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. 70% of the fruit that went into the 2018 Santa Rita Hills pinot noir is the from the Domaine de la Côte estate, which typically sells for $100+ if you can even get a bottle.
HOW: Sourced mostly from the Domaine de la Côte estate, the blend is buttressed by old vines fruit from Sanford & Benedict and a touch from the Patterson Vineyard. The wine was fermented with whole clusters and raised in neutral barrels for 14 months, giving it a bright and fruity profile, but with a soft mouthfeel.
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.
93 POINTS: VINOUS - The 2018 Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills) is a glorious wine. A burst of sweet red/purplish fruit makes a strong opening statement that reverberates off layers of savory and floral intensity. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2018 packs a serious punch. Readers who want to get a sense of the year would do well to start here. This striking appellation-level Pinot is one of the overachievers of the year. Then again, vineyard sites are Domaine de La Côte and Sanford & Benedict, which was not bottled separately, but used for wine. The 30% whole clusters are perfectly judged.