Although at first sight this may look like a run down farmhouse with some cactus growing along side but don’t be fooled because inside you will find some of my favorite Pinot Noirs in the Santa Rita Valley. The Sanford family were pioneers of the Central Coast Region way before the movie Sideways drew crowds of tourists into the area. Although many of their vines now belong to the Benedicts ( and no matter how i look at it, it seems to have been a shady deal ) at about 40yrs of age they still have some of the oldest Chardonnay Vines in the area. Mr. Sanford is a very relaxed guy who enjoys the simpler life out on his vineyard and chooses to practice organic farming, even when selecting to use twist-off caps rather than cork, which can take decades to regrow. Now although these vines will decrease in production there is a certain flavor and feeling that you get knowing so much time has gone into the growth of the vine. I’ve had a couple of vines that were from 85 year old vines from France and i must say that with age does come character.
Having worked as a Wine Tour guide here in the region for a few years, i’ve tried many of the wineries out here. Some others on my list of recommendations are: Bridlewood for their world class Syrahs, especially their bold flavored “Dusty Trails, Brander Vineyard for Sav. Blanc, Imagine Wines for Zinfandel, Syrah and their newest addition, the 2010 Zinfandel a great party gift, BD or the PD meaning Boxer and Panty Dropper. Other favorites include: Rusack (Riesling), Shoestring (Syrah, Syrah Rose,Merlot, Blends), Fess Parker (Variety), Khoeler (Off-Dry Riesling, Cab, Sangiovese) and Foley (High End Pinot Noir and Chardonnay). Hope you find my recommendations useful !
You can find Alma Rosa just a few miles west of the 101. Exit Santa Rosa Road and head into the Santa Rita Valley. The entrance only has a small sign but look for the first vines on the left side of the road. You’ll have to follow a small rocky road and cross a tiny little waterbed ( easily done with small car ). Just past the homes of the owners you’ll find this hidden gem. Tell them Yens from Captain Jacks sent you !
Or if you want to come on a tour with me into the Santa Ynez or Santa Rita Valley, email me and ill set you up with a great tour of the region.