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Ancillary Cellars

Sonoma County region

Two hearalded winemakers join forces with a new, boutique winery.

Ancillary Cellars is a relatively new Pinot Noir project based in California’s Sonoma Coast region and headed by two of Napa Valley’s most celebrated vintners - Mike Smith and Mark Carter. While these two may spend most of their time crafting Napa Valley Cabs (among the best in the region), they’re switching focus to explore another passion - Burgundian style Pinots with complexity, subtlety, and delicacy. Together, Mike and Mark are seeking out top notch Sonoma Coast vineyards and releasing tiny amounts of premium, terroir-driven Pinots. The initial vintage was 2012 and they haven’t slowed down yet.

Mark Carter is the proprietor of the wildly popular Carter Cellars and holder of one of the rare 100 point scores for one of his wines. Carter grew up in the town of Eureka, where he started his career as a developer of restored Victorian homes. He was always interested in wine and food, and it was this enthusiasm that led him to eventually open the Carter House Inn Hotel and Restaurant 301, where he established a Wine Spectator Grand Award Wine List that has continued to secure awards to this day. The restaurant attracted the company of many great winemakers, and it was there that Mark met Fred Schrader. From their friendship and Schrader’s guidance, Carter Cellars was born in 1996.

Mike Smith started his winemaking career under the direction of Thomas Brown at Schrader Cellars in 2001. He has since become a significant winemaker in the boutique winery world of California and currently makes the highly regarded wines for Carter Cellars, Myriad, Patine, 12c, Becklyn, and now, Ancillary Cellars. Since Mike began working with Mark Carter at Carter Cellars in 2009, they have proven to be an exceptional team and their wines are praised by the most esteemed reviewers in the world.

Ancillary Cellars’ first two vintages feature single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from the prestigious Sun Chase Vineyard in the hills just above Sonoma Valley and the famed Sangiacomo Vineyard located at the western base of the Sonoma Hills. Each of these cool-climate sites offer the ideal setting for producing Pinot Noir. Mike Smith and Mark Carter are continuously seeking out new Sonoma Coast vineyard sites that express themselves without the need of manipulation.

We are happy to introduce this boutique Sonoma Coast winery to our Garagiste Wine Club members. With the vintners behind it being some of the industry’s best talents, we anticipate a very promising future ahead. Cheers!

Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,

Picture of Dear <i>Platinum Wine Club</i> Members,

Thank you for supporting the Gold Medal Wine Club and for giving us the opportunity to share our 2014 ancillary cellars Pinot Noir from the Sun Chase Vineyard. While we have spent the last 15 years making powerful and high scoring Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, we are relative new comers to the winemaking world of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, having only started the project in 2012. That is not that to say that we are unfamiliar with the varietals, as they have always been some of our go to choices when we pulled wines for ourselves from our cellars. When the opportunity to make wine out of this world class cool climate vineyard on the Sonoma Coast arose, it was with this spirit and love of all wines that made us launch this endeavor and we have been fortunate to receive high praise from both fans and critics alike.

Located 1400 feet above sea level on the western slopes of Sonoma Mountain, the Sun Chase Vineyard is one of the first to emerge from the daily intrusion of fog in the Petaluma Gap, which allowed it to capture ample sunlight throughout the 2014 growing season. Known for its structured yet flamboyant nature, this vineyard delivered only the best to the bottle. Strikingly complex, rich and fruity, this beautifully proportioned Pinot Noir delivers an initial burst of red berry fruit with notes of red and black licorice. From there the wine quickly gains traction and depth, with firm, layered tannins that give the spicy berry flavors a perfect foundation. A beautiful fruit forward entrance, gives way to lively acidity lifting the mid palate and showcasing the strawberry field aromatics. The wine is drinking wonderfully right now, but an additional year or two in the cellar will bring out further complexities.

Again we appreciate your support and it is our sincere pleasure to share this wine with you.


Mike Smith and Mark Carter

Mike Smith - Winemaker

Picture of Mike Smith - Winemaker

Ancillary Cellars’ winemaker is Mike Smith, a veteran Napa Valley winemaker who has produced some of the highest rated wines in California. Mike began his career in 2001, working for Thomas Brown at Schraeder Winery. At the time, Mike was living in Portland, Oregon, and flew down to Napa Valley on the weekends to help out in the cellar. Three harvests later, Mike was offered a full time position at the winery and moved his family down to St. Helena. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Mike makes wine for a number of different labels (Carter Cellars, Myriad, Quivet, 12c, and Scarlett), many of which have earned serious recognition in industry periodicals. He brings this incredible talent, drive, and experience to his newest venture - Ancillary Cellars.