Jeb Dunnuck LOVED our 2017 vintage!
2017 Los Alamos Vineyard Chardonnay- 92 Points
Starting out, the 2017 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard comes from the sandy soils of the Los Alamos region and spent 15 months in 10% new French oak. Its medium gold color is followed by a gorgeous bouquet of caramelized stone fruits, white flowers, honeysuckle, and brioche. Rich, medium-bodied, and textured, with good acidity and terrific balance, it’s a gem of a Chardonnay to enjoy over the coming 4-5 years.
2017 Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay- 94 Points
There are only 35 barrels of the 2017 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard, which comes from the crème de la crème of vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley. Aged 15 months in 10% new French oak, it has a textbook bouquet of stone fruits, crushed rocks, toasted spice, and the salty, iodine, seaside-like marine influence that’s so common from this region. Medium-bodied, balanced, tight, and juicy on the palate, it has beautiful purity of fruit and a great finish.
2017 Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Chardonnay—94 Points
Lastly, the 2017 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict comes from a Grand Cru site in the Sta. Rita Hills and spent 15 months in 15% new French oak. More classic apple and caramelized stone fruits, white flowers, crushed rocks, and spice emerge from this beauty and it’s supple, layered, and balanced on the palate, with both richness and freshness. It’s already drinking beautifully but has the balance and class to keep for 8-10 years, if not longer, in cool cellars.
2017 Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Noir- 95 Points
Slightly lighter colored, the 2017 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard comes from sandy soils and was 80% destemmed and brought up in 10% new French oak. Beautiful rose petal and spring flower notes as well as hints of sweet strawberry and cherry all flow to an ethereal, medium-bodied, silky Pinot Noir that has ultra-fine tannins, perfect balance, and a beautiful finish. It’s a fabulous effort that relies more on finesse, elegance, and purity than power and richness.
2017 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir- 95 Points
The 2017 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard comes from the Santa Maria Valley and saw plenty of stems (35%) as well as 15% new French oak. Translucent yet slightly darker than the Los Alamos Vineyard, it offers a complex, masculine bouquet of black cherries, sappy herbs, earth, and leather. Rich, medium-bodied, concentrated, and with building tannins, it too is seamless and perfectly balanced, and is another powerful yet ethereal Pinot Noir from this talented winemaker.
2017 Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir- 97 Points
Lastly, the 2017 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict comes from one of the top sites in the Sta. Rita Hills and was 60% destemmed and brought up in 15% new French oak for 15 months. It has a beautiful bouquet of sweet strawberries, toasted spices, forest floor, and earth, with just a hint of salty minerality and seaside-like notes. Ethereal, medium-bodied, ultra-pure, and flawlessly balanced, it’s a stunning Pinot Noir that ranks with the finest releases in the vintage. It will keep for 10-15 years.
2017 Schock Family Vineyard Pinot Noir- 93+ Points
There are a scant three barrels of the 2017 Pinot Noir Schock Family Vineyards, which comes from a site in Santa Barbara County. Mostly destemmed (85%) and brought up in 15% new French oak, with the balance in neutral oak, it offers lots of bright cherry and raspberry notes intermixed with spring flowers, rose petals, and spice. Medium-bodied and silky on the palate, it’s another finesse-oriented effort that has a great mid-palate and surprising underlying structure and depth. It’s beautiful today yet I suspect will be even better with 2-3 years of bottle age. It’s impressive.
2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir- 91 Points
The value play from Chanin, the 2017 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills saw 15% stems and 15 months in 15% new French oak, which is the same treatment as the more expensive releases. Black cherries, black raspberries, smoked earth, and underbrush notes all emerge from the glass, and it’s rounded, medium-bodied, and beautifully textured. It’s well worth seeking out, and I’d happily drink a bottle.