Approaching Cambria Estate Vineyards & Winery from Santa Maria, it’s easy to miss the turnoff unless you’re watching for their sign. The views are panoramic and open as large tracts of vineyards span the river beds for miles along the east-west valley in Santa Maria Valley AVA.
In 1981, the Santa Maria American Viticulture Area was designated as the third AVA in the United States and the first in Santa Barbara County. This unique microclimate leads to early bud break and a long ripening season for the grapes.
Cambria Estate Vineyards and Winery has been touted for over 25 years as a world-class producer of fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. The winery is also SIP Certified, (Sustainability in Practice), a bio-dynamic farming practice that embraces water conservation and the highest utilization of the land.
What makes Cambria Estate Vineyards and Winery even more unique is that it is woman-owned with a woman winemaker at the helm. Vino-preneur Barbara Banke and her two daughters run the day-to-day operations and Denise Shurtleff is the artisan winemaker.
The tasting room is chic and upscale, yet very welcoming. The staff is engaging and friendly and well-versed with the extensive tasting room wine menu. There are eight estate white wines, which are predominately Chardonnay, and eight estate Pinot Noir wines.
The 2012 Unwooded Chardonnay is delightful and crisp with fresh apple and nectarine aromas and flavors. Another single clone Chardonnay favorite is the 2011 Bench Break Chardonnay, rated 91 Points by Wine Enthusiast, a well-balanced wine which exhibits rich aromas of pineapple, white peach and citrus.
For Pinot Noir lovers, Cambria Estate VIneyards and WInery‘s extensive tasting portfolio is one of the best in the Santa Maria Valley AVA. Rated 93 Points by Wine & Spirit Magazine, the 2011 Clone 115 Pinot Noir was stellar with displays of bright blueberry, dark cherry and watermelon fruit. The 2011 Clone 2A Pinot Noir is a Swiss Pinot Noir clone with flavors of bright red fruit and fresh spices, made in the Burgundian earthy style. For me, the liquid velvet is the small-production 2011 Barbara’s Clone 667 Pinot Noir ~ dark, ruby-red in color with luscious ripe blueberry, smoke and earth notes, oh my!
For a memorable tasting experience in the Central Coast Wine Country, visit Cambria Winery & Vineyards www.cambriawines.com