There’s nothing Señorita Vino loves more than a road trip, especially if it’s to a wine region. Angelenos are lucky to live driving distance from Santa Barbara County, home to five American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs.
This year’s Wine Bloggers Conference is in Santa Barbara, and yours truly hit the road and is counting down the minutes until this evening’s welcome reception. In the meantime, I will regale you with some fun facts and photos about Santa Barbara County wines.
But first, Santa Barbara Vinters wanted to make sure I knew where I was headed, so they sent me five maps, one of each of the five AVAs: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara County, and Ballard Canyon.
Maps of the five AVAs in Santa Barbara County.
There are more than 50 wine grape varietals grown in Santa Barbara County, with the top three being Chardonnay, PInot Noir and Syrah. And with more than 200 wineries in Santa Barbara County, I have a feeling it’s gonna be a super-fantástico weekend.
As a teaser, I got to preview five wines during a Wine Bloggers Conference 2014 Tweet chat last month. El Full Disclosure: I received all five wines as samples from the Santa Barbara Vintners. I was not paid to say that they rocked my world, but it just so happens they did.
Among the white wines, The 2012 Palmina Malvasia Blanca was Jasmine City. Gorgeous white floral aromas with lemon and herbs. Its crisp acidity makes it a great salad wine.
The selection of white wines from Santa Barbara County.
The 2013 Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc was crisp and grassy, with stone fruit aromas that reminded me of biting into a juicy white nectarine. Pair it with seafood or chips and guacamole.
Lemme just say that the 2012 Brewer-Clifton Hapgood Chardonnay wanted to make me channel my inner Madonna and writhe around the floor in a tacky white tulle skirt, because drinking this Chard made me feel, yeah it made me feel, like the very first time I had a Chardonnay. To attempt to describe it here would not to it justice. Take my advice–ya gotta try it.
By the way, here’s a picture of Diego Forlan. It has nothing to do with wine, but he’s part of the reason I watch the World Cup:
Gratuitous shot of Diego Forlan. Santa Barbra Vinters did not send me a free sample, but it’s not too late.
Two red wines from Santa Barbra County were included in the samples I received for last month’s Tweet Chat.
Red wines from Santa Barbara County.
If you love Pinot Noir, you’ll really like the 2010 La Fond Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills. Aged in French oak, you’ll get subtle vanilla to go with the raspberry and strawberry aromas. It’s 14.7 percent alcohol, which is high, but the wine is beautifully balanced, so you won’t be overwhelmed by it.
And now for the 2010 Westerly Fletcher’s Red. All I can say is, where have you been all my life? This blend of 50 percent Cabernet Sauvingon, 23 percent Merlot, 23 percent Petit Verdot and 4 percent Cabernet Franc is even better than writhing on the floor in a dirty wedding dress. It’s like writhing around naked in a vineyard on the left bank of Bordeaux. Only you’re in the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA. And for Pete’s sake, put some clothes on!
Chicos y chicas, this brings us to 30 minutes before launch for Wine Bloggers Conference 2014. I’ll be sharing more discoveries in the next four days, so stay tuned. Until then, ¡Salud!
Oh, and if you happen to be watching the World Cup, ¡VAMOS ARGENTINA!