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Santa Barbara Wine Festival – June 25th, 2011

June 25, 2011 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

| $60 - $95

 

Santa Barbara Wine Festival

Santa Barbara Wine Festival

Wine Festivals are unapologetically hedonistic affairs. Any thoughts about the screen door that needs fixing or the lawn that needs mowing must be cast aside, so as not to spoil all the goodness that awaits. Enter the festival, and enter into a state of indulgence. Feeling guilty? Nah – this is what it’s all about! The Santa Barbara Wine Festival is a playground for bon vivants, an indulgence that is relaxing, educational, and convivial all rolled into one.

This festival sets itself apart from the pack in a few ways. First, the setting. The grounds at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History include tree shaded winding paths flanking Mission Creek, and museum buildings in the Spanish Colonial Revival style – gorgeous and relaxing. Second, the wine selection. With over 80 wineries represented, and among them many of the top names in Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast, it becomes a challenge just to visit a few established favorites while exploring some unfamiliar names as well. And to top it all off, the selection of food made it impossible to get through the day without several fiendishly pleasurable snacks. Fiendish for a wine maniac like me, since I was struggling at times to tear myself away from the food booth!

Speaking of wine, let’s get to the heart of the matter. There were several of our regular favorites that we’ve covered elsewhere in sbcwine.com, including Alma Rosa, Andrew Murray, Beckmen, Fiddlehead, Palmina, and Zotovich. But there were plenty of new discoveries as well. Here’s just a sampling:

Ken Brown - Ken Brown Wines

Ken Brown - Ken Brown Wines

Ken Brown: We’ve always been a big fan of this pioneer of Santa Barbara winemaking, with gorgeous Pinot Noirs always prominent. But today, Ken talked us through a flight of wines that included my favorite from the whole event – so much so that I literally can’t stop thinking about it. It was the ’08 Nielson Vineyard Chardonnay, a wine that screams of refinement and is draped in a decadent silky texture. The Nielson Vineyard is the oldest in Santa Barbara County, the current vines having been propagated from cuttings off of the original vines which were planted in 1964. This Wente clone Chardonnay is made in a traditional style, with whole cluster pressings, native yeasts, 100% french oak (10% new) barrel fermentation including full malolactic conversion, and 10 month sur lie aging with battonage. The result is something markedly different from any Chardonnay I have tasted from SBC. In contrast to the latest trend towards light and crisp Chardonnays that see no oak, and do not undergo malolactic fermentation, this wine is a throwback to the days before the influx of modern wine making technology. It’s got huge depth of character, impossible richness and concentration, and yet a lightness due to it’s acidity that makes the finish absolutely seamless. A nose of pear, white flower and brown spice. Rich fruit flavors of apple and apricot are layered with elements of toast and vanilla. Enjoyable doesn’t begin to describe how great I think this wine is. $35. kenbrownwines.com

Sanguis - Las Mujeres

Sanguis - Las Mujeres

Sanguis: This was a new winery for me, and one that impressed with wines of intense vibrancy and fullness of flavor, but which were also balanced and refined. The ’07 Las Mujeres  is a Rhone blend of 68% Grenache, 28% Syrah, with a touch of Rousanne and Viognier to brighten things up. Rich blackberry fruit was married with pepper and green spice to create great depth, but a distinct vivacity and pop brought a lightness that really made the wine dance.

The Oracle of Delphi is a ’07 vintage Syrah with 4% Viognier that was a great example of a cool climate Syrah. A strong foundation of black currant, licorice, and fine grained tannins was balanced again by a crispness, freshness and liveliness on the palate that was really delightful. Both of these wines were real standouts of the day, and I can’t wait to try them again in a more relaxed setting to really explore their nuances. sanguiswine.com

Martian Ranch & Vineyard

Martian Ranch & Vineyard

Martian: This newcomer is producing some impressive wines sourced from various vineyards in Santa Barbara County, and will be pulling in the first harvest from their own biodynamically farmed vineyard on Alisos Canyon Road this fall. Proprietor Nan Helgeland poured us through a flight of wines which were consistently fresh and delicious, with great varietal typicity and a real sense of refinement. Focusing on Rhone varietals, we were especially impressed by the whites and the Grenache Rose.

The Viognier had a lively white peach and citrus fruit palate with noticeable acidity, but was balanced with a slightly honeyed texture and finish that really evened out the wine. Well done!

The ’08 Grenache Blanc has a crisp and clean backbone of mineral and apricot at the fore, but the addition of 15% Viognier brings an element of richness that makes this wine very versatile. We think it’s a great summer wine on its own, but would also pair well with a wide variety of light foods.

The ’09 Grenache Rosé is another slam dunk summer wine. It had great balance between the fruitiness that makes Rosés so delicious, with a lightness and minerality that keeps it refreshing. An easy wine to pair with just about any food, from cheese and olives to pizza or grilled meats. This wine does it all. And Martian is definitely a winery to watch in the coming years as their estate wines come onto the market. martianvineyard.com

If you couldn’t make attend this year’s festival, we’d highly recommend putting it on the calendar for 2012. This is an afternoon of wine and food pleasure you will definitely not regret.

event website

Santa Barbara Wine Festival

Santa Barbara Wine Festival

 

Details

Date:
June 25, 2011
Time:
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Cost:
$60 - $95
Event Categories:
,

Venue

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
2559 Puesta del Sol
Santa Barbara, CA 93105 United States
Phone:
805-682-4711