Grand Cru California Chardonnay: 2010 Sandhi Santa Barbara County

Posted by Robert Schagrin

Grand Cru California
2010 Sandhi Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

"I am convinced they are onto something." -Jancis Robinson

Such was Jancis Robinson's enthusiastic review of the Sandhi wines when she tasted them this spring. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate matter of factly declared: "Sandhi is one of the most exciting new wineries in central California."

There has been a huge amount of press regarding the Sandhi wines, and they deserve it. This is the project of Rajat Parr, the Wine Director at the Michael Mina Group of restaurants and perhaps America's most talented Sommelier.

Rajat brings a singular perspective to this California project with his deep connections to Burgundy and its most famous winemakers.

Frankly, the Sandhi wines are unlike any other California wines we've tasted. Today's wine is also ridiculously inexpensive, so prepare to "Back Up the Truck," just in time for Thanksgiving.

Both Jancis Robinson and the Wine Advocate mention Chablis as a reference point in their reviews of the Santa Barbara County Chardonnay. This is perhaps the first time you've ever read the words "Chablis" and "Santa Barbara County" in the same sentence, but it's true.

The 2010 Sandhi Santa Barbara County Chardonnay is California with definition and clarity; it is 12.5% alcohol and low-oak with that crushed stone and white flowers that is so suggestive of Chablis. The palate is finely threaded with flowers, lemon and orange peel, juicy citrus and stone fruits with great minerality.

Yet what really gives the wine its presence, is the energy.

The Sandhi has incredible lift; the wine glows with a winter's morning freshness. It is wispy and satiny without losing any definition and while it has detail and nuance, the overall impression is amazingly seamless.

It's really an extraordinary wine. This is a bottle that I think is so enjoyable, so versatile, a wine that drinks so far beyond its price, that we have gone with a very simple pricing structure: buy a bottle or just go long on the case because this wine is seriously gulpable.

This is my number one choice for a white for the Thanksgiving table. This has just enough weight to stand up to something like turkey with gravy (and mashed potatoes and stuffing and Brussels sprouts and cranberries and on and on...) yet plenty of energy to power through, cleanse the palate, ready you for another bite... and not send you straight to the couch.

At the price, the talk could be centered almost totally on value - in the case of Sandhi one also has to speak of the seriousness of this project. Rajat and his partners on Sandhi, Charles Banks (former owner of Screaming Eagle) and winemaker Sashi Moorman blend their Santa Barbara Chardonnay from a variety of top, cool-climate vineyard sites in Santa Barbara County, including Sanford & Benedict, Bien Nacido and Rita’s Crown. They pick ripe berries but strive to gather fruit that’s also fresh, and rather than focus on extraction they seek finesse.

And finesse they achieve, in spades. 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.

Please note that while we took a considerable parcel here with both our holiday dinners and yours in mind, we’re also the only retailer in New York (or anywhere on the East coast for that matter) to carry Sandhi wines currently, and given the buzz these have generated along with the extreme quality-price ratio, we suspect this will move very quickly.

Please give us your maximum order, and we’ll do our best. If you want to go long, consider doubling down now, because we just don't know how long we'll have these in stock.

To order, please click below, email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Robert Schagrin
Managing Partner
Crush Wine & Spirits

2010 Sandhi Santa Barbara Chardonnay