Santa Barbara County
Puerta del Mar is the coldest, most coastal vineyard that we purchase fruit from. While much of the California wine market thrives on producing blockbuster wines from warm vineyards that are more alike than different year to year, this site is useless for that, which is fine by me! After six years of producing wine off this site, we’ve seen each release boast its own unique stance and personality, doing a masterful job of showing the traits of each vintage. That variability can be confounding to both the winemaker and consumer, however, it’s interesting to see there is a thread of terroir through all the wines.
This 2016 chardonnay is much more on the outward side of life than the previous 2015, which is just now coming out of its tight, racy and inward feel. While the winter rains weren’t exactly generous, they were enough to pull this site out of 2015’s peak drought stress. The higher (yet still moderate) yields contributed a more rounded, creamy and easy-going kind of feel, while the relatively cool, onshore winds of the vintage preserved the characteristic freshness of the site.
This cool site always provides super engaging aromas: the spread here includes crisp white stone and pears, flowers, cardamom and lemon, and most of that advances like a smooth enveloping wave over the palate, leaving vibrant fruit and notes of cold vanilla cream, lees-y richness and prickly minerals. It’s a fine balance of snappy and sappy: plenty refreshing at the table, but also carrying a nice bit of flesh for more conversational drinking. There’s no reason not to enjoy this beauty now, but no rush enjoying it either!
Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Alc: %13.0 | Vinification: Barrel Fermented in Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 11 Months | Total Production 560 cases
Antonio Galloni’s VINOUS
“The 2016 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar offers tremendous cut and focus. Citrus, white flower and mineral note abound in a Chardonnay that shows the more steely side of the year. Expressive saline notes add lovely direction and energy. The Puerta del Mar is especially vivid and persistent in this vintage. There is so much to like.” 2018-2024 93 Points
“The 2016 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar offers more citrus and white flowers as well as a crisp, tart, salty style on the palate. This cool site has yielded a chiseled, focused Chardonnay that’s going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age.” Jeb Dunnuck- 92 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The lovely 2016 Chardonnay Puerta del Mar offers up a crisp bouquet of citrus zest, white flowers, sea breeze and struck match. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, elegantly glossy and bright, built around a racy line of acidity and concluding with a tangy, chalky finish. 2018-2026”- William Kelley 92 Points