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Small Sips of Santa Maria Valley

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2006 Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., The winery’s signature Pinot Noir comes from a vineyard named after the owner’s daughter. The label says, “cherry, strawberry, cinnamon, vanilla” and the label is right on. Multiple clones. Aged in 30% new French oak. The winemaker is Denise Shurtleff. · Red fruit driven wine that is light red in color and elegant in design. Plenty of strawberry flavor and attractive spice and vim. Easy and very approachable, this is a daily “go-to” meal time Pinot.

Cambria Wines are well distributed in retail wine stores and supermarkets and can be ordered on the website at www.cambriawine.com. The tasting room, located at 5475 Chardonnay Lane, Santa Maria, is open daily from 10-5. The phone is 805-937-8091.

2006 Owen Roe Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $36. A Santa Maria Pinot Noir from an Oregon producer. Sourced from Bien Nacido Vineyard. The winemaker is David O’Reilly, one of the few Irish born American winemakers. The image of an old Mission Church along El Camino Real in California is on the label. Aged in used barrels. · Deep purple color. The nose is brooding with ripe plum, fig and barnyard aromas. Plentiful ripe black fruits drifting toward Syrah in heft and flavor profile. Full-bodied and smooth in texture. A big fruit-driven wine that lacks Pinot charm for me, but is the current preferred style of this winemaker.

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Owen Roe is a partnership between David O’Reilly and Jerry Owen. Tasting is by appointment by calling 503-678-6514. The winery is located in the Willamette Valley near the town of Newburg. The website is www.owenroe.com.

2004 J. Wilkes Bien Nacido Vineyards Hillside Santa Barbara Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., 290 cases, $38. · Scents of violets, cherries, woodshed and barnyard. Medium-weighted flavors of cherry and strawberry with spice and pepper and a little woodsy bent. Easy and approachable with svelte tannins.

J. Wilkes wines are available on the website at www.jwilkeswine.com, select retail outlets, and tasting rooms in Santa Barbara County. James Wilkes worked for years at Bien Nacido Vineyards and was a close friend of the Miller family who founded the vineyards. The phone is 805-899-2845. The 2005 vintage of the above wine is now released. He crafts an excellent Pinot Blanc as well.

2006 Alta Maria Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., 2230 cases, $45. 100% Bien Nacido Vineyard, composed of clone 115 fully de-stemmed from N Block and Pommard clone partially whole cluster from Q Block. Final blend 25% whole cluster. Aged 11 months on original lees in 70% new French oak. · Aromas of black cherry and smoke lead off with a black cherry backbone buttressed by anise and oak spice. Silky in texture, fine-grained tannins and a fruity and aromatic finish that last 30 seconds. Plenty to like in this wine and recommended.

Alta Maria Vineyards is a partnership between winemaker Paul Wilkins, James Ontiveros and Sao Anash. The wines are sold primarily through a mailing list at www.altamaria.com with some retail sales. The phone is 805-714-1732.

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2004 Native9 Rancho Ontiveros Vineyards Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $52. · Dark purple in color. Deep, dark fruits including plums and raisin and even a touch of port anchor this wine’s aromatic profile.. Healthy and robust in structure with flashy, plush fruit and ripe flavors veering toward root beer and port. The prodigious fruit and velveteen texture will be a crowd pleasure. This is the darker side of Pinot but I like it. One for early drinking as the lower acidity may not support the fruit over the long term.

Native 9 is James Ontiveros’s own label, the name signifying that he is the ninth generation of farmers in California. The Pinot Noir is from James’s own 8-acre Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard and is sold through a mailing list at www.native9wine.com with limited retail distribution. 6525 Dominion Rd, Santa Maria. StmlImage: invalid literal for int() with base 10: 'thumb_SMV-AERIAL.jpg'
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2006 Costa De Oro Gold Coast Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $25. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color. The nose offers darker stone fruits, spice, wet oak and pepper. Very fruity and very attractive. The wine has an alluring plush and creamy palate with rich dark fruits, soft tannins, and a tangy acidic edge. A solid effort that every pinotphile would find enticing.

Costa de Oro Winery was founded by Gary Burk, a former musician whose father planted the 30-acre Costa de Oro Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. Gary was lured into winemaker after an epiphanic dinner with Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat and Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Meursault, France. In 1994, he joined the harvest at Au Bon Climat and remained until 2002 when he left to run Costa de Oro full time. He began modestly in 1994 making small amounts of Pinot Noir and now crafts 4,500 cases of wine at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria. Noted Central Coast Pinot Noir winemaker Paul Lato is assisting.

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