Sunday, December 30, 2007

Anglophile in Santa Barbara Wine Country

Casa Cassara, hwy 246 Buellton

Though you might miss this tasting room on the side of the road in unassuming Buellton, Casa Cassara is a destination in and of itself for its unique wines. They farm grapes from all over the Santa Rita Hills (an area between Buellton and Lompoc—but that description doesn’t sound as pretty as “the Santa Rita Hills”), and a patch of their own vineyards, but these wines don’t share the characteristics we’ve come to love or loathe about California wines. The 2005 Chardonnay from the Zotovich Family Vineyard was the one I brought home from the tasting. Like most good Chards, it has a bit of butter, but what I found intriguing is the hints of nutmeg and ginger that set this apart from the butter-slathered oak trees I’ve tasted in the past. The very knowledgeable Tasting room lady said that this vineyard used to be lined with Eucalyptus, which still effects the flavor and character of the grapes.

The Rose is also singular. Now I know what you’re thinking: friends don’t let friends drink Pink. I couldn’t agree more, BUT, the Casa Cassara Rose does not taste like wine-soda as most pinks do. It tastes like a wine. It’s light, not too fruity, unusually dry, and something I’d like to have again on a warm summer day, or as an after-dinner aperitif.

The Syrah, though not unusual for it’s genre, also passes muster for a recommendation. It does everything a Syrah should do—it has plumy depths, with a fruity wood aroma, nice and dark just like I like it. It’s not as acidic as the other Syrahs I’ve had, and tends to have a smoother feel, almost along the lines of a Merlot with some backbone.

Article on Wine Festivals on Peter Greenberg's site.
Article on Responsible Wine Tours-- one in Santa Barbara!

Wine tasting.Food and wine. Santa Barbara Wine.