This short series describes some of the wines we sampled in the various tasting rooms visited.
Lafond Winery and Vineyards
The Lafond Sta. Rita Hills tasting room is a one-stop shop for wine accessories, exhibiting a “no chotski left behind” approach to stocking the tables with coasters, openers, funny wine signs and food products. The room is decorated with some lovely artwork by local artist Karin Shelton.
SRH Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay 2013 $23 - About three quarters of the grapes in this wine are from Lafond Vineyard, while a quarter come from their neighbor, Hilltop Ranch. Aromas of tropical fruit and oak meet the nose, and the palate is also marked by oak. It's buttery and has a good weight, but there is really a lot of oak here.
Lafond Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 $40 - Fruit and spice dominate, with less oak influence than the SRH. Peach and lemon on the palate.
Lafond Vineyard Pinot Noir Martin Ray Clone 2010 $50 - This wine comes from vines planted in 1982. It was the first varietal that Lafond requested be planted there. The vines were cut from the Sanford+Benedict Vineyard, and the Lafond website reveals that Michael Benedict refers to the clone as Martin Ray, while Richard Sanford calls it Mount Eden. Who's right? Who cares? It tastes great. There is a lot of fruit in the nose, with a strong raspberry slant to the flavor. Nice tannins, but still pretty and elegant - just a little sturdier andmore peppery than the SRH.
SRH Sta.Rita Hills Syrah 2010 $23 - The nose shows big fruit and a slightly funky, earthy edge. Black pepper, blackberries and cassis on the palate.
Lafond Vineyard Syrah/Grenache 2011 $38 - This is a gorgeous 60/40 blend of cool-climate Syrah and Grenache. Big dark fruit on the nose leads to black and white pepper notes on the palate with black and blue berries.
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