Hurricane Sandhi

For the record, hurricanes suck.

Hurricane Sandy on at about 8 pm ET, Monday, October 29

Especially this one, named Sandy, though at this hour (8 pm ET Monday October 29) we haven’t seen the worst of her. After all, I still have power to write a blog post with. But this will be brief. With the storm approaching and having spent the weekend battening down the patio furniture, the fence gates, the dog … well, it seemed appropriate to open a bottle of Sandhi Pinot Noir 2010 from the Sta Rita Hills AVA of Santa Barbara County.

Maybe not an “entry level” wine, but a good introduction to an effort to restore balance in California vino.

Sandhi is a collaboration of Sashi Moorman, who is gaining renown as a winemaker for Stolpman Vineyards and Evening Land Vineyardsand Rajat Parr, the celebrity sommelier who directs the wine programs for the Michael Mina restaurant group. I’ve been interested in these wines because of Moorman’s reputation and Parr’s advocacy of “balance” in California wines – his campaign to rein in the often-excessive levels of alcohol and overripeness that some people (including myself) argue are robbing California wines of their character and appeal.

The 2010 Sta Rita Hills is primarily from the famed Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, first planted in the early 1970s by Richard Sanford, Santa Barbara County’s pinot pioneer. At $36 a bottle, it doesn’t really qualify as an “entry level” pinot, which is how the website describes it, but it does show impeccable balance and quite a bit of verve, even if I wouldn’t describe it as “stormy.” (My house is trembling as I type.) It has some of the tomatoey flavors of old-style California pinot, but it decidedly does not have the brown sugar, cloying finish that many wines have today. In fact it is delicious with black fruit flavors and some wild herbs, and that bit of sun-dried tomato.

It makes me want to try the other Sandhi wines, once things calm down a bit and I can actually savor them a bit more.

Stay dry, everyone. At least in the physical, if not the metaphorical sense.


About Dave McIntyre

Wine columnist for The Washington Post, co-founder of, and blogger at Dave McIntyre's WineLine (
This entry was posted in California, Pinot Noir, Rants, Too Much Alcohol!, Wine and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Hurricane Sandhi

  1. Pingback: Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog » Daily Wine News: 37-Year Low

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