Filed under: Tasting notes, Wine travel | Tags: Alma Rosa, Chris Burroughs, La Encantada, Richard Sanford, Santa Rita Hills, Sideways
We started our visit to La Encantada with a stop at the tasting room at Alma Rosa Winery. You may recognize the tasting room and the tasting room manager, Chris Burroughs, from the movie Sideways. Back then, it was the tasting room for Sanford Winery, and it was the first stop on Miles and Jack’s rollicking, yet dark, tour of Santa Barbara County. Fortunately, the old, rustic tasting room followed Richard and Thekla as they moved on from Sanford Winery to start Alma Rosa. We also met Nancy, another tasting room expert, who poured a number of different wines. They were all very helpful and patient with our energetic two-year old.
We enjoyed all of the wines, and took a particular fancy to the Pinot Blancs (from Sta Rita Hills and La Encantada), the Vin Gris of Pinot Noir (a beautiful copper-pink color, with nice plum and strawberry notes – not your everyday pink sipper) and of course the Pinot Noirs. The 2006 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir is a blend of different clones from La Encantada and is fruit-forward, with a nice plummy nose and a silky palate. The 2006 La Encatada Pinot Noir has a darker, brooding side – more balance between earth and fruit, solid structure. All of them were fantastic wines and we definitely took home a few bottles.
I was eager, yet nervous, to pour our own 2007 La Encantada Pinot Noir for Richard and for anyone else who was willing. We had just bottled it less than a week ago, so the nerves were directly related to fear of bottle-shock. I actually uncorked the wine about two hours previous, just to let anything residual blow off. It was tempting to pack the decanter, but that’s overdoing it. The excitement came from seeing if our efforts pleased the king, if you will, and at the minimum, were representative of the vineyard. Luckily, there was a brief lull in the tasting room and we had the place to ourselves. So Richard had Chris pull out a few glasses so the tasting room crew could try the wine as well.
Much to my relief, the wine was doing quite well upon its fresh bottling. The smokiness on the nose was well integrated with the fruit and cola notes and the fruit had some good staying power on the palate. Better yet, we got a positive response from all. They all enjoyed it, Richard noting that it was “lush,” and Chris noting the nice smokiness. We raised our glasses and toasted our collective efforts.
That, my friends, was a particularly cool moment. It totally rocked – ‘nuff said.
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