Yesterday, I wrote about one of my favorite Santa Barbara wines, Tercero Wines, and today after rummaging the shelves at Trader Joe’s, I’m beginning to think the Santa Barbara wine country can do no wrong.
During my own time in Santa Barbara during the Wine Bloggers 2014 Conference, I found truth in claims made of the area by the Santa Barbara Vintners: “The unique, transverse nature of the valleys of Santa Barbara Wine Country provides a patchwork quilt of microclimates and terrains, resulting in one of the most diverse grapegrowing regions in the country.” After tasting the Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah, Chardonnay and other wines of the area, I found that these microclimates and terrains helped shape soft, subtle, layered and tasty wines of one of my new favorite wine region in the U.S.
Because of my trip there last year, I put my faith in a wine found on the top shelf of Trader Joes–the Foggy Veil, 2012 Santa Barbara blend of 75% Syrah/25% Grenache. (The $13.99 price point made it easy to try it out, too). The low price point, even when compared to Rhone blends from France, would normally make me shy away from an unknown wine. But I thought the “fog” in the title, which I fondly remember seeing during my early morning runs at the bloggers’ conference, really would make this a drinkable find. I was right.
The wine was full of dark cherry flavors and spicy oak reminiscent of cedar-lined dresser drawers that have been aired by time and memory. Underscoring these great flavors were slight notes of green herbs. Even with a 14.2% alcohol content which I thought was going to dominate the taste, the tannins and alcohol were mellow and balanced, making for a smooth-drinking red wine you could drink any night on its own, or like we did, with a juicy steak and butter-laced mushrooms. Try it, drink it, enjoy it.