When Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict planted their eponymous vineyard in ’71 people thought they’d never be able to ripen their grapes. The naysayers were proved wrong, the fossil rich soils and Pacific breezes of the Sta Rita Hills are renowned for elegant wines, like this savoury single-clone Pinot Noir. Aromatically layered with aromas of mulberry, forest floor and Mediterranean herbs, the palate is rounded with bright red fruits and a herbal freshness that lead to a long complex finish.
Drake Whitcraft makes beautifully balanced, site-specific wines in his low-fi Santa Barbara winery. Growing up in Santa Barbara under the tutelage of his father, who started Whitcraft Winery in 1985, and his friend Burt Williams, founder of Williams-Selyem in Sonoma, Drake has formed good relationships with some of the best vineyards in the Central Coast with a focus on the cool climate and diverse terroir of Sta. Rita Hills.
He gets his grapes from sought after sites like Pence, La Rinconada and Stolpman. He makes all his wines in the same hands-on, low-intervention way - describing himself as a wine shepherd more than a winemaker - above everything else Drake wants to make a naked representation of these exceptional vineyards year after year. They represent a cross-section of the emerging class of site-specific wines coming out of Central Coast California today.