2013PandolPN2013 Pandol, Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills.
Having followed Jenny Pandol’s wines now for many years and being a big fan and supporter of her small production Pinot Noirs, it was great to check in on her latest wine, a totally new release from the Sta. Rita Hills, home to many great wines like Brewer-Clifton, Melville, Samsara, Sandhi, Domaine de la Cote, Lutum (mentioned recently here) and many other top producers, this region is on fire with wonderful wines at every turn. Pandol sourced Rita’s Crown Vineyard, right above Sea Smoke, in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA for her latest wine, and it matches perfectly with her vision and style of wine wants to make, as well as highlighting the perfect growing conditions and vintage (from what I hear and from what I am tasting 2013 looks to surpass 2012 in quality in many cases!), giving a luxurious and lush Pinot Noir with low alcohol at 13% and soft bright acidity. Jenny is not going for stemmy or nervy/edgy wines, she wants balance and harmony, liking a fuller/round mouth feel, which the 2013 has in spades.The ancient seabed soils almost give a limestone quality, with loam and sand making for a glorious hedonistic Pinot Noir, this cool climate sea/marine influence and a long hang-time adds to the ripe complexity of layers and polish. Pandol’s handcrafted Pinot Noir is joyous and alluring, in this vintage she employed one third new French oak medium toast barriques, with rest being second and third year barrels, about 400 cases were produced, the grapes were picked from select blocks of clones 777 and 115. The 2013 Pandol Sta. Rita Hills is a deep garnet hue, an inviting nose awaits with toasty wood, attractive rose petal and red berry fruit lead, along with mineral and stone notes before a lavish/dense palate of black cherry, plum, currants, raspberry and fig paste along with touches of saline, cola bean, savory spice, mocha, cinnamon, smoke and vanilla. There is nice acidity which adds a vibrancy lift, while silky almost creamy, refined tannins provide structure, but allowing the full expansion of the fruit in the mouth, Pandol continues to grow as a winemaker and this is one of her finest, stylish and most charming wines to date, prior hits came from Santa Cruz Mountains grapes, but she has now made her home in the Santa Barbara wine country. This wine should age nicely for 5 to 7 years, though it is pretty damn good and sexy right now, it is seriously hard not pour another glass tonight, drink from 2014 to 2018. Be sure to check out this new Pandol Sta. Rita Hills Pinot, it is rare, but it is certainly worth the effort to search it out and/or join her mailing list at www.pandolwines.com.
($55 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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