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.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2015 Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar offers up aromas of raspberry, cassis, currant leaf and lilac. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, fine-boned and savory with velvety tannins, a crunchy core of fruit and a long, sapid finish. This is one of the more reserved offerings in the portfolio, and I’d be inclined to cellar it for a year or two before pulling corks, though it can be approached now.2018-2028.” – William Kelley 92+ points
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2015 Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar comes across as a bit edgy and tightly wound. Then again, that is the personality of this cool-climate site near the Pacific Ocean. Intensely savory and mineral, the 2015 is going to need at least a year in bottle to unfurl. Even so, expect it to remain somewhat angular and austere in its expression.” – AG 92 points
“Framboise, dried flowers and cherry notes all emerge from the 2015 Pinot Noir Puerta Del Mar. This medium-bodied, fresh, and lively Pinot drinks in a cool, sappy, mineral-driven style.”- JD 91 Points