2021 Pinot Noir, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
Historic Sanford & Benedict is the original Pinot Noir vineyard (est. 1971) in the Santa Ynez Valley (Sta. Rita Hills was not established until 2001). We purchase fruit here from two distinct blocks of older vines (1999) and oldest vines (1972), buying by the acre so we may employ specialized pruning and organic farming practices. These stately vines stand tall on their enormous trunks, while still producing a solid crop of beautifully concentrated grapes. The resulting wines display sappy red and black cherry fruits with old-vine style and grace.
The 2021 wine represents this esteemed vineyard well. A product of a long, slow growing season, the wine has tremendous depth and complexity, but amazing elegance and balance from great acidity and fine-grained tannins. This wine is a worthy successor to the 2020, which received 96 points from Jeb Dunnuck who called it “one of the finest Pinot Noirs from this vineyard in 2020.”
Extremely Limited. Only 350 cases produced.
2021 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard
Radian is a magical place. The landscape is stark, steep, scraggly and covered in poison oak and chapparal. The planted slopes are battered daily by cold, salty, high winds, and the soils are parched dry and silty, with diatomaceous earth outcroppings and thin layers of sandy and clay topsoils that cling to the ground against the onslaught of the mighty Pacific’s fury.
The vines here struggle to produce minuscule 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. This is a singular site, producing a singular wine, and one we are always thrilled to make.
In 2021, the Radian grapes were harvested late, from early to mid-October. The very long year meant we had tremendous flavor development, while acidities remained excellent. The 2021 Radian was fermented on native yeasts, and the wine then aged on its lees for 17 months in French oak cooperage (27% new) before bottling without fining or filtration.
The 2021 Radian Pinot Noir is 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 fine tannins. Texturally, the wine is graceful despite the fruit power due to citrus and mineral laced acidity. It is a worthy successor to the 2020, which was lauded as a “wonderful wine” and given 97 points by James Suckling.
Very Limited. Only 500 cases produced, most of which will go to the Wine Club in October 2023. We have a small portion available for sale now. We suggest you get yours very soon or risk missing out.
2021 Pinot Noir, Bentrock Vineyard
Bentrock, sister vineyard to Radian, is located at the far western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills on steep slopes of sandy and shale loam soils and diatomaceous earth. This site is regularly buffeted by ocean winds and cooled by daily fog giving a long, slow growing season. We select grapes from several distinct blocks at different aspects (two north facing, one south facing) and elevations (375-525 feet above sea level) from across the vineyard. The wines from here are intensely fruited but in a leaner frame from the cool location. Wines show red fruits, gentle baking spices, herbs, and marine influenced minerals. Farming is Certified Sustainable (SIP), without herbicides.
The 2021 Bentrock Pinot Noir is composed of wines from three different blocks and clones (115, 113, & 667) from across the labyrinthian vineyard (it snakes across four separate ridges and mesas overlooking the Santa Ynez River). The almost perfect growing season allowed long hang tine and great flavor development, with the added bonus of fabulous natural acidity from the cool year. The wine was fermented with 12% whole clusters and aged on its lees for 15 months in French oak barrels (12% new). The wine shows fresh, lifted, energetic red fruits, some baking spices and savory herb notes, good depth, and a wonderful silky texture in a medium bodied frame. A versatile wine, it could pair with anything (roast poultry, grilled meats, cheese, mushrooms, etc.)
Extremely Limited. Only 190 cases produced.
2021 Pinot Noir, Duvarita Vineyard
Duvarita Vineyard, just west of the Santa Rita Hills appellation, lies on south-facing slopes of almost pure sand. The grapes here are farmed biodynamically, without tilling and with sheep for weed management (and their, ahem, “inputs”). To say that owner Brook Williams is a crusader would be an understatement. 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.
2021 was another low yielding year at Duvarita. Yields were limited by uneven set and the effect of a long drought. The very small crop we did harvest though had remarkably good acidity and concentration. The wine was aged on its lees for 15 months in mostly once-used French oak barrels.
Beyond Limited. Only 75 cases produced.
2021 Pinot Noir, Collaboration (tasting room and wine club only)
Now in its third iteration, this wine was created in “Collaboration” with our Staff. The final blend of six barrels was crafted from more than a dozen barrels from several vineyards. Ultimately, the favorite blend contained wines that were 67% Bentrock Vineyard and 33% Radian Vineyard. The final blend is made from mostly (98%) destemmed fruit from 100% neutral barrels. No egos were harmed in the production of this wine.
We think the 2021 Collaboration shows exuberance, happiness, and smiles, with waves of intriguing red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate) and fabulous mineral laced acidity, with a kiss of salt from the nearby Pacific.
The Staff enjoys selling it at the Tasting Room ONLY. Ask to try it when you are in town, and we are sure you will want to take some home.
Extremely Limited, only 150 cases produced.
As we near the summer months and temps across the country rise, please note that we have Fedex refrigerated shipping available (if needed). Shipments go out every two weeks throughout the summer so no need to wait until Fall to enjoy these wines. Most areas have little or no upcharge for this service. We will, of course, check every shipment and let you know if temperature control is needed for yours. Orders in by May 14th are eligible to ship temperature controlled May 15th for delivery on May 23rd/24th. The last mile of the delivery is via Fedex Express AM delivery and thus important for an adult to be present for your delivery day. Business addresses are highly advised for temperature sensitive shipments.
Please enjoy these wines in health and happiness, with family and friends, with great meals or without, and let us know how they made you feel. We love to hear from you! And come visit us in Los Olivos or Buellton. The green hills, blue skies, sunshine and cooling breezes are a great backdrop for tasting the terrific wines of Santa Barbara.