News & Press Releases > The Magnificent 30: Bonaccorsi Wine Company
DATE: 11/15/2006

The Magnificent 30: Bonaccorsi Wine Company

 
A look at the wineries best capturing the essence of this great grape.
BY: MARY ANN BOVIO
From the Wine Spectator
Bonaccorsi Wine Company
Winery location: Santa Maria, Santa Barbara County
Annual Pinot Noir production: 2,400 cases
Founded: 1999
Web site: www.bonawine.net

Michael and Jenne Lee Bonaccorsi formed the Bonaccorsi Wine Co. to make wines devoted to Burgundian and Rhône varietals. Mike had been a popular sommelier at San Francisco restaurants Masa's, Cypress Club and Zola's before moving to Los Angeles to work at Wolfgang Puck's Spago (where he met Jenne Lee, who worked as maître d').

The Bonaccorsis recognized the potential of Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills early on, and tapped some of the best vineyard sources in the area, including Sanford & Benedict, Fiddlestix, Melville and Cargasacchi.

After Mike's sudden death in 2004 at age 43, his widow found support from fellow winemakers in Santa Barbara, who helped her to continue to make the wines. Today, she is working with winemaker Clarissa Nagy (formerly of Longoria) to realize her husband's vision of ripe, vivid and complex Pinots.

"The things we learned in the past, we continue learning," says Jenne Lee. Production of the 2004 and 2005 vintages was reduced, but in 2006 it's back up to 2,400 cases. She is sticking with Michael's strategy to buy grapes from multiple sources. "I don't like to put all my eggs in one basket. I get the best fruit, and I get a lot of different fruit."

—M.B.
Selected Releases
ScoreWinePriceCases
91Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills 2004$46$175
88Santa Rita Hills Melville Vineyard 2003$60120
Master Sommelier Mike Bonaccorsi has created wines of superb balance and harmony in the first vintages of his career. I always thought that a winemaker with a great store of tasting experience would have an advantage over a purely technically trained enologist. Bonaccorsi is proof of this, and he surely must be proud of his work.