Monday, July 30, 2012

Santa Barbara's 9th Annual California Wine Festival

The 2012 California Wine Festival was held at Chase Palm Park at the Beach on July 21st. 
The weather was ideal on Saturday and I enjoyed the scenic beach-side location, listening to live music, talking with wine makers, and sampling the food and wine.

The festival included wines from 80+ different wineries, 5 breweries, numerous food purveyors, a few pouring spirits, and another 20+ vendors... something for everyone.

WINERIES AT THE FESTIVAL

WINERIES VISITED 

TOP 10 WINERIES
Hearst Ranch Winery

Winemaker Jeremy Leffert (at left) is doing something right!  The wines from Hearst Ranch Winery were all very good. My favorites were 2009 Three Sisters Cuvée Red Wine (California State Fair double Gold Medal winner), 2008 "Lone Tree" Cabernet Franc, and 2010 "Babicora" Malbec. The 2009 "Chileano" Tempranillo, 2011 "Glacier Ridge" Chardonnay, and 2010 Three Sisters Cuvée White Wine were also excellent!


Inception Wines
Jonathan Hirsh poured his highly rated Inception wines. The white wine winners were a 2010 Inception Viognier and a 2009 Chardonnay - both from Santa Barbara County. I especially liked his 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills. The 2009 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County and 2009 Pinot Noir, Central Coast were excellent as well. 

Steven Kent Winery
Steven Kent poured his 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, The Premier, Ghielmetti Vineyard from Livermore Valley.  It's made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, (100% Clone 30), in 100% French Oak barrels, and sells for $100 a bottle.  Only 30 cases available. It was awesome!

Fontes & Phillips
Ashley poured some nice Rosé - both with the clever marketing nickname of "Panky" and a pink wristband. Both the 2011 and 2009 were made with the classic blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah.  The 2011 was very good, and the 2011 was excellent!  The 2009 SBC Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley) is good, but their 2008 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, was very good. They also make a 2009 Chardonnay and a 2010 Sauvignon Blanc.

Hoyt Family Vineyards
Chase poured a 2009 Tempranillo, a 2008 Cbernet Sauvignon, and a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Both of their Silver Medal winner Cabernet Sauvignons were very good!

Stacked Stone Cellars
Catherine poured Stacked Stone's flagship and award wining 2009 "Zin Stone."  I couldn't get Donald to open the double magnum of 2005 Reserve though! They also poured the Gem (50/50 Syrah Zinfandel) and the Quarry (100% Cabernet Sauvignon. All very good wines.
Donald Thiessen Owner and Winemaker

Cliff Creek Cellars
This was an interesting change - wines from southern Oregon. Bethany poured a 2011 Marsanne Roussanne, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Cabernet Franc, 2006 Claret, and 2006 Syrah. I tasted the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and both were very good.

Byron Wines
Byron Wines poured a 2008 Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley (oaked) and a Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County 2010. My notes indicated the Pinot Noir was made from Clone 4.

Edna Valley Vineyard
Everything from Edna Valley is good - at least that's been my experience.  And the three wines that were poured lived up to my expectations:
2010 Sauvignon Blanc - Paragon
2010 Chardonnay - Paragon
2010 Pinot Noir - Paragon

Houdini
Houdini poured some very good wines: 2009 Talaria Chardonnay, 2010 Napa Valley Dean Block Chardonnay, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Oakville Merlot And somehow, there was a 2010 Kiarna Cabernet Sauvignon on their table too. I liked both the Houdini and Kiarna Cabernet Sauvignons and the Houdini Merlot.

OTHER NOTABLES
Murrietta's Well
My favorite new white blend of the day was the 2010 "The Whip." It's a blend of aromatic white grapes from Wente Family Estates vineyards. The Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, White Riesling are from Arroyo Seco. The Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon are from the Livermore Valley. Fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak barrels, the aromas and flavors include white peach, lime and jasmine. A great summer wine!

Artiste Winery & Tasting Studio

Artiste's wines are all good - and popular with Denae's 40th Birthday Bash girls too!  And the Artiste team was doing a very good job pouring wine.


Cambria Winery
Cambria poured a very good 2007 Pinot Noir, Bench Break Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley.

Concannon Vineyard

The Concannon Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Syrah from Livermore Valley were both very good.

Kenneth Volk Vineyards

The first wine I tasted of the day was the 2011 Kenneth Volk "Jaybird," Santa Maria Valley. It was a very refreshing Chardonnay that was unoaked, or, naked as a "Jaybird." I didn't get back to taste more of Ken's wines, but I really enjoyed all of them at the previous wine festival at the Museum in Santa Barbara.

Oak Ridge Winery
ORW from Lodi poured OZV (Old Zin Vines) and Moss Roxx, Ancient Vine Zinfandel. Both zins have a little Petite Sirah in them.  They were both very good!

Pretty-Smith Vineyards & Winery

Pretty-Smith makes great wines and I had a chance to taste a Cabernet Sauvignon and talk with Lisa Pretty about her new book, Eat This With Paso Robles Wine. It looks like a great book with a focus on food recipes and what wines to pair with them.

V2 Wine Group
V2 Wine Group had a very large assortment of wines and I tried a nice comparison of unbaked Toad Hollow Vineyards 2010 Mendocino County Chardonnay versus an oaked Qupe 2010 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Y-Block – Santa Maria Valley.  Both were good in there own way.

FOOD AND MORE

Spicy treats from Pacific Pickle Works were a nice change of pace!

Hey, these guys look related to Taste N Trip - Touring & Tasting.  Sounds like a good idea!
Kerrygold Cheeses and Butters had a nice sampling of products. My favorites were the Cashel Blue and the Garlic and Herb Butter.

The Pulled Pork Sliders from the Santa Barbara Brewing Company made a great snack!
The Sidecar Restaurant was very popular serving slow roasted baby back port ribs with blood orange BBQ sauce and charred corn and cabbage slaw.  It was so good I ate it without taking a close-up picture of it!
What is the "Night Out" doing out in the day? Promoting a smart phone app for up-to-the-minute information based on your location, including deals, happy hours, and events. The  deals are from your favorite places that are near you.

Fun, Fun, and More Fun enjoying the day.

And when you're done with it, be sure to dispose of each individual item appropriately!  The rules were posted on top of each bin and I noticed quite a few puzzled looking people reading them carefully.

A memorable festival for sure!

Cheers! 

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March/April - Exploring the Ventura County Wine Trail
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