Amazing, Unbelievable, Mind-boggling and even “the best ever” were a few of the descriptions of the 2016 Pinot Noir harvest in Santa Barbara County. The crop was balanced and the weather was perfect to slowly ripen Pinot Noir. All the grapes we hand harvested and fermented in open top tanks, and punched down twice a day by hand. All of these procedures are time consuming but necessary for making Pinot Noir with balance. The gentle extraction of hand punch downs yields rich, ripe tannins, which balance nicely with the fruit and oak.
After pressing and short settling of only the heavy lees the wine was aged for 18 months in 100% new Francois Frères French Oak barrels. We fined lightly using egg whites to remove some of the excessive tannin. We bottled without filtration.
All the Pinot Noir from 2016 was high quality, we didn’t want to blend away all the unique personality of the various vineyards. We made a couple of “once in a lifetime” blends. One of these was a selection from Sanford and Benedict Vineyard. This selections was named “Larmes de Grappe”, this translates as “tears of the cluster” we use his designation for the best Pinots made with whole cluster. We made only two other Larmes and those were from the epic 2001 & 2005 vintages.
Antonio Galloni's Vinous
Score: 95+ "The 2016 Pinot Noir Larmes de Grappe Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is a selection from S&B done with 100% whole clusters that spent two and half years in oak. Rich and sumptuous in the glass, the 2016 is alluring from the very first taste. Rose petal, mint, spice, orange peel and cedar add a brilliant upper register as the 2016 finishes with terrific freshness and energy. This is another superb wine in the range, but it needs time to come together."
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Score: 90 points "The 2016 Pinot Noir Larmes de Grappe comes from the Sanford and Benedict vineyard and was made using 100% whole-cluster fermentation. It has a pale to medium ruby color and is softly scented of red berries, leather, pipe tobacco and garrigue with warm earth, wild blackberries and citrus peel. It's light to medium-bodied and earthy in the mouth with finely integrated acidity and grainy tannins, finishing long and spiced." - Erin Brooks