Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is made using fruit from the Domaine de la Côte vineyards (80%) with the rest from the Sanford & Benedict vineyard and was 100% destemmed and aged in neutral barrels. Pale to medium ruby, the nose slowly opens to pretty layers of spice and savory fruit, with aromas of rose petal, sliced blueberries, warm Bing cherries, wild blackberries, peppered salami, amaro and raspberry jam. Light to medium-bodied, the palate gives up lots of spices and savory notes with ripe, grainy tannins and seamless acidity, finishing long and nuanced.
This is a fascinating wine. It’s both hearty and loaded with savory greener flavors—an unusual combination. Aromas of dark plum, tobacco and green sage lead into a palate that is both dense and zesty, showing more plum offset by Earl Grey tea, green peppercorn and pine needle.
Sandhi is a small production California winery focusing on select vineyards from the Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County. Sandhi was founded in 2010 by Rajat Parr, the wine director for Michael Mina Restaurants, and winemaker, Sashi Moorman.
Sandhi represents a union essential to the production of wine: the collaboration between man, earth, and vine. The willing participation of all three elements is necessary to make great wine, and the winegrower must make this collaboration rich and nourishing for all involved. An understanding of these joint efforts informs Sandhi’s exploration of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines throughout the Santa Barbara County terroir.
The individual vineyards from which these grapes originate–some legendary, some new–have been exhaustively vetted for character, personality, and balance. Employing the wisdom and talents of people who know the vineyards, Sandhi is dedicated to making wines of finesse, minerality, acidity, structure and balance. Wine achieves power and beauty through the seamless integration of these qualities, and this is the inspiration for Sandhi. Wines exhibiting extreme ripeness, alcohol, oak, and other discordant exaggerations cannot truly express a specific vineyards terroir.
A superior source of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, westernmost sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation within Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.
The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot noir, thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil. Here, grapes ripen just enough, while retaining brisk acidity and harmonious balance.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”