2011 Sandhi Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1133232 Vinous

 The 2011 Pinot (Sta. Rita Hills) is a great introduction to the Sandhi wines. Dark cherries, licorice and cloves are some of the many notes that wrap around the palate in this juicy, flavorful Pinot. Sweet floral and spice notes add lift as the wine sits in the glass. The savory notes on the finish are those of the vintage, as the Sta. Rita Hills Pinot was made from fully destemmed fruit. Drinking window: 2013 - 2018 I doubt there are too many people who have tasted more of the world's reference-point wines than sommelier/author/winemaker Rajat Parr. That perspective informs the gorgeous wines Parr crafts with winemaker Sashi Moorman at Sandhi. The focus is on Chardonnay and Pinot from top sites in the Santa Rita Hills. The newest additions to the Sandhi range are two bottlings from Bill Wenzlau's vineyards, a superb site nestled between Sea Smoke and Mount Carmel. Sandhi fans will want to check out Domaine de la Cote, Parr and Moorman's new project from estate vineyards that previously belonged to Evening Land. Relative to those wines, the Sandhi Pinots are generally made with lower percentages of whole clusters and are either racked to tank or bottled before the following harvest, while the Domaine de la Cote Pinots see longer elevage in oak. The Chardonnays are made in a fairly traditional, Burgundy-influenced style, with about a year in oak followed by 5-6 months in steel. Those wines have come a long way since last year, when they were raw and not fully formed.  (7/2013)

K&L Notes

Look no further for Santa Barbara Pinot Noir under 14% abv. The 2011 is too new for reviews, but Antonio Galloni gives us a peek in his Wine Spectator notes: "Sandhi is one of the most exciting new projects in California. The brainchild of investor Charles Banks, sommelier Rajat Parr and winemaker Sashi Moorman, Sandhi excels with cool-climate Chardonnays and Pinots from some of Santa Barbara's top sites. ... The overall approach at Sandhi focuses on picking on the early side. Parr and Moorman describe the 2010 Pinot harvest as a sunny vintage that required a short cold soak and more punchdowns than normal, while 2011 was a much more classic year that they handled with no cold soak, short fermentations and pumpovers, but no punchdowns. The 2011 Pinots, which I tasted from barrel, are shaping up very nicely and include the first wines from Wenzlau and La Encantada." (8/2012)

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Price: $34.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some RhĂ´ne blends.