“Jazz is like wine. When it is new, it is only for the experts, but when it gets older, everybody wants it.”
-Steve Lacy, Saxophonist
It has been an incredible year since our ﬁrst release of La Voix! This fall we are releasing an entirely different selection of wines and I would love to take this opportunity to tell you why…
When I moved to Santa Barbara County to immerse myself in wine production, most of the conversations that were happening in the wine community at the time were focused exclusively on which varietals of grapes should be grown where. Most of the vineyards (some of which have become iconic) were planted to a plethora of varietals, mostly driven by other wine markets.
It seemed impossible at the time that one appellation could host grapes as diverse as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, not to mention more obscure and less in demand Italian, German and Austrian varietals. With time, the conversations took more focus and extraordinary leaps were made both in farming and understanding this amazing region.
When I started Palmina in 1995, I was determined to prove that Northern Italian varietals could not only thrive in Santa Barbara County, but that they could rival the wines from their Italian counterparts. It has been an incredible 21 year journey and a very fulﬁlling one as well. Palmina Arneis, Dolcetto, Barbera and especially Nebbiolo have performed beyond everyone’s expectations, won more blind tastings, garnered more accolades and provided more pleasure to make than I could have possibly imagined.
The creation of Brewer-Clifton was driven by a desire to focus exclusively on one small portion of Santa Barbara County, namely what is now known as the Sta. Rita Hills. Every aspect of the project has always been focused on highlighting the unique qualities that are evident on different sites, even within a very small geographic area. The discipline and the structure of the project have been incredibly enlightening and informative.
Over the course of my 25 year career in making wine in Santa Barbara County, giant strides have been made in the understanding of what grapes can be grown in each sub-region of the county. New appellations have been established, including Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District, Happy Canyon, not to mention the original Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley. These new delineations have done a lot to provide new information and understanding of the incredibly diverse region we live and grow grapes in. Still… it is hard for anyone to wrap their head around the fact that all of the aforementioned grapes can not only grow here, but on a world class level.
Herein lies the intention behind La Voix: We are motivated to showcase and express the incredible diversity and capabilities of this amazing American Viticultural Area. Last year we were proud to release three single-vineyard Pinot Noirs from La Voix. With this release we offer a Chardonnay from the Sta. Rita Hills, a Syrah from Ballard Canyon and a Santa Barbara County Cabernet Sauvignon blend.
2016 Fall Release Offerings
2015 HERE AND HEAVEN Chardonnay, John Sebastiano Vineyard
Made from one of the ﬁrst clones of Chardonnay brought to California from the Montrachet vines of Burgundy, this delicious white delivers loads of high frequency fruit with tones of citrus and bright, fresh herbal notes of sweet basil and lemon thyme. Grown on the cool, wind exposed slopes of the Sta. Rita Hills, this wine delicately shows the ocean inﬂuence so typical of this region. The wine was allowed to ferment naturally on its own yeast in French oak barrels and aged in the same for 10 months. Bottled July 19th, the goal was to capture all of the wine’s illuminating citrus and tight mineral backbeat. These crisp, lively ﬂavors have constantly reminded me of the treble laden sounds of mandolin and banjo juxtaposed against each other, which is why I chose the Bluegrass inspirations of Chris Thile’s song Here and Heaven to represent the musical direction that I feel the wine expresses. A rounder and warmer bottom end underscores the wine with notes of peach, lemon cream and light honey.
PRODUCTION : 150 CASES SRP : $55
2014 SO WHAT Syrah, Rancho San Ysidro
Rancho San Ysidro sits on a perfectly South facing slope on the southern end of the Ballard Canyon AVA. The site incorporates the ﬁnest inﬂuences of wind, soil and weather that only Santa Barbara County can offer. With the cooler nighttime temperatures and maritime fog pushing from the Paciﬁc and the warm afternoons driven by the Central Valleys, this location combines all of the necessary conditions to perfectly ripen Rhone Varieties.
The grapes are fermented in open top fermenters utilizing only the yeast that is provided by the vineyard. An extended macera-tion allows the wine to remain in contact with its skins for 28 days. Pressed directly to barrel, the wine ages in French Oak and enjoys the kiss of 10% new wood.
The nose shows nutmeg and mace with a slight hint of Mexican sage and cinnamon. As the wine opens you ﬁnd the distinct essence of smoked pork and black cherry. On the palate are pomegranate, blackberry and black plum skin. The wine ﬁnishes with a velvety richness and a touch of aged balsamic.
So What resonates at a frequency that, for me is reminiscent of the color blue. It is for this reason that I chose to highlight the ﬁrst cut from Miles Davis’ iconic album Kind of Blue, So What.
PRODUCTION : 122 CASES SRP : $40
2015 ECSTASY OF GOLD syrah, santa barbara county
To truly showcase the uncanny diversity of Santa Barbara County, we have created an amalgam of fruit sourced from the Los Olivos District, Happy Canyon, and the Santa Maria Valley. With Bordeaux varieties being the latest genre of wines to garner attention and acclaim in this region, I wanted to draw not only on my experience here in Santa Barbara County of working with such pioneers as Fred Brander of Brander Vineyards, but also the experience garnered working in other upstart regions such as Mendoza, Argentina and Walla Walla, Washington. Over seven years of work in both of these very diverse regions has given me what I consider a unique perspective on working with these varietals.
Not looking to create emulations of wines from Northern California, or Bordeaux for that matter, the goal with La Voix is to focus on the unique characteristics that this region provides to make outstanding wines. With Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from both the Baehner–Fournier Vineyard in the Los Olivos District and the Vogelzang Vineyard in Happy Canyon, the wine demonstrates a power and authority with classic Cabernet features. Blending in 10% Malbec from Santa Maria’s Sisquoc Vineyard and 10% Merlot from the Honea Vineyard in Los Olivos, the results are a prettier, rounder ﬁnish with hints of both rusticity and elegance.
Dried sorrel and marjoram mix with aromas of dried plum, vanilla, blonde Virginia tobacco and violets. Bing and black cherry, red plum with a slight mint quality give way to pleasing glove leather and lavender notes.
Finding a musical counterpart proved much more challenging for this wine. How to combine these qualities of tradition and authoritative power, with a softer prettier lilt, all the while maintaining a rustic bass line…
Finally one night as I began to watch the classic Spaghetti Western The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, I heard the majestic yet simple tones of Ennio Morricone’s Ecstasy of Gold. As the opening mood creator for the movie unfolded, I knew that this song ﬁt the bill. I have long felt that the music of Ennio Morricone ﬁts in so many food situations and was anxious to highlight my love for his work in this humble way.
PRODUCTION : 122 CASES SRP : $65