2012 Dragonette Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
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.
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)
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)
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.