Santa Barbara Vintners, so it was nice of them to return the favor and come down here.
Santa Barbara County is home to the only transverse mountain range in North America, where the wind from the Pacific Ocean is channeled right across the Santa Barbara County Appellation. The sub-appellations - Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara and Los Olivos District are distinct and varied. The region is also home to an unrivaled growing season with the aforementioned coastal influences giving great grapes a place to thrive. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and more are found in Santa Barbara County.
Monday, May 16 - CHARDONNAY
Tuesday, May 17 - PINOT NOIR
Wednesday, May 18 - RHONE VARIETALS
Thursday, May 19 - BORDEAUX VARIETALS
Here's what I found at the Chardonnay tasting.
Jim Clendenen’s Au Bon Climat Chardonnay stole the show. I don't remember what Clendenen's quote was about, but he said, "Only cuz I can," which is a great winemaker quote, even taken out of context. His 2013 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Nuits-Blanches Au Bouge, Santa Maria Valley has a full mouth and great flavor. The Los Alamos and Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnays are sublime.
Foxen's Jenny Williamson Doré was kind enough to pour for me her 2013 Foxen Chardonnay Tinaquaic Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley. A dry farmed, Wente clone with amazing salinity and minerality.
Cambria Winery's 2014 Cambria Benchbreak Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley had its lees stirred and shows some pretty funky, savory minerals.
The Cambria table also tasted me on the ‘93 Byron, still very nice with a Sherry-like taste coming out, and the ‘87 Talbot, also tasting quite nice
Qupé’s Bob Lindquist wowed the crowd with his 2013 Qupé Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Reserve, Block Eleven, Santa Maria Valley. It's very savory, has a lovely salinity.
The 2013 Sanger Family Chardonnay, Santa Ynez Valley is perhaps a little unusual coming from the warmest part of Santa Barbara County. Aged 16 months, the wine has a really nice, savory edge.
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