Tag Archive for 'Riesling'

Botrytis Cinirea

Botrytis cinirea is occurring, in a very small block of older Riesling vines, in our Lafond Vineyards. It will very likely produce less than 1500 375ml bottles. Botrytis cinirea can occur, under wet conditions, in other fruits, such as strawberries, where it is simply called rot and the fruit discarded. In grapes, usually after an initial rain, and if followed by dry weather, we call it Noble Rot. Which sounds infinitely better.  Wikipedia describes it very well…

In the Botrytis infection known as “noble rot” (pourriture noble in French, or Edelfäule in German), the fungus removes water from the grapes, leaving behind a higher percent of solids, such as sugars, fruit acids and minerals. This results in a more intense, concentrated final product. The wine is often said to have an aroma of honeysuckle and a bitter finish on the palate.

This is a recent photo at our vineyard showing the grapes at various stages. When complete the grapes are brownish in color and collapse on themselves as the water is removed by the fungus. The flavors become very concentrated and complex and, although sweet, maintain high acidity. The finished wine is usually under 10% in alcohol with residual sugar exceeding 20%.

New Release Santa Barbara Winery 2008 Late Harvest Riesling Lafond Vineyards

Lafond Vineyard’s Riesling vines were originally planted in 1972. Our long, cool growing season enables firm acids to develop which highlight the flavor intensity that makes this a wonderful full-bodied example of a noble grape we feel is underappreciated in the world.

Extended hang time on the vines helped to produce a wonderfully rich, yet elegant and clean dessert wine with an extraordinary balance of acids and sugars.

Riesling is a popular late harvest dessert wine when grown in the right conditions that will allow sugars to develop, while also maintaining the necessary acidity, very low pH, to keep the resulting wine fresh. Alcohol is kept low to showcase the purity of fruit courtesy of the Sta. Rita Hills’ long growing season.

In its youth, the 08 Late Harvest Riesling showcases aromas of orange blossom, honeyed pear, and burnt sugar. On the palate, stone fruits intermingle and rich viscosity is balanced by crisp acidity. The finish is long and mouth coating, leaving behind a clean feeling that is far from cloying. Serve slightly chilled in small glasses with a Rustic Peach or Pear Tart.

Suggested Retail: 28.00/375ml
To order: Santa Barbara Winery

Santa Barbara Winery New Release

2007 Dry Riesling

Riesling’s allure over that of other white wines is the necessary precision and attention to detail that goes into making this wonderfully versatile noble grape maintain its racy acidity and interestingly complex flavor profile.

In Alsace and Austria, Riesling is traditionally made into a very dry wine. Winemaker Bruce McGuire has experimented over the years with different levels of sweetness, measured by residual sugar from dry to late harvest style Rieslings. This, our dry style, shows off the body and complex flavors highlighting peach and nectarine backed by a firm, mineral finish to make for a very food friendly wine.

Aging in two neutral French barrels sur lie adds to the fleshy and full weight of the wine. Bright and aromatic, this wine should age beautifully. Often described as a “sipping wine” we recommend trying this Riesling with Asian Cuisine or white meats such as glazed Pork and roasted Turkey. It is also in good company with a greater variety of cheeses than most wines are comfortable with.
Suggested retail: 20.00
To order:

Pinot Passport Recap

Joanie Hudson writes in the Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro Blog:

Last night’s Pinot Noir tasting provided an exciting look as to what the world of that varietal has to offer, literally. Taking samples from four distinct regions, and presenting them side by side is a lesson on wine that you can’t get from any amount of reading. The most crowded tasting yet took over the entire restaurant with the four tables spread around the perimeter of the room.

First stop was the Sta. Rita Hills, where we sampled two different vintages from the region from Santa Barbara Winery and Lafond. The only 2007 of the bunch was the Santa Barbara Winery Pinot Noir, which we sampled first as we snatched a deliciously spiced pulled lamb slider to bite into between tastes. A very concentrated vintage, this 07 Pinot really just jumps out at you with rich dark fruit and intensity. Vintage 2007 is from 10 vineyard sites up to 18 years old and from eight different Pinot Noir clones.

At the same table was another representative from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, Santa Barbara Winery’s sister label, Lafond. For the 2006 Lafond SRH Pinot Noir Winemaker Bruce McGuire chose very specific sites in the vineyard for each of his Pinot Noir selections. In 2006, Bruce chose 6 clones from 16 vineyard lots at two vineyards (Lafond and its neighbor Arita Hills Vineyard. Nice to be able to taste the sister winery selections next to each other – same winemaker, different vintage, different philosophy to wine productions. I grabbed a second irresistible slider to go with my second taste.

All the way on the other side of the restaurant were the other three tables. I went with New Zealand’s 2006 Wild Earth Winery Central Otago Pinot next. First I tried one of the sesame tuna on cucumber discs nibbles, which was so tasty on its own, but a tiny bit too spicy for the wine – would have been delicious with an off dry Riesling. But I enjoyed tasting it with the wine only to demonstrate how certain pairings succeed or fail. This wine was a screw cap so there was some debating going on in conversations around me as to what this does for the wine. For me, screw cap or no screw cap, I’m going for what’s inside of the bottle. Pinot is the most widely planted red variety in New Zealand, where the main star is Sauvignon Blanc. There is about half as much Pinot planted as Sauvignon Blanc in this up and coming wine region that has an ideal climate for growing Pinot Noir. This wine was fruit driven, yet savory and earthy – very approachable in its youth. The 30% new oak aging came through a little bit on both the nose and palate. Watch out for those New Zealand Pinots, it is definitely an up and coming player in the wine world…

Next was the French Burgundy, which was the 2006 Bouchard Pere et Fils, Bougogne Rouge. This was quite the departure from the other new world Pinots with a subtlety and finesse that is inherent in quality French Burgundies. It was more subdued and elegant than the rest of the bunch. Bistro sommelier Zach Blair was fielding questions left and right from behind the table, very excited about the quality for the value of this wine. Another delicious appetizer was served alongside the wine at this table – baked Camambert on crostini with a pear walnut dressing. This nutty and rich treat was so tasty, with most of the flavor coming from the oozing cheese.

Last stop brought me back to the United States with Oregon’s Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. The 2006 Benton Lane Pinot Noir table wins the award for best wine pairing of the night. Served with this wine was the classic pairing of mushrooms, prepared in a small tartlette that could be eaten in just one or two bites. This was an example of how when wine and food come together there are certain pairings that really just bring out elements of each other, highlighting certain strengths and flavors in each. In this case it was the intense and intoxicating aromas and flavors of earthy mushrooms. Each bite and sip seemed to exponentially bring out this element, definitely a perfect ending to the tasting.

Return to the Bistro website for information on February’s Passport to the World of Wine tasting. This event will happen on the first Wednesday of each month.

Joanie Hudson, Assistant Tasting Room Manager, Santa Barbara Winery