Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Happy Canyon Cabernet: Dascomb Cellars

Dascomb Cellars Patriarch Don Dascomb bought the estate vineyard in 1974, starting a family business which sold their fruit to other winemakers. By the end of the 1990s, many Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in Santa Barbara County had been ripped out in favor of varieties that have proven quite successful for growers in the SBC - Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Dascomb felt that Cab's time in the county was not over. He maintained his planting of the King of Grapes in what is now the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara County AVA - a place where Cabernet Sauvignon thrives due to the conditions which are considerably warmer than the land to the west, which is closer to the marine influence.

According to the Dascomb website, winemaker Dave Dascomb - the younger generation - believes that he is simply building upon what nature has produced. "Mother Nature determines if a particular vintage will be good or not," he is quoted. "My responsibility is to make it exceptional!" The blurb continues that, "Exceptional wine is achieved through established farming practices, patience at harvest, old-world cellar practices and a passion for the art of winemaking!"

The grapes for this wine came from East Valley Vineyard, planted by the Dascomb family forty years ago, making it one of the oldest vineyards in the region. Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and it retails for $34. Considering the price point, it over-performs. I received a sample for the purpose of this article.

This Happy Canyon Cab certainly made me happy. Inky black in the glass, I like it already. Ripe nose of dark berries and graphite, you bet. Mouth full of blackberries and currants, yep. Amazing tannic structure, you had me at inky black. And, you get that fabulous acidity thrown in at no extra cost.

I paired mine with tri-tip straight from my grill, and it fit like it was on special order. I imagine it will serve equally well with a ribeye or a bacon-wrapped pork loin. Oh, sorry, I drifted off into my barbecue fantasy place for a second. Pair it with any meat dish that’s not really spicy and you’ll have a good time.


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