I tried six wines at the Domaine De La Cote tasting room in Lompoc. The delightful Molly Barker, an enthusiastic Lompoc native who runs the tasting room, explained that Raj wanted the Domaine De La Cote Pinot Noirs tasted before the Sandhi Chardonnays. It was an intriguing spin to the customary order which showed off the purity of the Pinots, then allowed the powerful and refreshing whites to shine.
- Domaine De La Cote Sta. Rita Hills 2012 - Smoky and dirty, with ripe and tart red berries, my favorite of the Pinots. $45
- Domaine De La Cote Bloom's Field 2012 - A big and bold peppery start, leveled by sweeter red fruit, and a long ending. $70
- Domaine De La Cote la Cote 2012 - Even bigger(?) with spice notes, this one balanced by creamy fruits. $90
- Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2012 - Lemon creme and wisps of smoke, very fresh. My favorite of the Chardonnays. $38
- Sandhi Rita's Crown Chardonnay 2012 - Boldly, yet nicely, acidic and mineral driven. $55
- Sandhi Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay 2012 - From some of the oldest vines in the area, very smooth and subtle with a slightly bitter finish. $55
Molly mentioned a couple of the primary winemaking focuses: Domaine De La Cote is stored in neutral oak with no toast, for a transparent expression of Pinot. Sandhi is made with lower alcohol and higher acidity. These philosophies are working for them. I would enjoy all six wines on a regular basis.