Santa Barbara County

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Puerta de Mar (literally: “Door to the Sea”) is a new vineyard that we are excited about! Planted ½ mile east of highway 1 just outside of Lompoc, it trumps Kick On Ranch as our coolest vineyard site. It is located so far west that the original creators of the Santa Rita Hills appellation didn’t think it was possible to ripen grapes here, thus it wasn’t included within the growing region’s boundaries. Call it ignorance or the influence of global warming, they were clearly wrong! Admittedly the pinot noir and chardonnay grown here ripen late, but the wines are better for it and possess an admirable subtlety that I attribute to the ocean’s ever-present influence.

Southern California has a reputation of always having the same weather, but it is actually quite variable—one summer might be hot and the next foggy—and that greatly affects the grape’s composition and ultimately how the wine will taste.

This vineyard suffered through lots of fog and wind in the spring of 2012 and the flowering didn’t go well, giving us our second year of tiny ½ ton to the acre yields. But there was no problem with ripening—summer and fall were ideal. The wine has the unique exotic spices (cardamom) aroma that is identifiably Puerta del Mar but in 2012 it’s easygoing and plush, just the opposite of the nervous 2011. While it works comfortably with rich dishes, this is a chardonnay that can be enjoyed on its own. We have certain customers who don’t care for our usually restrained and crisp style of chardonnay—this wine is for them!

Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Vineyard: Puerta Del Mar | AVA: Santa Ynez Valley | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 11 Months | Total Production: 102 Cases

Press Reviews

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“The 2012 Chardonnay Puerta del Mar comes from the coolest vineyard in the portfolio and is defined by its bright acidity and purity of fruit. It exhibits a saline-like minerality to go with notions of lemon curd, citrus and leafy herbs. This flows to a medium-bodied, racy styled palate feel, and while there’s no shortage of acidity, it’s well-integrated, and it remains enjoyable.” – JD 91 Points

Antonio Galloni’s Vinous

“Ojai’s 2012 Chardonnay Puerta del Mar hits the palate with a burst of yellow stone fruits, butter, spices and lightly honeyed floral notes. There is plenty of mid-palate depth here, but not quite the finesse of the very best Ojai Chardonnays.”