A childhood dream, let’s hook up when we are all grown up and start a winery together. That is the story of two brothers (John & Steve Dragonette) and their good buddy Brandon Sparks-Gillis. They teamed up to pursue their live-long dream to make wine. While working at wineries like Sine Qua Non, Torbreck, Fiddlehead Cellars before they gained valuable experiences in order to start this grand venture. Over the past decade the press has (rightfully so) been generous to these three great guys. They source from some of the most sought after vineyards in Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills & Santa Ynez.
Dragonette 2021 Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc
Winery Notes: “The wine is a blend of grapes from three top vineyard sources: Grassini (60%), Vogelzang (34%) and Grimm’s Bluff (6%), with a total of 9 separate and distinct blocks represented in the final blend. The site diversity provides complexity to the wine which was fermented and aged for 7 months in oak barrels (73%) and stainless steel (27%). The wine admirably succeeds the 90-92 point wines from past several vintages, with perhaps a little extra energy and freshness, but no less flavor.”
Robert Parker 95 Points: “The Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon features kiwi and peaches with tones of graphite, tarragon and beeswax. The palate has a satiny, textural richness that sets it apart from other varietal Sauvignon Blancs, with perfumed tropical fruit, bursts of fresh acidity and a very long finish.
Dragonette 2020 “Vogelzang Vineyard” Sauvignon Blanc
Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points: “The Sauvignon Blanc Vogelzang Vineyard might be the best of the trio and just blew me away. More subtle and reserved, its thrilling notes of crushed limes, lemons, sappy flowers, and minerality give way to a medium to full-bodied, deep, layered, multi-dimensional Sauvignon Blanc with tremendous mid-palate depth, bright acidity, and laser-like precision. You could put this in a blind lineup of top Bordeaux Blanc and it would stand toe to toe. Hats off to the team at Dragonette for a commitment to fashioning incredible, age-worthy Sauvignon Blanc that’s as good as anything out there!”
Winery Notes: “The resulting wine shows classic Vogelzang character of powerful stone fruit, mango and pineapple aromas, with some floral and herb notes, followed by dramatic fruit flavors of great concentration and texture leading to a whiplash of citrus dominated acidity and effusive minerality, which gives a tremendous finish.”
Vineyard – The Vogelzang vineyard is situated on a gently sloping bed of well drained, gravelly loam soil with Serpentinite. The vineyard is well established and has been carefully pruned, leafed and deficit-irrigated to focus the plant’s energy on fruit development. We purchase these grapes from several distinct blocks in the vineyard and farm them on a per acre basis, so that we can control all farming practices, including pruning, canopy management, yield control, irrigation and differential harvesting of our blocks.
Dragonette 2020 Grassini Sauvignon Blanc
Santa Ynez – 96 Points
Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “I’d wager one of the finest examples of this variety in California, the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Family Vineyard reveals a lighter gold hue as well as a brilliant array of crushed citrus, lime, fresh fig, green almonds, and crushed rock-like minerality. Based on 100% Sauvignon Blanc that was barrel fermented and aged in just 10% new French oak, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, a concentrated, vibrant mouthfeel, bright and integrated acidity, and great finish. This puppy will keep for two decades.”
Winery Notes: "This marks the 13th vintage we have worked with Grassini fruit. We buy this fruit by the acre, allowing us to employ our own vineyard management techniques. Over the years we have honed those techniques, and we are happier than ever with the way the vineyard has performed. The 2020 Grassini selection was comprised of wines that were aged in 100% French oak barrels (228L) and Cigars (300L), 10% of which were new. The wine was aged on its lees for a total of 16 months before bottling. The wine shows its usual kaleidoscopic green fruited (kiwi, honeydew) and tropical (passion fruit, fresh coconut) and flavors, with nice lift from vibrant, yet round and lip-smacking acidity."
Dragonette 2020 Grimm’s Bluff Sauvignon Blanc
Happy Canyon – 96 Points
Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “The Sauvignon Blanc Grimm’s Bluff Vineyard offers a similar Bordeaux Blanc-like array of pineapple, lemon curd, and crushed stone as well as terrific minerality, medium body, bright acidity, and a great finish. It doesn’t quite have the dimensions of the Grassini Family, but it’s still beautiful, elegant, and balanced, and will keep for two decades as well.”
Winemaker Notes: “In 2020, we aged the wine for 16 months on its lees in 75% French oak of various shapes and sizes (27% new) and 25% stainless steel. The resulting wine was all Clone 1, 75% head trained section, 25% VSP. As is typical, this wine is tightly coiled, with powerful minerals from the clay and river rock soils, and deeply concentrated from low (2.39 tpa) yields. Melons and stone fruits are held aloft by citrus, minerals, excellent acidity and the structure from the new oak barrels. It should age for a long time.”
GRIMM’S BLUFF VINEYARD – The Grimm’s Bluff was planted solely for the purpose of producing the highest quality grapes and has been lovingly farmed with Biodynamic methods since its inception. We source fruit from three blocks here, the largest section in the unique head trained section of the vineyard. Careful farming and low irrigation result in small clusters and very low yields for this variety. These grapes demand fermentation and aging in French oak barriques and specially designed cigar shaped barrels, sur lie, in order to match the texture of the wine and to allow for a long slow evolution. Wines have extraordinary concentration, excellent acidity and a distinct mineral edge.
Dragonette 2018 Syrah MJM
Jeb Dunnuck 97+ Points: “The 2018 Syrah MJM will spend another two years in barrels, but it looks to be screaming good at this point. Stunning black fruits, smoked game, charred meat, and peppery goodness all give way to a full-bodied, powerful Syrah that has a stacked mid-palate, ripe tannins, and flawless balance”.
Robert Parker 96 Points: “Medium ruby, the 2018 Syrah MJM has singular scents of blackberry jam, violets, gravel dust, olives and pipe tobacco with meaty undertones. The full-bodied palate has abundant, grainy tannins, seamless acidity, savory fruits and a long, layered finish. It’s intense and concentrated and will evolve positively in bottle over the next 10-15 years.”
Winery Notes: “MJM is our flagship, Syrah-based blend, named in honor of our wives Michelle, Jen and Mitchi. We farm Syrah from several precise blocks in both Ballard Canyon and Sta. Rita Hills, and we select only the finest, most dramatic, barrels for this blend, to which we add small amounts of Grenache (a small amount of Viognier is co-fermented with the Syrah). The resulting wine is given additional aging until we feel it is ready for bottling. Depending upon vintage, élevage lasts anywhere from 24 to 34 months. The 2018 MJM will drink well early for its exuberant fruit and ripe structure, but it also has terrified concentration and balance for aging. Indeed, it reminds us of the 2016, another vintage showing freshness and exuberant fruits.”
Dragonette 2020 PInot Noir Sanford & Benedict
Santa Barbara – 96 Points
The Dragonette Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict is just radiant. The wine is bold, yet translucent and exquisitely layered. Stunning notes of black cherry, plum, spice, lavender all come together in the glass. Fleshy on the palate with sweet red fruit, blood orange and a touch of spice make for a heady and sumptuous wines. This first release is a home-run! Well-balanced, gorgeously textured from start to finish. Well Done!
Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “The Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard was 80% destemmed, which is a lot of stems by this estate’s standards, and spent 16 months in 40% new barrels. It’s another exotic, complex, incredibly satisfying Pinot Noir in the lineup that offers ripe red and black fruits, black tea, orange blossom, and spice-laced aromas and flavors. I love its texture, and it has terrific mid-palate depth, ripe tannins, and a great, great finish.
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