2018 Prodigal Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills

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  • 93 Point Sta Rita Hills Pinot
  • From the Gallo's 1st Formally-Trained Oenologist
  • 95-97 Point Vintage, Jeb Dunnuck
  • BHW Has the Lowest Price Anywhere!
  • Free Shipping on 6 or More Bottles

About the Wine

Santa Rita Hills AVA is located on California's Central Coast in Santa Barbara County. This appellation is rapidly becoming one of the favorites of the most important wine critics in the world. Wine Spectator said: “This appellation in Santa Barbara County is quickly making a name for itself courtesy of some delicious Pinot Noirs”, and James Suckling stated that he’s “In love with Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. They are bold and rich wines yet balanced and refined with wonderful freshness and length”.

Its privileged location, close to the Pacific Ocean, allows a refreshing sea breeze to cool the vineyards, and combined with the sedimentary limestone soil, this AVA is producing some of the best Pinot Noirs in the new world. 

In 1960, the first graduating class at UC Davis, Steve Russell embarked on a lifelong journey that brought him back to California to found prodigal wines.

The name “Prodigal” stems from the career paths that Stephen Russell has taken. As an early (1960) graduate of the UC Davis Enology program, he was the first formally trained enologist to be hired by the Gallo's. After discovering that corporate winemaking didn’t offer the future he had envisioned, and after attempting unsuccessfully to raise the money to purchase Freemark Abbey, with a twentysomething’s wisdom he decided to leave the industry. Consternation at the time among those at UCD who had trained him was abundantly evident.

After returning to school (DVM and PhD) and an academic career in cancer research, he and his wife, Mary, returned to California to found Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard / Prodigal Wines in 2001. The ‘prodigal son’ had returned!

Steeply sloping Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard is a 4.5-acre estate located on Santa Rosa Road in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Its four acres are planted to just Pinot Noir – the eastern block contains Dijon clones 667 (on 3309) and 777 (on 5C) in equal amounts, while the western block consists of clone 115.

Tasting Notes: 100% Pinot Noir. Ruby garnet in color with aromas of wild black and red fruit – black currant, raspberry accented by clove, violet, strawberry, and spice. On the palate, full-bodied as the Sta Rita Hills AVA is known for with dark black cherry, blackberry, raspberry, and a touch of vanilla. Soft tannins with good acidity throughout to balance the dark-rich fruit. Long and elegant on the finish.


Ripe and prominent aromas of black raspberry, dark strawberry, and plump elderberry are leveled by wild herbs and fennel pollen on the nose of this three-clone bottling from Quinta Santa Rosa Vineyard. The palate is hearty with wild-cherry, cherry-pit, and baked plum flavors, as dark sage and thyme herbs lead into the finish. ~93 Wine Enthusiast

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