Mission Codename Ope there goes gravity
Mind bottling - when your thoughts get all trapped up like they’re stuck in a bottle.
This comes as close to Grand Cru White Burgundy as you’ll find outside the region. The price, however, is nowhere near a GC Burg.
So, between the price and the quality, this qualifies as a totally MIND BOTTLING deal.
It also brings serious pedigree. Sanford & Benedict vineyard is a much sought-after location. Big names like Deovlet, Arnot-Roberts, Sandhi, Liquid Farm, and many others source fruit from this location. A quick price check puts every one of those wines in the $50-$70 range.
But this wine comes from the source of the source. It’s like getting a Salisbury steak from James Salisbury. Or riding on George W.G. Ferris’s first ever Ferris wheel.
This famous vineyard spawned from a friendship between Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict. They teamed up, bought the property, and developed it. High praise followed their efforts ever since the duo released their first wines in 1978 which the press called “American Grand Cru in a Lompoc barn.” Richard later went on to form Sanford winery and his efforts are largely responsible for putting Sta. Rita Hills on the map - not just as a reputable region but as a spot to find ultra-high quality wine grapes. Particularly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Take it from Antonio Galloni’s Vinous, bringing us up-to-date with this modern-day icon: “Sanford is without question the most improved winery in Santa Barbara over the last few years. Winemaker Trey Fletcher has elevated these wines to the stratosphere… The wines are done in a style that prizes energy and a micro-expression of site. Fletcher gives the Chardonnays a very classic Burgundian élevage…”
This Chardonnay has it going on and truly does flash that Grand Cru personality with a sun-drenched California twist. It’s on the richer side stylistically but never falling into the fat flabby territory. There’s a bit of butter and oak but it blends into a hypnotic swirl of other flavors. It shows lots of taut pineapple, pear, and lemon curd with a little dollop of crème Anglaise, a drizzle of caramel, and croissant flakes. A brilliant vein of acidity runs through it, too.
Sheer beauty like this can’t be found anywhere else at this ROCK BOTTOM price. If you’ve been waiting for a special Chardonnay, the wait is over…
92 Points, Editors’ Choice – Wine Enthusiast
“Mellow aromas of Asian pear, butter-fried apple and a bit of canned pear show on the nose of this appellation blend. The compelling aspect is the grippy palate, which is taut in a chalky tension that presents flavors of sea salt, Pink Lady apple and red pear.”
90 Points – Jeb Dunnuck
“Starting with the 2017 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills Estate, it comes from the Sanford & Benedict and La Rinconada Vineyards and was aged in 20% new French oak. It offers a terrific bouquet of stone fruits, melon, honeysuckle, and spice, with just a hint of salty minerality. It’s medium-bodied, has a balanced, elegant style, nicely integrated acidity, and is a classy Chardonnay. It should also evolve nicely for 4-5 years. Drink 2019-2024.”
90 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2017 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills was barrel fermented and aged eight months in about 20% new oak. It has a very toasty nose with gunflint hints over baked yellow apple, white peach, pastry crust, lemon meringue and banana chip. Medium to full-bodied, it has a good core of toasty/savory fruits, with juicy acidity and a long finish. Drink 2019-2025.”
Pineapple, pear, lemon curd, crème Anglaise, caramel
Vibrant bright gold, with accents of intense sunshine
Taut pineapple, pear, and lemon curd, butter and oak
A brilliant vein of acidity, rich but not in a fat flabby territory
Crème Anglaise, a drizzle of caramel, and croissant flakes
Steamed lobsta! Melted butta! Lots of both, dip, slurp, repeat
What the Winery Says
2017 'Gravity Flow' Sta. Rita Hills Estate Chardonnay
- Trey Fletcher
- 100% Chardonnay
- Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County
- Brix at harvest
- Total acidity
- 6.28 g/L
- 8 1/2 months
- 20% new French Oak