93 POINTS: Vinous - The 2017 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict is soft, open-knit and inviting. Chamomile, dried flowers, sage and lemon confit all meld together in a delicious, supple Chardonnay that will drink well with minimal cellaring. The 2017 is perhaps not quite as delineated as it can be, but it is absolutely delicious and very easy to like.
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: Planted in 1971 by the legendary and pioneering Richard Sanford, this site represents the oldest Pinot Noir plantings in all of Santa Barbara County and is largely synonymous with the creation of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Tucked into the southeastern corner of the Sta. Rita Hills with north-facing blocks, this vineyard is planted on hard, silica gravel and well-drained soils. Because of Richard Sanford’s legacy within the region both as a farmer and a gentlemen, Sandhi is honored to be working with the fruit that he first planted. Sandhi's rows come from the oldest blocks where the vine trunks are gnarled producing small amounts of beautiful, concentrated and textured fruit. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blocks are both from the Mount Eden selection, which is widely considered to be some of the first cuttings brought into California.
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.