The Hallowed Ground of Sanford & Benedict

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We are so fortunate to work with the original, 1971, own-rooted plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the famed Sanford & Benedict vineyard. By any reasonable account, this is one of the 5 most important vineyards in the new world and a little under 50 acres remain of these original old vines. Much has been written about this vineyard over the last 4 decades, but it is so meaningful to me for 2 special reasons.



When Richard Sanford planted vines in 1971, there was not another vineyard in sight. Just about everyone thought he was either crazy, or must be planting a vineyard for sparkling wine, because there was no way Pinot Noir and Chardonnay would fully ripen so close to the Pacific Ocean. 36 years later, Sashi Moorman and I undertook to plant an estate 3 miles closer to the Pacific Ocean than Sanford & Benedict, at the very edge of the appellation. Many people thought the same of us as they did of Richard those many years ago. We must be crazy! We could never have achieved what we have at Domaine de la Côte without the precedent set at Sanford & Benedict

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My winemaking mentor, Jim Clendenen has purchased fruit and made wine from this same block of old vines since the 1987 vintage. He too was a pioneer in seeking out cooler growing regions, fermenting naturally and without additives, bottling without filtration, and making wines of balance and finesse to be enjoyed with food. The wines of Au Bon Climat and the guidance and generosity of Jim Clendenen have much to do with our efforts at Sandhi. Every time we bottle a new vintage from Sanford & Benedict, we hope to do the vineyard and our forbearers justice as we continue the tradition of cool-climate, balanced winemaking in the Sta. Rita Hills.

Click HERE to purchase our 2015 Sanford & Benedict bottlings.