Change happens in the wine world at a slow, almost glacial pace. Beer changes season to season, adjustments are made from tank to tank, and every year there always seems to be a new popular recipe created that others begin to emulate by the next year. But wine is a yearly crop that wineries have one chance each season to get right without suffering financial devastation. Vines take upwards of a decade to really hit maturity and produce the quality of grapes that truly show off the long term potential a site contains. Tinkering happens on a relatively small scale, so when Sandhi Wines was formed to create a more elegant and restrained style of Santa Barbara County grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it took place on a parcel by parcel, wine by wine basis. Founders Rajat Parr (wine director of the international Michael Mina Restaurant Group) and winemaker Sashi Morman developed the name to the point that they can now source more fruit from vineyards sites willing to produce grapes to their specifications, enough so that they can now produce a more value conscious bottling instead of just focusing on the more expensive single site wines. Those with a tighter budget can now sample what wineries like this mean when they speak of making 'wines of finesse, minerality, acidity, structure and balance'.
A more transparent ruby color combines with a slight haziness from the minimal filtration to give an image in the glass more typical to Red Burgundy than Californian Pinot, as does the aroma of tart cherry and dusty red fruits. The palate still has a Californian richness (often texture gets lost when wines are going for lower alcohol levels to achieve 'balance') but not from leaving sweetness behind, providing lots of the same red fruits in the aroma and lots of dried fruit skin across the finish. This is the opposite of a 'fruit bomb', and does not set out to say that those that like that style are wrong for doing so. What it DOES show is that California is absolutely capable of producing a much broader range of Pinot Noir than many marketers would have you believe for the last few decades, and that you don't have to empty the bank account to explore them any more.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!