These new releases from Sierra Madre Vineyard are outstanding examples of the high quality of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being produced in Santa Barbara County. The 2010 vintage was ideal, delivering long hang time and ideal conditions for flavor development and good natural acidity.
Sierra Madre Vineyard is a small family winery in Santa Maria Valley. It consists of 173 acres of sandy-loam marine soils originally planted in 1971 with a number of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir clones. In 2006 owners Doug and Jan Circle produced their first wines from the estate and their wines have been steadily improving. Vineyard management is in the hands of veteran Rodolfo Callado, and winemaking is directed by the talented winemaker Steve Rasmussen. Quantities are small and difficult to come by. If you can’t find them on the shelves at your local retailer, call the winery at Tel. 714-630-0299
Our tasting notes of the two new releases follows:
Sierra Madre Vineyard 2010 Chardonnay Sierra Madre Vineyard Block 210 Santa Maria Valley ($30) 91 This is a quintessential California Chardonnay offering tropical fruit, toasted oak and a touch of vanilla on the nose. It is rich and creamy on the palate with very ripe fruit flavors, high alcohol (14.9 alc.) and a delicious finish.
Sierra Madre Vineyard 2010 Estate Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley ($40) 92 The Estate Pinot Noir has a ripe medium ruby hue and aromas and flavors of cherry cola with a hint of toast and earth. Aged for 11 months in French oak, 20% new, it is medium weight on the palate and beautifully balanced with good intensity of fruit flavor and a long finish.
Look for our comprehensive assessment of the wines of Santa Barbara County in our upcoming Report #36, which will be published in April/May 2013.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler January 5, 2013