Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tasting Santa Barbara's Cabernet Sauvignon Wine from Happy Canyon & the Santa Ynez Valley

Courtesy of the Santa Barbara Vintners
Late last month the Santa Barbara Vintners Association organized a twitter tasting focusing on the region's Cabernet Sauvignon producers. I was fortunate enough to participate and received two wines, the Bridlewood Estate Winery 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Happy Canyon and the Babcock Winery & Vineyards 2012 Block 15, Cabernet Sauvignon Estelle Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley ($35).

Most of the wines were from grapes grown in the new Happy Valley AVA (created in 2009) which resides to the far east of Santa Barbara County. The Santa Ynez Valley AVA is adjacent bordering the west and shares many of the characteristics conducive to growing Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grapes. The primary reasons are the long, dry growing season with large diurnal shifts from day to night. Foxen Winery and Vineyard mentioned that the diurnal shifts are higher in the valley sense the cold fog drifts down cooling the valley even more.  Another trait to the region is the sandy soil which provides excellent drainage as well as allow the vines to be own rooted. The wineries believe that own-rooted vines provide more structure and tannins.  And the two wines I sampled had plenty of structure, tannins, and tasty juice. The Bridlewood Estate 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Happy Canyon started with a hot cherry aroma, transitioned to spice and leather that synced the middle, and finished with chewy tannins. Very chewy tannins.  The Babcock 2012 Block 15, Cabernet Sauvignon Estelle Vineyard was juicier with jammy dark fruits (plum and dark cherry) noticeable throughout with a velvety core and easy tannins on tail. An excellent wine.  Looking forward to my next visit to Santa Barbara. Cheers.
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