“This is a beautiful set of new releases from Dragonette, and they excelled with both their Pinot Noirs and Rhone blends.”
Review by Jeb Dunnuck, eRobertParker.com, #214 (Aug 2014)
90 Points – 2012 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills
Kicking off the Pinots, the 2012 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is a beauty. Giving up classic, earthy notes of underbrush, forest floor, spice and assorted red berry fruits, it’s medium-bodied, supple and beautifully textured. Coming from John Sebastiano, Fiddlestix, La Encantada, Zotovich, Bentrock & Radian vineyards and aged 15 months in 18% new French oak before being bottled un-fined and unfiltered, drink it over the coming 4-6 years.
93 Points – 2012 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard
My favorite of the two Pinots, the 2012 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard comes from miniscule yields of 0.57-0.88 tons per acre and was completely destemmed and aged 15 months in 22% new French oak. Bottled un-fined and unfiltered, it’s a smoking effort that offers fabulous concentration and richness to go with earthy blackberry fruit, ground herbs, crushed rock and tinges of sweet oak. Medium to full-bodied as well as thrillingly textured and layered, it stays classy and focused from the start to the finish. It’s hard to resist now, but will evolve gracefully through 2022.
90 Points – 2012 Dragonette Cellars Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard
A blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah that spent 15 months (on lees) in neutral French oak puncheons, the 2012 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard offers sweet kirsch and strawberry fruit, pepper, licorice and hints of toast to go with a medium-bodied, supple and elegant profile on the palate. Coming from one of the coolest sites for Grenache, all from sandy soils, and harvested in October, it has good ripeness, fine tannin and solid length. Enjoy it over the coming 5-6 years.
90-92 Points – 2012 Dragonette Cellars Syrah Seven
The 2012 Seven checks in as a blend of 89% Syrah, 10% Grenache and 1% Viognier. Coming from mostly Santa Barbara vineyards (a few from Westside Paso) and spending 20 months in neutral oak, it has beautiful richness, medium to full-bodied palate weight and complex aromas and flavors of cassis, blackberry, chocolate, wild herbs and plenty of spice. This nicely textured, balanced effort will drink well on release, and evolve gracefully for 5-7 years.
90 Points – 2011 Dragonette Cellars MJM
The 2011 MJM is a step back from both the 2009 and 2010, yet is still an outstanding wine. Made from 93% Syrah, 6% Grenache and 1% Viognier that spent 22 months in 90% new French oak, it offers additional spice, cedar, white pepper and licorice to go with core of ripe black raspberry and currant fruit. Medium to full-bodied, balanced and nicely textured, it has loads of character and scores high on drinkability. Enjoy bottles over the coming 4-5 years.
93 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars MJM
Similarly styled, yet showing the cooler nature of the vintage, the 2010 MJM (92% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 3% Mourvedre and a splash of Viognier) spent less time in oak compared to the 2009, spending 22 months in 22% new barrels. Due to this change in aging, it was actually released before the 2009. Showing rocking aromas and flavors of cassis, black raspberry, licorice, smoked meats, graphite and hints of iodine, it flows onto the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, fabulous concentration and a seamless, layered and silky texture. I love the overall purity and balance here, and it will continue to impress through 2022.
92 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars MJM
Finishing up with a small vertical of their MJM cuvee, the 2009 MJM is 91% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 3% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier that spent a full 33 months in 78% new French oak. It offers beautiful smoked plums and currant-styled fruit as well as notions of chocolate, lead pencil and roasted herbs to go with a rich, full-bodied and voluptuous style on the palate. Made in a pedal-to-the-metal style, it stays lively and fresh, and will continue to thrill for another 2-4 years.
90 Points – 2012 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard
More classic in style, yet still a ripe, rich effort, the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard has plenty of peach, mint and citrus blossom in its medium-bodied, balanced and textured profile. As with the Vogelzang Vineyard, it stays nicely balanced, has nicely integrated acidity and a clean, beautifully focused finish. Drink it over the coming year.
89 Points – 2012 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard
The 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard (aged 16 months in 83% French oak and 17% stainless steel barrels) gives up notions of mint, flower oil and ripe peach to go with a medium-bodied, layered and textured profile that stays fresh and clean. It will be versatile on the dinner table and drink nicely for a year or two.
