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Old 10-04-2010, 04:27 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default [LONG] Slewing Sideways Though SoCal, Part 2 - Santa Ynez Valley

Day 2 - Santa Rita Hills
My second adventure began with a different entrance route, proceeding up
US 101 for 60 miles until heading east on CA 126 to Santa Ynez. The
first stop of the day was at Alma Rosa, the winery started by Santa
Barbara County wine legend Richard Sanford after selling his eponymous
winery. Located on a winding dirt road, the picturesque setting for the
rustic tasting room set amidst the vineyards instantly put me in
positive frame of mind. The tasting room was manned by a charming aging
hippie who regaled us with local gossip while also expounding on the
wines he was pouring. Again, given an option of two different tastings,
I opted in this case for the all-Pinot tasting as that was the reason I
was visiting.

2008 Pinot Noir Clone 115 - bright strawberry and cranberry fruit,
crisp acidity, tight

A select clone drawn from their La Encantada vineyard, this wine was the
antithesis of what one expects from the Santa Rita Hills. More than
anything else, it resembled a 2006 Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune that we had
at Christmastime.

2008 Pinot Noir Clone 667 - black raspberry, sliightly alcoholic, fairly
full bodied

Another clone from the same vineyard. What a difference clonal
selection makes! This was big, dark and alcoholic.

2008 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills - earth, minerals, dark fruit, medium
body, acids

Their more generic bottling, this was scaled back from the Clone 667 and
more restained, a theme that would run through most of the wines here.

2007 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills - red raspberry, slightly alcoholic,
tannic, rich

And here we note the difference that vintage makes. Everywhere I went,
2007 was described as a "dream" year, by which they meant that it was
easy and uncomplicated to grow and harvest grapes and make wine from
them. In comparison to the '08, this wine was both lighter and more
structured, showing me more promise for future development, marred only
by the alcohol evident in the nose (14.5% vs. 14.1% for the '08).

2007 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vyd - red cherry, beet, perfumed, firm
acidity, deep fruit

Less tight and structured than the '06, which we'd had earlier in the
year. This year's version was rounder and more giving, but showed less
promise for further development. It will still likely benefit from a few
years in the bottle.

Our next stop was at Dierberg, west on 126 en route to Lompoc. In
addition to making wines with the Dierberg label from grapes grown in
the Santa Maria Valley, they also make Star Lane wines (sounded like a
bowling alley to me) from Santa Ynez Valley grapes (they have 100+ acres
there, only 13 of which are currently under vine) and have a second
label (Three Saints) for declassified fruit. Again, we were the only
visitors there. The wines were poured by the charming Holly, an enology
student at Cal Poly SLO and a great spokesperson for the wines.

2007 Star Lane Sauvignon Blanc - grapefruit, floral, mineral, crisp
acidity -- very much in the Marlborough SB mold

2008 Dierberg Chardonnay "Steel" - stones, a hint of citrus fruit, crisp
acidity, fairly light on its feet -- I'd liken this to a good Macon or
Beaujolais Blanc

2007 Three Saints Chardonnay Santa Maria Vly - sulfur, slightly toasty,
lightly buttery, modest fruit, balanced acidty -- yawn

2007 Three Saints Pinot Noir Santa Maria - initially piney, dark fruit,
oak, medium body -- yawn squared

2006 Dierberg Pinot Noir - soft, feminine, rich fruit, not oaky -- OK,
but unexciting

2006 Star Lane Merlot - slightly green, plums, soft, rich, some
structure -- not bad, but it's Merlot

2006 Dierberg Syrah - brambly, dark fruit, structured -- a very
creditable example of CA Syrah

2005 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon (80/15/5 CS/M/PV) - herbal, pencil
lead, firmly structured, dark fruit -- appealingly savory, surprisingly
structured

2005 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 'Astral' - cassis, soft, jammy --
pretty much the antithesis of the previous wine

The final stop of the trip was in Solvang, that kitschy Dutch-American
community in the midst of the Santa Ynez Valley. Au Bon Climat, the
pioneering producer of Burgundian wines headed by the iconoclastic Jim
Clendennen, has no tasting room, but their are available for tasting at
a wine bar/retailer Taste of the Valleys in downtown Solvang. They were
pouring 6 ABC wines, so for $15 I could taste all 6 plus another wine.

