Zaca Mesa Winery, Santa Barbara

Posted by Keith Wallace

Syah is Complicated for a Vegetarian

It is not so easy for a vegetarian (or at least this vegetarian) to really love Syrah. This Rhône varietal typically has a bouquet that is meaty or gamey, and the aroma can be very strong. So when Zaca Mesa was recommended to us as a stop on our wine tour of Santa Barbara County because they make great Syrah, I was hesitant. But there are Syrahs that I quite like and I am always willing to try good wine, so my significant other and I headed for their tasting room.

Santa Barbara County

Zaca Mesa, the third winery established in Santa Barbara County, is a family-owned business. They offer two flights in their tasting room – a mixed flight and a reserve red flight. We selected the reserve red since it showcased three Syrahs. We were helped by two different staff members, both friendly and knowledgeable.


I enjoyed their Syrahs when I noticed on their complete wine list that they make a Grenache, a Rhône varietal I particularly like. I asked if we could try the Grenache, but the staff member helping us said there was no open bottle, so we could not try that wine.

At the end of the tasting, the other staff member came by and asked us if we wanted to revisit any of the wines on the list (always a nice customer service move). We declined and mentioned that we had hoped to try the Grenache but understood there was not one open.

This staff member immediately grabbed a bottle and one of those wine-preserving systems in which wine can be drawn from the bottle without pulling the cork. And with that, we had a taste of the Grenache.

The Wine Club

We are always looking for a wine club to join, but we are very selective about this (we only ever joined two). We really liked Zaca Mesa’s wines, but we had mostly tasted Syrah to that point, and we were not sure if we wanted to join. Until we tasted the delightful Grenache, pouring this wine made the decision clear, and we do plan to join their wine club.

You never know when taking just one extra step for a customer will lead in the end to a big sale.

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