Ballard Canyon AVA is no longer a well-kept secret. As a matter of fact, my recent travels took me along the winding backcountry roads to Rusack Vineyards. The oak-studded rolling hills and dramatic backdrop was ideal for my quest for the perfect Ballard Canyon Syrah and a dose of much-needed serenity.
Unpretentious and inviting, Rusack Vineyards‘ tasting room was a welcome sight, as it is one of the few tasting rooms in the pristine Ballard Canyon.
Seventeen acres were planted primarily with Syrah. Alongside the Syrah are smaller blocks of Bordeaux varietals ~ Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Petit Sirah, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are planted on the couples’ Santa Catalina Island vineyard, El Rancho Escondido.
Ballard Canyon was officially recognized as an AVA in October 2013 and is part of the greater Santa Ynez Valley AVA, which encompasses a 30 mile east-west corridor area.
“As the only AVA dedicated to Syrah, Ballard Canyon has emerged as the “home” of Syrah in America. Based on the quality being produced, Ballard Canyon’s reputation is continuing to grow within the world of boutique wine.”
Of particular note is the 2013 Syrah, Ballard Canyon Estate Reserve, redolent of cassis and blackberry with a hint of licorice, concentrated dried cherries and a touch of rich cocoa . The luscious 2013 Soul of the Vine Dessert Wine, Estate Grown is handcrafted from botrytisized (Noble Rot) Semillon. This unctuous honey-hued wine is modeled after a sweet Bordeaux-style dessert wine, brimming with honeysuckle, pear, orange and caramel. Truly fiit for a king! www.rusack.com