Tasting Room

Our superb wine-growing region is gaining a lot of attention from the media, and we’re quite thrilled that our vineyard and our wines are sometimes profiled. You can read a few excepts below.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Jeb Dunnuck
#208 August 2013

2010 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard
Vivid ruby. Deep aromas of black raspberry, violet, smoky Indian spices and licorice. Then sappy, chewy and lush in the mouth, with juicy dark berry flavors complicated by candied flowers and star anise. Finishes with silky, fine-grained tannins and superb spicy length. 92 Points

Antonio Galloni presents Vinous

I found a lot to like in Peter Cargasacchi's wines this year. These two Pionots are loaded with personality and pedigree.

2010 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard - 94 points
The 2010 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard is absolutely striking in this vintage. An exotic melange of dark red fruit, pomegranate and wild and savory herbs all burst from the glass. The wilder, gamier notes that are typical of this site emerge over time, but they only add complexity. This rich, full-bodied Pinot is firing on all cylinders. There is no shortage of personality or character here.

2011 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard - 92 points
Sweet red berries, crushed flowers, licorice and spices are all woven together in the 2011 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard. A refined, polished Pinot, the 2011 impresses for its delicate personality and overall balance. Sweet floral notes reappear on the finish.

© 2013 All Grapes Media, LLC

Peter on Video

Check out this video on Vine Stories where Peter talks about his background, his philosophy and the Sta. Rita Hills.

On the Rise

KCET named “Five Santa Barbara Pinot Noir Stars on the Rise” recently. Our own Cargasacchi Cargasacchi Vineyard release earned one of those spots: “Most of the grapes from this Santa Rita Hills vineyard go to other top local winemakers at Brewer-Clifton, Ken Brown, Babcock and Hitching Post, but Peter Cargasacchi reserves just enough to bottle some fantastic pinot noir himself. The 2009 Pinot Noir is a complex, fruit-forward wine, and might be too rich for some pinot lovers, but we were into it, and can't wait to open a bottle with some grilled meats.”

By Josh Raynolds

This was my first time to taste with Peter Cargasacchi, whose family vineyard at the western end of the Sta. Rita Hills supplies fruit to Bonaccorsi and Brewer-Clifton, among others. In fact, wines made from that fruit have been some of the best I've tasted from those notable producers. This September I had the chance to spend a morning driving and walking through his vineyard and surrounding sites before tasting with him in his tiny facility in Lompoc. To call Cargasacchi a wealth of knowledge on the Sta. Rita Hills is a gross understatement as he, along with Wes Hagen (Clos Pepe) were responsible for creating the petition that led to the creation of the AVA in 1998. That, plus the fact that his family has been farming in the area for over a century. Cargasacchi is a thoughtful and soft-spoken guy but getting him going on the subject of terroir can be an entertaining exercise as he isn't short on opinions. Chief among his views is that "too many flawed wines, especially from Europe, have been able to get away with being screwed up by hiding behind the smokescreen of terroir. It's been a way to make excuses for bad viticulture and bad cellar practices. Of course, where a vine grows and what type of soil it's planted on and its exposure matter, a lot, but good farming and getting proper ripeness is the real essence of making good wine," he told me. "You can have the most perfect spot for a vine on earth but if you don't take care of it, you can forget about making decent wine."

2009 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Vivid red. Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of red fruit preserves, potpourri and spicecake. Round and seamless, with very good depth to its raspberry and cherry-cola flavors. Primary but already delicious, finishing with excellent lift and length. Give this youthful wine at least another couple years of bottle age or decant it. 90(+?)

2009 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard Santa Barbara County
Bright red. Red and dark berries on the fragrant nose and in the mouth, with musky herb and anise notes adding complexity. Velvety and open-knit, with sappy raspberry and blackberry flavors braced by juicy acidity. Closes on a refreshingly spicy note, with impressive clarity, cut and persistence. 90

2008 Brewer Clifton Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Sta. Rita Hills
Deep red. Ripe cherry and candied plum on the pungent, spice-accented nose. Deeply pitched and chewy on entry, then livelier in the mid-palate, with very good intensity to its sappy cherry and dark berry flavors. This smooth, velvety pinot finishes with lingering licorice and bitter cherry flavors and gripping tannins. I'd let this wine rest a bit more or decant it for a couple of hours. 90(+?)

2007 Siduri Wines Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills
Bright red. Seductive aromas of black raspberry, cherry compote, sassafras and candied flowers. Deeply pitched, spice-accented cherry and dark berry flavors show very good energy and gain sweetness with air. Finishes long and spicy, with echoes of flowers and musky herbs. This wine appears to be entering its drinking window. 89

2007 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard Santa Barbara County
Full red. A smoke-accented bouquet displays scents of black raspberry, cola and licorice, plus a hint of cherry pit. Deeply pitched dark fruit flavors gain energy with air and pick up a brighter raspberry quality. Finishes with gently gripping tannins and a persistent note of spicy dark berries. In a rich style but vibrant as well. 89

2009 Cargasacchi Pinot Grigio Invincible Sun Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard Santa Barbara County
(late-harvested, with no botrytis; 14.5 degrees Brix residual sugar and 16.3% alcohol): Yellow-gold. High-pitched, spice-accented aromas of pit fruits, melon and honey, with a suave floral overtone. Broad, sappy and seamless, with intense peach and ginger flavors and slow-building smokiness. A bright note of citrus pith adds lift and cut to the sweet, strikingly persistent finish. Very energetic for a late-harvest wine; this would be great with blue cheeses or a terrine of foie gras.

