Margerum Wine Company is owned and operated by Doug Margerum, one of Santa Barbara’s leading winemaking entrepreneurs. It produces small quantities of premium wines made from estate-grown and purchased grapes from top neighboring vineyards. We recently visited Doug at the winery in Buellton and tasted his full range of current releases.
Margerum’s estate vineyard consists of 18 acres planted exclusively with Rhone varietals on limestone hillsides and gravelly alluvial flatlands. The wines are made with great attention to detail at a state-of-the art winery in Buellton. They are well-made and well-priced, which explains why Margerum is such a highly successful and popular winery. The winery produces up to 12,000 cases annually.
Doug Margerum is Director of Winemaking, and Michael Miroballi, who has been with the winery almost 10 years, is the winemaker. Margerum also produces wines under the Barden and Rancho Boa Vista labels. They’re also reviewed below. He also serves as consulting winemaker to Paradise Springs, a relatively new winery that has a sister operation in Virginia, and Happy Canyon Vineyard.
Margerum 2017 Riviera Rosé Santa Barbara County ($21) 89+ This lovely pink salmon-colored rosé is a blend of 86% Grenache, 9% Cinsault, 3% Syrah and 2% Mourvedre with added saignée of Counoise, Cinsault and Grenache. It is ripe-tasting and perfumed revealing hints of fresh strawberry with medium acidity and a moderately crisp finish. Only 11.3 alc.
Margerum 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Sybarite Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara ($21) 91 Sourced from top vineyards in Happy Canyon, the Sybarite is lightly colored and floral with herbal and citrus notes. It reveals good extract, medium plus acidity and a persistent finish.
Margerum 2017 M5 White Los Olivos District ($21) 92 A blend of five Rhone varietals, the M5 White is a highly successful wine inspired by the excellent white wines now being made in the Rhone. It is richly blended with Grenache Blanc serving as the base. Highly aromatic with flavors of stone fruit and toast, it’s aged 8 months on the fine lees and offers a rich mouth feel and a persistent finish.
Margerum 2016 D Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara ($40) 93 The 2016 D Sauvignon Blanc is a rich wine offering aromas and flavors of green citrus, herbs, grassy notes and toast. Fermented and aged 10 months in elongated 265 L Hermitage “Cigar” barrels—also used by the famed Sauvignon Blanc producer Didier Dageneau in the Loire Valley. The wine is rich and full-bodied with a creamy mouth feel and noteworthy flavor intensity.
Margerum 2016 Grenache Santa Barbara County ($40) 92 This is a delicious, fruit forward single varietal Grenache sourced from several top vineyard sites throughout Santa Barbara County. It is light-bodied and displays a silky feminine style with rich red berry fruit, good acidity, and layers of flavor.
Margerum 2016 M5 Red Santa Barbara County ($28) 92The M5 is a lovely blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and other Rhone varieties. Dark ruby in color, it is fruit forward and rich in dark plum fruit flavors with hints of pepper, leather and toast. Aged 10 months in oak, it is nicely concentrated and shows a soft silky finish. A delicious bistro wine.
Margerum 2016 M5 Reserve Santa Barbara County ($40) 94 The M5 Reserve is a big step up in quality and overall richness from the regular M5. Medium dark ruby, it offers considerable complexity to what is already a lovely wine in the M5. Aged an additional 11 months in 2000L foudres, it reveals wonderful structure and good acidity with a persistent finish. Released at the time of this review, the wine should last up to a decade.
Margerum 2017 Syrah Estate Los Olivos District ($60) 93Dark ruby purple. Rich and pure northern Rhone in character and spicy with hints of black pepper and black olive. Long lasting on the palate, elegant full mouth feel, and firm round tannins. A rich and delicious wine.
Margerum 2016 Uber Syrah Santa Barbara County ($40) 92 This Syrah is a blend of four vineyards. Rich and concentrated with excellent depth of black and blue flavors, it reveals a silky mouth feel and has levels of flavor sustained through to the finish. A rich and complex wine.
Margerum 2016 Black Oak Syrah Santa Barbara County ($50) 93 This single vineyard Syrah is sourced from old vines in the Los Alamos Valley. Aged 20 months in new and used oak, it offers blackberry, red berry and tea aromas and flavors and a superb mouth feel with hints of earthiness on the finish. A superb bottling.
The Barden label consists of premium wines exclusively sourced from the Sta Rita Hills and made from free run juice.
Barden 2016 Fonte Sta Rita Hills 91 The 2016 Fonte is a tasty blend of 1/3 each of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris sourced from several vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills. It offers concentrated orchard fruit flavors, notes of toast, excellent balance and acidity with notable freshness making it easy to drink and enjoy.
Barden 2016 Chardonnay Sta Rita Hills ($48) 91 The Barden Chardonnay is a blend of three Sta Rita vineyards and several different clones. It is barrel fermented with full malolactic fermentation and battonage for 4 months. Aged 10 months sur lie in 72% new French oak barriques, it is richly flavored with hints of oak and vanilla, tropical notes and a creamy mouth feel.
Barden 2016 Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills ($68) 92 Sourced from Sanford & Benedict and three other top quality vineyards, this Pinot Noir is rich and flavorful. It displays dark red berry fruit and is pure tasting with layers of flavor and good concentration. Crafted with 25% whole clusters and aged ten months on the lees, bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Rancho Boa Vista
2017 Rancho Boa Vista Claudia’s Rose 89 Pink orange in color, this roséis pleasantly aromatic, offering aromas and flavors of strawberry and raspberry. Barrel fermented in neutral oak for 5 weeks, it’s ripe tasting and flavorful with medium acidity and a pleasant finish.
2017 Rancho Boa Vista Syrah Reserve Ballard Canyon ($30) 91 A blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Petit Syrah , this wine is dark ruby in color, fruit forward and lush on the palate. Aged in American oak, it offers dark plum fruit and is soft and silky smooth on the palate with slightly firm tannins
*This article is one of a series of reviews of Santa Barbara winemakers and wines being prepared by IWR for a new and expanded report on the Wines of Santa Barbara. The IWR’s first report was issued in May 2013 and is available on www.i-winereview.com. Plans are being made for the preparation of a new, expanded and updated report in early 2020.