Alta Maria Vineyards: Stop in and stay a while in Los Olivos
- 2012 Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay – 80% stainless steel, 20% neural oak. Aged sur lie, this high acid bright white wine had lush lemons, fresh lemonade, and a hint of fresh cream. The intense mineral finish had a touch of kumquat. This is what California chardonnay should be! Somewhat of a comeback kid, with the 2011 and 2010 harvests being botriyticized, this wine is primarily made from Block W in Bien Nacido Vineyard. These 40 year old vines are still going strong.
- 2011 Bien Nacido Pinot Noir – 40 year Pommard vineyard, 100% whole cluster fermentation lends itself to the best kind of funk possible. Luscious, with savory meat and bacon fat but a zingy finish.
- 2010 Native9 Pinot Noir – a classic in the making, made from a blend of 8 clones planted in the Rancho Ontiveros vineyard. This property is high on a ridge in Santa Maria Valley, and this dark, juicy baby opens up to baking spice, dried cherry and black pepper. The 8 clones in the field give it a very savory and herbal edge, while maintaining the core of Pinot Noir flavors.
- 2010 Autonom Red Rhône Cuvee – Knowing that I am a Rhone Head, I was very excited to taste these wines. While I had enjoyed all of the Burgundian varietals, the Red Cuvee, made of 80% Syrah, and 20% Grenache. While each vintage is unique, this bottle had the inky depth of a Syrah with the juicy pop of cherry that Grenache brings.
- 2010 Autonom Grenache – yes, I admit it. I love Grenache. I might even run away with it. This is no exception to why I love this grape so much. Planted in 1964, the Nielson vineyard in a warm corner of Santa Maria Valley, and the more recently planted Thompson Vineyard makes up the balance of the blend. Bing cherry, green fig, hibiscus, tobacco leaf. A sweet and savory treat in your mouth.
- 2010 Autonom Syrah – Speaking of fun, come meet the Syrah. As the name indicates, the Law of Proportions Syrah blends two vineyards (63% Thompson, 37% Laetitia) from very different terroirs. The resulting blend is mostly warmer climate (Thompson) but with the depth and richness of the cool climate fruit. Dark purple plums, cigar box, blackberry jam.
Suffice it to say, I bought more than a little wine while visiting Stephanie & Paul! I am looking forward to revisitng them soon, and seeing how the wines develop in my glass…and my cellar.If you are heading down to Los Olivos, be sure to stop in and say hello!