Tag Archives: De Su Propia Cosecha

Move over Syrah…Ballard Cyn is all about Roussane

Ballard Canyon in Santa Barbara County is one of the most recent grape growing regions to attain the American Viticulture Area classification, or AVA. This little sub-region sits on one of the most picturesque drives in California. Ballard Canyon Road starts at State Route 154 (aka San Marcos Pass) and bends and winds its way to a little south of Buellton (home of the famous Pea Soup Andersen’s) on State Route 246. The road is only 7 miles long and full of native oak trees, rolling hills of vines, and even a few bison to complete the scenery straight off a vintage Americana postcard.

Wine drinkers are soon to hear more of Ballard Canyon as it is becoming one of the red Rhône hot spots of this great state, especially Syrah. Before receiving its official nod, Ballard Canyon was already getting a buzz of approval from sommeliers and winemakers alike. Vineyards and producers within the AVA’s boundaries include Stolpman, Beckman, Rusack, and Jonata, are all being touted for their red Rhônes. However, after a recent tasting, it was the Roussanne that was really a surprise.


stolpman vineyard

Photo courtesy of Stolpman’s Instagram — http://instagram.com/stolpmanvineyards

Roussanne is not the most recognized white wine from Southern France, which is of course Viognier – the two are most commonly blended with a third grape Marsanne. It is rare to see a 100% Roussanne wine – last year there was 1277 tons of Roussanne picked while the total for Viognier was 28,000. There are distinct differences between the two: Roussanne has flavors of peach and apricot compote while Viognier tends to lean on the more tropical side of the fruit spectrum, also with characteristic pear notes. Both are on the fuller side in mouthfeel.


Stolpman, Cosecha, Bressades, Roussanne

The first Roussanne I tried was from boutique producer De Su Propia Cosecha, a winery that firmly puts all its concentration in the vineyard. The name is Spanish for “Of One’s Own Harvest” and proprietor/winemaker Chris King personally tends the vineyards from which he buys fruit. This is a very uncommon procedure as most just buy the grapes, while King is probably in the vineyard more than the winery. King sourced these grapes from Stolpman vineyard, and this is a wine that stands out. There was a fresh apricot nose with hints of honeydew, also some flavors of almond and water chestnuts; nectar in its full definition.

I tried Stolpman Vineyard’s own Roussane a few nights later. Stolpman was the first to plant Rhone varieties in Ballard, and really began the trend across the canyon. Their Roussanne is named “L’Avion”, French for airplane, as the vines grow on a former airplane strip on the property which started out as cattle ranch. This wine too is quite special, with a lovely nose of peaches and cream, some hints of honeysuckle and with clean cut minerality on the finish.

To put these two wines in perspective I took a quick jaunt out to my local bottle shops in search of a French Roussanne. Although I came up empty handed in 100% Roussanne wine, I did find a 50/50 Rousanne Viognier made by Mas des Bressade in the Costières de Nîmes, one of the more southern bits of the Rhône . Although this is made up half of Viognier it is still full of Roussanne flavor, lots of peaches, apricot compote, fresh minty tea leaves and tropical melon.

The Ballard Canyon wines were very fragrant and what made them stand out was the pureness on the palate. Both had such ripe stone fruit flavors and an underlining acidity mixed with minerality that adds a fresh note. Food-wise and because of the medium weight of Roussanne these wines will go perfect with most poultry, fish or seafood and citrus sauces. Fish or shrimp tacos with mango salsa or grilled salmon with a lemon cilantro sauce, the weight of the wine will counter light lemon or lime sauces. In fact, I would go as far as saying it will stand up to medium spicy Thai dishes as well. I am just imaging a chicken yellow curry matching perfect to the peach and apricot flavors of Roussanne.

So, remember the name ‘Ballard Canyon’ particularly if you come across one of these delectable Roussannes, a perfect match for your spring and early summer.


De Su Propia Cosecha is available here, at their online store, for $28

Stolpman Vineyard’s L’Avignon is available here, at their online store, for $38

Mas Bressade is available at various merchants here, for around $17

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Escape To New World


At home I’m on this huge French kick at the mo, so it’s not too often that I delve into the New Worlds of the wine rack. Early in the week was a Chilean Clos de Fous (a huge blend of 40% Malbec, 25% Carmenere, 14% Syrah, 10% Pais, 6% Carignan). Clos is French term used for walled in vineyards….and fous is crazy…..so there you have Clos des Fous. The grapes are sourced from around the town of Cauquenes in the region of Maule. For a $30 blend, this wine is pretty killer…lots of tart red berry fruit, sour cherries and dried cranberry. The accompanying tech sheet says the vines have an average age of 80 years, and we like them old vines! I had it opened for two days and admittedly it stood up better and had a lot more going on the second day. All in all though a great find. Oh and it went great with local fav delivery pizza, Escape from New York Pizza.

