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Owner and winemaker John Benedetti’s great grandfather was named Sante Arcangeli (SAHNtay AreCANJuh Lee). He built a business in the small farming town of Pescadero on California’s north coast that became known as Arcangeli Grocery Company, a world famous bakery and gourmet market under the direction of Sante’s grandson, Norm Benedetti and his spouse Shirley. It is now owned by Sante’s great grandchildren, John’s brothers Mike and Don. There was a wine cellar under the store and Sante laid down many sought-after French and California wines in the 1970s. These wines turned John onto wine early in life.
John taught himself to brew beer by his late teens and early 20s, he moved onto wine by his mid-20s. Ryan Beauregard, the Brassfield family and James MacPhail all acted as mentors and teachers. It started as a hobby and soon became a hobby gone haywire. Now he produces wonderful Pinot Noir and Chardonnay primarily from vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
A tasting room is located in historic Pescardero, CA, adjacent Duarte’s Tavern. Check website for days and hours. The wines are also sold on the winery’s website.
2014 Sante Arcangeli Corralitos Cuvée Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.61, 425 cases, $39. Sourced from three Corralitos vineyards. Harvest Brix 23.0º-24.1º. 95% de-stemmed, 5% saignée, native and cultured yeast fermentations, aged on the lees in 45% new French oak barrels with weekly battonage for 3 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. The nose reminds of Beaujolais, with aromas of red cherry and raspberry, spice, floral bouquet and cedary oak. Light weight flavors of cherry, raspberry, spice and oak backed buy juicy acidity. Velvety in the mouth with soft tannins, and a tart cherry-infused finish. The wine’s best quality is its energy and juiciness. Score: 89. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »
2014 Sante Arcangeli Lester Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.58, 125 cases, $45. Harvest Brix 24.1º. This vineyard is located at 450 feet elevation in the Pleasant Valley area of Corralitos. Clone 2A, Dijon 115 and a tiny amount of 23. 100% de-stemmed. 2.5% saignée. Native and cultured yeast fermentation, aged 10 months on the lees in 40% new French oak barrels with weekly battonage for 3 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Love the nose on this wine which displays hi-tone aromas of cherry, spice and redwood. The mid weight, chewy cherry core is well balanced by ripe tannins. A nutty oak and conifer note are complimentary. The tannins are evident but submerged, and the finish has pleasing pizzazz. Score: 91. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »
2014 Sante Arcangeli Split Rail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.62, 175 cases, $45. This vineyard is located at 1,700 feet elevation on a Corralitos mountaintop. David Bruce selection, clone 32, Pommard, Swan, Martini, and Wädenswil. Harvest Brix 23.0º-23.8º. 90% de-stemmed, native and cultured yeast fermentations, aged on the lees in 30% new French oak barrels with weekly batonnage for 3 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Ebullient aromas of cherry, raspberry, spice, rose petal and toasty oak. The light to mid weight cherry and raspberry flavors are enhanced with a waft of oak. The wine has good energy, integrated ripe tannins, a silky mouthfeel and a lip-smacking finish. Score: 90. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »
2014 Sante Arcangeli Family Reserve “Selezione Susie” Mardikian Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.62, 100 cases, $75. This vineyard is the estate vineyard of MacPhail Family Wines and is a close collaboration between winemaker James MacPhail and grower Jim Pratt. The vineyard was planted in 2009, with the first harvest in 2013. A unique feature of the vineyard is that it overlaps 3 AVAs: Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley and Green Valley of Russian River Valley. It is located only 4 miles from the Pacific Coast resulting in a strong maritime influence. Martini and 777 clones. Harvest Brix 25.5º. 100% destemmed. Native and cultured fermentations, aged on the lees in 30% new French oak barrels with weekly lees stirring for 3 months. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Deep aromas of black cherry coulis and vanilla pod. A showy wine, with pleasing flavors of dark cherries and purple berries accented with just the right note of oak and framed by soft, nearly invisible fine tannins. Powerfully flavored, yet elegant, with plush presence on the palate, and a generosity that persists through the attack and finish. A score magnet! Score: 93. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »
2013 Sante Arcangeli Family Wines Bald Mountain Vineyard Ben Lomond Mountain Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
13.2% alc., pH 3.28, 119 cases, $32. Grown at 1100’ elevation on a sandstone bench. Harvest Brix 22.5º. Native fermentation, aged 9 months sur lie in 100% French oak barrels, 40% new, 40% 1-year-old, and 20% neutral. · Moderately light golden straw color and clear in the glass. The yellow peach aromas are accented with notes of butter brickle, toasty oak and salinity. Good fullness on the palate with fresh yellow apple, peach and creme brûlée flavors. Slightly creamy, with a riff of quenching acidity on the clean, refreshing finish. Score: 91. Reviewed March 16, 2015 ARTICLE »
