Sunday, October 12, 2014

Santa Barbara Wine Seminar

Santa Barbara Vintners
Celebration of Harverst 2014
The Santa Barbara Wine Seminar
The wine panelists from different locations around Santa Barbara County shared their wines and harvest stories in the Large Room at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Solvang.
Matt Kettmann, senior editor of The Santa Barbara Independent, introduced the vintners and kept an informal conversation going about the wines each brought and their anecdotes about producing wine in Santa Barbara County. It was interesting to hear that many Santa Barbara County vineyards are done with their harvest earlier than usual this year.
 
Sonja Magdevski, Casa Dumetz, started off the panel discussion and tasting with a 2013 Casa Dumetz Roussanne, Santa Ynez Valley.

Dick Doré, Foxen Vineyard & Winery, followed with a 2012 Foxen Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU, Santa Maria Valley.

Richard Sanford, Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, provided the first red with his 2012 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills.

Andrew Murray, Andrew Murray Vineyards, surprised us with his non-Santa Barbara County (west Paso Robles) 2012 Andrew Murray Espérance, a blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre.

Peter Stolpman, Stolpman Vineyards, showcased his 2012 Stolpman Vineyards, Estate Grown Syrah, Ballard Canyon, in the specially designed Ballard Canyon shaped bottle.

Doug Margerum, Margerum Wine Company, brought a 2010 Cent’Anni Sangiovese Riserva. In addition to making wine at Margerum, Doug is also the consulting winemaker for Cent’Anni, a new vineyard planted by his friends in the Los Olivos area (proposed “Los Olivos” AVA).

I found most of the wines to be very good.  Although direct style comparisons weren't possible, my favorite white was the 2013 Casa Dumetz Roussanne and my favorite red was the 2012 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir.  I tasted several very good Syrahs from Ballard Canyon at the Wine Bloggers Conference earlier this year and I thought that I'd like the Stolpman Vineyards Syrah, but there was something about the nose and taste that just didn't do it for me this time. Maybe it was too early in the day for Syrah? Nah! :-)

Another way I think about buying wines is on a scale of wine rating vs. retail price (and in this case ignoring styles).  When I consider how much a wine will cost me then that factors into whether I'll really buy and drink it or not. 

My ratings/price ranking reorders things slightly from just the ratings only order with these wines being in my top three:
  • 2012 Andrew Murray Espérance ($25)
  • 2013 Casa Dumetz Roussanne ($32)
  • 2012 Alma Rosa Pinot Noir ($50)
The 2012 Stolpman Vineyards, Estate Grown Syrah, Ballard Canyon has a good price at $30, but the style isn't for me. And even though I rated the 2010 Cent’Anni Sangiovese Riserva highly, I'll have to suffer with the mass market Sangiovese wines (maybe not Riserva) instead of paying a $60 price.

This seminar was a great lead into the Grand Tasting and a good way to gain some insights into the winemakers' views.  Glad I could attend it and I recommend it for future Santa Barbara Vinters festivals.

CHEERS!

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