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Santa Barbara Wine Tasting Weekend

Solvang, Lompoc, etc

Tasted March 27, 2009 - March 30, 2009 by Rob MacKay with 722 views

Flight 1 - Sauvignon Blanc (4 notes)

White
2006 Fiddlehead Cellars Sauvignon Blanc USA, California, Central Coast, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
86 points
Tasted in a flight at the winery. Some nice citrus and lemon zest but there is also a surprising oak influence that throws you for a but of a loop. Normally I wouldn't expect this in a Sav Blanc but here it works well and adds nice complexity.
White
2003 Fiddlehead Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Hunnysuckle USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
Tasted in a flight at the winery. Very pale color almost like slightly dirty water. Nice floral notes with good acidity. Very smooth.
White
2007 Fiddlehead Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Goosebury USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
Tasted in a flight at the winery. Very pale color with grapefruit and tropical citrus on the nose mixed with a bit of of a floral element. Good, but my least favorite of the three Fiddlehead Sav Blancs. I prefer the Happy Canyon to this one as it is much more interesting.
White
2007 Margerum Sauvignon Blanc Sybarite USA, California, Central Coast, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. Very pale color. Crisp and refreshing with tropical flavors from start to finish. Great for people who shy away from oak and at $16, a pretty good deal.

Flight 2 - Chardonnay (5 notes)

White
2007 Sea Smoke Chardonnay Gratis USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Barrel sample tasted at the winery. This is just a few weeks from going into the bottle. Spicy oak overtones wrapped around good fruit and a smooth but not creamy texture from the malolactic fermentation. This still needs some time to rest in the bottle but I'm really looking forward to the final product.
White
2005 Arcadian Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Lucia Highlands
93 points
Very nicely done with an excellent balance of fruit, oak, and texture. Alcohol is nicely managed at 13.3%. No single element dominates the wine and each taste leaves you wanting more. One of the best Chardonnay's I've had.
White
2006 Badge Chardonnay Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at the Trio tasting room. 14.4% abv. Nice upfront acidity. Good minerality. Oak comes in on the finish as does the influence of the malolactic fermentation.
White
2006 Foley Estates Chardonnay Barrel Select Rancho Santa Rosa USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at the winery. Oak dominates the fruit from start to finish and there is a heavy malolactic fermentation influence as well. Very creamy texture with nutty vanilla nuances. If you don't like oaky chardonnay, stay away. If you do, you will like this.
White
2008 Foley Estates Chardonnay Steel USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at the winery. Very light color for Chardonnay. Pears and minerals on the nose. Zippy, crisp acidity. Quite refreshing. Drink this well chilled on a summer day.

Flight 3 - Other Whites (3 notes)

White
2004 Au Bon Climat Hildegard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
92 points
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. 55% Pinot Gris, 40% Pinot Blanc, and 5% Aligoté. There is an influence of oak on the nose mixed with some citrus and almond notes. The flavors brought out a "wow" with an excellent mix of fruit, minerality, and oak. A nice creamy and luscious, but not buttery, texture. Excellent wine. Could easily be mistaken for something from Burgundy.
White
2007 Curran Gewürztraminer USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
Tasted in a flight at the Trio tasting room. 14.1% abv. Nice citrus and tropical fruits. Very crisp acidity and a nice balance from start to finish. Would be great with spicy foods.
White
2007 Curran Grenache Blanc USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
Tasted in a flight at the Trio tasting room. 14.1% abv. We really enjoyed this wine. Color is a dark straw leaning towards pale gold. Nice tropical fruit and honey notes on the nose. Flavors are very smooth and well rounded. Excellent wine.

Flight 4 - Pinot Noir (8 notes)

