Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills
The Sta. Rita Hills appellation is home to some of the finest cold-climate vineyards in America. The only transverse valley between Alaska and Chile, the Sta. Rita Hills appellation is open to the influence of the Pacific Ocean at its western end. And this part of the coast is still influenced by Arctic currents, so the ocean is cold!
A typical Sta. Rita Hills day starts with morning sea fog that burns off around 10am, letting the sunshine reach the vines and the temperatures to increase. Then, early in the afternoon the ocean “breeze” arrives, cooling the vines. It is this daily moderation that keeps the region so cool, allowing a long, slow and even ripening while preserving the grape’s natural acidity.
Chardonnay, Zotovich Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills, 2014
91 points Pale gold. High-pitched, mineral-laced aromas of fresh citrus fruits and white flowers. Dry, racy and sharply focused, offering lively Meyer lemon and bitter pear skin flavors and a hint of anise. Closes spicy and tight, with very good clarity and length and a hint of honeysuckle.
Pinot Noir, “Jump Up”, Sta. Rita Hills, 2013
The beautiful burgundy (what else?!) color first beckons to the glass, with an elegant fade to almost fuchsia edges. This wine looks happy, and indeed a swirl releases cheerful pinot-esque aromas of redcurrant and raspberry. A first sip is a tell-tale of the vintage, with spicy white-pepper notes enveloped by cherry (sour cherry and some just-ripe Bing cherry) along with the rocky minerality that is a hallmark of the appellation. Pomegranate-like flavor and acidity and a silky texture interlaced with soft tea-like tannins round out this balanced, approachable and pretty wine.
We released 2012 Jump Up at the recent World of Pinot Noir, where Two Guys from Napa selected it as one of their favorites at the Grand Tasting. Read their full review here.
Pinot Noir, Rancho la Viña Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills, 2012
A beautiful clarity and the delicate color tricks the eye into thinking this will be a somewhat feminine styled wine. A swirl though, brings boyish notes of tobacco leaf and darker berry aromas that remind of dried blueberry, huckleberry and rosehips. A taste brings layers of plum-cherry, cola and appellation-specific earthy characters that remind of chaparral in the summertime. Beautifully balanced, with lively food-friendly acidity and soft but noticeable chalky tannins.