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Sanford Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2004

Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
  • WS89
  • WE89
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

The Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir is made entirely from estate fruit from our three Santa Rita Hills vineyards. This wine spends about 10 months in French oak barrels (25% new) and is not filtered. Fruit forward with a long, complex finish, it works well with most cuisines. This wine compares favorably with domestic Pinot Noirs and Burgundys at twice the price. Our estate Pinot Noir never disappoints.

Wonderfuly intensity and vibrancy of flavor, with a core of dusty blackberry and blueberry fruit that's supported by firm acidity and a chewy, minerally quality. Firmly tannic, too, so it's best to decant. Drink now through 2007.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 89
Wine Spectator
WE 89
Wine Enthusiast
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Sanford

Sanford Winery

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Sanford Winery, California
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In Santa Barbara wine country, it all started with Sanford Winery. Recognizing a magical combination of climate and soil conditions, the Sanford & Benedict vineyard was plated in 1971, and the resulting wines are now the benchmark of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Pinot Noir has thrived in the Sta. Rita Hills ever since, and ranks among the best and most distinctive in the world. Sanford's estate vineyards - Rancho La Rinconada and Sanford & Benedict - lie within the 100 square mile AVA, and they rely exclusively on these vineyards for their luscious, signature Pinot Noir. The area owes its magic to an unusual east-west mountain valley that runs from the vineyards to the Pacific Ocean; ideal for cool-climate varietals.
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Sta. Rita Hills

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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.

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Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

SWS129170_2004 Item# 87098