Long before the movie Sideways, Santa Barbara County has been a hot spot for Pinot Noir. In particular, Sanat Maria Valley is home to some of California’s top vineyards for the grape. That list of top spots includes Garey, Rancho Real, Rancho Sisquoc, and Bien Nacido vineyards. All four of them found their way into this remarkable bottle.
Steeped plums, earl grey tea, and molten licorice make for an exhilarating aroma. Hedonistic flavors and lush texture amplify the pleasure here. Then comes a rich chocolate flavor that is complex but also simple: it is the holy trinity of movie theatre candy, blended together: Milk Duds, Sno-Caps, and Raisinets. That moment disappears. You are left with flavors that can only be described as eating steak tartare from a rusty can. And somehow that feels just right. This is a wine is full of impossible contradictions and is immensely better for it.
As of this writing, this bottle was selling for under $20 in and around Philadelphia. Considering this sells for $65 at the winery, I’d say this is one of the greatest values for Pinot Noir in some time.