Browse Tag

santa barbara county

Light bulb

Epiphany 2010 Grenache Blanc (Santa Barbara County) – Fat and happy nectarines wearing bronzer and some out-of-date Ray-Bans™. (11/11)

Son, take a good look around

Hartley Ostini “Hitching Post” 2008 Pinot Noir “Hometown” (Santa Barbara County) – Squared-off, blocky pinot noir in a varietal straightjacket. That’s neither criticism nor praise, exactly, but this wine tastes like someone averaged out all the pinot noir from “here,” left out most of the adjustments and/or trappings, and just presented the results as wine. (11/11)

A new lisos on life

Qupé 2007 Syrah Alisos (Santa Barbara County) – Luscious. Blackberry smoke, morel, earth. Gorgeous and very elegant. This is how to do a modern-leaning syrah while not losing one’s soul in the process.

Alisos from captivity

Longoria 2008 Syrah Alisos (Santa Barbara County) – 15.2%. Somewhat reduced, which makes it difficult to taste. But there’s muscularity to the blackberry-dominated fruit that powers through the difficulty. Smokes up a bit at the end. This might be excellent, but I’d need a less reduced sample to know more. (11/11)

Bell bottom Barbara

Longoria 2009 “Blues Cuvée”(Santa Barbara County) – 13.7%, a blend of cabernet franc, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and malbec (according to the web site; in the tasting room I’m told something quite different involving tempranillo). After a decade between tastes of this cuvée, it’s interesting to come back to what I thought I knew, filtered through all the intervening experiences into the context of what I know now. The wine’s just as good. No, actually, it’s better. Herbs, blueberries, terrific acidity, and fetish vinyl tannin stretched but not strained by the fruit. Excellent balance for such a big wine. Very impressive. (11/11)

The Longoria road home

Longoria 2010 Pinot Grigio (Santa Barbara County) – Herbed green apple, crisp and clean. Very, very clean. There’s as much light in this wine as there is fruit. (11/11)

Do you really mina?

Palmina 2007 Nebbiolo (Santa Barbara County) – Floral, with moderately solid tannin and surprisingly juicy fruit (cherry and blackberry, mostly); it’s as if the wine dips and weaves between what one expects from the grape and what one expects from the place. The texture is creamy at first, but as the primary aromatics fade just about all that’s left is corpulence. Not bad, but not particularly good either. (11/11)

Carina way

Carina Cellars 2007 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) – Identifiably pinot noir syrah, with smoke and dark berries. There are flecks of char and dark chocolate shavings, though, and in the end it doesn’t really amount to much. (11/11)


Sforzando 2009 Gewürztraminer Alisios (Santa Barbara County) – Bland, characterless, massively insipid. (11/10)

Palmina sweater

Palmina 2007 Dolcetto (Santa Barbara County) – 14.7%. I have the same general reaction to this wine as I do to Palmina’s nebbiolo, which is that they’ve got the varietal characteristics pretty much right (chewy fruit, red and black, with dense berry skins intact, plus acid and tannin that bite more than the seeming approachability of the wine would suggest), but they’re paired with a very Californian sense of nearly steroidal weight. The wine isn’t completely over the top, but it does drag and lull. On the other hand, those that find the Piedmontese originals not fruit-bomby enough will probably adore this wine. Good, promising, but do note the stylistic approach. (1/10)

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