2006 ABC Santa Maria Valley Chardonnnay -- sulfur and toast on the nose,
a reasonable, lemony Chardonnay that isn't flabby in the mouth

2005 ABC Hildegarde White (Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc/Aligoté) -- apples and
lemons amidst butter and oak

2007 ABC Pinot Noir Isabel Morgan -- stewed tomatoes in the nose (heat
damage?) but silky and rich on the palate

2007 ABC Pinot Noir Knox Alexander -- smoke and beets, structured with a
hint of oak

2006 ABC Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard -- a bit of alcoholic heat, red
fruit, firm acids and a long finish, quite appealing

2006 ABC Pinot Noir Sanford-Benedict Vineyard -- smoke, minerals and
spice, rich, deep fruit with great balance, very nice stuff

And now for something completely different:
2007 Margerum M5 (Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre/Counoise/Cinsault) -- fresh
red fruit in the nose, but a creamy texture belies the structural
elements, not too bad.

(Doug Margerum's father is a colleague of mine, now Emeritus, so I had
to satisfy curiosity)

With that as my finale, I departed Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley,
heading back to my digs in Ventura. Highlights from this day were the
Alma Rosa Clone 115 PN, the Dierberg Syrah and the ABC Sanford-Benedict
Pinot. Each of the producers had something to offer, but none of the
wines tasted are likely to be mistaken for a cool climate wine.

Mark Lipton

--
alt.food.wine FAQ: http://winefaq.cwdjr.net

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Old 15-04-2010, 04:00 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default [LONG] Slewing Sideways Though SoCal, Part 2 - Santa Ynez Valley


The final stop of the trip was in Solvang, that kitschy Dutch-American
community in the midst of the Santa Ynez Valley. Au Bon Climat, the


I enjoyed your trip through the Santa Ynez Valley but I must take
exception to your description of Solvang as a "kitschy Dutch-American
community" My grandmother (120% Danish) is rolling in her grave! That
is a kitschy Danish-American community. All those flags with the funny
crosses on them are Scandanavian. That said, some of the best potato
salad and butter cookies live there too...

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Old 15-04-2010, 04:22 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default [LONG] Slewing Sideways Though SoCal, Part 2 - Santa Ynez Valley

Ronin wrote:

The final stop of the trip was in Solvang, that kitschy Dutch-American
community in the midst of the Santa Ynez Valley. Au Bon Climat, the



I enjoyed your trip through the Santa Ynez Valley but I must take
exception to your description of Solvang as a "kitschy Dutch-American
community" My grandmother (120% Danish) is rolling in her grave! That
is a kitschy Danish-American community. All those flags with the funny
crosses on them are Scandanavian. That said, some of the best potato
salad and butter cookies live there too...


You are 100% right. I had a brain cramp when composing that little
travelogue. Sorry, Granny! I stand by the kitschy comment, though.

Mark Lipton

--
alt.food.wine FAQ: http://winefaq.cwdjr.net
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Old 15-04-2010, 12:36 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Slewing Sideways Though SoCal, Part 2 - Santa Ynez Valley

On Apr 9, 11:27�pm, Mark Lipton wrote:
Day 2 - Santa Rita Hills
My second adventure began with a different entrance route, proceeding up
US 101 for 60 miles until heading east on CA 126 to Santa Ynez. �The
first stop of the day was at Alma Rosa, the winery started by Santa
Barbara County wine legend Richard Sanford after selling his eponymous
winery. �Located on a winding dirt road, the picturesque setting for the
rustic tasting room set amidst the vineyards instantly put me in
positive frame of mind. �The tasting room was manned by a charming aging
hippie who regaled us with local gossip while also expounding on the
wines he was pouring. �Again, given an option of two different tastings,
I opted in this case for the all-Pinot tasting as that was the reason I
was visiting.

2008 Pinot Noir �Clone 115 - bright strawberry and cranberry fruit,
crisp acidity, tight

A select clone drawn from their La Encantada vineyard, this wine was the
antithesis of what one expects from the Santa Rita Hills. �More than
anything else, it resembled a 2006 Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune that we had
at Christmastime.

2008 Pinot Noir Clone 667 - black raspberry, sliightly alcoholic, fairly
full bodied

Another clone from the same vineyard. �What a difference clonal
selection makes! �This was big, dark and alcoholic.

2008 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills - earth, minerals, dark fruit, medium
body, acids

Their more generic bottling, this was scaled back from the Clone 667 and
more restained, a theme that would run through most of the wines here.

