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John Zahoudanis, a native of Greece, purchased land from two established sites totaling 213 acres in Santa Barbara County in 2005, 15 years after it was planted. A new label, Demetria Estates (after his daughter), was launched in 2006. The Demetria Vineyard (formerly the Andrew Murray Vineyard) is located in Santa Ynez Valley and is suited to Rhone varietals. The Gaia Vineyard (formerly Ashley’s Vineyard planted in 1999 to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc) is one of the coolest sites at the western boundary of the Sta. Rita Hills Appellation. You may continue to see the name Ashley’s Vineyard on labels from wineries that source grapes from the Gaia Vineyard. The Gaia Vineyard label is dedicated to Burgundian varietals.
The vineyards are managed by Jeff Newton of Coastal Vineyard Care and are farmed biodynamically under the direction of vineyard consultant Phillippe Armenier.
The Mediterranean- styled winery (purchased from Andrew Murray in 2006) is located in Los Olivos at 6701 Foxen Canyon Road.
The inaugural releases from the 2005 vintage were crafted by winemaker Mike Roth who has experience in California’s Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara regions. He was replaced in 2011 by Harry Waye, an Australian native after working at Demetria as a cellar and vineyard worker
Tours and tasting by appointment. The wines are sold through a mailing list.
2005 Demetria Sta. Rita Hills Jours de Bonheur Pinot Noir
14.2% alc., 725 cases, $35. Dijon clones 114 and 777. · This is a beautifully crafted wine that grows on you over time. The nose is flush with woodsy and barnyard aromas. A charming cherry core of fruit is enhanced by spice and mocha. Nicely balanced and easy to drink, this is the most approachable wine of the trio. The first two wines are still reticent and will reward reassessment in a few years. Reviewed July 23, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Demetria Sta. Rita Hills Le Bélier Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 297 cases, $45. Dijon clones 114 and 777. · The shy nose can be coaxed with swirling to reveal black cherry and spice. The flavors feature dark fruits with soy, tea and tobacco. The texture is soft and alluring, the finish taut and woodsy. Reviewed July 23, 2007 ARTICLE »
2005 Demetria Sta. Rita Hills Cuvée Sandra Pinot Noir
14.9% alc., 247 cases, $55. Pommard and Dijon clone 777. · Earthy, smokey and forest floor aromatics lead to satisfying black cherry and anise flavors. The tannins are fine-grained and the overall impression is finesse. The alcohol can peak out as the wine warms in the glass. Reviewed July 23, 2007 ARTICLE »