Jeb Dunnuck – August 2022

Reviews by Jeb Dunnuck

Aug 29th, 2022



2020 Chardonnay Special Bottling – Puerta Del Mar

Made in tiny quantities, the 2020 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar Vineyard Special Bottling is a deeper, richer, more serious Chardonnay that warrants serious attention. Offering classic Chardonnay stone fruits, toasted brioche, and chalky minerality, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a layered, concentrated mouthfeel, high yet integrated acidity, subtle oak, and a great finish. It brings another level of depth and complexity and is a brilliant Chardonnay. 96 Points


2019 Pinot Noir Special Bottling – Fe Ciega

This estate likes to do tiny, special selections and there are just 68 cases of the 2019 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard Special Bottling. It’s certainly cut from the same cloth as the regular cuvée with its ripe strawberry and raspberry-driven fruit profile as well as dried herbs, smoked earth, and spicy nuances. Beautiful on the palate as well, it’s medium to full-bodied, has a layered, round mouthfeel, integrated tannins and acidity, and a great finish. 96 Points


2021 Chardonnay – Bien Nacido

The 2021 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard comes from one of the Grand Cru sites in California and has a classic style in its more honeyed orchard, musky orange, and pear-like fruits as well as chalky minerality and spice-driven nuances. Beautifully textured on the palate, it has a forward, supple mouthfeel, terrific balance, and a clean finish. Drink this any time over the coming decade. 94 Points


2021 Chardonnay – Rancho Ontiveros

From a small 8-acre vineyard that was planted in 1997, the 2021 Chardonnay Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard is another juicy, supple, elegant 2021 white from this team. Giving up plenty of honeyed pear and ripe citrus and lemon-like fruit as well as subtle herbal and mineral nuances, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, bright, juicy acidity, and a great finish. As with the other whites in the lineup, the freshness and purity are top-notch. It already offers pleasure and should keep for 5-7 years or more. 94 Points


2020 Pinot Noir – Kessler-Haak

Coming from a vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills, the 2020 Pinot Noir Kessler Haak Vineyard has a spicy, darker, herbal style that brings a touch more volume and mid-palate depth than the Puerta Del Mar. Medium-bodied, round, and beautifully textured, it’s a complete, elegant, impressive Pinot Noir that will shine for 8-10 years. 94 Points


2019 Syrah – Duvarita

The 2019 Syrah Duvarita Vineyard is also terrific, with more up-front juicy blue fruits, violets, smoked meat, and peppery notes in a forward yet concentrated, soundly built, structured package. This started up with plenty of up-front fruit yet closed down slightly with time in the glass, so I think a year or two of bottle age are warranted. Regardless, I love its overall balance, and this is impressive. This classic Syrah will drink well for at least a decade. 94 Points


2019 Syrah – John Sebastiano

Leading off the Syrahs, the 2019 Syrah John Sebastiano Vineyard sports a deep ruby/plum hue to go with awesome notes of ripe red and blue fruits, smoke game, violets, leather, and ground pepper. Reminding me of a hypothetical mix of a great Saint Joseph and a Hermitage, it’s medium-bodied, has a layered, balanced mouthfeel, building tannins, and a great finish. It benefits from air and will no doubt drink nicely for a decade. 94 Points


2021 Riesling Dessert Wine – Kick On Ranch

Lastly, the dessert styled 2021 Riesling Kick On Vineyard Dessert Wine is smoking good stuff, offering ripe, honeyed lychee-like fruits as well as caramelized peach and apricot nuances, medium-bodied, bright, juicy, salivating levels of acidity, plenty of sweetness, and a great finish. It’s a terrific dessert wine that will keep for well over a decade. 94 Points


2019 Syrah – Bien Nacido

The 2019 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard offers a more meaty, smoky nose revealing plenty of red and black fruits as well as more savory, spice, leather, and meaty nuances. Structured, medium-bodied, and balanced on the palate, it has plenty of tannins and good acidity. Give it 2-3 years and enjoy over the following decade. 93+ Points


