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.

Revisiting One of My Favorite California Chardonnay Bottlings

Today’s Story: Whitcraft Winery

Whitcraft is one of my favorite California wineries, and I previously wrote tasting notes for their 2016 Pence Ranch Clone 828 Pinot Noir and 2018 Stolpman Vineyard Grenache.

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.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Presqu’ile Vineyard Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay; 12.27% ABV

The 2016 Presqu’ile Vineyard Chardonnay is transparent medium to deep gold in color. This wine certainly blossoms with time in the glass, with the nose opening to showcase aromas of ripe golden pear, lemon curd, stone fruit, white lily, dried vanilla, flint, and crushed rock minerality. Once on the palate, I get notes of green apple skins, lime zest, tropical citrus, honeysuckle, limestone, and saline mineral. This Chardonnay is medium-bodied with gorgeous and vibrant medium (+) acidity, a plush and somewhat oily mouthfeel, and a long, refreshing finish.

Price: $45. As with the majority of Whitcraft I drink, I find this wine to be a great value. The restrained beauty here coupled with the purity of fruit and palpable respect for terroir is profound, coming across in a very Burgundian style. Definitely snag one or two bottles if you come across it.

Unique Grenache That Drinks Almost Like a Rosé

Today’s Story: Whitcraft Winery

I wrote about Whitcraft a few days ago when reviewing the 2016 Pence Ranch Clone 828 Pinot Noir, so I’ll make your Saturday reading light and move onto the tasting notes. If you missed my post about Whitcraft earlier this week, you can find it here.

Today’s Wine: 2018 Stolpman Vineyard Grenache

100% Grenache; 12.79% ABV

The 2018 Stolpman Vineyard Grenache is deep salmon and rose petal in color with medium pink variation. This is a very light Grenache, looking and drinking almost like a rosé. On the nose, I get aromas of strawberry, cranberry, rose, leather, gravel, underbrush, rocky mineral, and slight spice. Once in the mouth, the wine showcases notes of raspberry, tart red cherry, baked plum, red and purple florals, cinnamon, mint, herbs, and peppery spice. This is medium-bodied with medium acidity, medium (-) tannins, and a medium (+) finish. All around a great summer red.

Price: $45. I find this one tough to describe on a value perspective, because it’s not your typical Grenache and it’s not a rosé. This in mind, it’s a super fun wine to taste and I loved it for the warm weather. It’s also very high-quality like most Whitcraft wines are. Pair this with bruschetta, charcuterie and cheese, or a lobster roll.

Beautifully Honest Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

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.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Pence Ranch Clone 828 Pinot Noir

100% Pinot Noir; 13.49% ABV

The 2016 Pence Ranch Clone 828 Pinot Noir is translucent pale ruby in color. Once this opens up, the nose displays aromas of ripe red cherry, wild raspberry, forest floor, stemmy underbrush, mint, dusty dried rock, and light baking spice. Moving to the palate, the wine showcases notes of strawberry, black cherry, cranberry, licorice, tobacco, loamy earth, white pepper, and green herbs and vegetation. This is light- to medium-bodied with medium acidity, light tannins, and a medium (+) finish. Would love to revisit this wine with a few more years of bottle age.

Price: $68. Whitcraft Pinot Noirs are some of my favorites out of California, and while they don’t have that opulence found in a lot of cult Cali Pinots I think they strike up right with some of the big dogs and therefore make a good value play. Pair with grilled duck breast, herb-roasted chicken, or goat cheese and salami.