eRobertParker.com, August 2011

The 2008 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard is a gorgeous wine full of character and personality. Medium in body, it flows from the glass with sweet red fruit intermingled with sweet scents of tobacco, autumn leaves, spices and licorice. The aromatics aren’t quite as clean as they could be; still I am struck by the sheer complexity of the wine. The Cargasacchi was made from the Dijon 115 clone and aged in French oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2016. 91 points

The 2009 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard comes across as rich in its textured, open fruit and inviting personality. It is quite a bit richer than the 2008 Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot tasted alongside it. This doesn’t look to be a long-term wine but it is unquestionably attractive, and should drink well for a handful of years. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2015. 91 points

Wine Enthusiast, July 2011

Cargasacchi 2008 Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)
91 points. Lots of herbs and earthy notes in this dry Pinot Noir. Lots of acidity, too, giving a slightly sour candy tang to the cherries. A bit tough now, but should blossom in 5–6 years. —S.H.

Cargasacchi 2009 Jalama Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County)
91 points. Available in half bottles, this pretty Pinot Noir is a block and barrel selection from the Cargasacchi Jalama Vineyard. It’s elegant and classy, with polished red berry and spice flavors. Drink now. —S.H.

California's late grape harvest of 2010: What it could mean
Los Angeles Times

“This is a normal cyclical pattern for La Niña," says Peter Cargasacchi of Cargasacchi Winery in the Santa Rita Hills. "If you were aware of that, you could incorporate farming practices based on the historical patterns of the weather." For Cargasacchi, that meant leaving a cover crop between vine rows to suck up excess winter rainwater, then deficit irrigation to stimulate the vines into ripening — "to give them a sense of urgency," he says.” Read the entire article here.

"Very Burgundian"

2006 Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noir - 94 points
A very "Burgundian" Pinot Noir in the mushroom, pine needle and herb scents that accompany the deeper fruit flavors of black cherries and red currants, accented with savory clove spice. Structurally, the wine shows a brilliant architecture of firm tannins and crisp acids, with a deft touch of oak. Really a treat to drink, and should evolve for many years.

Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast

The Santa Barbara Edge

Wine Spectator featured our vineyards in an article on grapegrowers at the frontier of California vineyard expansion that help define a region:

"The Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noirs have been consistently very good to outstanding. The site usually yields a fairly hefty style of Pinot, with excellent depth to berry, blueberry, spice and erath nuances."

Read the complete article here.

One Last Summer Wine Tour...

Grape Nutz toured the Cargasacchi vineyards with Peter
- read the full article here.

World of Pinot Noir

Peter Cargasacchi, the namesake for this brand, is a hardworking farmer, winegrower, winemaker, and cattle wrangler. Somehow, in the midst of being a gentleman farmer, he manages to create sublime pinot noirs from his estate vineyard. Though this brand is relatively young, it has already produced dazzling pinot noir and, from the looks of it, these wines will only continue to get better. Peter knows his vineyards inside and out, so his wines possess true varietal character and are as lovely as they are austere.

Pinot at the Edge

Patrick Comiskeym in the Wine Review Online, made some interesting comparisons of wines from Cargasacchi vineyard:

The Santa Rita Hills, and Cargasacchi in particular, represent an interesting paradox in trying to direct a clear eye to California Pinot Noir at this moment in time. Clonal developments--technology, in short--have made formerly untenable places viable for the grape, which in turn has led to unexpected results and vastly different wine styles. But at the end of the day the winemaker decides when to pick when and what to make of the raw material that nature has provided. He decides whether Pinot will taste like a thing we know, or morph into something we no longer recognize.

Read the full article here.

Santa Barbara: Pinot Noir comes on strong in Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley

James Laube, in Wine Spectator, discussed how Sta. Rita Hills had benefited from new clones, new vineyard methods and lessons learned from mistakes made in Santa Maria Valley:

"When Cargasacchi planted the first 12 acres of his vineyard, in 1998, it looked as if he had taken the ultimate risk - planting grapes in a damp, windy area famous for its bone-chilling proximity to the churning Pacific Ocean a few miles to the west. Now he looks less like a gambler and more like a visionary sitting on a gold mine of a vineyard."

Read the full article here.

A Select Tasting of California Pinot Noirs:
2005 Cargasacchi Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Beautifully lifted and light, there's a gentleness to this Pinot with its scents of wild strawberry and plums. Nicely balanced with a bit of complexity and an earthy bottom note that grounds the wine and gives it length. One of the prettier wines on the table.

Five Great Santa Barbara Vineyards to Watch

In 1998, in one of the coldest corners in the Santa Barbara region, Peter Cargasacchi planted a 16-acre Pinot Noir vineyard on his family's bean farm on the far western edge of Santa Rita Hills. On a recent afternoon, he pointed out the ancient calcareous seabed subsoils visible as white streaks in the surrounding hillsides under loamy clay topsoils and then launched into a monologue on vineyard soils. It's his favorite topic, and he shares his enthusiasm in a rat-a-tat recitation of facts about his land.

Read the full article here

Santa Rita Hills in Three Days…

Peter’s passion for his vineyard was obvious the minute we got out of the truck and started walking up the rows.

Read the full report.

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