Pinot Noir, ‘Sta. Rita Hills’, Kosta Browne Winery
A microclimate that began a mere 20 million years ago, is nothing short of a miracle. Tectonic plate movements over the years caused mountains to rise out of the ocean, break o the plate and rotate clockwise creating one of the most defined transverse ranges on the Pacific Coast. Remnants of marine sediment deposited during the Miocene Epoch is the base of the soil found here with the added element of elevated calcium. But what makes this area truly unique is the purely East/West maritime mouth that funnels cooling coastal fog, and wind to the vines. One of the smaller AVAs in California, Sta. Rita Hills is one of the world’s best cool-climate growing regions of Pinot Noir.
La Encantada Vineyard – Residing on a ridge straddling the Santa Ynez River, La Encantada is one of the westernmost vineyards in the AVA. With no protection from the chilling maritime breezes, this is one of the coolest sites in the region. Planted by Richard Sanford, a member of the Vintners Hall of Fame, the 100-acre vineyard is 96% Pinot Noir. With an array of complex Monterey Formation soils and organic farming practices, the fruit from this site has distinct varietal expression. Robust aromatics and rich textural elements construct a well-built wine.
John Sebastiano Vineyard – A newer vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, John Sebastiano Vineyard sits along the eastern border of the region. Containing a variety of microclimates, 100 acres are dominated by constant exposure to maritime winds. High-density planting of two premium clonal selections, Pommard and Swan, the annual yield is small but intense. Small clusters and berries are extremely concentrated, producing a Pinot Noir with chalky mineral notes and well-integrated tannins.
Vineyard Francesca – Sitting at 315 ft. elevation on the westernmost tip of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, this 6.5 acres vineyard got its start as horse pasture. The transformation took place in 2008 as organic farming techniques helped bring the site to life. Receiving an ideal amount of protection from neighboring slopes, Vineyard Francesca gains balanced exposure to warm afternoons, maritime breezes and evening fog. These elements contribute to a friendly, versatile and elegant Pinot Noir.