgraded Online Store
We are happy to announce that have made some upgrades to our secure online store which will make it easier to obtain your favorite Dragonette Cellars wines.
To gain access to your account, you need only follow a few brief instructions, and you will be all set to browse the new releases and add them to your secure cart.
Fall shipping season begins soon, so let’s make sure you have all the wines you need.
Here are the details:
1. All wine club members and past website purchasers have an online account with us.
2. To access your account, go to
(you can also click on the person icon on the bottom right of any DC webpage or select account from the menu on the bottom of any webpage).
3. Click on “forgot password” and enter your email address. The system will send you a “reset password” email, and you can reset your password to get logged in. If the system doesn’t recognize your email and you believe you should be in our system, please contact us before creating a new account/login. We may have a different email on file for you and can quickly correct that.
From there you can update addresses, shipping and credit card information and be ready for fall holiday planning and gift giving.
If you have any issues accessing your account, please call the tasting room at 805-693-0077 or email email@example.com and we will help you get logged in.
2017 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills)
Radian is one of the most dramatic, remote and extreme sites in Santa Barbara County. Located at the far western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, high atop the sparse, chaparral and poison oak studded Santa Rosa Hills, it literally wraps itself around crevasses and steep cliffs. The top blocks provide a direct sightline to mighty Pacific Ocean, whose influence completely dominates the site, from the cold, powerful winds, to the salty air and the presence of diatomaceous earth (ancient fossilized algae) in the soils. We identified this site at its inception and chose a (semi-vertical) patchwork quilt of blocks, each of which yields a tiny crop of small clusters. The resulting wines are deep and intense, with a fascinating mineral streak and a remarkable depth of flavor even at lower alcohol levels. We have received several outstanding reviews on these wines.
The 2017 vintage provided the lowest yields we have ever experienced at Radian (only 35% of expected). The grapes that were picked, however, were of extremely high quality, albeit in a darker, more masculine and musclebound manner. The wine was aged on its lees for 18 months in French oak barrels (38% new). The wine has great complexity and depth of flavor balanced by terrific energy and mineral notes. Extremely Limited, Only 300 cases produced, most of which will go to the Wine Club.
2017 Pinot Noir, Duvarita Vineyard (Santa Barbara County)
We are pleased to report that Duvarita Vineyard received its Biodynamic Certification in 2017 (it takes 3 years of meticulous farming and recordkeeping). Located just west of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, the vineyard lies on south-facing slopes of almost pure sand. 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.
2017 was another solid vintage at Duvarita. The heat wave did not affect this wine at all, as it was entirely picked before the weekend. As usual the vines yielded less than 1.5 tons per acre, making the wine concentrated and in short supply. The wine was aged on its lees for 16 months in French oak barrels (17% new). The wine has volume and depth in its usual elegant package, and it is, at this point, only hinting at its usual kaleidoscopic aromatics, which are certain to unfold with time. Extremely Limited. Only 140 cases produced.
2017 Syrah, John Sebastiano Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills)
John Sebastiano Vineyard, on the eastern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, is one of the coolest sites planted to Rhone varieties in all of California. We selected sites in this vineyard at its initial planting and have been buying fruit by the acre here (and paying a premium for Organic farming) ever since, slowly acquiring new blocks and clones to increase complexity. The Syrah here enjoys an extraordinarily long cool growing season, and these grapes benefit from long hang time without the development of excess sugars or overripe elements, and plenty of acid and tannin. We now source fruit from three separate Syrah blocks, each with different aspect, slope and clone/rootstock combination. The result is a remarkably expressive wine with a cooler, blue, purple and black fruit character with lots of spices, and fantastic length.
In 2017, incredibly low yields led to a wine of intense concentration and length. The wine was aged in French oak barriques and 400L barrels (15% new) for 18 months before being bottled without filtration. This wine is a WINE CLUB EXCLUSIVE. Only 275 cases produced.
2017 Syrah, “Seven” (Santa Ynez Valley)
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 2017 Seven is comprised of 95% Syrah, 4% Grenache and 1% Viognier. The wine is sourced from John Sebastiano Vineyard (30%) Stolpman Vineyard (30%), Larner (15%), Kimsey (15%) and Spear (10%). The wine was aged in French oak barrels and puncheons (10% new) for 18 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. Extremely Limited. Only 300 cases produced (50% of normal).
The 2016 version of this wine was rated 93 points and labeled one of the “Year’s Best Syrah’s” in the Wine Enthusiast.
2017 Grenache, John Sebastiano Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills)
Our John Sebastiano Vineyard 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.
As with the Syrah, the 2017 vintage was miniscule. We utilized a significant amount of whole clusters (20%) in 2017, as we found the stems to be spicy and not bitter. The wine is typically cool, energetic and mineral-laden, with high toned red and black fruits, and great aromatics, but with good volume and weight. We only wish we had more of it. Only 75 cases produced.
2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara)
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, meticulously farmed for low yields. We harvest these blocks in multiple passes to ensure ideal ripeness levels. The wine is immediately whole cluster pressed, briefly settled and then transferred to 90% French oak barrels (228L, 350L, 500L, 276L “cigars”(10% new) and 10% stainless steel for fermentation and aging. After one year in barrels, the wine is racked to tank where it harmonized for approximately 6 months before bottling.
The 2017 has not yet been rated, but the 2016 version of this wine was the second highest scoring Sauvignon Blanc (worldwide) in the Wine Spectator. Extremely Limited. Only 235 cases produced.
John, Steve, Brandon and the entire Dragonette Cellars team