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Maurice Wedell worked with French restaurateurs until the late 1980s, all the time developing a passion for Burgundian varietals. In 1988, Maurice and his wife Susan moved to the Central Coast of California. The Wedells were determined to plant their own vineyards and make wine. They enlisted the assistance of noted winemaker, John Alban, of Alban Vineyards fame, who guided them in planting a small experimental vineyard of Chardonnay. Their first vintage, in 1994, consisted of one barrel of wine, twenty-eight cases of Chardonnay, from their own grapes and grapes purchased from John Alban.
In early 1995, four acres of Chardonnay and one acre of Pinot Noir were densely planted on a steep hillside in the southern end of the Edna Valley. The vineyard began to produce Chardonnay in 1999 and Pinot Noir in 2000. The Hillside Vineyard designation came to represent the best of the estate fruit and a watercolor of this vineyard is proudly displayed on the label of all Wedell Cellars Hillside Vineyard wines.
Wedell Cellars Pinot Noirs and Chardonnay are for sale on the website. Magnums of the Ste. Rita Hills bottling are available as well as a vertical offerings of three vintages of Hillside Vineyard Pinot Noir and three vintages of Ste. Rita Hills Pinot Noir in magnum format. Wedell Wine Club members receive discounts on wines and shipping. 805-489-0596.
In 2004, the Wedells began to source fruit for a second Pinot Noir from Fiddlestix Vineyard and Ashley’s Vineyard in the Ste. Rita Hills appellation. The Wedell Cellars Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir was first released in 2004 and features a painting of a grape vine by well known artist Joanne Beaule Ruggles on the label.
In 2005, three acres of Chardonnay in the Hillside Vineyard were grafted over to Pinot Noir, increasing the estate Pinot Noir planting to four acres.
A companion value priced Pinot Noir label, Wavertree, was created in 2009. One Pinot Noir bottling is from Sta. Rita Hills and one is from Santa Barbara County. Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier are also offered.
The wines are sold online on the website and are distributed to fine restaurants.
2014 Wedell Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Rosé of Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 12 cases, $12. Harvest Brix 24.5º. A saignée from 14 vineyard blocks and clones from four vineyards that the winery sources grapes from: Fiddlestix, Sanford & Benedict, La Encantada and Rancho La Vina. Fermented in neutral French oak barrels for 2 weeks, then aged on lees in these barrels for 15 months. 100% malolactic fermentation. Gently filtered. All proceeds from sale of this wine go to breast cancer charity. · Moderate pinkish orange color in the glass. Pungent, with some volatile acidity initially, becoming more pleasing over time in the glass offering aromas of peach, pastry cream and roasted nuts. Soft and smooth on the palate, with flavors of red berry, pomegranate, blood orange and strawberry, finishing with a lift of acidity. Score: 87. Reviewed October 2, 2016 ARTICLE »
2012 Wedell Cellars Wavertree Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 1,560 cases, $30. Bottled June 2015. 75% of grapes from a well-known vineyard just outside Sta. Rita Hills AVA and remaining 25% for several well-known vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Dijon clones. Harvest Brix 24.8º. 3-day cold soak, aged on the lees for almost 32 months in a combination of 20% new, 40% once used and 40% neutral French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas and flavors of blackberry, olalliberry, spice, smoke and anise are presented in a forward, easy drinking style of that offers good harmony. Bright and clean, with mature, balanced tannins, and a suave finish that leaves a good impression. Additional time in bottle has brought this wine considerable appeal. Score: 90. Reviewed September 18, 2015 ARTICLE »
2012 Wedell Cellars Wavertree Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.73, 1,200 cases, $40. 95% of fruit from Fiddlestix Vineyard and 5% from La Encantada Vineyard. Harvest Brix 24.6º. Clones 113, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. 3-day cold soak, aged on the primary lees for 22 months in 10% new and 60% once-used French oak barrels. Gently filtered. · Moderately light cherry red color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of red cherry and raspberry lead to a light to mid weight styled wine that offers delicious cherry and red raspberry fruits accented with spice and cola. Forward, with an aggressive mid palate attack, finishing with vibrancy and clarity. Score: 90. Reviewed July 12, 2015 ARTICLE »
2012 Wedell Cellars Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.29, TA 0.68, 90 cases, $50. Harvest Brix 24.6º. Whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented. 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged sur lie with batonnage in 100% French oak barrels, 25% new. Unfined and unfiltered. Bottle aged 10 months before release. · Moderate golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas of lychee, starfruit, grilled peach and brioche. Soft and creamy on the palate, with ripe flavors of white peach, lemon curd, caramel and crème brûlèe, along with a touch of toffee and toast. A somewhat rich, lush and fruity style with oak complements and soft acidity, but showing off impressive polish and some lemon-infused finishing interest. Tasted twice (one bottle was mildly oxidized: score based on best bottle). Score: 91. Reviewed July 13, 2015 ARTICLE »
2012 Wedell Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
14.5% alc., pH 3.42, TA 0.74, 90 cases, $70. Unnamed vineyard. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast barrel fermentation, 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged sur lie for 20 months, with batonnage twice monthly during the first 12 months. Unfined and unfiltered. · Deep yellow color with a tinge of orange in the glass. Aromas of cooked fruit, lemon oil, cream and roasted nuts. Moderately rich, with a core of melon, ripe peach, lemon, blood orange and honey flavors, finishing on a soprano note with lemon-driven acidity. The wine has a very ripe, slightly roasted tone. Tasted twice (one bottle was oxidized: score based on best bottle). Score: 86. Reviewed July 13, 2015 ARTICLE »
