Category Archives: Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara’s Happy Place for Bordeaux Varieties

Santa Barbara’s hottest growing region, on the far eastern edge of Santa Ynez Valley, has shown that Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, can produce superlative results. Continue reading

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Bubbles Rising: Sparkling Trend in Santa Barbara?

One thing I’ve learned from several trips to Santa Barbara County over the past year is that there’s tremendous potential for making sparkling wines here. The exciting news is that an increasing number of excellent Santa Barbara area producers are trying their hand at creating delicious sparkling wines. Continue reading

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Ballard Canyon: Santa Barbara’s Newest, Rhone-Variety Focused AVA

The aromatic, flavorful, structured Syrahs from this small area southwest of Los Olivos invite comparisons to wines of France’s Northern Rhone. The aromatics, firm tannins and good balancing acidities particularly remind me of the wines of Rhone’s tiny Cornas appellation. Continue reading

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Sta. Rita Hills: Top Choices from One of California’s Greatest Sites

The cool climate, super long growing season and largely poor soils here facilitate the production of wines that potentially “have it all”: weight, body, richness, minerality and scintillating acidity. Winemakers elsewhere around the world would kill to have this combination of favorable conditions, making it possible to produce fine wines in just about any style a winemaker wants. Continue reading

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Andrew Murray to Expand; Leasing Former Curtis Winery & Vineyard

Andrew, one of the lucky few of us who found his life’s calling in the wine business even before he was old enough to buy wine legally, tells me he’s on a mission “to make better wines every year of my life.” With access once again to “estate vineyards,” where he will have more control over the viticulture and day-to-day management, as well as a larger facility for practicing his craft, I have no doubt he will continue to achieve that goal. Continue reading

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Two Talented Expat Winemakers in California: Ernst Storm and Guillaume Fabre

Ernst and Guillaume have at least a few things in common. They’re the same age–34. Both are drawn as much to farming and viticulture as they are to making wine. Both have “day jobs” at large wineries and make only small quantities of wine under their own labels as a side project. Both impress one as very grounded, and quite serious about their work. Nonetheless, the two are also undeniably charismatic. Ernst has even been the subject of a couple of mini-documentaries to date. Both also have a penchant for wearing shorts. Continue reading

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Grand Daddy of California Wine Events: Family Winemakers San Francisco

The major stars of the tasting for me, with strong lineups overall and one or more wines rating 93 points or higher, were Bien Nacido, Benovia, Chateau Montelena, Grgich Hills, Herb Lamb, Kaena, Keenan, Ladera, Lagier Meredith, Lamborn Family, L’Aventure, Ottimino, Paloma, Saxon Brown, Seavey, Thomas Fogarty and Vino Noceto. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments