2015 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, "The James"

Santa Maria Valley

“The James” Pinot Noir is our only Pinot from Santa Barbara County in Southern California. It comes from three of the Sta. Rita Hills’ most acclaimed vineyards: Sanford & Benedict, La Rinconada and Rita’s Crown Vineyards. The Sta. Rita Hills appellation is characterized by its east to west valley that channels fog inland directly from the Pacific Ocean. Strong winds and thick fog quickly cool the region down in the evenings. This wine exemplifies the verve and spice that this growing region bestows on Pinot Noir. “The James” shows off bright red fruits, bergamot and fresh rose notes. On the palate you are greeted with ripe strawberries and cranberries giving way to a fresh, spicy finish ath lingers forever.

Released February 7th, 2017 

Price: $65

Other Information

Fruit for this wine comes from three vineyards at the southern part of the Sta. Rita Hills: Rita’s Crown, La Rinconada and Sanford & Benedict.

Rita’s Crown Vineyard: Sits on the north side of the Santa Ynez river in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. It’s valley runs east-west which allows the cool winds to pour in from the Pacific Ocean miles away. Famous for its “moon dust” diatomaceous earth veins, Rita’s Crown is densely planted and sits high in the hills allowing for excellent drainage and exposure. With fog burning off late in the morning and rolling in early in the afternoon, Rita’s Crown gets a long growing season to allow the grapes to attain optimal ripeness.
La Rinconada: This Sta. Rita Hills AVA is planted exclusively with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The vineyard sits on a well-drained, north-west facing slope. Due to the heavy Pacific fog, which pools into this valley, it is an ideal region for cool-climate varietals.
Sanford & Benedict: Neighbors to La Rinconada, this site is one of California’s most historic sites. This famous vineyard is directly north from the Santa Ynez River in the Sta. Rita Hill’s Appellations. Known for well-drained soils and cool Pacific coast climate this Pinot Noir lives in rich terroir .

The 2015 vintage proceeded with dry weather, extending our drought for its fourth year. Warm weather started the year, which caused early flowering mirroring the previous couple of growing seasons. In spring the climate changed dramatically, heavy winds and cool spells hit the valley. The effects of this weather pattern caused fruit set to be extremely variable and by July we were ready for harvest. We picked earlier than ever and received our grapes into the cellar by August. Overall, the effect of our early budbreak and resulting weather was that our yields were down 25%. While this isn’t great for the amount of wine we can produce, what was left for us turned out to be fantastic. Small, concentrated berries allowed us to create richly flavored and textured wines. Like many things in life, the 2015 vintage demonstrated the beauty of the adage “less is more”.

Sta. Rita Hills
100% Pinot Noir
Martini, 777, 828, Mt
Gravelly Loam and
Diatomaceous Earth
Open Top Fermenters
11 Months
100% French Oak, 55% New
6.1 g/L
732 Cases
February 7, 2017