2012 Dragonette Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

SKU #1152403 93 points Wine Enthusiast

 The stunning 2012 vintage prompted this Buellton winery to produce this excellent reserve bottling. The nose blends dark raspberry, roasted plums and wet slate with the umami-driven scents of roasting game and black pepper. It’s soft and lush once sipped, definitely a power wine packed with smoked purple fruits, but with tart acidity keeping it balanced and not boozy.  (4/2015)

91 points Vinous

 Bright ruby-red. Vibrant raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by hints of smoky minerals and potpourri, with a touch of white pepper coming up with aeration. Tightly wound red berry flavors stain the palate and are deepened by a note of candied licorice. Turns spicier and smokier with air and finishes with excellent clarity, supple tannins and a lingering floral quality. Now settled into a spacious facility on the northern outskirts of Buellton, John and Steve Dragonette and Brandon Sparks-Gillis have plenty of room to spread out and work more efficiently and quickly than when they were based in Lompoc, where the barrels were stacked to the roof, according to Sparks-Gillis, who told me that they're trying to "strip away as much artifice as possible" from their wines and are taking a highly flexible approach to fermentation times, stem inclusion and new oak while "trying to make each wine distinct from the others. Otherwise, why not just make single-varietal bottlings and be done with it?" Sparks-Gillis asked rhetorically. (Josh Raynolds)  (12/2014)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Kicking off the Pinots, the 2012 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills is a beauty. Giving up classic, earthy notes of underbrush, forest floor, spice and assorted red berry fruits, it’s medium-bodied, supple and beautifully textured. Coming from John Sebastiano, Fiddlestix, La Encantada, Zotovich, Bentrock & Radian vineyards and aged 15 months in 18% new French oak before being bottled un-fined and unfiltered, drink it over the coming 4-6 years. (JD)  (8/2014)

K&L Notes

The appellation-level offering from this exciting Sta. Rita Hills partnership is composed of fruit from the vineyards Hilliard Bruce, Fiddlestix, John Sebastiano, Zotovich, La Rinconada and the new Pence vineyard, all purchased on a by-the-acre basis to insure quality over quantity.

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Price: $39.99
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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 Rhône blends.