2014 Lutum "Sanford & Benedict Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

SKU #1277518 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Similarly colored to the Rita's Crown, the 2014 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard (aged 18 months in 37% new oak) has an incredibly silky and seamless texture that carries a surprising amount of polished tannin. Red currants, Bing cherries, underbrush and sappy flowers all show on the nose, and this ethereally textured, lengthy Pinot Noir is pure class. Drink it over the coming decade. A partnership between Bill Price (who owns a number of vineyards including Durell Vineyard, Trip Vineyard, DuPont Vineyard, One Sky Vineyard, Walala Vineyard and Gap’s Crown Vineyard) and Gavin Chanin, Lutum focuses on single vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from a number of top sites in California. Chanin is a terrific winemaker (don't miss his wines releases under his own label, which are reviewed in this report) and these elegant, impressive wines lean towards the fresher, leaner end of the spectrum, without conceding too much in terms of texture and richness. These are highly recommended. (JD)  (8/2016)

93 points Vinous

 The 2014 Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is bold, rich and juicy. Succulent dark cherry, plum, mocha, leather and dark spice are front and center. The use of fully destemmed fruit and newer vineyards seems to yield a distinctly juicy, fruit-driven style of S&B Pinot that stands in contrast to the more reserved version Gavin Chanin makes under his own label. This is an impressive set of wines from Lutum and Gavin Chanin. As always Lutum sources fruit from a number of properties in Santa Barbara and Sonoma, which gives the range a good bit of breadth. Pinot Noir is the main player in this lineup. Broadly speaking, the Lutum Pinots are made in a bigger, richer style than the wines Chanin makes under his own brand. That is attributable to vinifications with fully destemmed fruit as well as a selection of sites and blocks that tend to naturally produce slightly bigger wines. (AG)  (6/2016)

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Price: $59.99
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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.