2012 Wedell Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.67, 320 cases, $75. New release. A blend of clones 5, 113, 115, 667 and 777 from Fiddlestix Vineyard. 100% de-stemmed, 3 to 6-day cold soak,14 days on skins, gently basket pressed. The wine is more than 95% free-run juice. Aged on the lees almost 20 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of black cherry, tea, dark chocolate and toasty oak in a discreetly rich style featuring silky tannins, and a suave finish with some persistence. Score: 90. Reviewed February 5, 2016 ARTICLE »
2011 Wedell Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.68, 318 cases, $75. Clones 113, 114, 667, 777 and Pommard from Fiddlestix Vineyard. Harvest Brix 24.7º. More than 95% free-run juice. 100% de-stemmed, aged on the lees for almost 30 months in 35% new French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of black cherry, blueberry and wine cave. A rich core of ripe black cherry and boysenberry that offers a riper profile than the 2012 appellation bottling. Easy to drink, with mild tannins, and a hint of oak, finishing with good intensity and the slightest sense of warmth. Score: 89. Reviewed July 12, 2015 ARTICLE »
2011 Wedell Cellars Fiddlestix Vineyard The Barn Find Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., pH 3.23, TA 0.665, 95 cases, $100. Sourced from one very small section of the Fiddlestix Vineyard that is within sight of the barn. Harvest Brix 24.4º. 100% de-stemmed, 6-day cold soak. All free-run juice. Aged on the primary lees in 30% new French oak barrels for almost 30 months. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Well-endowed with bright aromas of black raspberry and spice. Luscious and classy, with a charge of dark red and purple fruits that envelope the palate and find every nook and cranny in the mouth. Very suave with refined tannins, juicy acidity, and a peacock finish of uncommon length. A striking, irresistable wine. Score: 94. Reviewed July 12, 2015 ARTICLE »
2011 Wedell Cellars The Row Find Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.28, TA 0.668, 20 cases, $110. New release. This wine is sourced from a small section of a renowned vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and represents the very best barrel from 2011. 100% de-stemmed, 6-day cold soak, fermented in open top micro bins, gently pressed with a basket press with only free-run juice used. Aged on the lees 30 months in French oak, 48-month air-dried, second use. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Dark reddish purple color in the glass. Very ripe fruit aromas including blackest cherry, raisin and black currant. Soft and silky on the palate, with flavors of dried plum, blackberry and spice and a subtle riff of oak. The wine has the signature Sta. Rita Hills acidity making for juicy drinking. It can best be described as an individualistic wine with a mature character due to the extended elevage, and has the acidity to last many years. Score: 90. Reviewed February 5, 2016 ARTICLE »
2010 Wedell Cellars Hillside Vineyard Edna Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.26, TA 0.67, 90 cases, $125. The 3-acre Hillside Vineyard was planted in 1995 in the southeastern end of Edna Valley with clones 115, 667 and 777 on low vigor rootstock. It was planted to a vine density of almost 2,000 vines per acre. Yields in 2010 were under 1.75 tons per acre. Harvest Brix 24.3º. 100% de-stemmed, all free run discarded. 3-day cold soak, cool fermentation with feral yeast, aged on lees in 48-month air dried, 3 new and 1 neutral French oak barrels for 21 months. Only racking occurred with bottling in August 2012, unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Aromas of blackberry, cassis, dark chocolate and a subtle char note lead off. The mid weight plus core of black fruits have an earthy tone with an oak-driven note of dark cocoa contributing. The tannins have melded but are still evident, the oak is supportive, and the velvety mouthfeel is seductive. This wine has aged nicely and will certainly hold a few more years. Score: 90. Reviewed October 2, 2016 ARTICLE »
2006 Wedell Cellars Ste. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 181 cases, $70. This wine is a blend of Dijon clones 113, 115, 667 and 777 with the majority of the fruit coming from Fiddlestix Vineyard. The harvest in 2006 was extended and delayed, allowing good development of flavors. The grapes were de-stemmed after sorting, with all of the free run juice resulting from the de-stemming discarded. Open top small bin fermenters were employed and indigenous yeasts used. The wine was aged 16 months in 70% new French oak. · Dark reddish-purple robe. Powerful scents of black cherry, sage, and toasty oak. A whiff of alcohol peaks out. There are juicy and succulent dark stone fruits that cascade over the palate and fill the mouth with richness. A citrus note adds interest. The texture is soft and slippery, and there is good grip on the finish. This wine will appeal to fans of fruit-powered, pedal to the metal, Pinot Noir. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »
2005 Wedell Cellars Hillside Vineyard Edna Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 30 cases, $125. Three different Dijon clones - 115, 667, 777 - on low vigor root stock. The goal in planting this clonal/rootstock combination was to delay bud break, increase hang time and acidity, and keep the vineyard’s yield extremely low. The vines are crop thinned to one cluster per shoot. Yields in 2005 from more than 2,300 vines was under 2 tons. Winemaking was the same as noted for the wine above. Aged 20 months in 75% new French oak barrels. · Dark reddish-purple color. Complex nose with bright cherry, a hint of strawberry, dried flowers, fresh ocean air, and a slight vegetal note. Super ripe fruit, approaching raisin, with accents of organic matter, smoke, oak and citrus. Soft and smooth in the mouth with powdery tannins. Reviewed July 19, 2008 ARTICLE »