The wines of Santa Barbara County shown through as always at WineLA’s latest event, Stars of Santa Barbara. For those wine enthusiasts attending there were some old time favorite wineries as well as some new kids on the block. Here are some of the stars of the evening whether it be a new winery, a new release or a new addition to the portfolio from a familiar winery all earned a starring role.
A relatively newbie is Challen Winery. Specializing in Pinot Noir, Challen Cates is not a newcomer to the business; her father owns Tantara. This being Challen’s second vintage, the star of her line up presented was the 2013 Zotovich Pinot Noir. This is a very feminine nicely balanced and lighter Pinot Noir that is wonderfully aromatic with hints of licorice and spices.
Owners Marc and Dominique Simon love Formula One car racing. The theme of their winery and wine labels is based on the Formula One Race. Their winery DV8 stands for deviate, which means to turn aside from the course or to depart from the norm. In this case when you taste DV8 wines you will follow your own course as you enjoy the Rhone emphasis of DV8 wines. The 2013 Victory Viognier is a more viscous wine that exudes flavors of peaches and apricots accented by florals. This wine is aged in both stainless and oak. The Sarloos Vineyard 2012 G-Force Grenache is a softer more rounded wine with cherry flavors. The 2013 Monaco is a smooth lighter Syrah that combines grapes from Larner and the Tierra Alta Vineyards.
Benjamin Silver started creating wines in 1997. After working as winemaker at Zaca Mesa, he launched his Silver Wines in 2000. Several wines stood out at the Stars event. The 2011 Chardonnay, White Hawk Vineyard is a more mature wine that is smoothly balanced with a creamy texture and flavors of melon. The Nebbiolo was an excellent example of what can be created in Santa Barbara County with this varietal. The wine has a lighter body that makes this a very easy drinking wine. Lastly I Tre Figli, which means the three sons in Italian, is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. The cabernet Sauvignon in this wine is from older vines while the Sangiovese is young vines. Like the yin and the yang, this wine combines youth with maturity. The wine has flavors of plum and spice.
Having tasted the 2013 Temerity Pinot Noirs last year revisiting their wines this year showed the growth and development this winery has made. The 2014 Temerity Pinot Noir Rio Vista Clone 2A is round on the palate and very together. This wine is very drinkable and is showing excellently at this time. The 2014 Temerity Pinot Noir is a more complex wine. Utilizing grapes from both Huber and La Encantada Vineyards this wine has great aging potential and will develop marvelously over time.
Some wines worth mentioning are the following
Ave Winery’s 2013 Pinot Noir, La Encantada Vineyard with its flavors of cherries.
Margerum Barden Fonte is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. The wine is crisp, sweet yet savory.
C Nagy Pinot Noir, Gary Ranch epitomizes the elegance that Clarissa Nagy emphasizes in her wines. This is also true of the wines she makes for Riverbench.
Larry Schaffer from Tercero showcased a barrel sample of his yet to be released Verbiage, a wonderful blend of Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. This is going to be a bright crisp yet luscious wine.
These are just a few of the exceptional wines showcased at this years Stars of Santa Barbara. If you have not experienced one of Ian Blackburn’s wine tasting events, the next Stars event is Stars of Napa on March 2, 2016. For more information click here.