Located on the southwestern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills is the awe-inspiring vineyard site known as Bentrock (formerly Salsipuedes). As part of the “Four Corners” of the appellation, this north-facing block is at an elevation of 250 to 500 feet and is blasted daily by cold ocean winds. From the upper reaches of Bentrock, one can see the other Sandhi vineyard sites to the east. While only a nine year-old vineyard, Bentrock shows incredible potential, delivering intensely concentrated and sublime fruit. We believe that Bentrock’s unique location, close proximity to the ocean and exposed orientation creates a perfect environment for producing low-yielding grapes of high quality.
This is another very promising site located at the highest elevation in the region, hence the “Crown of Sta. Rita”. Planted at 600 to 1000 feet, Rita’s Crown is on diatomaceous soils, which are fossilized seashells and hallmarks of the appellation. This soil creates a mineral thread in the wines while also adding more stress and concentrating the fruit flavors. Furthermore because of its high pitch, this site receives an extraordinary amount of ocean wind further intensifying the fruit. Our sections are south facing receiving ample sun producing slightly riper and juicier fruit than our other bottlings.
Sanford & Benedict
Planted in 1971 by the legendary and pioneering Richard Sanford, this site represents the oldest Pinot Noir plantings in all of Santa Barbara County and is largely synonymous with the creation of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Tucked into the southeastern corner of the Sta. Rita Hills with north-facing blocks, this vineyard is planted on hard, silica gravel and well-drained soils. Because of Richard Sanford’s legacy within the region both as a farmer and a gentlemen, we feel honored to be working with the fruit that he first planted. Our sections come from the oldest blocks where the vine trunks are gnarled producing small amounts of beautiful, concentrated and textured fruit. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blocks are both from the Mount Eden selection, which is widely considered to be some of the first cuttings brought into California.
Santa Barbara County Chardonnay
The fruit for this bottling comes from our sites in the Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Maria and Santa Ynez appellations. The average age of most of the vines is over 30 years old from specific parcels of Wente selection that we are lucky to access. We are pleased with this entry-level offering because it is a great introduction to the style of our wines. It will always have pretty aromas of citrus flowers and fruit notes of limes and lemons along with toasty notes from oak. On the palate it will have good structure and plenty of restraint and balance making it a very food-friendly and approachable wine.
Sanford & Benedict
Planted in 1971 by the legendary and pioneering Richard Sanford, this site represents the oldest Pinot Noir plantings in all of Santa Barbara County and is largely synonymous with the creation of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Tucked into the eastern corner of the Sta. Rita Hills with north-facing blocks, this vineyard is planted on hard, silica gravel and well-drained soils. Because of Richard Sanford’s legacy, both as a farmer and a gentlemen, within the region and industry we feel honored to be working with the fruit that he first planted. Our sections both come from the oldest blocks where the vine trunks are gnarled producing small amounts of beautifully graceful, concentrated and textured fruit. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blocks are both from the Mount Eden selection, widely considered to be some of the first cuttings brought into California.
Originally called Evening Land Tempest, this vineyard is located on the very western edge of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. It is a magical site producing very low yields (less than 2 tons/acre) of perfectly balanced Pinot Noir. Planted by Evening Land seven years ago on diatomaceous and clay soils, this site will hopefully set new benchmarks for quality in the appellation. We feel fortunate to have our precious two acre section that is southeast-facing and are excited about the promise to come from this special site. To give you a sense of how cold it is here at La Cote, we registered only two days over 80˚ in the 2011 growing season.
2012 was our first vintage from this esteemed vineyard, planted in 1991. This south-facing vineyard sits mid-slope, below Rita’s Crown and above Sea Smoke. Farmed organically by famed viticulturist Ruben Solorzano, Mt. Carmel has been a huge inspiration in Rajat Parr’s winemaking career and to produce wine from this vineyard is a dream come true.
2012 marked our debut vintage from this historic vineyard planted on silica-based soils in 1997. Quite an earthy expression of Pinot Noir, the wine shows its firmness from the shallow soils and northern exposure.
Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
This is our entry level Pinot Noir and is a blend of our vineyard holdings in the Sta. Rita Hills. Over half the fruit is from 40 year-old vines at Sanford & Benedict vineyard with the rest coming from our sections and younger vines at Rita’s Crown and Bent Rock. This wine showcases the exuberance of Sta. Rita Hills with bright, shiny red crunchy raspberry fruit that is layered with cola spices and tobacco. The wines are delicious now and will age gracefully for another 5-7 years. The appellation Pinot Noir also offers a great introduction to the style of our wines and will assuredly over-deliver for its price.