2020 Domaine De La Côte Pinot Noir La Côte Sta. Rita Hills
Region: Santa Barbara, California
Domaine De La Cote
The Sta. Rita Hills are unique among winegrowing places, an austere and somewhat harsh place in which to produce subtle wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, varieties long associated with gentler locales. We lie in the contested space between that vast, frigid, tumultuous sea and an equally expansive, severe, arid desert. We came to this place seeking an antithesis of the preordained richness of new world winelands, where plump and generous wines seemed inevitable, in search of a site that compels vines and people together to struggle in a productive way that can be overcome only by hands and effort, observation, and ingenuity. We sought an incisive place that would scrape away a wine’s uncomplicated flesh to reveal the muscle, bone, and organ that become the contour, nuance, and novelty of wines unique to this place. Finding a place where nature inexorably imposes its aesthetic we hope allows us, through viticultural choices and straightforward winemaking, to discern and clarify its signal.
The process, not just the product, nurtures us. A goal since breaking ground in 2006 was to be able to pose questions to the vineyard, as to an oracle, about elements and earth, about wine, about the nature of life itself. Answers came first as vines that lived and claimed a foothold in the earth and blossomed and grew strong. Then as grapes, small in volume but dense with matter, energy, and potential. And finally as wines, each year more pure and original, more beguiling and eloquent. Each year, the same questions elicit new answers, which we mull over and chew on and drink deeply of, and which ultimately further this story, our story, propelling us exhilaratingly into the new vintage.
"The 2020 Pinot Noir La Côte is a wine of tremendous density and power. Red cherry/plum fruit, crushed rocks, herbs and rose petal fill out the layers, but La Côte mostly stands out for its huge core of fruit. Here, too, readers will have to be extremely patient. La Côte is a Pinot of real substance. In some vintages, it has been a bit on the excessively savory side, but Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr nailed the balance in 2020." (AG)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 95
"Youthfully vibrant but deserving of more bottle time, the 2020 Pinot Noir La Côte offers detailed aromas of wild blackberries, pipe tobacco, charcuterie and abundant amaro-like spices. The palate is fresh and chalky with broody, dark fruits and a long, minerally finish." (EB)