2013 Sante Arcangeli Split Rail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.62, TA 0.59, 370 cases, $36. This vineyard is located at 1,700 feet elevation on a Corralitos mountaintop. Clones include Martini, Wädenswil, Mt. Eden, Swan, 32 and Pommard 4. Harvest Brix 22.5º-24.5º. 100% de-stemmed, aged sur lie with battonage for 10 months in 95% French and 5% Hungarian oak barrels of which 30% were new and 70% were used. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Lovely nose with alluring aromas of Bing cherry, sandalwood and spice cabinet. A delightful wine that is deep on the palate with an impressive attack of fleshy dark cherry, black raspberry and spice flavors complimented by a subtle vein of savory herbs in the background. The fine-grain, slightly weighty tannins provide good structure, and the persistent finish brings waves of vivid, flamboyant fruit. Score: 94. Reviewed January 23, 2015 ARTICLE »
2013 Sante Arcangeli Family Wines Clone 32 “Selezine Susie” Split Rail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.62, 97 cases, $45. A wine club offering. Clone 32 is a traditional sparkling wine clone grown at 1700’ elevation in Corralitos. The dry farmed vines were planted in 1986 mistakenly when the owner ordered Chardonnay and receive a Champagne clone of Pinot Noir instead. This clone makes up the backbone of the winery’s Split Rail Vineyard Pinot Noir. In this vintage, the clone warranted its own bottling. Harvest Brix 23.5º. 100% de-stemmed. Aged 10 months sur lie in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas build in intensity over time in the glass, offering notes of black cherry, raspberry jam, conifer and toast. Vivid and vibrant on the attack, with a charge of black cherry fruit that is crisp and juicy. A touch of spice, dark chocolate, and earthiness add interest. The tannins are modest but have some grip, and a spark of acidity really elevates the fruit. The finish is extremely persistent, driven by bright cherry goodness. Score: 93. Reviewed March 16, 2015 ARTICLE »
2012 Sante Arcangeli Family Wines Barrel Sample.
Sourced from a Corralitos vineyard. Very few 2012 samples were available for tasting at the Grand Cruz Tasting but this one really stood out. Aged in 70% new French oak barrels and still showing significant espresso oak topcoat, the fruit is nevertheless stunning. I was less impressed with the challenging 2011 vintage of this wine which was much more austere. · Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »
2012 Santa Arcangeli Family Wines Split Rail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Rosé of Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.61, 50 cases, $25. A combination of David Bruce selection and UCD 32 (a traditional sparkling wine clone) from a vineyard in the southern part of the Santa Cruz Mountains known as Corralitos. Grapes were specifically selected for this wine (not a saignée), 100% de-stemmed, pressed off the skins after 24 hours. Fermented in neutral Ermitage oak barrels with indigenous and inoculated yeasts. Aged 7 months on the lees with monthly battonage. Racked once, cold stabilized and filtered for clarity at bottling. · Moderately deep pinkish-red color and clear in the glass. The nose offers the fresh scent of strawberry, rose petal, bark and nutty oak. The flavors of strawberry, cherry, red currant and oak spice are satisfying and persist on the dry finish which has a bite of acidity and a hint of heat. Score: 86. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »
2012 Sante Arcangeli Family Wines Split Rail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.65, 245 cases, $36. the vineyard is located 1,700 feet above Monterey Bay in Corralitos. An unusual combination of David Bruce selection, UCD 32 (Roederer clone) and Pommard clone. Harvest Brix 23º-25º. 10% whole cluster inclusion. Native and AMH yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 90% French and 10% Hungarian oak barrels, 50% new and 50% used. Bottled unfiltered in August 2013. · Light reddish purple color in the glass. Gentle aromas of cherry, strawberry and baking spices lead to a light, elegantly styled wine with flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry complimented by hints of cola, herbs and oak. Bright and juicy with charming Pinot modesty. Score: 90. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Sante Arcangeli Family Reserve Split Rail Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.1% alc.,pH 3.65, 75 cases, $40. David Bruce selection, UCD 23 (Roederer) clone and Pommard. Harvested at 23.5º Brix. 20% whole cluster. Fermented, cellared and bottled separately from other lots. 20% whole cluster. Aged on the lees 10 months in 60% new French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Inviting array of aromas including cherry, cranberry, potpourri, oak spice and cinnamon. A gentle, ethereal styled wine with enough cherry, sassafras and spice to satisfy. There is significant palate presence of oak but it is hard to complain about this polished, well-perfumed offering. Score: 90. Reviewed October 27, 2013 ARTICLE »
2010 Santé Split Rail Vineyard Corralitos Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
14.3% alc., pH 3.65, 100 cases, $35. From Sante Arcangeli Family Wines. Vineyard is at 1700 feet above Monterey Bay, planted to David Bruce clone, UCD 32 (a Champagne clone) and Dijon 115. Aged 10 months sur lies in 70% new American, Hungarian and French oak barrels. · Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Oak-kissed red fruit aromas with notes of rose petals, baking spice and sandalwood. Spicy, red fruited core including prominent strawberry flavor, underlain with cinnamon, oak vanillin and a hint of citrus. Different types of oak give the wine a spiced flavor profile that veers from the expected norm for California Pinot Noir. Elegant with a very bright cut of acidity on the finish. Good (+). Reviewed June 24, 2012 ARTICLE »