Mission Codename The Pioneer
Pinot lovers gather ‘round.
Wait, that does not leave many Operatives out now, does it?
How does a small production, naturally made, silky, flavor-packed Pinot from a tiny family producer, for a brutally fair price sound? Excuse yourself from monitoring your kid’s Zoom class, step off the Peloton, and hold off on that shower for a few more minutes to make sure you lock down this gorgeous, silky, totally swoon worthy 91-pointer. For $19 what more can you ask for?!
Ampelos Vineyards is a husband and wife run winery in the Santa Rita Hills, where Pinot thrives in the cool coastal climate. We’re talking the neighborhood of Sea Smoke (where their son is the winemaker!), Brewer-Clifton, Clos Pepe, Fiddlestix, Melville, Ojai, Sanford & Benedict, Rita’s Crown, that list goes on, and on…
Rebecca and Peter Work are obsessively focused on sustainable biodynamic farming and take a natural approach to winemaking that focuses on maximizing freshness and framing terroir. Actually, they’re the first vineyard in the US to be certified in all three environmental farming practices - biodynamic, organic and SIP (sustainable in practice).
We were not ready for this one at a recent tasting, but it grabbed hold of our heartstrings from the first sip. Fresh as morning dew and invigorating as an ice bath! Medium bodied, and pulsing with vibrant red fruit, it shows a perfect balance between the power and elegance, with a truly outstanding sense of terroir. Ultra-juicy with just ripe strawberries and red whips, along with cherry cola and fresh tobacco and nice toasty spices on the finish. The acidity pulls it all together and makes this an awesome choice for so many food pairings. Creamy dijon chicken with mushrooms and risotto about to go down over here!
At the release price, it already stood out as stupendous value for one of California’s hottest appellations where Pinots over $100 a pop are commonplace. A glorious single vineyard like this under $20 hits all the right notes.
Simply an amazing score on a Pinot that is impossible to fault at this price!
91 Points – Wine Spectator
“Notes of hot stone accent the toothsome cherry tart and plum compote flavors, backed by medium-grained tannins and crunchy acidity. The minerally finish features plenty of cigar box details, complemented by a creamy texture. Drink now through 2024.”
90 Points – Wine Enthusiast
“Vibrant in strawberry, baking spice and earth, this estate-grown wine is light, crisp and acid-driven, made in a style of delicacy and elegance. Its flavors work well within the framework of firm, nuanced tannin and integrated oak.”
What the Winery Says
2016 'Lambda: The Magnitude' Santa Rita Hills Estate Pinot Noir
- Winemakers / growers
- Rebecca & Peter Work
- 99% Pinot Noir, 1& Pinot Gris
- Selection Massale (115, 459, 828, 2a, Pommard)
- Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County
- Ampelos Estate Vineyard
- Vine age
- Planted in 1999
- Total acidity
- 6.1 g/L
- 30 months
- 39% new French oak