DE LA COTE
SANTA RITA HILLS - USA
“Breathtakingly delicious and captivating…” - Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com
“This new project from Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr is, even in its first vintage, a hallmark of California’s achievements with this grape. Layer upon layer unfold: intense white-stone minerality, a subtle peppercorn-like spice, bergamot, wintergreen, plum and watermelon. Astonishing energy in this rare bottling.” - Jon Bonne, Top 100 Wines
“Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr made some of the most epic, dramatically beautiful Pinots I have ever tasted in the Sta. Rita Hills, or anywhere for that matter. The wines are rich, potent and full of character. As always, the Pinots are done with a healthy amount of whole clusters. The 2018s were racked into tank before harvest 2019 and bottled in January and February of this year. I was utterly blown away by the 2018s, and you will be too.” - Antonio Galloni
Domaine de la Côte has, in a very brief period, established itself as one of California’s top proponents of Pinot Noir. It is based on six vineyards - Pinot Noir only - on the western edge of the Santa Rita Hills. Planted at extremely high vine densities (one site is as high as 17,000 vines/ha), each vineyard has a unique geology, aspect, elevation, and microclimate. The complexity and diversity of these sites, even though they are in close proximity, is unique in California. From these vineyards the aim is to produce a distinct expression of terroir.
The Domaine farms its vineyards organically and makes its wines with the philosophy of ‘add nothing; take nothing away.’ Fruit is picked early before any overtly ripe character can mask the personality of each vineyard, and the resulting wines naturally have a good level of acidity and a moderate level of alcohol - in most cases around 12.5%. The wines, which really are quite special, embody the philosophy of owners Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr, which centres around freshness, vitality and balance. In Jancis Robinson MW’s words, “these are wines that eschew the heavy-handed, overripe approach of so many Californian producers. They are beautifully elegant, always refreshing and effortlessly drinkable.”
In Raj and Sashi’s own words: Domaine de la Côte is a collection of five vineyards in the far western reaches of the Sta. Rita Hills, seven miles from the Pacific Ocean. Here in Santa Barbara County, California, our vineyards negotiate a landscape narrated by faults and folds. In this moment of immense geologic upheaval, in a place remarkable for its rhythmic coalescence of wind, fog and sun, Domaine de la Côte presents a singular opportunity for engaging with Pinot Noir.
We planted our vineyards in 2007, intent on comprehensively investigating the diversity of a south-facing hillside of marine sedimentary soils. To do so, we utilised California’s heritage selections of Pinot Noir, planted with extraordinary density, and today we farm in the service of posterity and ecological stewardship.
When making wine we equally consult memory and intuition. We make use of the whole grape cluster – its berries and stems – and ferment without additives or temperature control. We raise our wine in barrels assembled by a single cooper. The winery is a simple and collaborative space in which we can compose wines with clarity, detail, and, above all, authenticity.
Domaine de la Cote Bloom’s Field Pinot Noir 2020
97 points, Antonio Galloni -"The 2020 Pinot Noir Bloom's Field is a powerful, structured wine. Veins of tannin lend energy to this deceptively mid-weight Pinot. Readers will have to be patient with the 2020, as it is pretty tightly wound at this stage. The purity here is just striking. What a wine!"
Domaine de la Cote La Cote Pinot Noir 2020
98 points, Antonio Galloni -"The 2020 Pinot Noir La Côte is a wine of tremendous density and power. Red cherry/plum fruit, crushed rocks, herbs and rose petal fill out the layers, but La Côte mostly stands out for its huge core of fruit. Here, too, readers will have to be extremely patient. La Côte is a Pinot of real substance. In some vintages, it has been a bit on the excessively savoury side, but Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr nailed the balance in 2020."
Domaine de la Cote Memorious Pinot Noir 2020
95 points, Antonio Galloni -"The 2020 Pinot Noir Memorious is sublime. Rose petal, lavender, sage, mint, macerated cherry and blood orange give the 2020 captivating aromatic presence. Light and gracious in feel, yet also expansive on the palate, the 2020 is a Pinot of simply mesmerising beauty. The whole clusters are evident and yet not at all intrusive."
Domaine de la Cote Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2020
92 points, Antonio Galloni -"The 2020 Pinot Noir (Santa Rita Hills) is a gorgeous introduction to this range. All of the house signatures are present, but in miniature, as readers might expect. Aromatic and light on its feet, the Sta. Rita Hills has enough energy and drive to drink well for a number of years. The only real issue here is that the other Pinots in the range are even more alluring!"