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Summerland Winery is a boutique producer that sources grapes from multiple vineyards in the Central Coast from Santa Barbara County north to Monterey County. This negociant winery has burst onto the Central Coast wine landscape since its founding by Nebil “Bilo” Zarif in 2001. Zarif was previously the owner of Barnwood Vineyards which he started in 1994. He initially bought 30 acres of land in the Cuyama Valley in Santa Barbara County and expanded the property to 800 acres of vineyards. He also acquired the Maison Deutz Winery as a silent partner which became Laetitia. In 2001, he sold his interest in both Barnwood and Laetitia and founded Summerland Winery.
As a resident of Summerland, a hillside community overlooking the Santa Barbara Channel just south of Santa Barbara, it was natural to name his new venture after his beloved home community. He opened a quaint tasting room in Summerland at 2330 Lillie Ave which is open to the public Tuesday thru Sunday from 11-6. Zarif brought talented winemaker Etienne Terlinden with him from Barnwood and Laetitia. Terlinden acquired an appreciation for wine at an early age, playing hide-and-seek in his grandfather’s wine cellar at his home outside of Brussels, Belgium. He also makes wine for his own label, Cordon, a boutique Rhone wine label, and The Santa Maria Winery. All winemaking is done at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria, California. Despite contrasting lifestyles, (Zarif is an avid polo player and Terlinden is a surfer) they have formed a highly successful partnership.
Summerland is an ambitious operation producing 10,000-15,000 cases annually of multiple varieties. The wines are sold on the website and through fine retailers. Multiple varietals are produced with several Pinot Noirs: Santa Barbara County, Santa Rita Hills Vintner's Select, Edna Valley Vintner's Select, and single-vineyard wines from Fiddlestix Vineyard (Sta. Rita Hills), Bien Nacido Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley), Rancho Santa Rosa (Sta. Rita Hills), Solomon Hills Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley), Wolff Vineyard (Edna Valley), Odyssey-Thurlestone Vineyard (Edna Valley). Both the 2004 and 2005 Summerland Pinot Noir from Fiddlestix Vineyard were very good wines. The website is www.summerlandwine.com and the phone is 805-565-WINE (9463).
2006 Summerland Winery Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 430 cases, $36. · A nice drink that begins with a complex perfume of red cherries, barnyard and hay. Dried and tart cherry flavors with a hint of cookie dough and grass. Simple and a bit shallow on the back end, but an easy drinker. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »
2006 Summerland Winery Fiddlestix Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 430 cases, $48. From the winery’s Single Vineyard Collection. Clones 113, 667, 777, and Pommard. 6-7 day cold soak, fermentation in 1.5 ton open-top fermenters with hand punch downs, Assmanhausen yeast innoculation, 20-25 day maceration, and aging in 1/3 new Francois Freres cooperage for 11 months. · The nose is a killer. Expressive perfume of crushed black cherries, baking spice, subtle oak, and a hint of fecundity that comes and goes. Black cherry and berry fruit is set off by a touch of herbs and loamy earth with reigned in tannins and lively acidity. Drinking beautifully now. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »
2004 Summerland Winery Bien Nacido Vineyard Block T Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 800 cases, $40. The grapes for this wine came from one of the oldest section if vines at Bien Nacido Vineyard, planted to Clone 22 in 1973. Pommard has been added between the old vine rows. An initial cold soak is followed by fermentation in 1.5-ton open-top fermenters using inoculated yeast, punch downs by hand, and aging in 100% Francois Frères cooperage (33% new) for 11 months. · Lovely aromas of cherries and cranberries are duplicated in the flavors with a touch of pepper. Just the right touch of refined acidity. I wanted to nibble on this one. Reviewed May 30, 2006
2004 Summerland Winery Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 300 cases, $40. The Santa Rosa Vineyard has 59 micro-blocks creating a slew of diversity. A variety of clones are included in this wine: 2A, Pommard, 667 and 777. · I caught this bottle in a funk (and only one bottle to taste). There were no defects, but the flavors were simple and the wine lacked any heart and soul. A shy nose offered aromas of cherries, vanilla and touch of distillate. The dark fruit flavors were flat. This is the tricky part of Pinot Noir: it can be beautiful as a rose one week and disjointed and pouty the next. Reviewed May 30, 2006
2004 Summerland Winery Fiddlestix Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 425 cases, $48. Kathy Joseph's 133-acre Fiddlestix Vineyard is one of the finest sites for Pinot Noir in the Santa Rita Hills. Grapes for this wine were Pommard, 113, 667 and 777 clones. · The wine has a beautiful dark violet robe. The aromas and flavors make me think of blackberry jam spread thickly on a hearty piece of toast. There is plenty of spice, some plums as well, and a hint of forest floor. Soft, ripe tannins caress the fruit. The wine is very plush and silky in the mouth and the fruity finish lingers for at least ten seconds. As Mick Jagger would say, "It's only Pinot Noir, but I like it." Reviewed June 5, 2006
2003 Summerland Wineery Chamisal Vineyard Edna Valley Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 630 cases, $33. · A light-bodied wine that is not terribly complex but possesses attractive flavors of cherries, earth and oak with a hint of spice. Very mellow over time in the glass and an excellent accompaniment to grilled chicken. Reviewed May 30, 2006