2016 Pence Ranch "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir SKU #1364442

Price: $19.99

RP 93 WE 92
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Professional Reviews

K&L Notes

Winemaker's notes: "Our Estate Pinot Noir represents the essence of our organically farmed vineyards with grapes sourced from every block, with multiple row orientations, sun aspects and clonal selections, all of which are planted in rich clay soils. Having these unique soils, creates a fuller and deeper impression in the mouth. Our estate wines reflect the essence of our terroir. Derived from a selection of our small blocks, these wines express the roundness derived from our rich clay soils, while also conveying the tension derived from the maritime influences that challenge our vines every day. Blending these blocks provides us the opportunity to produce wines that are immensely drinkable now, yet will also deliver great drinking for the next 5+ years. 14 months in 25% new French oak. 20% whole-cluster fermented. 592 cases." The Pence wines are made by the extremely talented winemaker Sashi Moorman of Sandhi, Domaine de la Côte etc.

Staff Reviews

  • Kaj Stromer
    By: Kaj Stromer
    K&L Staff Member
    Blair Pence may have fallen in love with Burgundy, but it's in the Sta. Rita Hills where he creates Pinot Noirs that are inspired by the complexity of the Cote d’Or but balanced by the warmth of the California sun. Notes of wood spice, red and black cherries, are all crafted into one juicy but complex wine. I can’t think of another Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills that I've like more at this price point. Truth be told, I can’t think of another Sta. Rita Hills appellation Pinot Noir for less than $20. This is a best buy and one to buy by the case.
  • Ryan Woodhouse
    By: Ryan Woodhouse
    K&L Staff Member
    Great Pinot Noir under $20 is rare. Great estate grown, organically farmed, Sta. Rita Hills AVA Pinot Noir is like Unicorn rare! I had to ask our supplier three times over if this was the right wine...how could it taste this good, be so inexpensive and have huge critical acclaim...something had to be wrong...but nope, it was just one of those special moments when things that are too good to be true actually happen! Fresh red fruits, spice, loamy earth, underbrush, and a bright floral lift. A fruit forward and accessible Pinot but one that retains elegance and some lovely savory aspects along with the purity of fruit. Expertly crafted by famed winemaker Sashi Moorman (Sandhi, Domaine de La Cote). One of the best deals on our shelves today.
    Top Value!
  • Joe Manekin
    By: Joe Manekin
    K&L Staff Member
    While this is a new label for many of us, the overall consensus in the tough room that is our northern California weekly buyer tastings, was that this is delicious, balanced Pinot Noir. The fruit is juicy but also slightly savory, with flavors of plum and a slightly wild side that is nicely balanced with the fruit. A tasty new entrant for us in the crowded - but when well chosen, rewarding - world of California Pinot.
  • Mari Keilman
    By: Mari Keilman
    K&L Staff Member
    I didn't know anything about Pence Ranch before I tasted the 2016 SRH Pinot Noir but immediately I could tell that there was an organic/"natural" air to it and that the approach was definitely from an old world sensibility. With my interests peaked by the superior quality of such a value priced-pinot, I was driven to scope out their website. And while it took me two seconds to realize that Pence Ranch and Pence Vineyards are one in the same, immediately words like organic, self-sustaining and Burgundian where jumping off the page, and even without having to do ones' own online research, it's self-evident in the balance, lift and purity that this Southern California Pinot Noir possesses. It's very easy to have a heavy hand while making wines in Santa Barbara County, but the Pence Ranch is elegant, structured and vibrant while still achieving full flavor and concentration. This is one for the record books.
  • Stefanie Juelsgaard
    By: Stefanie Juelsgaard
    K&L Staff Member
    There were so many mineral notes to this wine I was completely taken aback initially by the uniqueness of it and its site. I found it to be totally different than anything else coming out of the Santa Rita Hills, in a great way. There is nice fruit here, and it's highlighted by the intricate expressions of the different vineyards. If you're looking for something new and different out of California, this is the one for you.
  • Keith Mabry
    By: Keith Mabry
    K&L Staff Member
    The Pence draws you in with its brambly raspberry fruit and spice undertones and keeps you coming back for more with its silky palate feel. A generous yet balanced style that reminds me of some better know producers like Flowers and Melville but priced smartly and ready to drink. A perfect go-to style for weeknight or weekend drinking, whatever your budget may be.
  • Ryan Moses
    By: Ryan Moses
    K&L Staff Member
    What I'm struck by with Pence Ranch's SRH Pinot is the balance and elegance. In a region that can often see very big wines, Pence Ranch finds a way to carry the concentration without being overdone. Bright plum, delightful minerality, and cool acidity are among a melange of nuances found in this bottling. Crafted by one of the iconic winemakers of the region (Sashi Moorman of Sandhi, Stolpman) it is a triumph for the price and a bottle that is tasty now but will reward patience for those who can resist pulling the cork.


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