Stats, Facts & Maps on Santa Barbara Wine Country
I admit that the Santa Barbara Wine Country near the Californian coast was always a bit of a mystery to me. It took a 5 hour car journey from the San Francisco Bay Area and a conveniently located Wine Bloggers Conference in Buellton for me to really appreciate this enigmatic gem of a wine destination. Santa Barbara Wine Country sits between San Francisco and Los Angeles and about forty miles NW of the coastal city of Santa Barbara. The coastal mountains unusually transverse East to West instead of the the typical North to South coastal ridge seen elsewhere along this Western stretch of California. This geology allows the climatic Pacific breeze to penetrate deeper inland and provide a cooler and longer growing season for the perfectly positioned Santa Barbara Wine Country. The resulting style for both the red and whites is generally a more sophisticated glass of wine. Unsurprisingly, it is the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape that seem to enjoy these slightly cooler growing conditions and the marine-calcium rich soils that lend the wine a certain elegance. If I were to take away from the wine conference one recommended Pinot and one Chardonnay it would be the Hilliard Bruce 2010 ‘Sun’ Pinot Noir ($55 approx) and the Alma Rosa 2010 ‘El Jabalí’ Chardonnay ($28), both from the Santa Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara Wine Country. I matched the Alma Rosa Chardonnay with a chicken and peach skewer recipe I created a little while back - see the blog post. The Hilliard Bruce Pinot went down so well with another Jambip food creation - my blackberry and basil pork with couscous - I actually forgot to immortalize it via a photo. Fortunately, I have a lasting memory of an evening tour around this unique winery where John Hilliard’s dedication to vineyard quality and SIP certification and Christine Bruce’s passion for perfection are unsurpassed. This talented partnership follows through into an incredible bottle of wine.
My self-designed infographic (click on image for larger version to print out) will hopefully provide an insight into the location of Santa Barbara Wine Country; a breakdown of varietals grown by red and white; a brief history of the area and some useful facts and figures. Please feel free to pin, like or comment below on this blog post and let me know if you’re ever fortunate enough to head over that way.
Read the previous post: Chicken and Peach Skewers with Pedro Ximénès sherry marinade
Read the next post: Pointing the fracking finger: Finger Lakes Wines