One of the great things about California wines over the last decade plus is the success from many wineries expressing the different shades and flavors the vast state is able to produce. There have definitely been different times when 'The Californian Style' was seemingly etched in stone and anyone that deviated wasn't successful. Pinot Noir has been through a bigger/better/faster/more phase of popularity, but a wave of more restrained and food friendly producers has brought the drier, vibrant side of the grape back into the public eye. Noted sommelier Rajat Parr and his winemaking partner Sashi Moorman have been at the forefront of this movement with their Sanhi and Domaine de la Cote projects, but like so many of the most interesting Pinots they are priced out of the range for a large part of the public to experiment with and test their preferences. Thankfully Parr and Moorman have built on the success to develop just such a bridge wine by creating the Lompoc Wine Co. line. Made from a single 15 acre site planted more recently on their Domaine de la Cote property, it sees all the attention and quality management as the other famous parcels (organic practices, low yielding vineyards) but constructed to be much more approachable in their youth and easier to enjoy.
From the first pour the aromas are noticeably on the more savory side of the spectrum, with cooler cherry skin tones, cranberry and even hints of mint or clove, very reflective of the cool climate of the Santa Rita Hills that sit well within the fog zone close to ocean. On the palate the texture is super polished and silky, and with the dry lower alcohol character a bit lighter but not lacking in flavor or intensity. The bright natural acidity really brings out the cranberry tones, especially through the finish. While there will probably never be a 'cheap' version of a Pinot Noir like this, this provides great value for those that want more subtlety from the variety.
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