2019 Pinot Noir – Fe Ciega

Classic red and black fruits, leafy herbs, orange blossom, and damp flower notes all emerge from the 2020 Pinot Noir Fe Ciega Vineyard, another Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir with a supple, layered, medium-bodied mouthfeel, terrific balance, and a great finish. It has plenty of Sta. Rita Hills salinity and is a complete, satisfying effort that will evolve for 8-10 years, although there’s no need to delay gratification. 94 Points


2019 Syrah – Roll Ranch

Coming from a vineyard outside of Ojai, in Ventura County, the 2019 Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard (there’s always a splash of Viognier in the blend) reveals a deep purple hue as well as solid nose of ripe plums and darker berry fruits supported by leafy herbs, chocolate, lavender, and peppery spice notes. This rich, mouth-filling, powerful Syrah has plenty of mid-palate depth, good acidity, and a great finish. It is certainly the biggest, ripest Syrah in the lineup, yet it stays in the classic Ojai style of being fresh and light on its feet. It has the structure to evolve for 10-15 years in cold cellars. 93 Points


2021 Sauvignon Blanc – McGinley

Coming from a site in the Santa Ynez Valley, the light gold-hued 2021 Sauvignon Blanc McGinley Vineyard gives up a beautiful, clean, fruit-forward bouquet of ripe citrus, honeyed grapefruit, and peach, with just a touch of sappy herbs. It’s balanced, medium-bodied, has integrated acidity, and is just one delicious, classy Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy over the coming couple of years. 92 Points


2020 Pinot Noir – Puerta Del Mar

The 2020 Pinot Noir Puerta Del Mar Vineyard is slightly darker hued but still translucent, with a darker bouquet of ripe black cherries, black tea, salty minerality, and underbrush-like nuances. This medium-bodied, salty, masculine Pinot Noir is medium-bodied, has good balance, and a great finish. There’s a distinctly marine influence in this wine, and it should keep nicely for at least a decade. 92 Points


2021 Riesling – Kick On Ranch

Bright lychee, grapefruit, and honeyed flower notes, as well as a kiss of classic Riesling petrol, emerges from the 2021 Riesling Kick On Ranch, a bright, refreshing, juicy Riesling with high yet integrated acidity, terrific balance, and a great finish. It’s good today and will still be drinking nicely in a decade as well. 91 Points


2021 Vermentino – Camp 4

I loved the 2021 Vermentino Camp 4 Vineyard, another impeccably made white from this team. Juicy peach, ripe citrus, honeysuckle, and floral notes all emerge on the nose, and it’s medium-bodied, round, and supple on the palate, with terrific purity and freshness. 91 Points


2021 Rosé

Based off Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, and a handful of other varieties, the 2021 Rose sports a more salmon hue to go with savory notes of orange peel, dried strawberries, salty minerality, and hints of spice. This medium-bodied, nicely balanced, vibrant rosé is perfect for pairing with tapas and is going to just shine on the dinner table. 90 Points


2021 Estate White

Last of the whites, the 2021 Estate White is an interesting blend of 61% Ambulo Blanc and 40% Caminante Blanc. Ambulo Blanc shares similarities to Sauvignon Blanc, and Caminante can be thought of as a mix of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay (the genetic makeup of each are very different, however.) Light gold-hued, with classy, mineral-laced notes of citrus, crushed stone, and white flowers, as well as hints of green apple, it’s a vibrant, fresh, slightly reductive, steely white with good depth of fruit, medium to light body, integrated acidity, and a clean finish. I have no idea how it will age, but it reminds me of a juicy, mineral-laced Picpoul from the south of France that will shine with seafood. 90 Points


2021 Pinot Noir – Santa Barbara County

Leading off the Pinot Noirs, the appellation 2021 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County reveals a translucent ruby hue to go with charming, up-front aromas and flavors of ripe cherries, strawberries, sappy herbs, and underbrush. This medium-bodied, forward, total charmer is perfect for enjoying over the coming 3-5 years. It reminds me of a great Village-level Burgundy. 90 Points


2019 Barbera – Rich Vineyard

Juicy mulberries, black cherries, cedar, and peppery herbs all emerge from the 2019 Barbera Rich Vineyard, a medium-bodied, supple, nicely balanced, and certainly delicious expression of this variety. I like it today, yet this cuvée can age nicely for at least 4-6 years. 90 Points