Review by MaryAnn Worobiec, winespectator.com, July 2014
90 Points – 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Aromatic, with floral and tropical details adding intrigue to the mango, melon, peach and citrus flavors. A juiciness weaves in and out, leading to a long, detailed and spicy finish. Drink now. 1,100 cases made. –MW
90 Points – 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Grassini Family Vineyard
Offers an intriguing mix of sweet grass, basil and hay aromatics up front, with a core of lemon juice, candied orange peel and grapefruit pith. Whiffs of smoke and gunpowder mingle on the intense, smooth and refreshing finish. Drink now. 170 cases made. –MW Country:
90 Points – 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Vogelzang Vineyard
Presents a laser beam of white grapefruit, lime and lemon notes, with tangy acidity and fresh accents of thyme, watercress and lemon verbena. Powerful and refreshing. Drink now. 290 cases made. –MW
93 Points (Editors’ Choice)- 2012 Pinot Noir, Radian Vineyard
Rather dark and intimidating at first glance, this bottling comes from a big elevation vineyard planted on starkly white diatomaceous soils above the Sta. Rita Hills. Aromas of cherry, uplifting spices and stone minerality lead into a silky palate of tar, black fruit, violet and fleshy meats. It’s heavy duty but elegant, and likely to sell out quickly at just 200 cases. Editors’ Choice -M.K.
91 Points – 2013 Rosé, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
August 2014 issue.
Joshua Raynolds, Issue 171 November/December 2013:
91 Points – 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara($28) Green-tinged yellow. White peach, poached pear and toasty lees powder on the complex nose. Offers intense, spice- and floral-accented flavors of fresh citrus and orchard fruits, with complicating herb and buttered toast elements. Finishes long and pure, with very good breadth and lingering spiciness. This very serious, extremely well made white wine will age effortlessly thanks to its vibrant acidity. 75% of this wine was fermented in neutral oak and the balance in stainless steel.
92 Points – 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara($38) Light, bright yellow. Highly pungent aromas of Meyer lemon, poached pear, smoky minerals and fresh flowers. Fleshy and very rich but also lively, with deep pear and passion fruit flavors underscored by a nervy citrus zest nuance. The mineral and floral notes linger on a long, sappy finish with excellent clarity and precision.
93 Points – 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara($48) Light yellow-gold. Pungent aromas of ripe pear, peach nectar, beeswax and white flowers, with a bright mineral overtone. Precise, spicy pit and citrus fruit and vanilla flavors are supported and sharpened by chalky minerality and a gingery nuance. Concentrated and powerful but lithe, in the manner of the best Loire Valley versions of the variety. Finishes on a smoky note, with outstanding clarity and persistence.
91 Points – 2011 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills($44) Vibrant ruby-red. Powerful aromas of red and dark berries, cola and sassafras, with subtle woodsmoke and vanilla components adding depth. Spicy, incisive raspberry and bitter cherry flavors show very good depth and energy, picking up a floral pastille note with air. Supple and sweet on a finish framed by fine-grained tannins.
92 Points – 2011 Pinot Noir Radian Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills($54) Bright red. Energetic red berry and Asian spice aromas are complicated by notes of smoky minerals, orange zest and pungent herbs. Taut, linear and gently sweet, offering vibrant redcurrant and raspberry flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate. A sexy floral pastille element comes up with aeration and carries through a long, supple and gently tannic finish.
92 Points – 2011 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills($54) Bright ruby-red. Dark berries, cherry pit and smoky minerals on the perfumed nose. Bitter cherry and black raspberry flavors are sweetened by notes of cola and rose pastille and lifted by zesty minerality. Shows impressive clarity and urgency on the lengthy finish, which is firmed by dusty, fine-grained tannins.
92 Points – 2011 Pinot Noir Black Label Sta. Rita Hills($75) (made from the five best barrels from the vintage): Deep ruby. Intense red and dark berry scents are given depth by notes of vanilla, cola and licorice. A suave floral nuance emerges with aeration and melds with spicy blackberry and cherry-cola flavors on the palate. Closes smooth and very long, with excellent clarity and soft, harmonious tannins.
90 Points – 2012 Rose Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara($20) (75% grenache, 20% mourvedre and 5% syrah): Pale pink. Aromas of fresh red berries and lavender, with a bright touch of white pepper. Juicy and penetrating, offering silky raspberry and redcurrant flavors and a touch of orange zest. A smooth, spicy and floral-tinged finish shows very good clarity and cut.
91 Points – 2011 Grenache Santa Barbara County($40) (made with 25% whole clusters): Bright ruby-red. An alluring bouquet displays scents of red and dark berries, with suave floral and Asian notes adding further complexity. Deep and sweet but energetic as well, offering palate-staining black raspberry and blueberry flavors, a floral pastille nuance and very good clarity.
