Santa Barbara County
“An elegant and friendly Pinot Noir”
One of the great thrills of pinot noir is how radically the vineyard site (exposure, climate, soil) affects the finished wine. My first introduction to this was in 1988 when Jim Clendenen and I were making wine together and we purchased grapes from Bien Nacido and Rancho Vinedo, which are across the street from each other. We crafted the wines identically but the results were so dissimilar! At first I couldn’t wrap my mind around the cause of this, however there were some obvious differences in how the vineyards grew. The Rancho Vinedo soils were far sandier and those vines grew without much vigor, while the Bien Nacido vines grew more exuberantly and were on a south facing slope of heavier soil—and these differences were dramatically expressed in the wines. Though it still astonishes me that two vineyards grown across the street from each other could have such different personalities, my years of experience since have validated the assumption that vineyard site plays a crucial role in wine quality.
This brings us to Puerta del Mar (door to the sea)—a six acre vineyard planted to pinot noir and chardonnay, located on Santa Rosa Road a stone’s throw from Highway 1—just south of Lompoc. A decade ago no one could have imagined that it was possible to ripen grapes successfully so close to the ocean. Perceptions change and so does the climate! Close planted on a level site of mostly alluvial soil with shale-y bits mixed throughout, the most distinctive trait of the vineyard is the constant wind that blows up the Santa Ynez River from the Pacific Ocean.
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2014 Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar is one of the most reticent, tightly wound wines in the range, likely because of the site’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The flavors are intense and sculpted throughout, but the 2014 is going to need time in bottle to fully open up. Readers who enjoy laser-like Pinots will find much to admire. Hints of cranberry, white pepper and chalk add aromatic nuance on the distinctly acid-driven, savory finish. This is the coolest Pinot Noir site Ojai works with. ”- AG 92 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2014 Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar offers classic Cali fruit in its sweet cherry, rose petal, framboise and spice-driven bouquet. Elegant, seamless and layered, I love this beauty and would happily drink bottles over the coming 4-5 years, and I wouldn’t be surprise to see it evolve for longer either.”- JD 92 Points