Aaron Watty, Ballard Canyon Road American Viticultural Area, Big Tar, Blake Sillix, Ethan Wines, Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA, Mark Cargasacchi, Sta. Rita Hills AVA
Let me be the first to acknowledge that yes, I need to venture further afield, because all of these wines hail from Santa Barbara County grapes — not that there’s anything wrong with that fact — and yes, I’m posting this list late, as it’s already 2015.
My disclaimer: I have personally tasted all of these wines, either by the taste, glass or bottle. Naturally, I sampled other wines throughout the year, but only the following made my cut for this list.
Taking good notes does pay, for I can share where and (sometimes) even when I came to taste these particular beauties. Comments appear where I remembered to jot them down … but in many cases, I was too enamored of the wine to do more than just sip.
In no particular order:
Mosby Wines Stelline di Cortese: (“Little Stars of Cortese”), California (estate) sparkling, NV (BubblyFest, October)
2013 Dreamcote Wines Malvasia Bianca: Lively. And, as the label states: “Life’s short; Drink what you like.” (Private tasting, December)
2012 Cholame Vineyard “Summer Shade,” Grenache Blanc: La Presa Vineyard. Crisp and complex.(Garagiste Festival, Southern Exposure, March 2014). Cholame Vineyard features longtime local winemaker/vineyard manager Andy Ibarra as winemaker.
2012 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc: Vogelzang Vineyard. Straw colored, and more viscous, less brisk. (bottle purchase)
2010 Clos Pepe Barrel Select Chardonnay: (bottle purchase)
2010 Ethan Wines Nebbiolo: Stolpman Vineyards (bottle purchase)
2011 Sillix Wines Syrah: (first tasted at Garagiste Festival, Southern Exposure, March 2014), (bottle purchase)
2013 Lindley Wines Chardonnay: estate (private tasting, December)
2102 Carucci Wines Viognier, White Hawk Vineyard: (Garagiste Festival, Southern Exposure, March 2014)
2010 Jalama Wines “El Capitan:” (Blend of syrah, mourvedre and cabernet sauvignon) (bottle purchase)
2013 Alta Maria Wines Carbonic Pinot Noir: whole cluster, 100 percent carbonic maceration, bottled four months after harvest (tasting room)
2013 Hitching Post Rosé; 2013 Dragonette Cellars Rosé (Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara); and 2013 Andrew Murray Vineyards, Esperance Rosé. (Bottle purchase, all three; the HP is pinot noir and the other two are Rhone blends)
2010 Samsara Wine Grenache: Spectacular. (bottle purchase)
2009 A-non-ah-mus Grenache: D’Vine Wine Bar, by the glass
2009 Stolpman Vineyards L’Avion: Roussanne, (bottle purchase)
2012 Stolpman Vineyards Estate Grown Syrah: (Wine Bloggers’ Conference seminar: “Syrah Terrority, Ballard Canyon,” July; and again during Celebration of Harvest seminar, October)
2011 Brave and Maiden “Union:” Blend of syrah, merlot and cabernet franc. Beautifully dusty. (Wandering Dog Wine Bar, by the glass)
2010 No Limit Wine “The Nutz” Syrah: (private tasting, December)
2012 Big Tar Wines Cabernet Sauvignon: Winemaker Aaron Watty’s goal is food-friendly wines, and he nails it with this silky beauty. (private tasting, December)
Rack and Riddle North Coast Blanc de Blancs: (100 percent chardonnay, NV) (BubblyFest, October)
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