Updated: Oct 11, 2022
Santa Barbara, California, holds a very special place in my heart. During the wild ride that was COVID, I was engaged to be married for approximately two and a half years, with a honeymoon to Spain and France all booked.
Life had other plans. We did wind up getting married in a small and beautiful ceremony here in Chicago. Instead of France, we decided to honeymoon in a beautiful seaside town that we had both heard of before - Santa Barbara. It also helped that Santa Barbara was an up-and-coming wine region that I could explore with my new wife.
It is a truly fantastic area of the wine-growing world. I would still like to say it is up and coming, but after visiting, I realized it has already arrived. With investments from major growers and those ready to experiment and impact the wine world, we went to work tasting the wines we had heard so much about.
It has a Mediterranean climate and is often called "The American Riviera." In the actual town of Santa Barbara, you would have no idea that located less than an hour away are sweeping hills of vineyards. I sat on a beach with palm trees swaying, drinking locally made Rosé—what an experience.
Santa Barbara has several AVAs where grapes are grown, including Happy Canyon, Ballard Canyon AVA, Sta Rita Hills AVA, and Los Alamos Valley. They have successfully planted Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and other Rhône varietals while experimenting with Trousseau, Cabernet Franc, Chenin, and Gamay.
I am very excited to see what is in store for the region. I recently had the exciting opportunity to try an "off the beaten path" style of wine from my new favorite region.
Here's What's Open:
Whitcraft Winery 'Elle's Vineyard' Trousseau blend 2020 Santa Barbara County
What a fun wine! I picked this one up from my friends at Verve Wine in Lincoln Park (Chicago).
I had the opportunity to visit the Witcraft tasting room during my travels but never got to taste this Trousseau-based blend from the region. The label itself looks like my in-law's dog- who also is named Ellie!
This wine undergoes whole cluster fermentation and carbonic maceration (See Beaujolais Post). It was incredibly light and seemed to be unfiltered. The color was bright pink, indicating its style and sweetness.
The wine itself was quite ripe with notes of strawberry and raspberry. It had a medium plus body and, at only 12.5%, ABV was not too hot in terms of alcohol.
In my wife's words, "wow, that literally tastes like juice."
It was easy to sip, slightly chilled, and already reminded me of summer.
Have any questions or comments? Don't hesitate to reach out and let me know what you have open this month!