In short, these are beautiful Sta. Rita Hills wines!
Named for Point Conception—which the Chumash Indians believed was the “western gate” through which souls must pass to enter the afterlife—they are excellent examples of the fruit coming from both the northern and southern valleys of SRH (between the La Purisma hills and Santa Rita Hills, and between the Santa Rita Hills and the Santa Rosa Hills, respectively).
Fruit for the Western Gate 2013 chardonnay comes from the sandy soil of the Zotovich vineyard on the 246 corridor. We noticed that this straw-colored, chablis-like wine has good acidity, balanced minerality, and tastes of lemongrass, pineapple, and strawberry. We loved drinking it alone and then later with fish. Our score: 91
The Western Gate 2013 pinot noir comes from one of the oldest vineyards in the region, Sanford & Benedict, planted in 1971. It’s already a remarkable wine, with hints of cherry and strawberry. There are distinct tannins on the front end, though nothing overwhelming. We thought it finished soft and lingered. Our score: 92
Some of the best wines coming out of California are coming from the highway 246 and Santa Ynez River chutes of the Sta. Rita Hills. These excellent wines are no exception.
They are available through the Stolpman Vineyards website.