Planted in 1971, the fruit we use is selected from the oldest section of Sanford & Benedict Vineyard located in the very cool Sta. Rita Hills appellation. It is truly one of the great Pinot vineyards of America.
After careful handpicking in the early morning hours, the grapes arrived at the winery nice and cold. Cold grapes give time for a cold soak and a slower fermentation. During the cold, extended soak, the fruit-driven aromas and flavors were extracted from the grapes. The slower fermentation also assisted in the gradual extraction of additional aromas and flavors as the alcohol content slowly rises. 50% of the fruit was whole cluster fermented to further increase intensity and spice.
After the grapes reached dryness, the grapes were pressed, and the wine was put in new French Oak Francois Frères barrels. The wine was gently racked in the late spring and was returned to barrel for a total of 22 months. No fining or filtration was necessary.
Score: 94 The 2018 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard was mostly destemmed and spent 20 months in one-third new barrels. I love its purer, more fruit-driven style, offering lots of framboise and cherries as well as spring flowers and sappy herb-like aromas and flavors. These all carry over to the palate, where the wine is medium-bodied and has a beautifully balanced, elegant mouthfeel, clean acidity, and a great finish.
Antonio Galloni's Vinous
Score: 93+ The 2018 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Santa Barbara Historic Vineyards Collection is aromatic, perfumed and gracious. Crushed flowers, mint, spice, licorice and dried herbs lend gorgeous aromatic complexity and nuance. There is terrific energy to the 2018, but it clearly needs time to soften. Today it is noticeably shy and tightly wound.