After the struggles in the vineyard in both 2010 and 2011, the ease of the 2012 growing season was a welcome change. Very pleasant weather during flowering and a warm summer gave us our first substantial crop in a number of years and quality like we rarely see. As we began the harvest, I kept commenting on how gorgeous the fruit looked and how delicious the flavors were! Growing pinot noir and chardonnay this close to the ocean is always a difficult task. So, when fruit comes in looking as picture perfect as it did in 2012, everyone really takes note.
The grapes were so juicy and delicious that I was certain that this would be a vintage to be consumed earlier than later. I have never been so wrong about a vintage! As the wines went down to barrel and then finished ML, I was astounded by the structure and sophistication the wines now possessed. The chardonnays exhibited a wonderful series of aromatics and beautiful mid palate texture and the pinot noir bursting with brilliant red fruit, minerality and spice. Tasting for the last time before the wines went to bottle only reaffirmed my position that 2012 is a classic vintage of elegance and balance.
I find the chardonnay to be exceptionally compelling aromatically. The wines are very well balanced; with a fineness and purity that I feel is the trademark of well crafted Santa Barbara County Chardonnay. Compared to the 2011’s, the wines are not quite as firm in their acidic profile and offer a touch more generous texture and weight.
As the Pinot Noir began to soften and as the wines began to express themselves, I was astounded by their minerality and class. Generally speaking, the pinot noirs are very red in color and aromatics with more plush textures to be found in the Santa Maria bottling’s and more structure in the Santa Rita Hills wines. I have never before put a series of wines in bottle that I think are more definitive of place and look forward to watching these wines unfold over the years to come.