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Flying Goat Cellars

Owner(s) Norm Yost
Web site www.flyinggoatcellars.com
 
Link to this site

Veteran winemaker, Norm Yost, produces small lots of several Pinot Noirs from vineyards in Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. He is a true garagiste with a small winery in the Lompoc “wine ghetto.”

While living in Oregon, Yost was having trouble keeping the wild blackberry vines in his back yard under control before a friend suggested he acquire a pair of goats to fend off the onslaught. Norm bought two pygmy goats, "Never" and "Epernay," and in short order found they not only ate the blackberry vines, they ate everything. They were also a source of comical entertainment. Yost notes, "They always inspire me and make me laugh with their unrestrained spiral loops, flipper turns and straight-legged leaps."

When Yost moved to California's south Central Coast, he launched an unnamed winery. Agonizing over a handle that would reflect the quality of his wines as well as incorporate his irreverent take on the stuffy attitude adopted by many wine producers, he decided to name his new project after his kids. In this case, his "kids" were his two goats which he had brought with him from Oregon and the name Flying Goat Cellars was chosen. The Flying goat label is a whimsical rendering of a horned goat flying over a moonlit mountainside surrounded by a crescent moon with six stars twinkling amidst a red and black checkered border.

His wines have been consistently fine in recent years and the sparkler made from Pinot Noir, "Goat Bubbles," is outstanding. The wines are largely sold through a mailing list.

Reviewed Wines

2010 Flying Goat Cellars Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $N/A. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. I was really drawn to the nose on this wine which offered scintillating aromas of spicy cherries. The cherry flavors don’t quite have the impact of the aromas but the wine is nicely balanced and very smooth in the mouth. Good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Flying Goat Cellars Rio Vista Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $N/A. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Black cherries are the theme in this middleweight wine with good fruit concentration. Well-managed tannins and a refreshing kiss of cherry on the finish. Good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Flying Goat Cellars Solomon Hills Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., $N/A. · Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromatic with appealing scents of dark red fruits, rose petals and herbs. A delicate, refined wine offering savory red fruits and a crisp cut of underlying acidity. On the lean side and composed of barely ripe fruit, but a reflection of the vintage and an easy drinker that is food friendly. Good. Reviewed April 13, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Flying Goat Cellars Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Goat Bubbles Blanc de Blanc

12.8% alc., 239 cases, pH 3.02, TA 0.82, $38. Released April 28, 2012. Chardonnay clone 15. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermentation, moved to neutral French oak barrels remaining on lees through summer with lees stirring every two weeks to encourage malolactic fermentation. In August, the wine was filtered and decanted into sparkling wine bottles, a tirage of sugar and yeast added and a crown cap applied. Secondary fermentation occurred in bottle. After 9 months of aging, the wine was riddled and then disgorged by hand, a small amount of dosage added, and the wine sealed with the Goat Bubbles signature was cap. · Very cool package and label. Pale golden yellow color with a good bead in the glass. Aromas of lemon and green apple with nutty and yeasty accents. A sublime mix of an array of flavors including lemon, lime, pineapple, vanilla, and almond with a leesey underpinning. Entirely satisfying, with bright, cleansing acidity directing a dry, lemony finish that urges you to take another sip. An extraordinary California sparkling wine at a ridiculously modest price considering the quality and work that goes into producing a wine of this pedigree. Score: 95. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Flying Goat Cellars Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.7% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.67, 170 cases, $48. Released April 13, 2011. A 225-acre vineyard owned by Foley Family Wines and located on Highway 246 between Buellton and Lompoc. Clone 667. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Highly nuanced nose with aromas of ripe Bing cherry, boysenberry jam, black grape, spice and toasty oak. Full-flavored, featuring dark stone and berry fruit, threatening, but never crossing the over ripe fence. Silky and agile, with balanced tannins and plenty of black cherry and blackberry singing on the finish. Score: 90. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Flying Goat Cellars Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.59, 148 cases, $50. Released September 29, 2012. Inaugural vintage from this vineyard. Old vines in Block N, Martini clone. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is lacking in fruit, offering aromas of spicy oak and conifer. Mid weight dark red berry fruit has an herbal undertone. Juicy and pleasant with good balance, but not exciting. Just not enough going on in the glass to bring you back. Unchanged the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 87. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Flying Goat Goat Bubbles Santa Maria Valley Sparkling Brut Rosé

