World-Class Pinot Noir Grown 10 Miles From Pacific
Collector’s alert: For coastal Pinot enthusiasts, this is a must-buy. If the world’s greatest Pinot Noir is grown on the calcareous slopes on Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, California’s Sonoma Coast and Santa Barbara County’s Sta. Rita Hills AVA might be the next best. The latter was the source for this electrifying release from Gainey Vineyards, which garnered a rave 93-point review from Vinous, declaring it “quite delicious” and “another hugely appealing, exuberant wine from Gainey.” Estate vines rooted 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean are heavily influenced by morning fog as thick as pea soup where exquisite wild-berry Pinot Noirs are becoming the norm for Sta. Rita Hills’ most revered growers. Bottles generally begin at $50, topping out in the low $100s, thanks to tiny yields and high farming costs. This is the rare exception — a mouthwatering, benchmark Pinot Noir from one of the region’s most veteran producers. Sold out at the winery, but available here on Wine Access for just $29.99 per bottle.
The Gaineys’ Evan’s Ranch sits just east of Sea Smoke and Cargasacchi. Not long after daylight, the “smoke” rolls in here, providing moisture as it cloaks these manicured hillsides. By midday, the fog burns off, yielding to bright Santa Barbara sun. Diurnal temperature shifts on summer days flirt with 40 degrees, even if daytime highs rarely exceed 80. The growing season — one of the longest in the New World — often stretches from late March to mid-October.
In the marvelous 2014 growing season, a mild winter and warm spring led to early bud break. Even as the call to harvest was one of the earliest in memory, acids held firm, clusters were tiny, and berries were pert and ultra-sweet — making for one of the most mouthwatering Pinot Noirs in the winery’s illustrious history.