2018 Donnachadh Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, California, USA

Aromas of strawberry, violets, wild sage, and forest floor show on the delicate and complex nose. On the palate there is a wave of tart red cherry, blackberry, and plum followed by notes of Earl Grey tea on the lengthy finish.



Grapes were hand picked at ripeness levels chosen to retain bright, natural acidity and intense flavors. At the winery, fruit was destemmed and crushed while still cool, then naturally fermented with daily punch downs to extract rich color and smooth tannins. Fermentation included about 15% whole grape clusters for an extra undertone of tannic structure, and 11 months of aging in french oak barrels before bottling, with 20% new oak.


Donnachadh is a 4th century Scottish Gaelic name ancestral to modern Clan Duncan. The clan motto, disce pati, means "learn to endure” and uva means “grape.” Pronunciation is DON-nuh-kuh. Family owned and organically farmed, Donnachadh Vineyard is located on Santa Rosa Road in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA of Santa Barbara County. That's prime territory for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and cool climate Syrah. It's also the culmination of a dream for owners Laurie and Drew Duncan.

The Duncans followed a passion for wine into the pursuit of a site to plant their own estate property. After an expansive search they found a two hundred eighty-five acre gem in a fine neighborhood. The hard work of planning and planting the vineyard is now done, but Donnachadh's wine timeline is just beginning.

They strive to make wines that express the beauty of the vineyards. The Duncans were inspired by the wines of Burgundy and the Northern Rhone, but wanted to make wines that recognize the uniqueness of Santa Rita Hills. The cool climate and ocean breeze allow the grapes to ripen more slowly, developing rich, complex flavors while still retaining a bright natural acidity. There is a noticeable salinity, too, that further reminds one of the maritime environment that the wines come from. Finally, the varied terrain and soils, from the steep, rocky upper hillside to the gently rolling riverside blocks allow us to develop a lot of complexity and contrast within a relatively small area.

At harvest, the Duncans try to walk the line between capturing pleasing, ripe fruit flavors and keeping in touch with the subtle flavors and aromas that really make the site unique. Donnachadh aims to produce wines that express the fruit, the sun, the soil and, overall, have a feeling of depth, transparency, and inner calm. The Duncans want to make wines that will pair well with a meal, but that will also stand up to closer scrutiny -- that can be rewarding on their own.


Grape(s) Pinot Noir
Farming Organic