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Featuring California Chardonnay and California Pinot Noir

Los Angeles, CA  February 6, 2013


This is the third year for this event which was conceived by Rajat Parr of Sandhi Wines and Jasmine Hirsch of Hirsch Vineyards. This year the event was held in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Previously, the events were held in San Francisco. The goal the first year was to focus on producing balanced Pinot Noir in California. The event featured 24 Pinot Noir producers. (To read my article on that event click here) [2]

The second year Chardonnay was added and 29 wineries were represented. (To read my article on that event click here [3]).

This year there were 28 wineries represented. Here is the list:

Notes on Wineries & Wines

As I have said before, these types of tastings are not good for producing detailed tasting notes on the wines. To taste, you need to go from station to station and many times it is very crowded. The tastings are done standing up and, of necessity, must be very brief. These tastings are designed to provide a chance to get to meet people and get a quick snapshot of some of the wines. So I did not concentrate on trying to taste all the wines or compose detailed notes like I have done in the past. The notes I did take were very brief and based on only one or two tastings of each wine in a very short period of time.

There are several of the participating wineries that I have known for a long time, including some that I have visited from the very earliest days. And, some are new to me that I know very little about or not at all. Others are new, but very familiar to me. Some I have visited and some I have written articles about. Below are comments on legacy wineries and new wineries that I am very familiar with. Also, there are very brief tasting notes on wines that I found impressive from a few wineries where I have very little experience. These are wineries that I hope to become more familiar with over time.

Pioneer Wineries

Below is a list of wineries represented at The Pursuit of Balance event that have a long history of making Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.  I have known these wineries since their very beginning which dates back as far as 35 years. I have bought the wines, cellared the wines, drank the wines, and written about the wines for all those years. They are wineries with long standing track records of making consistently gorgeous Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that age beautifully. (Click on each one to read the most recent article).

New Wineries

Below are new wineries with which I am very familiar and have written about. I believe they have the potential to follow in the foot steps of the Legacy Wineries. (Click on each one to read the most recent article) .

Tasting Notes On New Wineries From This Year’s Event

Below is a list of new wineries with which I am just getting familiar with which I think offer potential based on brief tastings of a few wines over the last couple of years. (Click on each one to visit the website).

 Tasting notes from this year’s event for the above 3 wineries follow:


2011 Arnot-Roberts Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains.
Light yellow color. Floral, citrus tinged perfume. Floral tinged flavors with hints of citrus and melon. Very pure, bright and crisp. Lovely.

2011 Arnot-Roberts Chardonnay Watson Ranch Napa Valley.
The Watson Ranch vineyard is located in the American Canyon which is a cool climate area of Napa. The vines here are 30 years old. Light yellow color. Lovely floral perfume. Lots of pure fruit showing richness and depth with good underlying acidity.  A very well crafted and balanced Chardonnay with a lot of character.

2011 Arnot-Roberts Pinot Noir Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains.
The vines here were planted in 1979. This is a lovely Pinot Noir with a lot of finesse. Very nice color. Lovely floral tinged perfume with hints of spice. Very pure berry fruit. Faint spice tinges. Flavorful and balanced with great appeal.

Sandhi Wines

2011 Sandhi Chardonnay Santa Barbara County.
Light yellow color. Lovely floral tinged perfume. Hints of citrus. Very pure fruit. Touch of citrus and spice. Nice crisp finish.

2011 Sandhi Chardonnay Sanford and Benedict Vineyard Santa Rita Hills.
The grapes for this wine come from 40 year old vines. Light yellow color. Lovely floral perfume with citrus and tropical tinges. Lovely fruit. Tropical nuances with a hint of citrus. Beautifully balanced with a nice crispness on the finish.

2011 Sandhi Chardonnay Rita’s Crown Vineyard Santa Rita Hills.
This is a delicious Chardonnay with great style and balance. Light yellow color. Gorgeous floral mineral tinged perfume. Very pure fruit. Finesseful with richness and a nice underlying crispness.

2011 Sandhi Pinot Noir Wenzlau Vineyard Santa Rita Hills.
This wine was made from grapes grown on young vines. Very nice color. Floral berry perfume with a tinge of green olive. Very nice berry fruit. Tinge of spice and green olive. Balanced with a nice underlying crispness.

2011 Sandhi Pinot Noir Sanford and Benedict Vineyard Santa Rita Hills.
This wine was made from grapes grown on old vines. Very nice color. Deep perfume. Berry, cherry fruit with floral nuances. Rounded and beautifully balanced.

Soliste Cellars

2010 Soliste Chardonnay L’Age D’Or Russian River Valley.
Light yellow color. Gorgeous perfume. Tinges of citrus and peach with a very faint spice.  Flavorful. Floral nuances with citrus and peach. Long finish with a very nice underlying crispness.

2010 Soliste Pinot Noir Nouveau Monde Sonoma Coast.
Very nice color. Lovely floral perfume with a tinge of spice. Very elegant and finesseful. Floral tinged berry fruit with a hint of spice. Beautifully balanced.



The objectives of the Pursuit of Balance group are closely aligned with what has been the Underground view of wine for over 30 years. Balance is the key. If you value balance in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as I do, then wines made by the Pursuit of Balance wineries offer a lot of appeal. Over time, I hope to get more familiar with more of the wineries that are associated with In Pursuit of Balance and publish more articles. And, I encourage you to follow along with me and experience the wines yourself.

pursuit of balance 2013 logo [13]