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Santa Barbara Winery Sta. Rita Hills Riesling 2011

Riesling from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
    13.1% ABV
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    13.1% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The noble grape Riesling is enjoying a well earned resurgence of popularity in America as increasing numbers of writers and chefs become enamored with the wine's flavors and suitability for pairing with a wide range of foods. This particular wine is an off-dry style, with just a hint of sweetness at 2.3% residual sugar. This wine shows great potential.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Santa Barbara Winery

    Santa Barbara Winery

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    Santa Barbara Winery, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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    In 1962, Pierre Lafond re-established Santa Barbara County's winemaking tradition by founding Santa Barbara Winery. The winery was the first since prohibition and is part of an association that has grown to 40 wineries located in Santa Barbara County. In the early years, Pierre made wine from purchased fruit, but soon realized the potential for premium wine made from Santa Barbara County grapes. In 1971, he purchased land in the western Santa Ynez Valley and began planting what is now a 95 acre vineyard. Today, annual production is around 32,000 cases.

    Bruce McGuire was working as a winemaker in the Sacramento Delta in 1981 when Pierre Lafond invited him to take over the winemaking operation at Santa Barbara Winery. Since then, the winery has produced world class red and white wines. Bruce's winemaking philosophy begins in the vineyard. He believes the quality and integrity of the wine is inextricably linked to what happens in the field — from the pruning in the winter, to the harvest in the autumn.

    Sta. Rita Hills

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    A superior source of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, westernmost sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation within Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.

    The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot noir, thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil. Here, grapes ripen just enough, while retaining brisk acidity and harmonious balance.

    Riesling

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    A regal variety of incredible purity and precision, Riesling possesses a remarkable ability to reflect the character of wherever it is grown while still maintaining easily identifiable typicity. This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, still or sparkling and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Riesling is best known in Germany and Alsace, and is also of great importance in Austria. The variety has also been particularly successful in Australia’s Clare and Eden Valleys, New Zealand, Washington, cooler regions of California, and the Finger Lakes region of New York.

    In the Glass

    Riesling typically produces wine with relatively low alcohol, high acidity, steely minerality and stone fruit, spice, citrus and floral notes. At its ripest, it leans towards juicy peach, nectarine and pineapple, while cooler climes produce Rieslings more redolent of meyer lemon, lime and green apple. With age, Riesling can become truly revelatory, developing unique, complex aromatics, often with a hint of petrol.

    Perfect Pairings

    Riesling is quite versatile, enjoying the company of sweet-fleshed fish like sole, most Asian food, especially Thai and Vietnamese (bottlings with some residual sugar and low alcohol are the perfect companions for dishes with substantial spice) and freshly shucked oysters. Sweeter styles work well with fruit-based desserts.

    Sommelier Secret

    It can be difficult to discern the level of sweetness in a Riesling, and German labeling laws do not make things any easier. Look for the world “trocken” to indicate a dry wine, or “halbtrocken” or “feinherb” for off-dry. Some producers will include a helpful sweetness scale on the back label—happily, a growing trend.

    HNYSBWRIG11C_2011 Item# 137345