$30 Central Coast Pinot: DO NOT BACK UP THE TRUCK!

Posted by Robert Schagrin

The Art of Balance
2010 Sandhi Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

"Sandhi is one of the most exciting new wineries in central California." -Wine Advocate

This is a tough offer to write - a balance of enthusiasm with restraint. As good as this Pinot Noir is, as low as the price is... there is just so little available.

This is a tiring narrative and one that never ends for the merchant focused on the quality of small-production wines. For Sandhi's inspiring Santa Rita Hills Pinot, only 568 cases were made in total. Our allocation, everything we could buy, represents very little wine.

There isn't enough wine, so don't back up the truck - but don't miss this either! In the sub-$40 category of California Pinot Noir, there are few rivals to this bottle.

Sandhi, a new project by Rajat Parr, the Wine Director of the Michael Mina Group, has very quickly gained some serious praise... some serious attention.

The Wine Advocate's quote, above, is impressive, though it's hardly the lone bit of praise. Jancis Robinson, the grand dame of British wine writing penned the following line: "I am convinced they are onto something."

We share the sentiment. As we wrote regarding a Chardonnay from Sandhi last year, Rajat brings a singular perspective to this California project with his deep connections to Burgundy and its most famous winemakers.

He and winemaker Sashi Moorman have the touch - and you taste it.

These are unique Pinot Noirs with an obvious focus on transparency, balance, delicacy... though intensity is also an important part of the equation. And so is deliciousness. Sandhi makes some very serious Pinots from some very serious vineyards (Bien Nacido, Sanford & Benedict) with the $45-$60+ price tags you'd expect.

The entry-level wine, the Santa Rita Hills we're focusing on today, brings a lot of the depth and complexity you get in the single-vineyard bottlings. Over half the fruit, in fact, comes from 40-year-old vines in the Sanford & Benedict plot - this is serious raw material. As with the other wines, the cellar philosophies include wild-yeast fermentations, mostly neutral oak and fermentations that include some whole clusters, giving the Pinot, along with its inherent brightness, a beautiful delineation of spice and structure.

With fall around the corner, this couldn't be a more obvious (or better) partner at the table. The 2010 Santa Rita Hills has dark berry fruit, great depth and clarity, but also energy and freshness. There's a sacred word for Pinot Noir and this wine flaunts it: balance.

As we wrote, this is a new project - the 2010s represent only the second vintage. In other words, this is just the beginning. Our guess is that you will be hearing much more about these wines.

For the moment though, for this $30-stunner, you won't hear much more because this is likely to sell out very quickly. To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Robert Schagrin
Managing Partner
Crush Wine & Spirits