Top Winemaking Talent, Top Pedigree
Whatever you know, or whatever you’ve heard about The Paring Sauvignon Blanc, hear this: It is no ordinary California Sauvignon Blanc—at $19.99 per bottle it’s utterly extraordinary, with the 2015 vintage marked by exotic spices and a creamy mouthfeel, accented by freshness and energetic acidity and belongs in your cellar by the case. Here’s why.
Winemaker Matt Dees has been called “one of the most brilliant winemakers of his generation.” The critical pitch of praise for Dees is given full accreditation by the now-owners of Screaming Eagle, who think pretty highly of Matt too. Even before they owned the cult-Cabernet iconic label, they hired Dees in 2004 to shepherd their first harvest at Jonata, and never looked back. The Paring is produced by Dees and his team at Jonata and the Hilt. It is made from the fruit of younger vines, as well as uniquely identified lots that show upfront hedonism and pleasure that in the bottle are meant for drinking now.
But think of it like this: If you’re familiar with our Wine Access favorites like Chad, Fiancetto, Karo-Kann, and Delightful & Strange—wines of immense pedigree but whose sources are protected by strict NDAs—“The Paring” pulls back the curtains. It’s wine that was earmarked for Jonata or The Hilt, but shows off qualities that Dees and his team identify as more “drink now” worthy, and so it gets bottled under The Paring label. There’s simply no NDA to hide the pedigree behind The Paring wines. They are sheer pleasure in a bottle, and meant to be enjoyed as a precursor to, say, that 100-point Jonata you have sitting in your cellar and plan to serve with roast duck, or a New York Strip, expertly seasoned with pink Himalayan sea salt.
Dees’s has steered his labels into such critical praise, that we’d argue he’s given Santa Barbara its first First Growth. In all of Santa Barbara County, one producer—just one—holds the top scores (99 points and 100 points) in the last FIVE vintages: That’s Jonata. “It’s always a fun tasting with winemaker Matt Dees and his team, and they continue to keep this estate at the top of the hierarchy in Santa Barbara County,” Jeb Dunnuck has written. “Excellence is the norm,” writes Antonio Galloni of Vinous, who labeled Matt “one of the most brilliant winemakers of his generation.” Top winemaking talent, top pedigree. And just $19.99 per bottle on cases.