• Producer: Dragonette Cellars
  • Winemakers: John Dragonette, Steve Dragonette, & Brandon Sparks-Gillis
  • Region (AVA): Santa Ynez Valley (Santa Ynez Valley)
  • Blend: 95% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 1% Viognier
  • Vintage production: 340 cases
  • Winery location: Buelton
  • Owners: John Dragonette, Steve Dragonette, & Brandon Sparks-Gillis
  • First vintage: 2007
  • Drinking window: 2024-2039


About The Wine


MJM is Dragonette's signature, Syrah-based blend, named in honor of the team's wives, Mitchi, Jen and Michelle. They feel that Syrah from cooler sites in Santa Barbara makes wines of extraordinary depth, aromatic complexity, elegance and longevity, on par with those from the great growing regions of the world. Fruit is purchased from renowned sites on acreage contracts so they may dictate farming, limit yields and harvest selectively, resulting in grapes of intensity and balance.


The Vineyards:


John Sebastiano (Sta. Rita Hills AVA) - Steep hillsides with sandy loam soils. Buffeted daily by high winds and steeped in fog, this cool site produces wines with remarkable aromatics and flavours (spices, dark fruits, meat and earth) in medium bodied frame.


Stolpman (Ballard Canyon AVA) - Rolling hills of clay loam, underpinned with limestone. Extreme deficit farming and older vines (some 20+ years) produce low yields of spectacularly dark, intense red fruits and meaty notes. A portion of the fruit comes from the exclusive, steeply pitched high-density blocks which sit on thick bands of limestone.


Larner (Ballard Canyon ABA) - Thin sandy soils on rolling hills. 20-year-old vines. Dark, rich, meaty Syrah with blueberry fruits and game.


Kimsey (Ballard Canyon AVA) - Thin sandy soils on rolling hills. Fruit is dark with rich flavors of blueberries and blackberries seasoned with spices.


Each block is harvested in the cold morning hours, hand-sorted in the field. The grapes are destemmed within hours then cold soaked for 2-4 days, before fermentation (with 1% Viogner) by native yeasts. Pumpovers, punchdowns and delestage are used to gently extract flavour, while managing tannins. At dryness, the wines are transferred to French oak barrels of various formats (500L puncheon, 400L, and 228 L barrique) and aged 9 months on the lees, before painstakinga  selection and blending with small amounts of Grenache. The wine is put back down to barrel for an additional 18 months aging before bottling.


2018 saw a return to the weather of cooler years (2010/2011). Winter rains and a cool spring helped delay budbreak, while providing for a good soil water profile. Weather was good during set, allowing for reasonable, though not excessive, yields. A warm early summer promoted ripeness, but in late August and September the weather was quite cool, with only moderate daytime highs and cool nights. The grapes, generally, moved very slowly toward full ripeness, which finally occurred at various points throughout October. The resulting wine showed excellent flavors and complex aromatics, medium body, and freshness from excellent acidity.


Dragonette MJM Syrah 2018

  • "Lastly, the 2018 Syrah MJM (95% Syrah, 4% Grenache, and 1% Viognier) offers a sensational bouquet of gamey red and blue fruits as well as aged beef, iron, beef blood, tapenade, and sage brush-like aromas and flavors. Powerful, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated, it has ripe yet substantial tannins, terrific balance, plenty of mid-palate density, and a great finish. This singular, exotic, meaty Syrah will benefit from 2-3 years in the cellar and should age like a fine Hermitage, which it shares more than a passing resemblance to."

    97+ points, Jeb Dunnuck (Aug. 2022)