92 Points – 2011 Syrah Seven Central Coast($40) (95% syrah, 3% grenache and 2% mourvedre that was aged in a combination of barrels and puncheons): Inky ruby. Smoky aromas of black and blue fruit liqueur, cola, olive tapenade and floral oils, with a peppery topnote. Very syrah, offering gently sweet blueberry and cassis flavors that provide impressive palate coverage. Becomes spicier and more floral with air and finishes smooth, sweet and long, with only a suggestion of tannins.
93 Points – 2009 MJM Central Coast($58) (91% syrah, 5% grenache, 3% mourvedre and 1% viognier; 78% new oak): Opaque ruby. Strongly perfumed scents of blackberry, blueberry, candied violet and sexy oak spices. Seamless and sweet, offering energetic dark berry compote flavors, a hint of cola and an exotic floral pastille quality. Gains richness with air and finishes long, with clinging sweetness and a slow-building vanilla note. Powerful but surprisingly light on its feet, with the depth to age.
WA, Issue #208 Aug 2013:
90 Points – 2012 Dragonette Cellars Rose
The 2012 Rose is outstanding. Made in a dry, Provencal style it gives up plenty of orange blossom, citrus rind, dried rose petals and salty minerality as well as a medium-bodied, pure and fresh palate feel. Drink it over the coming summer months. Drink now-2014.
92 Points – 2011 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard
A step up is the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard. Coming from clay and loamy soils and barrel-fermented and aged (11 months), it boasts knockout aromatics of lemon curd, cut grass, white peach and saline-like minerality as well as a medium-bodied, smooth and polished feel on the palate. Showing a fantastic mix of richness and freshness, it should continue to thrill for 5-6 years. Drink now-2019.
91 Points – 2012 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara
An outstanding white, the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc offers up subtle grassy notes as well as white peach, cream and citrus blossom to go with a medium-bodied, richly textured palate that stays pure and fresh. Barrel-fermented and aged just under eight months on lees, it has notable richness, yet never seems heavy or cumbersome. Enjoy it over the coming 3-4 years. Drink now-2017.
92 Points – 2011 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard
Brilliant, with ripe golden fruits, apple, vanilla cream and mineral-driven aromatics, the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard shows loads of class and depth on the palate with integrated acidity and beautiful overall balance and freshness. It, too, strikes a good balance between overall richness and freshness, has fantastic clarity and focus, and will be versatile on the dinner table. As with the other Sauvignon Blancs, it was barrel-fermented and aged on lees. Drink now-2019.
90 Points – 2011 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Fiddlestix
Earthy and more mineral-driven, with a slightly reticent bouquet of saline-like minerality, ripe cherries and loamy earth the 2011 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix is medium-bodied, structured and broad shouldered, with a big frame that needs time to fill in. Give it 2-4 years in the cellar and enjoy through 2023. Drink 2015-2023.
91 Points – 2011 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Black Label
Also beautiful and showing a darker slant, the 2011 Pinot Noir Black Label (a selection of the top four barrels) is a seamless, rich and textured 2011 that has plenty of ripe black cherries, toasted spice, underbrush, dried flowers and earthy nuances to go with a full, layered profile on the palate. Enjoyable now due to its texture and overall depth of fruit, it should evolve gracefully. Drink 2015-2023.
91 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars MJM
A big, full-bodied blend of 91% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 3% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier, the 2009 Syrah MJM spent a full 33 months in 78% new French oak prior to being bottled unfiltered. Loaded with blackberry, currants, roasted herbs, charred beef and chocolate, it hits the palate with a layered, decadent feel that stays classy and balanced. It’s a big wine, but done beautifully. Enjoy it through 2019. Drink now-2019.
92 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars MJM
More fresh and lively, with black raspberry, wild herbs, licorice and charcoal nuances all emerging from the glass, the 2010 Syrah MJM (92% Syrah, 4% Grenache and the balance Mourvedre and Viognier) was aged in slightly less new oak than the 2009, spending 22 months in 37% new French oak. Medium to full-bodied, pure and beautifully layered and rich, with clean acidity, it’s a beautiful blend and will continue to shine for another decade. Drink now-2022.
