Santa Barbara Wine Company – doesn’t sound like a quaint family run grape farm but a, well, a business. A corporate wine. I haven’t tasted the wine yet – I have a bottle of their Pinot Noire in front of me. I also know nothing about the winemaker. I’m about to learn about the Company, the grape variety and whatever else I can dig up – but most importantly – how their 2009 Pinot Noire tastes. I’m hoping I can recommend you try it. Let’s start with a tour on the Net and see what we can learn about the winemaker then I’ll tell you what I think of the wine.
Don Ackerman GM of the vineyard – on Santa Barbara County
“As a vineyard guy, I am not exaggerating when I say Santa Barbara County is the most exciting place to be growing grapes in the world. Our climate and our soils in Santa Barbara are proving ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and we have much in common with the most classic terroir for these varieties: Burgundy.”
No so many wineries keep a blog chalk full of all the goings on on the farm. From tastings to tilling and pruning, it makes for fascinating reading. Take a look: Santa Barbara winery blog
OK – time for me to indulge. Be back in a sec.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t expecting this to be a great wine, and by great I mean good value for the dollar. Probably mainly due to the price range. I’ve often heard that you need to spend $40, $50 dollars to get a handsome Pinot. So at $20 bucks I figured this would be a nice try but not again type wine.
Right from the first whiff I’m surprised. Vibrant red fruit smells with what to me is a hint of cedar. You’ll note in the video below that the fellow calls it smokey – while I don’t get smoke, we’re at least in the same
ballpark as I’m getting a very light foresty, cedary note simmering with the lively fruit – very nice. And the taste doesn’t disappoint. This is a lovely wine. Full flavour, bright fruit with hints of the forest, refreshing, smooth. I like it a lot. Excuse me while I refill the glass – no spitting allowed in my room here.
One more note from a book I’m going through, Kevin Zraly’s wine course – he notes South Central Coast 2009 an exceptional vintage for Pinot Noire. I can’t argue. And finally as I often do, I put my money where my mouth is; I will be buying more of this bottle to keep around for the days that I look for a nice Pinot – and at $21 dollars Canadian, come on!!
a little post script – for Sideways fans. here is a long but very pleasant chat with the novel’s author Rex Pickett