12.7% alc., pH 3.09, no RS, 240 cases, $32. Released December 2010. Whole cluster pressed, and vinified as if to be a still rosé. After 8 months of aging in neutral French Oak barrels, the wine was decanted into sparkling wine bottles, a tirage of sugar and yeast added and a crown cap applied. Secondary fermentation continued in the bottle. The wine was disgorged after 5 months of aging and riddling. · Attractive pink coral color in the glass. Aromatically pleasing scents of strawberries, roses and a hint of yeast. Crisp, bright and dry, with flavors of red berries (cranberries, strawberries), melon and a hint of vanilla. A thoroughly enjoyable sparkling wine and unique in its origins. Very Good. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2009 Flying Goat Cellars Rio Vista Vineyard Dijon Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., pH 3.75, TA 0.519, 240 cases, $46. Released April 28, 2012. Clones 115, 667 and 777. Grapes were de-stemmed, inoculated fermentation, hand punch downs, aged 18 months in 35% new French oak barrels. Light filtration followed by additional bottle aging. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is closed for business initially, slowly giving up aromas of black cherry, black raspberry and smoky oak. Extremely pleasurable on the palate due to seamless winemaking and pleasing acid tension. Good depth and richness of dark berry and black plum flavor with a hint of cola, finishing with a slick burst of fruit with noticeable persistence. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 91. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 Flying Goat Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.68, 216 cases, $44. Released September 2010. The 161-acre Dierberg Vineyard was planted in 1997 at the southern end of the Santa Maria Valley. A blend of clone 115 and 31 (Martini). Last vintage of this wine for Flying Goat. Aged 14 months in 30% new French oak barrels and bottle aged an additional 9 months. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. On the nose there are loamy dark fruits with hints of sawdust and mocha. Medium weighted and slightly sweet dark stone fruits make up the theme. The wine is earthy and modestly tannic with a silky presence. The impression is fruit rather than nuance. Unchanged the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good. Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Flying Goat Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., pH 3.69, TA 0.65, 103 cases, $46. This vineyard is owned by Bill Foley of Foley Family Wines and is actually more like a quilt of many small vineyards, as each block has been planted to match the right variety, rootstock and clone for each particular slope and soil type. This wine is from the heart of the vineyard and is Dijon clone 667. · Moderately deep color in the glass. Very aromatic with showy aromas of black cherries, black plums and a hint of spice and oak. The flavors echo the nose. Modestly endowed and smoothly textured with hints of cardamon spice, raisins and oak in the background on the long finish. Unchanged the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good (+). Reviewed August 13, 2011 ARTICLE »

2007 Flying Goat Rio Vista Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Clone 115 Pinot Noir

(barrel sample) · Sappy young fruit on the nose, probably not finished MLF. LEGS in the glass. Rich, round, laser pure, dark fruits. Fine length and integrated acid and tannin. Very promising. Reviewed March 23, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Flying Goat Rio Vista Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Dijon Clones Pinot Noir

Dark color, dark fruits and herbs, prominent oak. Huge and glycerol-sweet. Finish more open with time in glass. Reviewed March 23, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Flying Goat Cellars Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., 425 cases, $42. Norm Yost produces small lots of several Pinot Noirs from vineyards in Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. He is a true garagiste with a small winery in the Lompoc “wine ghetto.” He has been at it for many years, knows what he is doing, and his wines have been consistently fine in recent years. · Nice clean mineral infused cherry fruit on the entry which follows through to the finish. Not particularly complex but well-crafted, harmonious and easy to drink. Reviewed December 16, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Flying Goat Cellars Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

($42) · Every bit as good as the Rancho Santa Rosa bottling and still available. The Dierberg is aromatically stylish with a palate which is soft, plush, long and tasty. Flat out beautiful. Oh, the Dierberg also won a Gold Medal in the same competition. Reviewed March 5, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Flying Goat Cellars Rancho Santa Rosa Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

$44. This wine won the Red Wine Sweepstakes Award at the 2007 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (now sold out not surprisingly). · Reviewed March 5, 2007 ARTICLE »

2005 Flying Goat Cellars Rio Vista Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

$45. · Reviewed July 23, 2007 ARTICLE »

2004 Flying Goat Cellars Rio Vista Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

$45. · Both 2004 and 2005 wines exhibit beautifully balance with scrumptious cherry fruit and deft touch of oak. They both have lovely depth and richness of flavor that carries over to a finish of great persistence. Highly recommended. Reviewed July 23, 2007 ARTICLE »