Estate Grown, Sta. Rita Hills

Block "Ocean's Ghost", Dijon Clones 115 + 777

While a good part of the magic in my Ocean’s Ghost Pinot Noir is the marriage between soil and climate, I match this small vineyard’s existential gifts with a radical approach in the farming that is restrained by nothing. I have worked over the years with many vineyards, some of them good, some of them great. In almost every case, at some point along the way I will find myself thinking, “If only the grower would have done some things slightly different; if only the timing could have been a little tighter; it would have made a difference.” And a lot of time, it’s not that the grower wasn't amenable to it. It’s just that I was not there on a day to day basis to say, “Okay, NOW! Now is when we should leaf pull; now is when we should cluster thin,” etc. Well, with Ocean’s Ghost, it is not unusual for me to start my day in this section of the vineyard. If something needs tweaking, I drive by the shop and check in with my vineyard manager. Of course I always find a number of things that need attention, but when it’s in the Ghost, he knows exactly where to put it on the list of priorities. While my whole ranch can’t be perfect all of the time, farming at its peak in at least a couple of places is important to me. When you put the words Optimum Quod Possum* on the labels of your product, you need to have some avenues where you can practice your best craftsmanship. For me, Ocean’s Ghost is one of them. 

Why the name Ocean’s Ghost for this cuvee? All of the soils on my ranch are the remnants of an ancient sea. From the deep sandy loams in our lower vineyards, to the shallow decomposed sandstone on TOP CREAM’S bench, evidence of the ocean’s touch is everywhere. At various points above our ranch, on steeper hills, in places where erosion has taken away the skin of the mountain, you can see the pitch-white outcroppings of pure diatomaceous earth. It is no coincidence that some of the world’s largest diatomaceous deposits are mined just outside of Lompoc. In digging around on our hillsides, I have not found too many arrowheads, but I have come across little gravelly deposits, the likes of which look like fractured seashells. The soil in Ocean’s Ghost is very similar to that in Top Cream. The block, however, is situated on our westernmost mesa that is completely exposed to the daily ocean breeze, making it perfect for Pinot Noir. Beginning eons ago, the ubiquitous influence of the ocean continues.

*Optimum Quod Possum: Latin for “As best as I am able.”