2015 Sauvignon Blanc by Sanford, Santa Ynez Valley, California
On the nose. Soft peach nectarine and lime zest. Subtle wet wood leather. Faint butter.
Body is dry, shows good balance, greeting with citrus up front quickly followed by a faint barely noticeable refined caramel. This creates a slightly viscous mouth feel. A touch of minerality further accentuates this and moistens the lips ever so slightly. Finish is characterized by citrus zest, and subtle spice warmth.
This is a classic Sauvignon Blanc. Subtle. Unsurprising from this Winemaker who’s wines tend to read like a thesis of what is possible in this region. The folks at Stanford have been great stewards of this legendary and historically significant vineyard. If you’re ever in the area I recommend stopping by to baseline your palate and establish a reference point. Nicely done folks.
Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir (Sanford & Benedict Vineyard) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara California.
Subtle aromatic nose characterized by rich fine leather of slightly damp loamy terroir intertwined with faint sweet berries, touch of dark cherries and vanilla. This wine commands a clean palate and clear mind.
Body is balanced right down the middle, front to back. An attack with suggestion of acidity is quickly counterbalanced by subtle tannin in the form of dark cherries. This creates just the right amount of background structure and foundation for a silky, whispy mouth feel. Oak vanilla and berries continue their gentle interplay as they carry over from the nose, introducing yet more whispers of musical harmony. Body and finish appear as one through a seamless transition culminating with gentle whispers of dry tannic grip and faint spice.
This is a terroir driven wine. An exercise in restraint and balance. A strict adherence to core principles. It reads like a thesis in Pinot Noir excellence. You cannot explore wines from the California central coast without indulging in this specific Pinot Noir by this storied founders’ vineyard. I keep this particular Pinot Noir on hand in my cellar as a benchmark and reference.
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Guest Review: 2017 Pinot Noir (Santa Rita Hills Appellation) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara California.
I think I found the Prince of Pinot! Sanford 2017 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills Appellation is an elegant and well balanced Pinot.
Bright ruby red colored, light and fruity aromas of cherries, leather, and baking spices. On the palate, flavors of raspberries, red cherries, oak, and light peppercorn. At 13.5% ABV, this Pinot Noir has balanced acid and tannin structures, a delightful wine for any special occasion.
Need pairing ideas? Try pairing Sanford 2017 Pinot Noir with:
Salmon or other fatty fish
Pasta dishes with pesto, a cream base, or mushroom sauce
Beef and garlic dishes
About our guest
Jenn is a Native Texan photographer, wine lover. She thoroughly enjoys learning about wine making, the history behind wines, and of course wine tasting. She also has a passion for travel and is on a mission to find amazing wines from around the world.
Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir (Block 6) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara California.
Clear ruby color. Nose of crisp berry, sweet cherry and caramel with a hint of leather. Mildly acidic is attack quickly overwhelmed by a creamy, buttery expression. The caramel follows through the body along with a hint of plum, berry and a more pronounced leather. The terroir is well expressed. A seamless transition to a very subtle finish with very little fanfare. This is after all a traditional style Pinot Noir. Once opened up, gentle tannins and a hint of spice linger.
I keep a stash of Sanford Pinot in my cellar as a reference wine. It is a textbook example of what is possible when it comes to California Pinot. From grape to glass, they are delicate, layered, exquisite wines of the highest quality. For me they serve as an fine example for the central coast. You simply cannot speak of California Pinot Noir and not try their wines. It’s refreshing to see a Vineyard with such a legacy stay true to its craft after so many decades.
Keep up the great work guys! 🍷😁👌🏽
You know, it wasn’t until I visited this vineyard on my first visit to Santa Barbara wine country that I realized there is more than the popular “Big California Pinot”. If you aren’t familiar with it, this is the vineyard that showed California and the wine world at large that growing and making a delicate and exquisite Burgundian style Pinot in this region is possible. This one is no exception. The notes are so subtle, you probably should taste it before eating or drinking anything as they can easily be overwhelmed by anything else on your palate. I highly recommend their wines. They serve as a great benchmark for this region and California at large. What’s your occasion tonight?
My trip to Santa Barbara wine country this past weekend had been a long time coming. I had never visited the region before this weekend. Occasionally, a friend or guest to one of my wine summits would bring a bottle from this region to share. I was always intrigued by the fact that I had yet to sample a mediocre wine from this region and the central coast at large. Perhaps my friends just have good taste. Either way I was poised to answer this and many questions on this trip.
There is no shortage of interesting wine country to explore here in California (especially Northern California). Enough to keep the most curious Oenophile thoroughly occupied. My interest in the greater Santa Barbara wine region was really sparked by long time Sonoma vintner extraordiaire, Roger Roessler (rogerroesslerwines.com). I have been following/collecting/savoring his creations for well over a decade now. You will be seeing quite a few posts about his wines. What drew me in was his passion for Pinot Noir and the sometimes overwhelming variety of Pinot he would put out not just from Sonoma, but from all up and down the West Coast. His selection reads like a compendium of California Pinot Noirs. Each one strikingly different, unique in it’s own right. An expression of what he liked most about that region.
One of Roessler’s Pinots I have enjoyed over the years is his S&B Pinot. The S&B stands for Sanford and Benedict. Initially I did not quite appreciate the significance of the name. I assumed it had personal significance to Roger. Over the years as my appreciation grew and after many discussions with him about his various wines and their inspirations, I realized the true meaning of the label. As Roger shared his thoughts on the region I realized it carried profound significance.
As my visit to this region neared, I began researching and learning more about the region and it’s history. In one evening of casual reading, I realized the Sanford and Benedict Vineyard was more than just another California winery. It was a cornerstone establishment in the larger region with a storied history, started by true pioneers (and purists) Roger Sanford and Michael Benedict. They paved the way for the region by showing what was truly possible – growing and making truly exceptional Pinot Noir.
My first stop was Sanford and Benedict Vineyards. Now owned by the Terlato Family. I left with the impression that they have done a terrific job of preserving not just it’s name and identity, but the legacy that brought it’s Pinot Noir and the region at large to notoriety. As It still felt somewhat understated. The grounds were clean and free of clutter. The buildings had a bit of a subdued presence with more of an quiet established feel. The wine list was very straight forward and to the point, all small production Estate wines. One signature Pinot, two single block Pinots and one reserve blend of a couple blocks.
All it took for me was my taste of the signature Pinot – the 2014 Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir. It was one of the most delicate and complex California Pinot Noirs I have had and certainly deserves a post all its own. As the tasting progressed, our host was gracious enough to take us outside, show us the vines, grounds and tell us about what makes it all truly special. I also couldn’t help but notice how perfectly trimmed/pruned the vines were. I haven’t quite seen vines and grounds this immaculately maintained before. As my visit progressed it became obvious why their grapes are so sought after far an wide. I began to realize their estate wines served as a thesis, a guide and reference on how to grow and make a Pinot Noir. Sanford and Benedict set a very high bar for all wines in the region. I spent the rest of my weekend looking back at Sanford and Benedict every time I tasted wines. A tough act to follow. A tall legacy to beat. A few came close. I finally understood why a winemaker would come this far for grapes.
If you are even anywhere remotely close to this region, Sanford and Benedict is an absolute must! It alone is worth making the trip.