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From my Santa Barbara News Press column – July 19th

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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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Crisp white is the only way.


In regards to white wine, I like them cold, I like them to be white, but most importantly I like my whites to be CRISP!

There was a time that I could enjoy a non-acid-searing white wine, but those days have long gone…

This disdain, avoidance, dislike, of whites, mostly of the Southern French variety, didn’t come to me in the middle of the night as a message from God but rather was a sort of pebble in the shoe for a while.  What I blame most is my lengthy time spent in the Languedoc, surrounded by fat whites, no acidity and an overall blah taste in my mouth.

searing acidity

This is why I stir clear of most Rhone white varieties, why I will always drink dry Riesling, certain Grüners, some Chardonnays, and most if not all Colombards from SW France.

I like crisp!

Recently, when I was generously handed a bottle of Vionier from Sashi Moorman, I was of course skeptical, would this bottle from Lompoc be the saving grace?

I first met Sashi about eight years ago. I was a pretentious, know-it-all, sommelier, visiting from the UK;  Sashi was a young ambitious winemaker, gaining respect in the Santa Ynez Valley.  Much has changed since then…now, Sashi’s main job (he’s got like twelve) is head guy at Evening Land Vineyards.  He also owns his own label Piedrasassi and the second label from that New Vineland.
Myself, I am no longer a sommelier.

2008 New Vineland Viognier matched great with Trader Joe's goodies.

2008 New Vineland Viognier matched great with Trader Joe's goodies.

I mentally committed to try the wine, so I thought why not put it through a small test of matching to culinary delights! I went to the local Commerçant Joe and purchased a variety of cheeses and cured things.  I only mention this because there is  a cheese there that you must try…it’s called Delice de Bourgogne Double Cream (I think it was $6-8)…well I could have had that cheese and this wine all night long!! Suffice to say the wine was very impressive and stood up to the pairings.  The cheese has been locked away to save my waist line.

Don’t forget white and cheese is sometimes better than red.

As for the wine, here’s the note:

2008 New Vineland Viognier, Santa Barbara County, $22.00

On the nose was lots of citrus, especially tangerine and peach.
The palate I particularly enjoyed, there was quite a lot of quenching fruit, but also fresh almonds and best of all distinct minerality –  like a freshly cut slab of wet granite…loved it!

As Viogniers go, I actually did enjoy this guy.

Piedrasassi’s tasting room is located within the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc. Sashi’s wife Melissa can usually be found there.

They are open from Noon-5pm Friday to Sunday
And you can call them for an appointment on other days

1501 E. Chestnut Ave.
Lompoc, CA
805-736-6784

www.newvineland.com

@newvineland

Oh and a little tidbit for you… New Vineland was going to be the name of Lompoc but for some reason Lompoc (which is Chumash for stagnant waters or lagoon) was already chosen.

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