• Piedrasassi's Syrah Duo: Bien Nacido & Rim Rock

    Piedrasassi's Syrah Duo: Bien Nacido & Rim Rock

    Santa Barbara's cool-climate wines have growingly become one of my obsessions. For me, the most integral name in the array of labels is Sashi Moorman. His Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gamay are among my favorites, but his first label, Piedrasassi, offers downright delicious and complex reflections of Syrah.

    Piedrasassi harnesses savory, bright, and superior aromatics while never shying away from the innately luscious qualities that define California Syrah. These wines nail the roasted meat, violet, and black pepper trifecta at each price point. Though, the single vineyard-designate bottlings from Bien Nacido and Rim Rock best exemplify how California Syrah can continually develop `in the bottle over many years.

    Sashi vinifies and ages as naturally as possible, excluding sulfur at fermentation and only utilizing native yeasts. Whole cluster inclusion and aging in larger 500-liter barrels ensure the lively, crushed rock virtues that make Northern Rhone Syrah so unique aren't lost here in Santa Barbara.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • California's Calling: 2020 Domaine de la Côte

    California's Calling: 2020 Domaine de la Côte

    "Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr turned out a memorable set of Pinots at Domaine de la Côte... They show all of the concentration of the 2020 vintage and yet are so expressive of site." — Antonio Galloni, Vinous

    Burgundy is the backbone of our selection, and when I turn our supporters toward California, this is the first destination for top-grade, terroir-driven Pinot Noir. It's here where Pacific Ocean-influenced conditions lead us to what might be the most marginal, Burgundian conditions in our state.

    I'm inclined to compare this extreme hill to the Côte de Nuits over the Côte de Beaune traits typically found in Santa Barbara's inland terrain. Like Gevrey Chambertin and Morey-Saint-Denis, Sta. Rita Hills has darker fruit expression, deeper structure, and fascinating depth and complexity. The juxtaposition between sweet and savory spices is simply unique to this setting.

    Sashi Moorman and Raj Parr walk the walk when it comes to viticulture. These are wines with intense concentration due to dense planting (4,000 to 7,000 vines per acre) and small yields. The diatomaceous soils from a 25 million-year-old seabed define this wind-battered slope seven miles off the Pacific.

    From day one, Sashi and Raj have intended to produce wines they want to drink. A large percentage of whole clusters are used here for fermentation, and extraction levels are moderate, only to give regal framing and backbone to the wines still characterized by purity and transparency of site.

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    Posted by Max Kogod