2022 Sante Arcangeli Pinot Noir, Split Rail Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains AVA

2022 Sante Arcangeli Pinot Noir, Split Rail Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains AVA



Sante Arcangeli “Split Rail” Vineyard Pinot Noir by John Benedetti  is a long time store favorite which will sell out very quickly!  John has earned his place in store folklore.  While re-calibrating from Covid, we were very lucky to receive one case of the 2021 (WA 95 points) from the winery’s library which went poof.  A 2020 vintage was not produced due smoke, and the heat which raisined the fruit.  Before then we had purchased all but one vintage since 2012.

We have the winery’s final ten cases arriving this Friday (in time for Easter!) of the 135 cases produced.  $59.95 a bottle, but if you purchase 4+ bottles your order will discount by 10% to $53.96 a bottle.

My notes:  Translucent ruby color!  Very compelling and redolent aromas of red cherries, strawberries and cranberry mingle with spicy rose petals.  Refined with finesse and silky-smooth mouthfeel.  Soft, fine needlepoint tannins.  Floats with buoyant balance.  Should develop more depth and complexity with a little aging and drink well for the next 5 plus years.

The following are notes from owner-winemaker John Benedetti.

“Split Rail Vineyard, planted between 1984 and 1986 by David Bruce’s vineyard manager Greg Stokes, sits on a mountaintop at 1700′ elevation above Corralitos on an ancient lake bed of gray sandstone and clay, with marble deep down.  Situated only 5 miles from the Monterey Bay, the coastal fog creeps up Eureka Canyon 1000′ below, providing a key cooling influence for the old vines. The 5 acre vineyard is planted in 4 blocks: at the top we have a mix of heritage clones known as “David Bruce Selection” or “Wente Selection”, the lineage of which has been traced directly back to the first suitcase of clonal material Paul Masson brought from Latour in 1896– these particular selections were handed down directly from Masson to Martin Ray to David Bruce and came largely from the Mt Eden and Bruce estate plantings, with supplements from the Wente overstock block in Arroyo Seco (which had been supplied by David Bruce).  The middle block is planted to clone 32– a Roederer clone– which provides leather and spice to the blend. The lower block is planted to Pommard.  The west-facing hillside is all Chardonnay clone 4, Mt Eden and some more obscure clones: 95, 809 and 76.

Pinot Noir from Split Rail Vineyard, with its distinctive old world essence, delicate structure and floral aromas, has been singled out year-after-year as a standout among New World Pinot Noir. In 2020 it was listed in Wine Advocate’s Top 100 discoveries (chosen among 33,000 wines from around the world), and has continued to impress critics and fans year-after-year since our first major commercial vintage in 2012.

Geek stuff on the 2022:

We had a good growing season in 2022, albeit with some heat spikes here and there. Heat spikes have a way of enhancing the earthy aspects of this vineyard, which can be really nice in the wine. The earth provides perfect balance to the floral aspects of the David Bruce Selections and the leather/fruit combo of the Clone 32 and Pommard. Still, those cool-climate vineyard tends to ripen much later than, say, Russian River Valley, with lower sugars and zippy acid.  This vintage is in perfect balance– one of my favorite vintages to-date.  She drinks well now, but will benefit immensely from 3-5 years in your cellar, with a much longer life after that.

  • Only 9 barrels produced.
  • pH: 3.59. Alcohol: 13.5%.
  • Clones: Martini, Mt. Eden, 2A, Swan, 32, Pommard.
  • Hand harvested over 3 days between 22.8 – 23.5 brix.
  • 95% destemmed.
  • 3 day cold soak followed by a 10 day cuvaison in 1.5 ton open top fermentors.
  • Yeasts: Native, AMH, BRG.
  • Hand punch downs 2x per day.
  • Pressed at 3 degrees brix and finished in tank before barrel-down.
  • Aged on the lees 7 months, then racked and aged another 4 months.
  • 100% French oak, 30% new.
  • Coopers: Billon, TN Coopers, Montgillard, Ermitage.

This vintage has not been submitted for critical review. Past accolades: 94-95 points from at least one major critic every year since 2012.”