Showing posts with label Richard Sanford. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Richard Sanford. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Alma Rosa Chardonnay 2008

The Now And Zin household is undergoing a bit of a "wine clearance," with some neglected bottles getting their propers of late.  Besides, Mrs. Now And Zin - sometimes known as Denise - is always suspicious of exactly why we need another bottle of wine when the rack is already laden with them.  My hope is that thinning out the crowd may just provide the opposite reaction: "Mr. Now And Zin, you're almost out of wine!"  I feel a wine shopping trip impending.

But back to the clearance.  Here's one of those half-bottles I purchased in the event we were suddenly in need of a picnic-basket-sized wine.  We haven't needed that convenience since then, so let's unscrew the top on an Alma Rosa.

The Alma Rosa website tells the story that it was owner and winemaker Richard Sanford who discovered that the Sta. Rita Hills were good for growing grapes, due to the traverse mountain range that pulls in the cooling ocean influence from the west.  It tells further that it was Sanford who planted grapes in the region when it was unheard of to do so.  This was in 1970, a Pinot Noir vineyard.  A sale of the original winery put him in business a little to the southwest of Buellton.

Sanford's wines generally are very well constructed with wonderful acidity, and this Chardonnay is no exception.

It sits golden in the glass, giving floral and tropical aromas to the nose.  The palate detects a bit of oak but actually, more minerality is present than those big buttery notes one might expect in a California Chardonnay.

The wine is crisp and clean, bone dry,  with just a hint of oak and a trace of candy-like fruit presence.  Winemaker Sanford says his Chardonnay has a lot in common with French Chablis, and I can taste the resemblance.  It retails at the winery for $19 per bottle.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Enjoying the fruits of your labor, as the saying goes, is alright.  But it's not as good as enjoying the fruits of someone else's labor.  Especially when that someone has a 40-year track record of turning out some exceedingly good fruit for his effort.

Alma Rosa Winery is owned and run by Richard and Thekla Sanford.  Richard Sanford planted grapes in the Santa Rita Hills in 1970, according to the winery's website.  That made him a true pioneer, and it may have made him a lonely guy, too.  He was one of the only grape growers in the SRH back then.

Sanford's estate vineyards were the first ones in Santa Barbara County to receive organic certification from the California Certified Organic Farmers.  His wines are said to be known for their high acid and great structure.

Alma Rosa's Santa Rita Hills Pinot Blanc shows a soft golden hue in the glass.  It sees brief oak in used barrels, so the oak influence is somewhat restrained.   

I get honeysuckle on the nose.  Nectarines are there, too, with a bit of wet rock, but just a touch. Some vanilla and spice notes dance around in the background.

This Pinot Blanc has a very creamy mouthfeel, and buttery, too.  Quite full and mellow it is, and yet the acidity is bracing at the same time.  Flavors of pears and a hint of citrus are in the taste, with a trace of cantaloupe.

There is no malolactic fermentation used in the production of this wine, which is usually used to produce a full feel in the mouth.  This wine certainly fills the mouth nicely on its own.  On the palate, the texture of the wood is noticeable, but not bothersome at all.  It's at 14.3% abv and sells for $18 at the winery, where I bought mine.

By the way, serve it next to a bowl of nuts.  It's great with peanuts.