• SumoMe

The fifth stop on our survey of California Bordeaux is Santa Barbara County. In some ways, even after all these years, the area is still experiencing the Sideways effect. Pinot Noir is still the most widely know (and probably revered) grape from the region. Yet to focus so closely on one variety does not do justice to the range of growing conditions the county offers. The Santa Ynez Valley, Ballard Canyon, and Happy Canyon all produce excellent Cali-Bordeaux. Here is a small sampling of options from region.

Coqueticot 2007 Mon Amour Bordeaux Blend

Grape(s): 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 40-45

Review:

A bouquet of cherries, blackberries, cassis, vanilla, and cedar rises up from a glass. Flavors of plum, cherry, and bramble fruit meld with coffee, dark chocolate, and vanilla on the palate. A rich, layered wine with supple tannins, fans of food friendly, complex reds will enjoy this bottle very much. A fine example of Santa Barbara Bordeaux.

Rating: 92

Happy Canyon Vineyards 2009 Piocho Blend

Grape(s): 58% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 30-35

Review:

Aromas of cherries, blackberries, and plums mingle with suggestions of creamy oak and dusty earth on the nose. A sip reveals flavors of blackberry, plum, and black cherry accented by hints of minerals and vanilla. A smooth, layered blend with plush tannins, fans of more elegant, approachable reds should try this wine.

Rating: 90

Happy Canyon Vineyards 2010 Merlot

Grape(s): 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 20-25

Review:

Aromatics of bright red fruit meld with notes of earth and chocolate on the nose. Flavors of plum and cherry with accents of chocolate and minerals emerge on the palate. An easy-going red with smooth tannins, fans of lush reds with a slight dusty character will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 88

Happy Canyon Vineyards 2009 Chukker

Grape(s): 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 10-15

Review:

A bouquet of strawberry, plum, and sweet spice greet the senses. A sip reveals flavors of plums, raspberries, and cherries with accents of earth and spice. A fairly light, bright wine, fans of easy-going red blends should give this bottle a try.

Rating: 88

 

Margerum 2011 “Sybarite” Sauvignon Blanc

Grape(s): 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 20-25

Review:

A bouquet of honey dew, peach, citrus fruits, and minerals greets the senses. The palate delivers lively flavors of peach, melon, and grapefruit with accents of honey and minerals. A very bright wine with nice layers and plenty of zip, fans of clean, crisp whites will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 90

 

Nadia 2011 Sauvignon Blanc

Grape(s): 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 15-20

Review:

Aromas of melon, topical fruits, and lime rise up from a glass. Flavors of honey dew and mango mingle with suggestions of limeade and herbs. A fairly round Sauvignon Blanc, with a welcoming acidity, if you enjoy bright, slightly creamy whites, this is a bottle to try.

Rating: 89

 

Nadia 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape(s): 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 30-35

Review:

Aromatics of bramble fruit and cassis meld with notes of dark chocolate and sweet spice. A sip delivers flavors of blackberries and currants with accents of cocoa, clove, and pie crust. An approachable Cab with supple tannins, fans of dark fruit and barrel spices will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 89

 

Sagebrush Annie’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape(s): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 45-50

Review:

Blackberry, plum, and currant aromas with accents of dark chocolate and sweet oak rise up from a glass. Flavors of blackberries, cassis, and raspberries mingle with suggestions of chocolate and anise emerge on the palate. A lighter Cab, with plush tannins, fans of softer, smoother reds will enjoy this wine. 400 cases produced.

Rating: 89

 

Sagebrush Annie’s 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

Grape(s): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 40-45

Review:

A bouquet of blackberries, plum, currents and vanilla greets the senses. Flavors of currents and blackberry meld with notes of oak, earth, and coffee on the palate. A supple wine, with plush tannins, it’s great for paring with food or for fans of dark, rich Cabernets. 420 cases produced.

Rating: 90