Red
2007 Fiddlehead Cellars Pinot Noir 20th Anniversary Cuvée USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at the winery. This is super young right now and really shouldn't have been brought out as it is showing a slightly green edge to it with rough tannins masking most of the fruit. There's a lot going on but in my opinion it REALLY needs to be left alone for the better part of 5 years.
Red
2005 Badge Pinot Noir USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at the Trio tasting room. 14.8% abv. Subtle cherry fruits on the nose but it is dominated by a smoky overtone that is a little off-putting. It does clean up a bit on the finish but I wasn't a big fan of this wine.
Red
2006 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. Red berries on the nose with slightly smoky overtones and relatively light tannins. Would be good if the smokiness didn't dominate so much. Perhaps with some time to rest it will integrate a little bit.
Red
2006 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir La Bauge Au-dessus USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. Almost a candied fruit scent mixed with even a bit of licorice on the nose with a cedar element to the flavors. Not quite ready for prime time. Let rest.
Red
2006 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Isabelle USA, California
93 points
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. Easily my favorite of the "ABC" Pinot Noir wines that we tasted. I loved the balance of oak, earth, and fruit throughout all aspects of this wine. 1er Cru Burgundy quality. Excellent.
Red
2004 Arcadian Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. A great example of how to balance high alcohol (15.8%), ripe, ripe fruit flavors, and oak all in the same wine. Miss on any one element and the whole wine will fail. This one does not and hits on all cylinders. Excellent.
Red
2006 Foley Estates Pinot Noir Barrel Select Rancho Santa Rosa USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at the winery. The nose on this wine is quite powerful with big cherry and strawberry scents with a small whiff of oak. Much different (and better) then the 07 Rancho Santa Rosa tasted previously. Medium bodied with a really nice, smooth texture. My favorite of the flight but unfortunately, it was also the most expensive at $50.
Red
2007 Foley Estates Pinot Noir Rancho Santa Rosa USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at the winery. Clear off red color. Lots of black cherry and red berries. Lightweight but quite smoky throughout. This could use a more structured finish but perhaps given some time it will round out a bit.

Flight 5 - Syrah (4 notes)

Red
2005 Presidio Syrah Artistic License USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
Tasted at the Presidio tasting room in Solvang. Nice nose of black pepper and anise. The wine has a nice spicy pepper element and is not a jammy, fruity, over the top wine. It resembles more of a Northern Rhone styling, which may or may not appeal to some people. For me, I liked it.
Red
2005 Arcadian Syrah Purisima Mountain Vineyard USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. Loved this wine. Everything that I like about Northern Rhone styled Syrah is here. Not overly fruity with a great structure showing wonderful peppery elements with nice balance and weight from start to finish. Côte-Rôtie greatness without the big Côte-Rôtie price tag. Even my wife, who really doesn't like new world Syrah, loved this wine.
Red
2005 Margerum Syrah Uber USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. Nose is quite similar to the M5 but perhaps less pepper and more sweet red fruit. A contrasting attack on the palate with light fruit flavors but the wine itself feels rather heavy with a bit of heat. For the price I'd rather have two bottles of the M5.
Red
2006 Foley Estates Syrah Rancho Santa Rosa USA, California, Central Coast, Sta. Rita Hills
Tasted in a flight at the winery. This is the type of new world Syrah that I enjoy. Not the big jammy Syrah you sometimes see but instead a nice peppery nose with good fruit and spice flavors. This had a little bit lighter mouthfeel then I would have expected but overall I thought this was very nice.

Flight 6 - Other Reds (4 notes)

Rosé
2007 Curran Grenache Rosé USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
Tasted in a flight at the Trio tasting room. 13.4% abv. A nice salmon color with citrus and pineapple scents. Reminds me of a nice Bandol Rosé. This will be a fantastic summer sipper.
Red
2005 Curran Tempranillo USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley
Tasted in a flight at the Trio tasting room. 14.5% abv. Very dark ruby color with red candy licorice scents. Sweet red fruit flavors (but not sugary sweet). Perhaps a better word would be ripe? However, it cleans up quick on the finish, which is tannic and dry.
Red
2005 Curran Sangiovese USA, California, Central Coast
Tasted in a flight at the Trio tasting room. 14.5% abv. This was my favorite of the Curran red wines that we tasted. This is quite similar to a well made Italian Chianti. Very nice fruit and despite spending 36 months in oak, the wine itself is not overly oaky and finishes nicely. Would be excellent with some pizza or pasta.
Red
2006 Margerum M5 USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County
Tasted in a flight at Taste of the Valleys wine bar in Solvang. I get some slight white pepper mixed in with crushed berries and something that could be described as rhubarb I guess. Even though this is a blend of 5 traditional Rhone varietals, it seems that Syrah is the most dominant element, adding some pepper nuances to the flavors.
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