Mission Codename Fifty Fifty
We LOVE wines made for geeky palates by geeky minds.
To us, it’s fascinating that Gallo’s first genuine winemaker almost ended up buying Freemark Abbey.
Then he turned his back to a winemaking degree he earned from UC Davis in 1960 to get a DVM and a Ph.D. to become a successful medical researcher.
But once you’re bit by the wine bug, it’s in your blood and there is no turning back.
So, in 2001, he and his wife Mary hung their hats up at Quinta Santa Rosa, the smallest vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills to this date tucked away in an idyllic corner, where historic icons like Sanford & Benedict or Fiddlestix thrive side by side with cult modernists such as Sea Smoke or Brewer-Clifton. They had found paradise.
It was PinotFile who took notice of the sleeper Prodigal label first, highlighting ‘Fifty Years in the Making’ complimenting his early releases; “I like his style, which is all about precision, restraint and elegance. Some may wish for more fruit intensity (these wines are not fruit bombs), but I prefer the delicate approach which produces more nuanced wines. All the wines have supple tannins so they are very approachable now.”
Which is exactly what we went head over heels for in the glass. It wasn’t merely the limpid brilliant ruby glowing candy apple red. Nor was it the deep red fruit-driven, raspberry, and strawberry compote laced aromatics alone, backed by sweet and spicy Tahitian vanilla accents. It was partly the palate, with a soft, velvety texture, a bursting middle of ripe boysenberry, and a gentle grip of cool, minty tannin in the back perhaps. Then there was the finish, resonating long amidst savory minerals, dried apricots, mocha, and pomegranate molasses. This would SING with grilled artisanal sausages, think fruity and savory, teriyaki pineapple or mango-jalapeño, with Dijon mustard, would be the HIT of the party.
When you make just a few barrels per year, it’s hard to get noticed. Enter yet another unbeatable Wine Spies exclusive deal, slashing this worth-every-penny of its original $50 asking Pinot in half, all the way down to a silly for a sublime single-vineyard $25.
And did we say 93 points too? Here today, gone tomorrow!
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast
“Ripe and prominent aromas of black raspberry, dark strawberry and plump elderberry are leveled by wild herbs and fennel pollen on the nose of this three-clone bottling from Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard. The palate is hearty with wild-cherry, cherry-pit and baked plum flavors, as dark sage and thyme herbs lead into the finish.”
Bursting with ripe boysenberry, and cool, minty tannins
Limpid brilliant ruby glowing candy apple red
Deep red fruit-driven, raspberry, and strawberry compote, Tahitian vanilla
Soft, velvety texture, bursting with ripe boysenberry, and a gentle grip of cool, minty tannin
Resonating long amidst savory minerals, dried apricots, mocha, and pomegranate molasses
Grilled artisanal sausages, fruity and savory, teriyaki pineapple or mango-jalapeño, with Dijon
What the Winery Says
2018 Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
- Winemakers / growers
- Stephen & Mary Russell
- 100% Pinot Noir, 1& Pinot Gris
- Dijon 667, 777, 115
- Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County
- Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard
- 4.4 acres
- First vintage
- 12 months
- 33% new French oak
- 8 barrels