The 2004 film Sideways may have brought Santa Barbara wine country to the mainstream consciousness, but the terroir continues to drum up demand from around the world.
If you’ve ever been in a vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills on a summer afternoon, when the distinct, chilling, crisp wind blows in from the Pacific Ocean, you understand the key to Santa Barbaras terroir.
This region, a designated American Viticultural Area, is distinguished by its east west orientation from the coast, with valleys opening directly to the ocean. This unique landscape allows an ebb and flow of fog and ocean breezes that shape the distinct microclimates responsible for the idyllic cultivation of world-class wines.
Moving inland, temperatures rise for a growing season that most people would consider warm. These conditions make the region ideal for cabernet sauvignon and merlot.
The diverse climate means the region produces a variety of wines, especially those that thrive on long, slow, cool growing seasons like pinot noir, syrah and chardonnay.
- 2011 Firestone Riesling, California (about $13 retail)
- 2011 SeaGlass Santa Barbara County Chardonnay, California (about $12 retail)
- 2011 Hayman and Hill Santa Barbara Pinot Noir, California (about $14 retail)
- 2009 Fess Parker Santa Barbara Syrah, California (about $22 retail)
- 2009 Tantara Bien Nacido Old Vine Pinot Noir, California (about $56 retail)
- 2010 Cambria Katherines Vineyard Chardonnay, California (about $25 retail)
- 2009 Foxen Julias Vineyard P i not Noir, California (about $57 retail)