2007 Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills - red raspberry, slightly alcoholic,
tannic, rich

And here we note the difference that vintage makes. �Everywhere I went,
2007 was described as a "dream" year, by which they meant that it was
easy and uncomplicated to grow and harvest grapes and make wine from
them. In comparison to the '08, this wine was both lighter and more
structured, showing me more promise for future development, marred only
by the alcohol evident in the nose (14.5% vs. 14.1% for the '08).

2007 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vyd - red cherry, beet, perfumed, firm
acidity, deep fruit

Less tight and structured than the '06, which we'd had earlier in the
year. �This year's version was rounder and more giving, but showed less
promise for further development. It will still likely benefit from a few
years in the bottle.

Our next stop was at Dierberg, west on 126 en route to Lompoc. �In
addition to making wines with the Dierberg label from grapes grown in
the Santa Maria Valley, they also make Star Lane wines (sounded like a
bowling alley to me) from Santa Ynez Valley grapes (they have 100+ acres
there, only 13 of which are currently under vine) and have a second
label (Three Saints) for declassified fruit. �Again, we were the only
visitors there. �The wines were poured by the charming Holly, an enology
student at Cal Poly SLO and a great spokesperson for the wines.

2007 Star Lane Sauvignon Blanc - grapefruit, floral, mineral, crisp
acidity -- very much in the Marlborough SB mold

2008 Dierberg Chardonnay "Steel" - stones, a hint of citrus fruit, crisp
acidity, fairly light on its feet -- I'd liken this to a good Macon or
Beaujolais Blanc

2007 Three Saints Chardonnay Santa Maria Vly - sulfur, slightly toasty,
lightly buttery, modest fruit, balanced acidty -- yawn

2007 Three Saints Pinot Noir Santa Maria - initially piney, dark fruit,
oak, medium body -- yawn squared

2006 Dierberg Pinot Noir - soft, feminine, rich fruit, not oaky -- OK,
but unexciting

2006 Star Lane Merlot - slightly green, plums, soft, rich, some
structure -- not bad, but it's Merlot

2006 Dierberg Syrah - brambly, dark fruit, structured -- a very
creditable example of CA Syrah

2005 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon (80/15/5 CS/M/PV) - herbal, pencil
lead, firmly structured, dark fruit -- appealingly savory, surprisingly
structured

2005 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 'Astral' - cassis, soft, jammy --
pretty much the antithesis of the previous wine

The final stop of the trip was in Solvang, that kitschy Dutch-American
community in the midst of the Santa Ynez Valley. �Au Bon Climat, the
pioneering producer of Burgundian wines headed by the iconoclastic Jim
Clendennen, has no tasting room, but their are available for tasting at
a wine bar/retailer Taste of the Valleys in downtown Solvang. �They were
pouring 6 ABC wines, so for $15 I could taste all 6 plus another wine.

2006 ABC Santa Maria Valley Chardonnnay -- sulfur and toast on the nose,
a reasonable, lemony Chardonnay that isn't flabby in the mouth

2005 ABC Hildegarde White (Pinot Gris/Pinot Blanc/Aligot� -- apples and
lemons amidst butter and oak

2007 ABC Pinot Noir Isabel Morgan -- stewed tomatoes in the nose (heat
damage?) but silky and rich on the palate

2007 ABC Pinot Noir Knox Alexander -- smoke and beets, structured with a
hint of oak

2006 ABC Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard -- a bit of alcoholic heat, red
fruit, firm acids and a long finish, quite appealing

2006 ABC Pinot Noir Sanford-Benedict Vineyard -- smoke, minerals and
spice, rich, deep fruit with great balance, very nice stuff

And now for something completely different:
2007 Margerum M5 (Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre/Counoise/Cinsault) -- fresh
red fruit in the nose, but a creamy texture belies the structural
elements, not too bad.

(Doug Margerum's father is a colleague of mine, now Emeritus, so I had
to satisfy curiosity)

With that as my finale, I departed Solvang and the Santa Ynez Valley,
heading back to my digs in Ventura. �Highlights from this day were the
Alma Rosa Clone 115 PN, the Dierberg Syrah and the ABC Sanford-Benedict
Pinot. �Each of the producers had something to offer, but none of the
wines tasted are likely to be mistaken for a cool climate wine.

Mark Lipton

--
alt.food.wine FAQ: �http://winefaq.cwdjr.net


Mark, I noticed that none of the tastings included a 100% grenache
wine. Were they not available?


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