2014 Domaine de la Côte Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir (Elsewhere $45)

SKU #1329467 97 points Decanter

 Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr make their Pinots taste effortlessly elegant, but it’s a fine-tuned approach in the cellar and ultra-attentive viticulture that achieve those mouthwatering results. Their estate bottling is like a juicy cross between Burgundy’s Volnay and Beaujolais’ Morgon. (CD)  (12/2016)

93 points Wine & Spirits

 Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman farm several former Evening Land vineyards, planted in 2007 in the far western Santa Rita Hills. You can taste the extremity of these cool, windy sites in the wine: a salty crunch, the acidity bright and appetizing, like biting into pomegranate seeds, the aromas clean and invigorating, like rosemary and borage. It’s a coastal match for white fish, like halibut or seabass.  (10/2016)

90 points Vinous

 The 2014 Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills) is an absolutely delicious wine that also captures the essence of the house style. Lifted and gracious, the 2014 offers striking purity in its flavors, not to mention impeccable overall balance. Citrus, cranberry, strawberry and expressive floral notes grace the taut, salivating finish. (AG)  (9/2016)

Jancis Robinson

 A blend of each of the Domaine de la Côte estate vineyards, vinified with 50% whole cluster and no new oak. Aged for almost two years in barrel. Star-bright ruby colour. Light aromatics. Savoury, red-fruit palate integrated through with sweet spice and plenty of savour, with a sour-cherry finish that opens to notes of strawberry and dark chocolate. Approachable and drinkable now. *Good Value*  (9/2016)

K&L Notes

Domaine de la Cote is a collection of vineyards planted over to over sixty acres of a south-facing slope at the western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. It's managed by Raj Parr, the former wine director for the Mina group. The Domaine has been organically farmed since 2007 and during the 2017 growing season it transitioned to biodynamic practices. The winemaking philosophy is "add nothing; take nothing away." The 2014 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot is a Burgundian style, low alcohol, light-bodied wine with pure crunchy fruit and bright, vibrant acidity. Fans of Gevry-Chambertin will want to take note.

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Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/10/2017 | Send Email
I was intrigued at first by the latest vintage of Domaine de la Côte not because of it's reviews from the American press, but rather due to its massive 97 point score from the British-based Decanter magazine. The Brits tend to celebrate classic, true-to-form wines rather than big, brash, in-your-face pomposity and I was curious as to why they were lavishing a California Pinot Noir with such praise. Then I realized that Domaine de la Côte was Raj Parr's estate, the former wine director for the Mina Group and renowned sommelier who spearheaded his own old world project in the Santa Rita Hills. The domaine is collection of vineyards that makes up more than 60 acres on a south-facing slope at about 700 feet, roughly seven miles from the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Barbara area has long been a Mecca for California winemakers looking for cooler climates to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tasting the 2014 Santa Rita Hills expression (a blend of all the estate vineyards), you could tell you were getting serious Pinot Noir just by looking at the color in the glass. Lighter in hue (classic Côte de Beaune rouge), lower in alcohol at 12.5%, and aromatic on the nose, I could have been easily fooled had someone passed this off as French. The wine has tremendous acidity, concentration of crunchy red fruits, and real old world character. Sometimes it's hard to remember that Pinot Noir like this is still being made in California! Those of you looking for a mid-range Thanksgiving dinner option might want to snatch this up while we have it at this price. American made with a nod to the Côte d'Or.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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.
Alcohol Content (%): 12.5