Monthly Archive for August, 2012

2010 Joughin Vineyard Primitivo

Andy Joughin, our Vineyard Manager for many years, was looking for interesting grapes to plant in his small home vineyard in the Los Olivos area of the Santa Ynez Valley. Varieties that would have a niche value and not compete with the more common ones. Andy consulted winemaker Bruce McGuire who recommended several Italian red varietals.

One of these was Primitivo, the primary grape of the Puglia region of Italy. Los Olivos, in the central area of the Santa Ynez Valley, has a climate similar to that of Puglia.

The vineyard is small, less than 10 acres, and each variety is three acres or less. Since Andy’s retirement Lafond Vineyards has been managing the vineyard. The small lots, that these grapes produce, are part of our program of offering special bottlings, of limited distibution, of interesting and unusual wines.

Recent DNA analysis has shown that Primitivo and California’s Zinfandel are genenetically similar. Zinfandel was, until this discovery, a grape of mystery, and its origins unknown. Primitivo or Zinfandel, the Joughin Vineyard has produced exceptional wines year after year.

Winemaker’s comments: The long cool 2010 growing season, of this normally warm area, has produced a Primitivo that accentuates the black pepper spice flavors associated with this varietal.

Suggested retail: 28.00
To Order: www.sbwinery.com

End of Bottling / Beginning of Harvest

Today is the last day of bottling for the season. We have bottled most of the 2011 vintage with only a few red wines to be bottled after harvest. These are wines that will benefit from additional barrel ageing.

The end of bottling and a good thing. The sugars in our Pinot Noir have reached over 20 degrees brix and although brix is not the determining factor it is a marker. Winemaker Bruce McGuire is after that elusive peak time to pick when all the sensory indicators fall into place. Taste, of course, the browning of the seeds and the physical condition of the vine. The vines right now are healthy but as the season progresses there comes a point where the vine can do no more.

This year has been an ideal growing year, warm but without peaks in temperature, the moderating effect of the ocean fog has been especially effective in our Santa Rita Hills district.

The image is a photo of the Pinot Noir taken yesterday.
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Sundown Wedding at Lafond Winery

Dinner at Lafond Winery in the Walled Patio


Wine Weirdos Review Santa Barbara Winery 2010 Syrah


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Wine Weirdos Review Lafond Winery 2009 SRH Pinot Noir


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New Release: Santa Barbara Winery 2009 Petite Sirah

This is our fourth vintage of Petite Sirah. The grape has had a rather muddled history ever since it was first cultivated in California circa 1890 shortly after being either propagated or identified as a seperate varitety in France in the 1880’s.

It is not Syrah, and there is nothing “petite” about it in terms of grape size or flavor. Many older Petite Sirah vineyards in California are actually ” field blends” containing as many as five grape varieties (including Petite Sirah and Syrah).

DNA fingerprinting has also shown what we know as Petite Sirah could actually be the ancient Rhone variety Peloursin. Or, as the most popular theory goes, this grape is actually Durif, a cross of Peloursin and Syrah created in France in the 1880’s.

Whatever the reason, the name “Petite Sirah” has stuck and the wine became an early favorite in California as the rich, massive wines it produces were a natural favorite when paired with old rancho cuisine featuring grilled meats and vegetables.

Winemaker’s comments: Thompson and Tres Burros are in the Alios Canyon north-east of Los Alamos. Refugio is near the town of Santa Ynez on the south side of the Santa Ynez River. Picked over a three week period and from three vineyards the wine is complex with rich full flavors.

Suggested retail 28.00/750ml
To purchase: www.sbwinery.com

Vineyard Wedding Saturday 8.11.12


Catered by Nathan Heil, State Street Wine Bistro, Santa Barbara

Tractor work!

Photo of David on the tractor clearing channels. Weather is warm and ideal grape ripening weather. We think the Pinot Noir harvest will start either the 10th or 17th of September. If the forecast for next week is correct, which is for cooler, then it will probably be the the 17th.

The harvest looks good. We have netted the vines to protect from birds now we are erecting fences to ward off wild pigs. Enrique, the vineyard foreman, saw a group of 20, all large, the other night. Fortunately the grapes are still bitter but when they ripen they can clean out a whole vineyard in a few hours. I don’t know what the season is for wild boar but now would be a good time.

The Nets are Up

As color comes to the grapes, so do the Starlings. The nets are going up on all our Pinot Noir. Some vineyards try to protect their grapes with canons, Propane explosions every 12 to 15 minutes, but Starlings soon become accustomed to the noise. David has observed a bird sitting on the canon and when it goes off leaving temporarily only to return seconds later.

There are many other options, falcons real and fake, glittery strips that flutter in the wind and, undoubtedly, some we have not heard of. It is very disquieting for a vineyardist to see hundreds, if not thousands, of Starlings, perched on power lines, or flying in dense clouds waiting for the propitious moment to pounce on your grapes.
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New Release from Lafond Winery 2009 Lafond Vineyard Pinot Noir

Winemaker’s comments: The 2009 Pinot Noir was harvested on four different days in September of 2009. The yield per acre was smaller than usual, due in part, to very small clusters.

Five different clones were used and all came from areas of very low vigor. The combination of small clusters and low vigor has produced a wine that is both strutured and complex with intense flavors.

Suggested Retail: 50.00/750ml
For more information and to order: www.lafondwinery.com
Click image to enlarge: