Delicate but Beautifully Pure Syrah and Lagrein Blend

Today’s Story: Whitcraft Winery

Whitcraft is a small, family-owned and operated winery in Santa Barbara, CA known for their traditionally made and “unadulterated” Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Established in 1985 by Chris and Kathleen (Barnato) Whitcraft, the winery started as a passion for both the craft of winemaking and the lifestyle. Chris learned from California greats including Joe Heitz, Dick Graff, and Burt Williams while simultaneously hosting a radio show about wine from 1978 to 1989. Chris and Kathleen’s son Drake joined the family winery and took over in 2007, maintaining the traditional practices of hand-harvesting, foot-pressing, no added enzymes, and native yeast fermentation. Whitcraft’s wines are pure, well-balanced, and honest representations of the fruit and terroir, often remaining low in alcohol and not seeing much added SO2. Drake hand fills and corks his wines, with production incredibly limited and often reserved for mailing list clients or restaurants. Though Chris passed away in 2014, his vision and passion live on through Drake to this day.

Whitcraft is one of my favorite California producers of terroir-driven wines, and I previously wrote about the 2016 Pence Ranch Clone 828 Pinot Noir, 2018 Stolpman Vineyard Grenache, and 2016 Presqu’ile Vineyard Chardonnay.

Today’s Wine: 2017 Rojo Grande

Blend of Syrah and Lagrein; 12.83% ABV

The 2017 Rojo Grande is medium purple in color and rather opaque. Given some time to blossom in the glass, the aromas are of medium intensity and the nose showcases notes of cherry, blueberry, plum, violet, forest floor, dried green herbs, coffee grounds, and clay pot. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity, and the palate displays similar notes of black cherry, red plum, wild blueberry, soft licorice, lavender, sweet tobacco, cola, and clay. This dry red blend is light-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish. This is an easy-drinking and beautifully-balanced wine.

Price: $30. This is a very solid price-point for this wine and I’d say it offers decent value. While it’s not the most intense in profile, the wine is of impeccable quality and makes for an incredibly enjoyable drinking experience.