Late Spring Release


New Releases
2020 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard 
2020 Pinot Noir, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
2020 Pinot Noir, Collaboration (Tasting Room & Wine Club ONLY)

These wines are extremely limited
There’s only so much to spare of these wines as most of their case production is allocated to the current or upcoming Wine Club, so be sure to act fast.

Spring is in full swing here, with our typical cold mornings, sunny skies, and windy afternoons. A few days of heat in late March kicked off the last of budbreak in the coolest spots, but since then it has been relatively cool, and we are now seeing some measured shoot growth. A few small rain showers hit in mid-April, but we are likely to the end of the rain season.  A little more than 10 inches, about 2/3 of the “normal” average.

In the cellar we are bottling the last of the 2020 wines (save the 2020 MJM), taking care of the 2021 wines, and planning for the 2022 harvest. It is the usual ebb and flow of the winemakers’ year, with finishing one vintage, caring for the next and planning for the future all at the same time.

It is also time to release the 2020 single vineyard Pinot Noirs from Radian and Sanford & Benedict. As always, the production numbers are small for these wines and most of them are reserved for club members (Radian and S&B will be in the Fall Wine Club).  We are able to make a small amount available to the rest of the world. Club members are welcome to add a few more to their allocations, of course.  No reviews of these wines, yet, but both were 96 points Jeb Dunnuck in 2019.

The Wines

2020 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard

Radian is always one of the most anticipated wines we make, and it is one of the quickest to sell out every year. Production is up, slightly in 2020, but so is the size of the wine club. This wine will not last long.

Radian is simply a magical place; albeit one with a slightly dark underbelly. One could imagine that it was the site of ancient battles between mythical characters of good and evil, and the outcome perhaps a tenuous peace treaty that left a little of both. Physically, the location feels like a blend of an ancient Greek island like Delios with Big Sur. The landscape is stark, steep, scraggly and foreboding. Exposed slopes are battered by high winds, while in the hidden crevasses, lie little groves of foresty oaks and chaparral and poison oak which hide the snakes, boars, hawks and other wildlife. The soils are parched dry and silty, with diatomaceous earth outcroppings and thin layers of sandy and clay topsoils that are blown aloft in the daily salty ocean winds. There are few people out here, mainly the hearty vineyard teams that crawl up and down the steep rows, covered from head to toe to escape the dust. It is occasionally hot up here, but rarely still. Here, you would read John Steinbeck and bring lots of water.

The vines struggle to produce minisucle yields of tiny clusters. But those clusters are immensely flavorful, the thick skins giving firm, robust tannins, which are enveloped by the deep dark fruits, spices, and fresh & dried herbs. The 2020 Radian was completely destemmed, and then fermented on native yeasts, and the wine then aged on its lees for 18 months in French oak cooperage (35% new) before bottling without fining or filtration.

The 2020 Radian Pinot Noir is, typical to its site, deep and complex, with a dark red fruit profile (some black cherries and red plums, with raspberry liqueur, pomegranate) with leafy rhubarb and forest floor notes, a streak of granite and minerals, and a good solid backbone of herb-edged, but round tannins. The oodles of fruit are packed tightly together, and the resulting texture is unctuous and silky, until finely wrought, citrus-laced acids, pick up the fruit and gently draw it out on the palate for minutes. We are proud of this wine, and it fits nicely into the great procession of past Radian Pinot Noirs!

This wine was made in tiny quantities (490 cases), most of which will go to the Wine Club in October.  We have a small portion available for sale now. We suggest you get yours very soon or risk missing out!

2020 Pinot Noir, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills)

While Radian is wild and unforgiving, Sanford & Benedict is almost pastorally idyllic, yet it is also full of magic. We imagine a gentleman farmer and his wife, looking for a homestead on the outskirts of thick, oak-forested mountains. They happen, by chance, upon an ancient spring, and decide to stay the night to investigate. Woodland nymphs, fairies and other creatures live playfully nearby, and they adopt the unassuming family that, smitten with the land, decides to stay.  The creatures, provide luck and beneficent guidance as the couple plants vines across the gentle rolling hills below. The vines grow thick, powerful and generous in the thick clay loam soils, strewn with rocks, the site of an ancient landslide. One can feel the buzzing cosmic energy of this vineyard as one travels up high on the hill and closer to the ancient aquifer that feeds the land.

We began working with fruit from the old vines (50 years) here in 2018, paying by the acre for our sections to ensure organic farming. The grapes have that old vine magic, and we decided to make a single vineyard wine from this terrific terroir. The 2020 is a fantastic representation of that site. The wine is cool, sappy, and exuberant, with fresh red fruits, a gloriously pure texture and some real intensity that lingers on the palate.

The wine was aged on its lees for 16 months in French oak barrels (25% new) and bottled without fining nor filtration.  Extremely Limited. Only 325 cases produced. This wine will also be in a wine club shipment, so very little is available for sale outside the club.

2020 Pinot Noir, “Collaboration” (Sta. Rita Hills)

This wine was produced in “Collaboration” with our entire staff, with whom we painstakingly selected three distinct barrels from Bentrock and one barrel from Radian for this wine. We evaluated a dozen barrels from multiple blocks with varying amounts of whole cluster, new oak, and other attributes. The final blend is all destemmed fruit from 100% neutral barrels. We think the wine shows complexity, balance, and exuberance, with waves of intriguing fruit and good structure.

Bentrock vineyard is the sister vineyard of Radian, lying just to the east on similarly steep slopes and outcroppings of rocky soils. Slightly lower in elevation and a little more protected from the wind, it is nonetheless, a fantastic site. The vineyard generally faces north, limiting sun exposure. Bentrock enjoys daily ocean winds and cooling fog creeping up and down the Santa Ynez River. The resulting wines are intense and deeply concentrated, with cool red fruits (cherries and raspberries), spice, minerals, and a cool hint of fresh herbs wrapped in a finely textured, medium bodied frame.

Extremely Limited, only 95 cases produced and only available to Wine Club members and Tasting Room / Winery visitors.



— John, Steve, Brandon
and the entire Dragonette Cellars team