95 POINTS: VINOUS - The 2018 Chardonnay Patterson is dazzling from the very first taste. The aromatics alone are breathtaking. Beautifully layered and so articulate, the Patterson will make its case as one of the Chardonnays of the vintage. Lemon confit, marzipan and light tropical accents all add to its allure. I usually avoid comparisons with French wines, as I think that suggests a subservient relationship, but I will make an exception here, as I can think of no better way to describe the Patterson, which at times reminds of a Chablis from the Grand Cru that starts with a C.
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: Like Sanford & Benedict and Bentrock, Patterson is a north-facing site. Sandhi loves this about the vineyard (especially for Chardonnay) because it slows sugar accumulation and prevents acidity from falling precipitously as harvest approaches. Patterson is the highest elevation site in the appellation—higher than Mt. Carmel and Rita's Crown—but unlike these sites, the soils are heavier, clay-based soils that yield a more texturally generous wine.
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.