If not for a canceled meeting at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001, Ampelos Cellars may not exist.  Lucky for Rebecca and Peter Work, not only did they escape the tragic events of that day, they were also inspired to finally purse their dream of opening up a winery.

Over a decade later,  Ampelos Cellars is a gem in the  Sta. Rita Hills.  On top of making great wine, they are proud to be the first vineyard in the United States to be certified organic, biodynamic, and sustainability in practice.  Really, it’s the wonderful things Rebecca and Peter do for the planet and for the palate makes Ampelos Cellars one of our favorite wineries.

Here’s what our panel though about a few of their current releases:

2009 pinot_lambda_2

Ampelos 2009 “Lambda” Pinot Noir

Grape(s): 100% Pinot Noir

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 30-35

Tasting Notes:

Aromatics of blackberries, raspberries, and boysenberries mingle with accents of clove and cola on the nose. A sip reveals flavors of bramble fruit and cherry that flow into notes of all-spice, cola, and white pepper. A smooth Pinot with a welcoming acidity, fans of lighter, layered reds will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 90


Ampelos 2009 “Gamma” Syrah

Grape(s): 100% Syrah

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 30-35

Tasting Notes:

A bouquet of blackberries, plums, and black cherries melds with suggestions of leather, spice, and cocoa on the nose. Flavors of blackberry, cherry, and blueberry unfold into notes of pepper, dark chocolate, and rose petals on the palate.  Smooth and rich, with lovely highlights of spice, Cali-Rhone lovers are sure to enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 91

2012 viognier_2

Ampelos 2012 “Phi” Viognier

Grape(s): 100% Viognier

Region: Santa Barbara County

Price: 20-25

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of tropical fruit and peach come together with rich floral notes on the nose.  The palate delivers flavors of apricot, mango, and key lime along with hints of honey-suckle. Rich and floral, yet still offering a fresh acidity and bright fruit flavors, fans of Viognier will find plenty to like here.

Rating: 89