VOLUME 9, ISSUE 24
May 5, 2013
ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:
Cork Dork Etude: Inspired Wines of the Carneros the Gardener: Got Organic Grapes? Bravium: Relish the Acidity Rivers-Marie: 2010 & 2011 Reflect the Challenges of Farming on the Edge Dunstan Wines from Durell Vineyard Foursight Wines: Family Excels with Pinot COBB Wines: No Wine Before Its Time Sips of Pinot: Wines Tasted Recently Rosé and Chardonnay: Recently Sampled Wines Pinot Briefs
Alma Rosa Vineyards & Winery
Owner Richard Sanford was a pioneer in Santa Barbara County viticulture and winemaking, planting the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in what is now know as the Santa Rita Hills back in 1970. He was the first to see the potential of the Santa Rita Hills region for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He went on to develop a respected and eventually large winery, Sanford Winery, in 1981, which had a small, quaint tasting room at 7250 Santa Rosa Road west of Hwy 101 in Buellton made famous by the movie, 'Sideways.' From 1983 to 1999, Sanford wines were produced in a small facility in Buellton by Richard's winemaker, Bruno D'Alfonso. In 2000, A unique, adobe-based, all natural materials-built winery was constructed which Richard described as follows. "The facility was integrated with strong environmental principals and elements of certain Eastern philosophies, particularly the Chinese concept of Tao - emphasizing simplicity."
Richard likes to tell the story of when he was given a bottle of Pommard while in the Navy. The was an epiphany and he fell in love with Pinot Noir. He found, however, that Pinot Noir from warmer areas in California were too heavy. His searched for a proper region to grow Pinot Noir found him in what is now known as the Sta. Rita Hills. He laughs when he remembers driving up and down Highway 246 between Buellton and Lompoc holding a thermometer out the window of his car as he took temperature readings. He ended up coming to the Sta. Rita Hills for reasons of climate only and settled on a site which eventually became Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. Until his venture, most of the winegrowers in Santa Barbara County sold their fruit in bulk to northern California producers who incorporated the grapes into bulk blends and inexpensive wines.
Beginning in 2002, a number of events played out and Richard lost his namesake winery to his business partners at Sanford (Terlato Family and Paterno Wines), but retained ownership of the El Jabali Vineyard adjacent to the tasting room, assumed a lease on the La Encantada Vineyard and began a new venture, Alma Rosa Vineyards & Winery, which released its first wines in 2004. Bruno d'Alphonso, who was the long-time winemaker at Sanford, left to start his own label, and Christan Roguenant was brought on as the winemaker at Alma Rosa. Alma Rosa reacquired the original tasting room (pictured right).
Richard was instrumental in obtaining recognition of Sta. Rita Hills as a distinct American Viticultural Area. His legacy is assured, even though the Sanford Winery website fails to recognize Richard or Thekla Sanford for any of their founding achievements. Richard and Thekla have shown an untiring devotion to charitable work and commitment to conservation, sustainability and altruistic endeavors.
In 2012, Alma Rosa Vineyards & Winery filed for bankruptcy, but the winery operations have continued unchanged and it is hoped the winery will be able to successfully reorganize. The tasting room remains open.
Alma Rosa produces Pinot Noir from El Jabali Vineyard and La Encantada Vineyard, both of which are in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and are certified organic. The wines are consistently excellent.
Articles About Alma Rosa Vineyards & Winery
Alma Rosa: The Newest from Richard Sanford (7.12 2/12/2009)
Legends of California Pinot Noir (7.24 8/28/2009)
Pinot Briefs (9.10 8/22/2012)
Pinot Briefs (8.45 11/1/2011)
Pinot on the River 2010: Wilted in the Rain (8.25 11/7/2010)
Sta. Rita Hills Wine & Fire (6.33 7/23/2007)
WOPN: 7th Heaven for Pinot Geeks (6.18 3/5/2007)
2007 Alma Rosa Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $38, 6,301 cases, screw cap. · Rich and thick aromas of dark fruits and smoke. Deep, dark and intense black raspberry flavor with noticeable but fine-grained tannins and good acidity. Needs substantial food. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Alma Rosa El Jabali Vineyard Mt. Eden Clone, Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 236 cases, $49, screw cap. · Perfumed and floral with spiced raisins dominating. Light in the mouth with rich and juicy raspberry fruit finishing with a flourish of tannin. The most pinotosity and elegance of the three single clone bottlings. Tasted the next day from an opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was more approachable indicating patience is required. Hands off for 2-3 years. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard Clone 667 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 234 cases, $49, screw cap. · This wine has an interesting aromatic profile showing cherries, earth, oak and masa. A bit of heat peaks out. Composed of both red and blue fruits with oak playing a backup role. Medium-bodied a silky mouth feel and noticeable tannin. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard Clone 777 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 235 cases, $49, screw cap. · Pleasant aromas of smoke-tinged black cherry. Dark berries and cherries form a healthy and flashy core of fruit. Smooth, silky and clean with moderate ripe tannins. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $49, screw cap. · Shy but pleasant black fruits and polished smoky wood on the nose. Sweet and plentiful black raspberry fruit with an oak accent. The wine sports plenty of dry tannins and a clean and lingering finish. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 Alma Rosa El Jabali Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir Vin Gris
13.8% alc., $20, screw cap. · The wine has a pretty orange-coral color that matches the color of the capsule. On the nose, tropical fruits, pineapple and butter give way in the glass to strawberries, persimmons, orange peel, marzipan and a hint of oak. Flavors echo the aromas with admirable richness and viscosity. Very food friendly due to the lively acidity which provides a bright and refreshing finish. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »
2005 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
1,500 cases, $49, screw cap. · Like the 2004 version of this wine, it is plush with red and dark fruits, but nicely restrained and balanced. One of the great wines among many leading the charge in the Santa Rita Hills. Reviewed March 5, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Alma Rosa La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
1,500 cases, $49, screw cap. · The La Encantada has fabulous bright cherry aromatics, deep berry flavors with earth, spice and anise overtones, and a beautifully balanced format. Reviewed July 23, 2007 ARTICLE »
2004 Alma Rosa Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.0% alc. $40, screw cap. · This wine is holding its own nicely. I prefer it over the 2007 version. Lovely red cherry popsicle flavors that are crisp and clean with a hint of smoke, wood and grass. Very mild tannins still linger, bright acidity lifts the finish and the wine drinks beautifully. Reviewed February 12, 2009 ARTICLE »
PRINCE OF PINOT |
PinotFile ARCHIVE |
ABOUT THE PRINCE |
PINOT WINERY DIRECTORY
TRAVEL ALONG THE PINOT TRAIL | PINOT FESTIVALS | PODCASTS AND VIDEO | TESTIMONIALS | GRAPE RADIO | LINKS
© 2003-2011 Rusty Gaffney MD | Contact the Prince: Prince@PrinceOfPinot.com