Southern California’s Sta. Rita Hills appellation has developed a reputation for producing some the state’s finest Pinot Noir. Located at the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley, the area benefits from the Pacific Ocean’s moderating influence. It was Sta Rita Hills’ cool climate and warm hospitality which drew Peake Ranch Winery owner John Wagner. John grew up working on his family’s lemon and avocado orchards in Ventura County, but pursued a career in finance. Ten years ago he visited Sta. Rita Hills with his wife Gill and decided to return to agriculture and open a winery. The plantings include seven different clones of Pinot Noir, three clones of Chardonnay and two each of Syrah and Grenache. In addition to their estate vineyard, Peake Ranch works with two other prestigious vineyard sites: John Sebastiano vineyard and Sierra Madre vineyard. This Pinot Noir is made from grapes harvested from John Sebastiano Vineyard & Peake Ranch Vineyard. The wine was aged in 50% new French oak barrels.
“Moving to the 2017 Pinot Noirs, the largest production cuvée is the 2017 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills, which was destemmed and spent 18 months in 50% new French oak. Black cherries, ground herbs, forest floor, and hints of candied violets all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, supple, nicely textured, balanced effort. It’s drinking nicely today yet should improve with a year in bottle and keep for 5-7 years.” 93 points, Jeb Dunnuck