What a great start to 2013. Having just finished the World of Pinot Noir in Shell Beach and hanging out with some other Pinot producers from across the state, I am happy to say that not only am I excited about our recent string of vintages, but so are my counterparts from other regions. The 2011 vintage sported cool weather, which allowed for some great wines of balanced acidity and beautiful spiciness. The 2012 vintage had yields that allowed for a little saignée from our Pinot Noir, low in alcohol, and big on aromatics… the first glimpse of a vintage that will be legendary here in California, and celebrated for a long time to come!
Some notes about the 2012’s which show an unbelievable amount of promise. The vintage may have been perfect in every sense. Each vineyard we worked with experienced a healthy crop due to near perfect conditions throughout the year. That fruit was perfectly ripe, and the harvest was, while extremely stressful, as perfect as could have been asked for. With the exception of a few slow malo-lactics the wines have behaved in the cellar.
2011 was an extreme vintage. Cool weather and constant pressure from mother nature made for miniscule yields and lean, balanced wines. The fruit, therefore, was limited and included only the best of what the Central Coast had to offer. Chardonnay from Bien Nacido exclusively, Pinot Noir from Bien Nacido, Presqu’ile, Cedar Lane, and Mission Ranch, and Syrah and Grenache from Mesa Verde in Santa Ynez (and some other goodies that have already been drunk!). This line-up was brought into the winery having made it through the vineyards’ version of survival-of-the-fittest and as such, was the product of the most stringent natural selection I have seen yet. The fruit that arrived was super concentrated and quite good, though unfortunately there was very little of it.
With that, I am excited to announce the release of the 2011 (and a ‘12) vintage of La Fenêtre À Côté. The Chardonnay is 100% Bien Nacido from Blocks ‘I’ and ‘O’ barrel fermented in neutral Francois Frères – probably the best bottling of À Côté Chardonnay to date. The second wine is a 2012 Pinot Noir Rosé. A saignée from the future legendary 2012 vintage, this wine is a blend of Bien Nacido, Riverbench, and Presqu’ile, and the aromatics of this wine have to be experienced to believe. The Pinot Noir in 2011 is a blend of all the Pinot Noir vineyards we sourced. They include Bien Nacido, Presqu’ile, Cedar Lane, and Mission Ranch. The wine is dense, similar in weight to the 2010, but with the structure that the Central Coast adds to a wine. Finally, the red blend is a mix of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache from Mesa Verde. The richness and spice of this wine is as classic as the valley from whence the grapes came. The line-up this year is the strongest yet, and I can’t wait for you to give the wines a try!
On another note, I am proud to announce the opening of our wine club. Whether you choose 4 bottles, 6 bottles, or 12 bottles 3 times yearly, for yourself or as a gift, you are joining one of the most exclusive clubs in the entire world. For a list of benefits (including extremely subsidized shipping) please go here and fill out the form and send it in to sign up for the club.
p.s. If you would like to place an order by phone, please call me at 310-977-5615. To mail or fax in your order, download an order form here. If you encounter any difficulties in placing your order, please email me at