94 POINTS: VINOUS - The 2018 Chardonnay Bentrock is gracious and ethereal in the glass, with all of the translucent finesse that is so typical of this site. White flowers, mint, white pepper and crushed rocks lend vibrancy and a real feeling of cut. This is an especially minerally, savory Chardonnay that captures the essence of the western side of the Sta. Rita Hills so eloquently.
WHY: The Sandhi wines are not only some of the purest and most delicious expressions of chardonnay and pinot noir from California's Central Coast, they are incredible values given that all the fruit is farmed organically, and the wines are made with as little manipulation as possible—no sulfur, no temperature control, no inoculation. The single vineyard Chardonnays from Sandhi are highly-allocated and always coveted by California wine lovers interested in the uniqueness of terroir.
HOW: At the southwestern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills is the awe-inspiring Bentrock vineyard. Part of the “Four Corners” of the appellation, this north-facing block sits at an elevation of 250 to 500 feet and is blasted daily by cold ocean winds. From the upper reaches of Bentrock, one can see the other Sandhi vineyard sites to the east. While a young site (planted 2007), Bentrock shows incredible potential, delivering intensely concentrated and sublime fruit. Sandhi believes that Bentrock’s proximity to the ocean and exposed orientation creates a perfect environment for low-yielding grapes of exceptional quality.
WHAT: Sandhi is the joint venture between Michael Mina wine director Raj Parr and winemaker Sashi Moorman, who made wine at Ojai and Stolpman and now runs Piedrasassi. The collaboration started when Raj was looking for a by-the-glass Chardonnay at his RN74 restaurant and worked directly with Sashi to create the exact wine he was looking for. In 2007, Raj and Sashi purchased a vineyard site in the Santa Rita Hills and planted it with pinot noir cuttings from the Swan, Calera, and Mount Eden vineyards. They named it Domaine de la Côte and today the wines from the estate are some of the most coveted in the industry. In 2010, they founded Sandhi.