Tag Archives: Sta. Rita Hills

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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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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Sanford & Benedict: Historic Vineyard’s Story Told for First Time by Co-Founder

In sum, it appears evident that Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict’s instincts regarding planting in a cooler site like this portion of the Santa Ynez Valley certainly paid off. They also appear to have been fortunate in getting a good selection of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Karl Wente as the base for their vineyard. They also lucked into benefiting from the Santa Rita Hills’s soils, which seem to have a special affinity for Pinot Noir. Continue reading

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More Santa Barbara Deliciousness: Longoria and Rusack

Two more Santa Barbara County producers I visited last month whose wines greatly impressed me possess winemakers who are highly respected by their peers. Both winemakers–Longoria’s Richard Longoria and Rusack’s Steven Gerbac–are modest, low key, high achievers who constantly experiment, searching for ways to improve their already excellent wines. Continue reading

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Sta. Rita Hills: Young Appellation Fulfilling its Promise

Based on last week’s tasting of 72 wines from this appellation, I am happy to report this region is definitely starting to fulfill its promise as a source of characterful, balanced and terroir-driven wines—from flavorful Chardonnay and Viognier to minerally and complex Pinot Noir and Syrah. I was, in fact, thoroughly delighted with the wines overall. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Santa Barbara, Syrah, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Sta. Rita Hills AVA 10 Year Anniversary Trade Tasting: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah

Is there an AVA in California that has more charisma than Sta. Rita Hills? I’m hard pressed to think of one. For me, it has to do with the fairly unique sense of camaraderie and mutual support amongst the longer time winemakers in this AVA, which officially became an AVA in 2001. That and the relative youth of the AVA, the passion and youth of most of its winemakers, and the cool climate Pinots, Chardonnays, Syrahs and a few other varietals they are producing, in many cases from newly planted vines. Continue reading

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