90 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars Syrah Seven
The 2010 Syrah Seven is comprised of 92% Syrah, 5% Grenache and the balance Mourvedre and Viognier. Spending 22 months in 42% new French oak, it dishes up beautiful aromas and flavors of smoky black fruits, bacon fat, spice and dark chocolate along with a medium-bodied, rich and concentrated palate. Ripe tannin and clean acidity frame the finish here nicely and this beauty will evolve gracefully through 2020. Drink now-2020.
92 Points – 2010 Syrah Seven Central Coast($40) (92% syrah, 5% grenache, 2% mourvedre and 1%
viognier; 15.2% alcohol): Inky purple. Pure, vibrant aromas of raspberry, cherry and white flowers. Juicy, silky and penetrating, with excellent lift to its red berry preserve and floral pastille flavors. At once deep and vibrant, in a strikingly elegant style that’s eerily pinot-like(!). Finishes bright and persistent, with an alluringly delicate touch and no obvious tannins.
91 Points – 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara($28) (85% raised in small,
older French oak barrels and the rest in small stainless steel barrels): Pale yellow. Orange and lime aromas are complemented by deeper pit fruit and honey nuances. Fleshy and smooth but energetic too, offering lively pear and orange zest flavors and notes of white flowers and anise. Shows smoky, spicy qualities on the finish, which clings with impressive tenacity.
92 Points – 2011 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara($38): Pale gold. Pungent, mineral-driven nose evokes fresh pear, tangerine and peach,
with toasty lees, chamomile and anise qualities adding complexity. Juicy and tight, with bracing acidity and a strong floral character to its taut orchard fruit flavors. Finishes firm, spicy and very long, with the mineral element repeating.
91 Points – 2010 Grenache Mourvedre Syrah Santa Barbara($38): Bright ruby-red. Aromas and
flavors of cherry compote, licorice and lavender, with smoke and herb overtones. Lush and open-knit on the palate but finishes with solid punch and silky tannins. Pretty sexy stuff and approachable now, but I wouldn’t rush to drink this one.
90 Points – 2010 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills($42): Bright ruby-red. Expansive bouquet of smoky black raspberry, boysenberry and pipe tobacco; suave cola and vanilla nuances gain power with air. Sappy red and dark berry flavors stain the palate, picking up spiciness on the back end. Juicy, nicely concentrated pinot with very good finishing thrust and cling.
91 Points – 2011 Pinot Noir Ampelos Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills($54): Vivid ruby. Explosively perfumed aromas of red berry preserves, incense and candied rose. Silky, palate-staining raspberry and cherry flavors show very good depth and seamless texture. Fine-grained tannins come up on the smooth, sweet, very long finish.
92 Points – 2010 Pinot Noir Presidio Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills($54): Ruby-red. Black raspberry, cherry and rooty sassafras on the pungent nose. Fleshy and expansive, offering deeply pitched, smoke-accented red and dark berry flavors and a suave note of candied rose. Picks up spiciness with air and finishes on a smoky dark berry note, with very good power and length. This hefty pinot could handle richer foods with ease.
92 Points – 2010 Pinot Noir Black Label Sta. Rita Hills($75): Vivid ruby-red. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes candied red fruits, Asian spices, potpourri and cola. Pliant, sweet and light on its feet, offering intense raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors complicated by star anise and zesty blood orange. Finishes silky and very long, with a resonating floral nuance and excellent focus.
“Dragonette is one of the most fascinating wineries in the Central Coast. The best wines are truly world class, and I don’t use those words lightly. ” Antonio Galloni
Wine Advocate # 202 (Aug 2012):
93 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon Of Santa Barbara
Crushed rocks, mint, wild flowers and herbs are some of the notes that take shape in the glass in the striking 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara. Today, the 2010 comes across as quite cool, inward and tightly wound, which is surprising for a barrel-fermented Sauvignon. Nevertheless, this is a hugely impressive showing. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.
91 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley
The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley opens with a beautiful bouquet redolent of mint, peaches and apricots. This is a plush, very nicely done Sauvignon. Layers of flavors build to a creamy, delineated finish supported with notable energy. The Sauvignon was fermented in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak barrels/puncheons. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.
92 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Presidio
The 2010 Pinot Noir Presidio Vineyard wraps around the palate with savory herbs, dark red cherries, mint, spices and licorice, showing tons of complexity. The finish turns a bit more feminine, with bright floral notes and a hint of black pepper. Even though the fruit was fully destemmed, there is a slight suggestion of stems in the Presidio, as there is in other wines in this lineup. The Presidio is firing on all cylinders today. It is a fabulous effort from Dragonette and a beacon for the level the estate can reach with their best fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016.
