Santa Barbara County
With our Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir, the intention has always been to express the region with a balanced wine that is quick to drink well and easy to love. For a time I was seeking to do that in a less overtly fruity way, emphasizing more earthy and floral potentials, so we did. There’s lots about that lower alcohol feel I like—it’s deliciously juicy and easy to enjoy a second glass—but I started to feel that this wine could use a bit more oompah and still be quenching.
So we reassessed our approach with extraction, and decided to take the great fruit from this vintage (which ripened gradually in moderate coastal influenced weather) and allow ferment it slightly warmer, and rather than pressing when dry we left the wine on the skins for a few days post-fermentation, tasting out of tank each day until it had a pleasant puckery finish.
To me this wine is a little more substantial than previous releases. There’s a more fruity core, with more thickness on the palate and a nice bit of grip in the finish. And best of all, that came at no expense to the earthy, floral and spicy complexities I adore, which still swirl around the periphery. We got just what we aimed to make: a wine that is quenching and shapely too—perfectly fit for fine meals but also delicious when slightly chilled for casual patio drinking.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Alc: 13.0% | Vinification: 30% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 13 Months | Total Production: 915 cases
“Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County is another winner that readers should snatch up. Ripe cherries, raspberries, forest floor, and salty minerality all flow to a medium-bodied, elegant, impeccably balanced effort that shows both the quality of the vintage as well as the style of the estate. Drink it over the coming 4-5 years.” Jeb Dunnuck- 92 Points