John Benedetti
April 18, 2024 | News and Reviews | John Benedetti

Recent Wine Advocate Reviews

 Matthew Luczy, the new Central Coast reviewer for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, recently published his first review of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which featured a select few local producers. We were very fortunate to be asked to contribute wines and meet Matthew for this article, and the reviews were exciting...

"A small group of historic producers and a handful of their proteges have explored and harnessed the trifecta of mountainous terrain, oceanic influence and endlessly varied geology to produce some of the most compelling wines in California....

...Winemaker John Benedetti expresses extreme corners of the Santa Cruz Mountains through his Sante Arcangeli label, from Lester and Saveria vineyards in Corralitos to Bonny Doon's Coast Grade. While his entire lineup of Pinot Noir showcases a lacy, deft touch, the Split Rail bottling is one to underscore: the fruit from this historic, high-elevation site was sold off to larger producers before being entrusted to Benedetti exclusively, who makes it into a centerpiece example of Pinot Noir from this section of the Santa Cruz Mountains."

2022 Split Rail Vineyard Pinot Noir, 94+
The 2022 Pinot Noir Split Rail Vineyard is a higher-elevation expression of Corralitos; located at 1,700 feet in elevation, it especially showcases the signature coniferous, energetic nature of wines from the southern Santa Cruz Mountains. The nose is immediately expressive and inviting, showing aromas of sandalwood, incense, evergreen and fresh herbs. The palate is nimble and precise, leading to a nuanced, layered finish that continuously builds with aeration. A gorgeous showing and a particular favorite in the Sante Arcangeli lineup.

2022 Coast Grade Vineyard Pinot Noir, 94
The 2022 Pinot Noir Coast Grade Vineyard encapsulates Ben Lomond Mountain's clean, maritime nature, providing a beautiful alternative to the woody, redwood-driven scents of Pinot Noir from the Corralitos area. A charming, airy nose of pomegranate, strawberry leaf and orange rind leads to a succulent, suave palate chock-full of ripe berry flavors and ocean spray refreshment. With inviting streaks of oceanic, mineral flavors running through the finish, this is primed for near-term enjoyment but should further develop over the next decade.

2021 Ananda Pinot Noir, 93
The 2021 Pinot Noir Ananda blends two Corralitos sites, Split Rail and Hand in Hand. Barrel aged for 18 months, the nose combines fresh, fragrant notes with a gentle, layered richness that takes time to unwind in the glass. The palate is noticeably more full and sumptuous than the other Arcangeli releases, featuring ripe dark fruit flavors and soft, lees-driven richness. The finish adds a touch of zing and zest to this otherwise soft profile, gradually building complexity after further aeration.

2022 Lester Family Vineyard Pinot Noir, 93
More woodsy and coniferous than the Saveria bottling, the 2022 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard is introduced by a lovely nose of redwood bark, red plum, rose petals and cinnamon aromas. The palate is svelte, clean and focused, balancing red fruit flavors and savory acidity. The finish is initially inward and closed, taking time and coaxing to uncoil. Overall, this shows great promise and should come into itself in the next couple of years and drink very well through the rest of the decade.

2022 Saveria Vineyard Pinot Noir, 92
Sourced from one of the leading vineyards in the Corralitos area, the 2022 Pinot Noir Saveria Vineyard is a beaming expression of the southern Santa Cruz Mountains. It's perfumed and energetic on the nose, showing aromas of the cherry blossom, underbrush, pine needles and plum sauce. The palate is exquisitely textured, combining a taffeta-like sheen with succulent, juicy berry flavors. The finish is mouthwatering and elegant, framed with soft acidity and an understated, soft tannic grip. This is already drinking beautifully but should develop further complexity over the next handful of years.


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