You’ll almost miss the gravel road that leads to Alma Rosa if you’re looking the other way! Five miles down the twisty Santa Rosa Road, near Buellton, lies Alma Rosa. Tucked in the oaks, down a dusty gravel road lies a real treasure. It doesn’t have the flashy curb appeal of the larger production wineries in Foxen Canyon because there are NO curbs!
Alma Rosa is the lovechild of the 1970’s wine pioneers Richard and Thekla Sanford ~ artfully recreated in the Sideways movie, it remains, unchanged. Much to my dismay, this time around, Chris, the bearded Willie Nelson look-a-like, was not working there. I was told he was “taking a break”. Chris, does however, continue to write the lofty wine descriptions which are as fun as the wines are good!
Alma Rosa was the first vineyard in Santa Barbara County to earn the Certified Organic designation, a combination of “nature and agriculture in sustainable harmony.” Considered a small production winery, Alma Rosa offers a nice selection of white wines but is best known for the Pinot Noirs. The proximity to the coast with its cooling effects on the grapes, is the ideal climate for Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.
Start your wine tasting with the 2009 Pinot Blanc, a delightful peach-meets-melon white wine, ideal for Summer afternoons on the patio, or the 2011 Pinot Noir-Vin Gris, a rose- colored, crisp dry wine with hints of strawberry and pink grapefruit. Progress to the coveted Pinot Noir lineup. The 2011 Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, is earthy, jammy and easy drinking. La Encantada Vineyards are the cream of the crop at Alma Rosa. The 2011Pinot Noir “Clone 115” and the 2010 Pinot Noir Mt Eden Clone from El Jabali Vineyards are superb and show great promise for holding. There are many library wines available, some of the best of the Clone 667 from La Encantada can be found here.
The Alma Rosa wine club is excellent on many levels. Not only do you receive the new releases, but also, the wine shipments can be as small as two bottles. Tastings are always complimentary and there is a 20% discount of all wines. www.almarosawinery.com