90 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Fiddlestix
Although a solid effort, I find less to get excited about in the 2010 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard, which comes across as austere and unyielding, especially next to the Presidio. Firm tannins frame hints of dark red fruit, smoke, tar and incense. Dragonette used 17% whole clusters on the Fiddlestix, and my impression is that the wine still needs time to integrate. Today, the Fiddlestix comes
across as a bit burly and foursquare, yet there is something fascinating about it as well. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018.
89 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars Grenache / Mourvedre / Syrah
Dragonette’s 2010 Grenache/Mourvedre/Syrah emerges from the glass with sweet red berries flowers, spices and herbs. This is a relatively delicate, pretty wine with good depth and concentration to match its feminine, gracious personality. The blend is 55% Grenache, 36% Mourvedre and 9% Syrah, from Thompson, McGinley and Watch Hill. This is an excellent showing from Dragonette. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.
Rich and ethereal, with plush, deep, dark berry, herb, mineral and exotic spices; gains depth, dimension and focus, without weight. Should only get better. Best from 2013 through 2023. 300 cases made. —J.L.
Broad-shouldered, rich and intense; well-oaked, too. The concentration and focus of the loamy earth, mineral, blackberry and wild berry character persists on the finish. Best from 2013 through 2023. 100 cases made. —J.L.
Exhibits ripe, rich, generous plum, raspberry and wild berry fruit in spades, with touches of spice and mineral, firming on the finish. Best from 2013 through 2022. 150 cases made. —J.L.
“This up-and-coming producer sources fruit from some of the Central Coast’s best vineyards and has quickly made a name for itself as one of California’s top sources for sauvignon blanc. Sparks-Gillis spent time working at Torbreck, in Australia, and also at Sine Qua Non, but the wines [they are making] at Dragonette show a more restrained personality than most of those made by those two highly lauded producers.”
Joshua Raynolds, November/December 2011
92 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon
Bright gold. Musky, lees-accented aromas and flavors of orange pith, pear and nectarine, with sexy oak spice and honey nuances adding complexity. Juicy and broad but quite lively, with noteworthy intensity to its oak-spiced orchard and citrus fruit flavors. The spicy quality carries through the long, gently smoky, precise finish. Emphatically in the white Bordeaux school, with the depth and heft to handle rich foods.
91 Points – 2010 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley
Light, bright gold. Potent aromas of lemon gelato, green cardamom, mint and white flowers. Offers a suave mix of plump orchard fruit and bitter citrus qualities, with a spicy top note. Finishes tight and clean, with excellent clarity, refreshing bitterness and a lingering note of candied lime.
92 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Hilliard Bruce Vineyard
Vivid ruby-red. Pungent aromas of cherry, black raspberry, cola and Asian spices, with a touch of vanillin oak. Deeply pitched but impressively energetic red and dark berry flavors show very good clarity, with notes of anise, allspice and sassafras adding nuance. The red berry and spice elements repeat on the long, sappy, seamless finish. Very sexy and drinking well now, especially with some aeration.
92 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars Syrah SEVEN Central Coast
Opaque ruby. Complex, intensely perfumed bouquet of dark berry preserves, olive tapenade, fresh violet and an exotic touch of black cardamom. Spicy and penetrating, with very good depth to its sweet blackberry and mulberry flavors. Juicy acidity gives this wine good spine. Picks up smokiness with air and finishes with impressive clarity and length. With aeration, this wine drinks very well now.
92(+?) Points – 2008 Dragonette Cellars Proprietary Blend MJM California
Glass-staining ruby. Pungent, oak-spiced aromas of dark berries, cola, violet and incense, with a smoky overtone. Deeply pitched and chewy in texture, with impressive freshness to its black raspberry and boysenberry flavors. Gains spiciness with air and picks up a suggestion of palate-numbing white pepper. Finishes on a sweet note of vanilla bean, with gripping tannins and excellent length. This is still a baby.
“This is an impressive set of wines from Dragonette Cellars. Sauvignon Blanc is unusual in the Central Coast, where most regions are too warm for this aromatic grape, but no one does it better than Dragonette.” Antonio Galloni, August 2011
Reviews from issue #196, August 2011:
92 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Vogelzang Vineyard
The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard is the richest and deepest of these 2009 Sauvignons. It spent 16 months in French oak (47%) new, on its lees. Lemon peel, white peaches and jasmine are some of the nuances that emerge from this dazzling Sauvignon. Pointed mineral notes add energy, texture and balance. This is a striking effort. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016.
