Santa Barbara County
Puerta de Mar (literally: “Door to the Sea”) is an exciting new vineyard that was planted using California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) money. Not being a financial advisor, I will abstain from making any comments on the wisdom of the investment, but I can say that if I won the lottery this is the sort of vineyard I would plant. The vines are closely planted (5½ feet by 3 feet), have been trained to a narrow vertical trellis, and in every way the vineyard is well cared for.
Planted ½ mile east of highway 1 just outside of Lompoc, it trumps Kick On Ranch as our coolest vineyard site. It is located so far west that the original creators of the Santa Rita Hills appellation didn’t think it was possible to ripen grapes here, thus it wasn’t included within the growing region’s boundaries. Call it ignorance or the influence of global warming, they were clearly wrong! Admittedly pinot noir and chardonnay grapes grown here ripen late, but the wines are better for it and possess an admirable subtly that I attribute to the ocean’s ever-present influence.
What was interesting about the chardonnay grown here in 2011 and 2012 also applies to the pinot noir. In both years the vineyard character speaks loud and clear, yet the wines couldn’t be more different because the weather during the growing season was so different. The summer and fall of 2011 was cool, windy, and foggy while 2012 was warm and mild.
The 2011 Pinot Noir Puerta del Mar immediately impresses with its aroma of animal, mineral and floral notes, it’s distinctly not fruity, but boy is it interesting! It’s a bit restrained on the palate at this point but works well with rich foods. It has all the tools to grow into a fascinating wine as it ages
Blend: 100% PinotNoir | Alc: 13.5% | Vinification: 25% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 14 Months | Total Production: 88 cases
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Bright ruby. Blackberry, smoky minerals, bitter chocolate, potpourri and Asian spices on the nose. Supple, broad and focused, with redcurrant and bitter cherry fruit flavors and a touch of licorice building in the glass. Finishes sweet and quite suave, with fine-grained tannins and very good length. “- JR 92 Points