Dating back to the 1850’s the 37,000 acre Rancho Sisquoc is part of a Mexican land grant, snaking along the Sisquoc River 14 miles east of Santa Maria. The Chumash Indians called this pristine land, “Sisquoc”, meaning gathering place.
And what a gathering place Rancho Sisquoc Winery has become! Originally a cattle ranch with plots of beans and barley, today, over 300 acres are planted in vines. Another piece of history adorns the ranch ~ the San Ramon Chapel, declared as Santa Barbara County’s first State Historical Landmark. Erected in 1875, the chapel still holds Sunday services.
Further down the winding gravel road is the rustic tasting room which was constructed in 1977 and overlooks the entire working cattle ranch and hills beyond the river. Rancho Sisquoc Winery‘s tasting room decor is fashioned after an old western saloon and expands to the outside patio in warm weather months.
Ranch Sisquoc’s estate tasting menu is quite impressive featuring more than 12 estate-grown wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Silvaner, a German varietal rarely grown in California.
Both the 2011 Chardonnay and the 2012 Silvaner were exemplary wines, each with unique character.
The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon was well-balanced, exhibiting green peppers and jalapeños on the nose with a smooth finish. Last, but certainly not least, the 2011 Cabernet Franc deserved accolades for the full-bodied intensive black fruit and long finish.
Rancho Sisquoc Winery‘s picnic grounds are beautifully groomed with ample tables and shade cover under the massive oaks. Food pairings are available for purchase too. www.ranchsisquoc.com