91 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
The 2009 Pinot Noir fleshes out nicely on the palate with black cherries, cola, spices and flowers. This is a beautifully balanced wine with no hard edges, tons of harmony and plenty of personality.
92 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Presidio Vineyard
The 2009 Pinot Noir Presidio shows wonderful delineation and nuance. Sweet dark fruit, tobacco, crushed flowers, spices and herbs come together nicely in this subtle, elegant Pinot. The refined finish is impressive.
92 Points – 2008 Dragonette Cellars Syrah
Black pepper, blackberries and creme de cassis are some of the notes that emerge from the 2008 Syrah. This is a beautifully ripe, sensual Syrah loaded with character and personality. Mint, flowers and crushed rocks linger on the understated, classy finish
92 Points – 2008 Dragonette Cellars MJM
The 2008 MJM is a plush, dark wine bursting with black fruits, sweet spices, vanillin and licorice. It shows gorgeous textural richness and volume, but is slightly marked by the oak, in both the flavors and the slightly drying tannins that emerge on the finish. With air, though, the wine comes together quite nicely. MJM is 92% Syrah, 6% Grenache, 1% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier that spent 26 months in French oak barrels, 86% new. The Syrah was sourced from three vineyards; Shadow Canyon, Los Tres Burros and Paderewski. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018.
“Dragonette Cellars is pushing the boundaries of the Sauvignon Blanc Frontier in the Happy Canyon district of Santa Barbara County … The new names on this year’s list of top-scorers include … Dragonette.” MaryAnn Worobiec, Aug 2011
90 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard
There’s terrific intensity to this smoky, toasty version, with plenty of fruit flavors of nectarine, peach, marmalade and pineapple to create balance. Richly textured, with a juicy, lemony finish.
91 Points – 2008 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard
A rich, smoky, exotic style, brimming with flavor, this shows tiers of plum, wild berry, blueberry and spice. Full-bodied and persistent, with a black licorice aftertaste.
91 Points – 2011 Rosé, Santa Ynez Valley
August 2012 issue
92 Points – Dragonette Cellars 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley)
A terrific Sauvignon Blanc, pure and bright in citrus and tropical fruit, mineral and honeysuckle flavors, finished with a little bit of creamy oak.Finishes sweet in fruity essence, yet clean and dry. Shows how compatible the Sauvignon Blanc grape is with the valley’s climate and soils. Editors’ Choice.
92 Points – Dragonette Cellars 2008 Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard
A first-class Pinot from this great vineyard, in the heart of the southern Santa Rita Hills. The wine is dry and silky and super-complex, offering waves of raspberry tart, cherry pie, cola, sweet oak and dusty Asian spice flavors. For all the richness, it’s dry and crisp in acidity. Now–2014.
92 Points – Dragonette Cellars 2008 Syrah
Here’s a rich, savory Syrah, made Northern Rhône-style. Dense and full-bodied, it displays complex flavors of blackberries, dark unsweetened chocolate, plums, tobacco, leather and black pepper. The tannins are robust, but very finely ground.
“A dramatic new chapter for Santa Rita Hills” Jon Bonne, March 2012
2009 Dragonette Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir($42, 13.7%): This taps sites nearly everywhere in the hills – north-facing Encantada, nearby Cargasacchi-Jalama, the new Kessler-Haak near Clos Pepe in the north valley and a touch of Fiddlestix. Proper delicacy amid a whack of new oak, and if the mix of sites doesn’t clarify things, it does bring a tension and compelling raspberry fruit and brooding earth notes.
TOP 100 WINES OF 2010
2008 Dragonette Cellars Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard Pinot Noir
This young label founded by Steve and John Dragonette and Brandon Sparks-Gillis is tapping into some of Santa Barbara’s best vineyards. This effort from a colder site southwest of the Santa Rita Hills, aged in neutral oak, landed at just 13.3 percent alcohol – and with that has come remarkable depth and refinement – roasted orange highlights and a warm mace spice and musk, plus radiant raspberry and cherry.
2008 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills, Fiddlestix Vineyard
A great example of a handcrafted pinot. Still tasting very young, it took some time to open but was well balanced. The wine showed bright cherry and raspberry fruits with a spicy finish and some herbaceous notes. The texture was wonderful.
92 Points – 2009 Dragonette Cellars Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills
I really enjoy the blackberry and ripe plum character to this with a cocoa and light cream character. Full body, with silky tannins and a delicious finish. A very fine wine indeed. Best in 2013, but who can wait?