Tag Archive for 'Syrah'

Harvest is almost over at Lafond Winery & Vineyards

We are getting near the end. All the whites have been picked and what is left of the reds, Syrah, will be picked next week.

Winemaker, Bruce McGuire, goes through the field and marks off what is ripe and ready and what is not. This may mean going back into the same block and same row several times during harvest. Ancient river beds, which is what most of the Santa Rita Hills Appelation comprises, have very uneven soil profiles which makes for uneven ripening. The low fertile areas are generally picked first and the more fertile, sometimes weeks later.

Photo shows the change in color in the Pinot Noir as the vines begin to close down. The other photo shows the last of the Pinot Noir being barrelled. In the background you can see part of the more than 325 Pinot Noir barrels from this harvest. Photos were taken today.

Santa Barbara Winery New Release

2006 Grenache Syrah

After three decades of wine growing in the Santa Rita Hills, Pierre Lafond and winemaker Bruce McGuire are still experimenting with unconventional varieties in this very cool growing region. Following their successful introduction of Syrah to Santa Rita Hills in the early 1990’s, they are now onto their second vintage of this Grenache/Syrah blend.

Utilizing Syrah from neighbor vineyard, Hilltop Ranch (right across the dirt road) and Grenache that Bruce sourced from the Byron Vineyard up in Santa Maria, Bruce has crafted a wine showing the cool climate spiciness of Syrah and the bright red fruit flavors of Grenache.

The Grenache dominates the blend and helps to tame the Syrah making this middle weight wine more approachable than straight Syrah, and thus easier to pair with a wider range of foods. A delightful wine to have with Spanish tapas, lighter meats, or an afternoon repast of olives, cow’s milk cheeses and fresh bread. This wine should show complete flavor development by the end of 2008 and be quite enjoyable through 2010.

Suggested Retail 22.00
To Order: Santa Barbara Winery

Santa Barbara Winery New Release

2007 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah

Winemaker Bruce McGuire is an early pioneer in blending Syrah grown throughout the west-east traverse of the Santa Ynez Valley. Because Syrah is proving to be the rare example of a varietal that can be grown in all the temperature zones found in our valley, blending vineyards becomes an intriguing endeavor.

This bottling of Syrah highlights both the cool climate white pepper and lavendar forward flavors and the jammier full fruitcharacter experienced in the back of the mouth courtesy of the warmer eastern Santa Ynez Valley. In 2007, Bruce crafted a blend of about three quarters cool climate Lafond Vineyard and neighboring Hill Top Ranch in the Santa Rita Hills with one quarter warm climate Joughin Vineyard near Los Olivos.

Most of the wine aged in small 60 gallon French and Hungarian barrels as Syrah benefits from ample barrel aging. A smaller than average crop from the our vineyard manager’s Santa Ynez Joughin Vineyard meant that a higher percentage of Santa Rita Hills fruit appears in the blend.

A small amount of Grenache (4%) was added to enhance the aromatics of the finished wine. In the bottle, 2010 to 2013 will be the prime drinking window for this wine. Pair with rustic fare, slightly charred grilled meats, and washed rind cheeses.

Retail: 20.00(750ml)
To order: Santa Barbara Winery

Lafond Winery New Release

2006 Lafond Vinyard Syrah

The Santa Rita Hills located in the western Santa Ynez Valley imparts a distinct “cool-climate” character to Syrah grown in the region. This character expresses itself with complex floral notes reminiscent of lavender and a spicy component highlighted by distinct white pepper notes. Our Lafond Vineyard Syrah represents select vineyard areas where the grapes exhibit the most intensity of flavor.

This concentration allows the forward, dense floral character and dark fruit to complement the spicy component of the wine. The 2006 vintage is a selection of the best 10 barrels from the least vigorous sections of three seperate vineyard blocks.

This was a moderate crop year in terms of yield and Winemaker Bruce McGuire liked the balanced canopy in the vineyard. The wine was then aged for 15 months in French Burgundy oak barrels. Bruce really liked the “great intensity” of the finished wine.

