Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards was founded in 1970 by Richard and Thekla Sanford. Not only were they on board early in recognizing the Santa Rita Hills as a good place to grow grapes, they also were among the first to plant Pinot Noir there. Alma Rosa is described on their website as "an enterprise dedicated to creating high quality wines and setting a benchmark for organic farming, sustainable agriculture methods, and environment-friendly commerce." Oh, and their wines rock.
My visit occured on a day when there was considerable celebration at all the area wineries, and Alma Rosa was no exception. Going through the small tasting room to a back area where a band played something that sounded like the Grateful Dead's version of reggae, I settled into what seemed to be Hippie Heaven. Taking a cue from the warm and sunny afternoon weather, I decided to sample some white wines.
Santa Rita Hills Pinot Blanc 2007 - There's just a bit of oak on this wine. A lemony, creamy pepper taste springs forth from a very lively and fresh, green nose.
La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Blanc 2007 - A fresh nose is found here, too. There's a little less oak influence. With a very creamy mouthfeel, it's a pleasure to drink.
Santa Barbara County Pinot Gris 2008 - The fresh noses were out in force today. A pear flavor dominates, but a bit of a tropical play figures in, too. It's steel fermented and aged six months in French oak.
Pinot Gris La Encantada Vineyard 2007 - Apricot and tangerine flavor the wine after a floral nose. Lots of minerals produce a crisp and clean palate.
Chardonnay El Jabali Vineyard 2006 - A woody nose greets you, but it's not overdone. Tropical flavors and pears rule the palate.