Rhone Release


New Releases
2020 Syrah, Seven
2020 Grenache, Peake Ranch Vineyard
2019 Syrah, MJM 

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.
Greetings Everyone:

We are happy to announce the release of our newest wines: the 2020 Syrah Seven, 2020 Grenache, Peake Ranch and the 2019 MJM. ** Note: We were unable to make a John Sebastiano Syrah in 2020, but that wine will return in the 2021 Vintage.

Summer has been just about perfect here in Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley, as the world’s biggest refrigerator, the Pacific Ocean, has done its job of cooling the region as always.  The warmer parts of the Valley (Happy Canyon) have hot days in summer, but afternoon winds and nightly fog moderate conditions substantially (highs in the mid-90s, lows in the 50’s). Our cooler regions (Sta. Rita Hills) are kept mostly below 80 degrees by the omnipresent ocean influence, with lots of daytime sun (“refrigerated sunlight” as grapegrowing pioneer and local legend Richard Sanford calls it) and nighttime fog. So far, 2022 looks very strong, with solid grape set across all varieties. Canopies have been positioned and leafed and, frankly look great. We are catching up after a very cool Spring, but, thankfully, not too fast.

The wines in this release come from the miracle 2020 vintage, which we have already discussed in prior emails. A generally cool year was upended by a series of punishing heatwaves in August-October and devastating fires elsewhere in the State. We fortunately avoided smoke effects here, and thus we call it a miracle vintage. Although we saw some dehydration and yield reduction, we also found underlying acidities were still excellent, making for delicious, balanced wines of great charm.  We are sure you will love them.

The Wines

2020 Syrah, Seven (Santa Ynez Valley)

**Note to Wine Club Members – This wine will appear in your Spring 2023 Shipment (April 2023). 

Seven is our Syrah-based blend, originally named for the seven exceptional cool climate vineyard sites from which it was comprised. Over the years we have refined our vineyard sources (dropping some, expanding into others), selecting precise blocks and clones to increase aromatic and flavor complexity. The 2020 Seven is comprised of 96% Syrah and 4% Grenache sourced from top-flight vineyards in Sta. Rita Hills and Ballard Canyon: 37% Stolpman (Ballard Canyon / Sustainable), 29% Kimsey (Ballard Canyon / Cert. Organic), 26% Spear (Sta. Rita Hills/Cert. Organic), 8% Larner (Ballard Canyon/Organic). The wine was aged in French oak (228L barriques, 400L, and 500L puncheons), 5% of which was new, for 9 months before being blended and then returned to barrel for an additional 8 months aging before bottling.

We are thrilled with the performance of this wine, as it is already beginning to show explosive, complex aromatics (red, blue and black fruits, spices and meats), lovely texture with vibrant, layered red, blue and purple fruits, but also plenty of acidity and tannic structure to provide a long finish for such a young wine. We expect this wine to continue to develop for 5-10 years and to last for well over a decade after that.

Not yet rated, but the 2019 was rated 94+ points Wine Advocate (Erin Brooks).

Very Limited. Only 550 cases produced.

2019 Syrah, MJM (Santa Barbara County)

**Note to Wine Club Members – This wine will appear in your Winter 2023 Shipment (January 2023). 

MJM is our flagship, Syrah-based blend, named in honor of our wives Michelle, Jen and Mitchi. We farm Syrah from several precise blocks in both Ballard Canyon and Sta. Rita Hills, and we select only the finest, most dramatic, barrels for this blend, to which we add small amounts of Grenache. The resulting wine is given additional aging until we feel it is ready for bottling. Depending upon vintage, élevage lasts anywhere from 24 to 34 months.

The 2019 Vintage was generally cool, except for some late August heat that helped push the sun loving Syrah toward ripeness. September was cooler again, and the grapes marched slowly toward ripeness, with uneven clusters being removed in numerous passes. Harvest took place between late September and Mid October. The grapes had great color and intensity, but with a real sense of freshness from the excellent acidity. The 2019 MJM was crafted from wines from John Sebastiano (60%), Stolpman (30%), and Larner (10%). Clones included 470, 383, Estrella, 174, Alban 1, and 3. This dramatically intense wine was aged for a total of 28 months in the finest French oak cooperage (Sylvain, Ermitage & Seguin Moreau) of which 60% was new.

The 2019 MJM is deeply concentrated, well structured, and regal, with exuberant black, purple and blue fruits, framed by super high-quality oak, spices and a touch of herbs. It will slowly unfold over the next 10 years and keep another 10 after that, but it makes a heady statement already. We think it reminds us a little of the 2011 version which has been tasting great.

The wine has not been rated. The 2018 MJM was 95-97+ Points Jeb Dunnuck.

Extremely Limited. Only 400 cases produced, and most of that will go to the Wine Club in the Winter Shipment (early February 2022).

2020 Grenache, Peake Ranch Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills)

Grenache at Peake Ranch grows on a south-east facing hillside of sandy and clay loam on the eastern edge of the cool Sta. Rita Hills. Syrah in Sta Rita Hills is typically picked very late but at relatively low sugar levels for Grenache. These grapes produce a cool, energetic, mineral-laden wine with juicy, high toned, aromatic red fruits, fresh herbs, and good structure for aging.

In 2020 vintage, the Grenache was harvested in early October after the third heat event, and immediately prior to a fourth one. Due to high level smoke from distant fires, we decided to destem 100% of the Grenache (typically we use up to 25% whole clusters). The grapes were fermented in 1.5-ton, open top fermenters by native yeasts. At dryness, we drained the free run juice and gently pressed the remaining berries, and then transferred the wine to a large French oak 1200L Muid, where it aged for 7 months before being racked to smaller vessels (500L puncheons and 228L barriques) for 10 more months aging before blending and bottling. The wine is a little more generous of fruit than past vintages of Grenache, but it still maintains a cool edge with bright raspberry fruits, spices, and a fabulous texture. Enjoyable now, the wine will improve for 5-7 years and hold much longer.

Extremely Limited. Only 120 cases produced.

Visiting Santa Ynez Valley

Summer is a great time to visit Santa Ynez Valley. We have long warm to sometimes hot summer days that spill into clear warm nights perfect for dining al fresco with some of the best wines made anywhere. Due to our small size, we are not typically crowded or congested. Mornings are crisp, perfects for hikes, biking, horseback riding, tennis, golf, or even rowing out on Lake Cachuma. We even have hot air ballooning. The beaches of Santa Barbara & Jalama are close and uncrowded. Afternoons are perfect for going wine tasting in town or at our friends’ gorgeous estate vineyards, and of course, there are plenty of great dining options as well.

Make a reservation here for wine tasting in bucolic Los Olivos (the Tasting Room or the Study) or amongst the barrels at the Winery in Buellton.

We will see you soon!


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