Move Over DRC, It's all about DDLC
Published by Patrick Robinson on 09/10/2020
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For lovers of Pinot Noir the ‘go to’ was always Burgundy, however in recent years the sands have shifted. With a lot of buyers looking to California, and with producers like Domaine de la Côte it is easy to see why. In his recent review Antonio Galloni comments on the Domaine’s wines “some of the most epic, dramatically beautiful Pinots I have ever tasted in the Sta. Rita Hills, or anywhere for that matter”. Not only are these wines exceptional but they are exceptional value for money too! With other producers raising their prices with increased demand, Sashi and Rajat have no interest in following suit. They do not want to make cult wines, they make wine for wine lovers.
Here at Roberson we have been banging the drum for the ‘New California Icons’, and it is quite clear that in their short history Domaine de la Côte have cemented themselves as an Icon. The Domaine was born out of the Evening Land Vineyards in Santa Barbara. They sold their estate to Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr, two greats of California winemaking, and they have been building acclaim around their estate ever since.
Their Domaine is a collection of five vineyards on the western edge of the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County. The vineyards are sited on south facing slopes approximately seven miles from the Pacific Ocean. The maritime influence is felt in the vineyards, they make cool climate Pinot Noir of the highest calibre.
The vineyards are planted with heritage California clones of Pinot Noir, in their Lompoc winery they make use of the whole cluster, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wines are raised in oak (approximately 20% new). Sashi and Rajat aim to produce wines that give a purity of fruit and a true expression of their terroir.
The Domaine farms its vineyards organically and makes its wines with the philosophy of ‘add nothing; take nothing away.’ All the wines are produced and bottled at the winery in the town of Lompoc in Santa Barbara County, three miles from the Domaine.
The critics consistently heap praise on the wines of Domaine de la Côte, with Antonio Galloni commenting below on the 2018s.
Domaine de la Côte’s popularity has grown steadily in recent years and the wines now sell out on release. These wines are snapped up eagerly by those in the know and they rarely see the light of day again. Cellared and savoured by those lucky enough to get hold of the wines.
Only in their infancy, this is the 8th release from the Domaine. The best is yet to come, and that is a very exciting prospect indeed. With a particular focus on three site specific wines, the La Côte, Bloom’s Field and Memorious, you can get a thorough picture of the wines produced by Domaine de la Côte.
The flagship wine for the Domaine, from a South East facing slope with heterogeneous soils. The wines from this vineyard are tense in youth and require cellaring to achieve their full potential. Described by Galloni as “an especially brooding, potent style”. Pop in the cellar and forget about for a few years.
A South West facing slope with light clay top soils. This is a more approachable style, more vivid and exciting in youth. This is one to drink while you wait for the La Côte to come around. Galloni comments that the Bloom’s Field is “Aromatically intense and finely cut”.
Downslope from Bloom’s Field the soils here are heavier alluvial deposits. The resulting wines are ripe, bright and full in their youth, these can be effortlessly enjoyed young. Galloni comments they are “deep, expansive and positively thrilling”.
The 2018s, which are due to be released next week, are a very exciting prospect. These are high scoring wines yet they still represent such exceptional value for money especially when you compare to other US Pinots or indeed their Burgundian counterparts.
Their wines are helping to redefine how people think about Californian Pinot Noir.
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