The other pizza, which was made by the in-house chef, went with the organically grown, and naturally made Ambyth Estate , “El Rancho de Juan Fiesta” Syrah, probably my favorite Paso Robles winery. I think Ambyth is making all their wines from estate grapes now, so not sure if they’re still going with this Syrah….and too bad for all of you as this was such true varietal characteristic of the grape. Spicy with hints of blueberries, multi-layered dense fruit flavors. This is one of the better natural wineries around and a great representative of the (supposedly) controversial style. Welsh winemaker Phil Hart goes all the way when it comes to the unwritten rules of natural winemaking, and this place will be soon be a California benchmark of the style.

2011 Clos des Fous Cauquenina, Ambyth Estate Syrah, De Su Propia Cosecha Albarino

Towards the end of the week we opened up an Albariño from a super tiny production made by Santa Barbara winery De Su Propia Cosecha. Sadly this is another wine that is not only out of stock, but the vineyard where the grapes were sourced, in San Luis Obispo, has been sold and the allocation has changed hands. Regardless, this wine proves the natural talent from winemaker Chris King. Such a precise, lean, pure wine. Lemon sherbert with hints of macadamia on the nose while it tastes of apricot and lime, and a healthy dose of chalk-like minerality. You can find DSP in Lompoc’s wine ghetto….seek them out! 1501 E. Chestnut Ct,  Lompoc, CA 93436

One last little thing: if you want expand your palate, you have to taste nearly everything you come across. One easy way to do this is to buy whatever new fruit or veg you come across in the supermarket. While in Cal-mart the other day I saw these mini Forelle Pears and mini Lady Apples. The pears had a particularly delicate and pure pear flavor, while the apples tasted of a blend of apple sauce and pear. Then there was the Tohato Caramel Corn I found at Daiso, the dollar store in Japan Town, they tasted like caramelised Cap’n Crunch….awesome!
Just another goofy thing I do…..out.Lady Apples Forelle Pears

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Food & Home Santa Barbara – Summer Wine Issue

Food & Home Santa Barbara

I’m very fortunate to have three articles in the current issue of Food & Home Santa Barbara.

Click on the pictures below to go to the stories.


  Food & Home Santa Barbara Wine Issue

A quick break-down of what is happening in Santa Barbara’s wine country. With some listings on some of the best places to visit.

Including Dragonette Cellars, Tercero Wines, Daniel Gehrs, Curtis Winery and De Su Propia Cosecha.
Plus my alma maters – Fess Parker Winery and Rusack Vineyards

Food & Home Santa Barbara Wine Issue

I interviewed five of the top winemakers in Santa Barbara: Bob Lindquist, Jim Clendenen, Doug Margerum, Justin Willet, and Sashi Moorman (pictured above)

Food & Home Santa Barbara

An in depth look at the Urban Wine Trail down in the Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.
This is a go to guide to some of the best wine made in Santa Barbara proper.

Places like Whitcraft, Carr, Municipal Winemakers, Jaffurs and Anacapa Vintners (who have since changed their name to AVA)

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Wine to rough it with

Destination Sequoia.

As excited as I was to see the land of the tree giants I was equally as excited to to try a couple of wines I’d been holding on to…

Tin Barn Vineyards, a winery up in Sonoma, was kind enough to send me a bottle of their 2006 Coryelle Fields Vineyard Syrah.  The grapes are sourced from a vineyard near Jenner – I have yet to go there but from what I hear the vineyard is up a dirt track and planted on a fairly element exposed spot. Sounds great to me!

Tin Barn Syrah 2006 Coryelle Fields Vineyard

Tin Barn Syrah 2006 Coryelle Fields Vineyard

As for the Syrah the nose is full of dark berry fruit and spice but where this wine excels is its take on earthy Rhône.  We’re not talking dank Gigondas here, but for something out of California there is a lot of earthiness, soil even, and plenty of smokey savoury bacon, flavors.  Basically, a perfect wine for sitting around a campfire.

Tin Barn Syrah is available at the winery for $25 or you can go order it off their site

Giant Sequoia

Giant Sequoia

Mini Clubman in a Sequoia
Mini Clubman in a Sequoia
Another wine that made the trek northward was a very fine bottle of 2007 Rey Syrah.  Rey is the second label of the garagiste duo Chris and Deanna King.  They make their wine up in Lompoc under their main nomenclature De Su Propia Cosecha.
2007 Rey Syrah - Great with steak

2007 Rey Syrah - Great with steak

Rey has mostly Syrah in it but there’s a bit of Grenache and even less Cab.  Immediately on the nose you get hit of fresh bluberries as well as fresh aniseed and licorice.  The palate is crunchy with just enough tannin to roughin’ up your inner cheek.  This wine is very nice and very affordable at only $19.

2007 Rey Syrah

2007 Rey Syrah

If you live in SB I believe Winehound carries it, if not they can probably get it for you. It’s worth a note too that DSP has just been awarded 92 points for both their Grenache blend and Roussanne…worthy of a look.

A meadow near "End of the Road" in the Kings Canyon

A meadow near "End of the Road" in the Kings Canyon

As for Sequioa, even with spending a week there, we only touched the surface as it were.  We will definitely be going back again soon.

Adieu for now.

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