A fine choice for rustic, hearty fare and your favorite “stinky” cheese such as Taleggio from Italy or aged Red Hawk from California.

Suggested retail: 40.00
To order:

New Release Santa Barbara Winery

2006 Lafond Vineyard Grenache

After three decades of wine growing in Santa Rita Hills, Pierre Lafond and winemaker Bruce McGuire are still experimenting with unconventional varieties in this very cool growing region.

Following their successful introduction of Syrah to Santa Rita Hills in the early 1990’s, they are now releasing their third Grenache from Lafond Vineyard.

Planted in loose conglomerate (sand and rocks to four inches) in the warmest section of the vineyard allows the fruit to ripen to its full potential throughout its lengthy hang time on the vines.

Historically, Grenache has been grown in the Southern Rhone Valley of France as well as large areas of Spain where it is known as Garnacha.

Often used for blending, recent years have seen more Grenache bottled by itself as growers limit yields to make more flavorful wines highlighting the plump, mid-palate flavors that make this multifaceted wine so versatile with food. Its characteristic mouth “grip” is tannic yet plush.

Simple, easy to prepare foods are at home with this wine, and the summer of 2009 should see the tannins integrate with fruit to make a most enjoyable quaff. We anticipate this wine aging nicely through 2011.

Suggested retail: 26.00

To order:

Lafond Winery & Vineyards New Release

2006 Syrah / Grenache

After three decades of wine growing in the Santa Rita Hills of the western Santa Ynez Valley, Pierre Lafond and winemaker Bruce McGuire are still experimenting with unconventional grape varieties in our very cool climate growing region.

The knowledge gained since the first planting of six varieties in 1972 (one of the early vineyards in Santa Barbara County) has led to a focused approach in which varietals are sought out according to Bruce’s hypothesis on a grape’s potential to exhibit unique character when grown in our area. While this pioneering has led to short term trials like Cabernet Franc, it has also paid off with great success such as the introduction of Syrah to the Santa Rita Hills.

Grenache intrigued Bruce and Pierre for they thought it had the same potential as Syrah to show off spicy character expressed in a different way than the white pepper spice found in our cool climate Syrah.

The 2.25 acre planting has paid off in a distinctly bright Grenache exhibiting a hint of black pepper with cinnamon spice and dark red fruit flavors with a whisper of menthol. The blend of these two grapes yields a very pleasing full bodied wine that invites paring with a wide variety of foods. The wine should be fully integrated in 2010 to 2011.

Suggested retail: 38.00
To order: Wines

Open House at Lafond Winery & Vineyards

New Releases
Saturday January 24, 2009
10:00am to 5:00pm

 2007 SRH Pinot Noir
2006 Arita Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir
2007 SRH Syrah
2006 Lafond Vineyard Chardonnay

With Cheese and Bread to pair with the wines

New Release Lafond Winery and Vineyards

Lafond Winery 2007 SRH Syrah

After over a quarter century of making Cabernet Sauvignon from our Lafond Vineyard, winemaker Bruce McGuire is now sourcing this grape from vineyards on the warmer eastern side of the Santa Ynez Valley. While we still mourn our departed Cabernet vines, we now look forward to learning from this grape planted in a more traditional climate than our very cool growing area and tended to by very professional wine growers. The 2006 vintage was primarily grown in the Grassini Vineyard located in Happy Canyon on the warmer, eastern side of the Santa Ynez Valley. Bruce was able to utilize three clones of Cabernet from this small vineyard as well as a sprinkling of Lagrein from the Joughin Vineyard to add to the mid-palate texture and spice. Throw in the barrel selection, and you have an intellectual smorgasbord of flavor and texture to blend into this final offering…Bruce had so much fun with these variables that he gave the must a long, forty-seven day maceration for complete flavor extraction. The flavors are high-toned and dark berry focused so decanting and air time are highly recommended to help this Cabernet show off its concentrated fruit character through 2010. A very good choice for beef or hearty pasta (including tagliatelle pasta with butter sauce). Cellaring from 2011 through 2013 should be amply rewarded.

Suggested Retail: 23.00/750ml
To order: