Reserve: 2014 Pinot Noir by Sanford

Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir (Block 6) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara California.

Clear ruby color. Nose of crisp berry, sweet cherry and caramel with a hint of leather. Mildly acidic is attack quickly overwhelmed by a creamy, buttery expression. The caramel follows through the body along with a hint of plum, berry and a more pronounced leather. The terroir is well expressed. A seamless transition to a very subtle finish with very little fanfare. This is after all a traditional style Pinot Noir. Once opened up, gentle tannins and a hint of spice linger.

I keep a stash of Sanford Pinot in my cellar as a reference wine. It is a textbook example of what is possible when it comes to California Pinot. From grape to glass, they are delicate, layered, exquisite wines of the highest quality. For me they serve as an fine example for the central coast. You simply cannot speak of California Pinot Noir and not try their wines. It’s refreshing to see a Vineyard with such a legacy stay true to its craft after so many decades.
Keep up the great work guys! 🍷😁👌🏽

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Reserve: 2014 Pinot Noir by Dierberg * Star Lane

Tonight’s occasion: 2014 Pinot Noir by Dierberg * Star Lane Vinyards, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County, California.

Light ruby color. Very restrained and delicate nose characterized by sweet berry, hint of cherry, oak and the faintest slightly mineral terroir. The melange creates a subtle and unmistakable slightly caramelized marshmallow essence. It is rich, clean, crisp, layered, highly delineated. Body is just as restrained, very subtle, delicate balance of mild, berry, faint oak and leather as the terroir becomes slightly more expressed. Body makes a subtly tannic transition into the finish which quickly turns creamy and dissipates into the very gentle finish capped by a restrained spice. This is a traditional Pinot and it is showing perfectly right now!

My goodness this is an amazing Pinot!!! After weeks of bold big bodied wines, it is a breath of fresh air upon the palate. It is a reminder that some of the best Pinot in the world is crafted here in California. You won’t find this at the store. You will have to make the journey of a lifetime to this understated region. I wrote about my visit to this winery on my blog (see link in bio). Well done Dierberg * Star Lane! Hope to see you again soon. 🍷😁👌🏽

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2008 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir by Hitching Post

Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Hitching Post, Bien Nacido, Pinot Noir.

Yes folks. I had to stop by the Hitching Post while exploring Santa Barbara wine country last year. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to really sit down and do this place justice. I ended up literally rushing through on my way out at the end of my visit. If you’ve never been to the Hitching Post, they have a mouth-watering assortment of Pinot Noir. Staggering. You would need an all-day visit to do it justice.

The Bien Nacido came highly recommended. This 2008 does not disappoint. Great earthy nose, smooth, buttery, well balanced body (especially for a Pinot of 14.5% ABV), a testament to the winemakers skill. It’s obvious this wine started off big and bold for a Pinot but has had time to balance out. It’s deep dark blood red color is the first indicator. I think a lot of folks such as myself take this place for granted until you open up your first bottle. This is my second and it is simply exquisite. Great job guys!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Hitching Post wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2014 Syrah by Dierberg

Tonight’s occasion is a 2014 Syrah by Dierberg Star Lane Vinyard.

I posted a while back about my visit last year here. I wanted to try something special tonight so I reached for the Santa Barbara region in my cellar. Any mildly savvy palate should be able to identify the terrior in the nose alone. Very nice and rich. It prompted visuals of the vigneron (the one who tends to the vines) and contemplated all he/she put into those vines for the terrior to be so pronounced in the nose alone. A great, buttery, well balanced body (especially for a 14.2% ABV wine) a testament to the winemaker’s skill and craft. The finish is not as massive as your average California Syrah, but still has that signature tannic grip albeit restrained for a Syrah.

This region is most known for it’s amazing Pinot Noir, so it’s always a treat to see what Syrah – a typically big bold wine – would taste like. I like what they’ve done with this Syrah. Great job!

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2007 Syrah by Rusack

Tonight’s occasion is a 2007 Syrah by Rusack from Santa Barbara County.

I posted a while back about my visit here. You know whenever I feel like tasting something truly special, this region never fails and Rusack is a must. This region is most known for its rich exquisite Pinot Noir, which is precisely why I picked up their Syrah. This 12 year old vintage is drinking perfect right now. Full of gentle subtle aromas, a wide body devoid of any overbearing character and a finish that’ll make you do a double-take as it starts fading and then quickly gets overwhelmed with a long gentle, enduring tannic grip. This is my kind of wine! Great work Rusack!

This wine is a great candidate for your term reserve. You can pick up their current vintages and lay them down for another 5 years or more. I have some 2014 I picked up on this trip as well and I very much look forward to opening them 7 years from now. The good news is they have an extensive list of well priced library wines you can pick from. These will give you an idea of how they will age.

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Rusack wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Reserve: 2016 Pinot Noir by Sanford

Tonight’s occasion is a 2016 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills (Gravity Flow) by Sanford of the legendary Sanford and Sanford and Benedict Vineyard.

You know, it wasn’t until I visited this vineyard on my first visit to Santa Barbara wine country that I realized there is more than the popular “Big California Pinot”. If you aren’t familiar with it, this is the vineyard that showed California and the wine world at large that growing and making a delicate and exquisite Burgundian style Pinot in this region is possible. This one is no exception. The notes are so subtle, you probably should taste it before eating or drinking anything as they can easily be overwhelmed by anything else on your palate. I highly recommend their wines. They serve as a great benchmark for this region and California at large. What’s your occasion tonight?

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Sanford wines delivered to your doorstep.

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Dierberg, Santa Barbara

Dierberg Star Lane

There are some great wineries tucked away in these hills. Were it not for a very helpful tip from my friend and Sonoma Vintner Roger Roessler of (rogerroesslerwines.com), I would have otherwise driven by and missed this gem.

Dierberg is a must if you are in the region. Their wines are exemplary, well built showcases. Their multi-vineyard estate spanning the greater region from Santa Rita Hills (AVA) to Santa Maria Valley (AVA) to Happy Canyon (AVA).

The winery had a certain modern contemporary minimalist, uncluttered feel that I think helped enhance the wine tasting experience. I found the staff to be very knowledgeable about the wines, estate and history as a whole. Presenting wines from both Dierberg and sister winery Star Lane Vineyard which offers some very interesting and exclusive art in a bottle.

Even though I’m not much of a white wine enthusiast, I thought their whites were very approachable, really well made and with a refreshing amount of creativity too. All their reds were exemplary, really well built wines very much in line with the wines I had tasted so far on this trip. I left with half a case of their Pinot Noir. I will be posting my thoughts whenever I open one of them. I will most definitely be visiting Dierberg next time I’m in the region.

Thanks to wine.com and their extensive library, you can now access most of the wines I review on here. You can use the link below to have Dierberg Star Lane wines delivered to your doorstep.

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