2016 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Santa Rita Hills, a small AVA nestled within Santa Barbara County is home to some of California’s best-loved Pinot Noirs. The fruit-focused core, depth, and complexity can be attributed to the morning fog, sunny days and cooling coastal breezes. The hillsides are covered with white chalky soils that allow for drainage, but also encourage a hint of minerality in the flavor and texture. Rita’s Crown Vineyard is located on a sunny, southwest-facing hillside, nestled in the heart of prime blocks of Sea Smoke, best known for their robust pinot Noir.
Kari Auringer’s passion for Pinot Noir is only rivaled by her quest for unique terroirs that have a sense of place: Typically she looks for ones that render a more lifted aromatic profile due to complex soil minerality and grapes achieving phenolic ripeness, or long hangtime. Completely destemmed Dijon Clone 828, cold-soaked and punched down 3 times daily.
Dark garnet in color. Effusive aromas of juicy blackberries, Bing cherries, and ripe summer strawberries, with a subtle layer of toasty vanilla, lift out of the glass. Your first sip might take you back to a late summer evening when the air was filled with sweet aromas of fruit ripening on the vine and floral notes floating on the soft summer breeze. Your first sip might transport you to a time when you experienced the pure essence of ripe fruit. Juicy and seductive but laced with a balance of earthiness and fresh-baked blueberry tart. With each swirl of the glass, this complex wine evolves showing more depth and layered nuance. Fresh and ready to play right now, this wine will gain complexity and depth with a little time in the bottle.
91 points | Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine