Pinot Noir Lovers & Haters: Read This
What I suspected all along was now proven by visiting this unique wine region – it’s not that I dislike Pinot Noir – I just hadn’t tasted truly good Pinot Noir… well I did always love Laeticia Vineyard – another Santa Barbara wine, it turns out (surprise, surprise).
Top 3 Takeaways from the Santa Barbara wine region:
- East/WestMountain Range (Transverse) – Santa Barbara is one of the few spots in the US where the mountain ranges run east to west, rather than north to south. This allows the ocean breeze and fog to come in and maintain a cool growing climate – perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It also creates micro-climates that support numerous other varietals as well.
- Pinot Noir is a Tempermental Grape – In general, the Pinot Noir grape is especially hard to grow, which is why many winegrowers refer to it as the ‘Heartbreak Grape’. Because of this, you can’t just grab any Pinot Noir off the shelf – creating amazing wine from this grape is an art form – everything must be perfect in order to make it work.
- Pinot Noir is Not a Low-Priced Varietal – Pinot Noir is price-relative. If you want a nice silky smooth option to go with your Thanksgiving Turkey, don’t expect much from a discount bottle of Pinot off your local supermarket shelf. This is a refined grape that won’t do your holiday meals justice if it was made with haste.
Top 10 Wines I’m Still Thinking About from Santa Barbara:
1) Wan Fiore Project, La Familia, Sta. Rita Hills ’12 Pinot Noir
2) Brewer-Clifton, Santa Maria Hills ’96 Pinot Noir
3) Clos Pepe, Estate Vigneron ’12 Pinot Noir
4) Sanford and Benedict ’12 Pinot Noir
5) Hartley Ostini Hitching Post, Bien Nacido ’97 Pinot Noir
6) Qupe, Bien Nacido Hillside Estate, Syrah
7) LWC (Loring Wine Company), Russel Family Vineyard, Mourvedre
8) Bridlewood, Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands, Chardonnay
9) Alexander and Wayne, Arroyo Grande Valley ’08 Pinot Noir
10) La Montagne Rancho La Vina, Sta. Rita Hills ’12 Pinot Noir