Friday, June 27, 2008

VINO LAS VEGAS travels to the Sta Rita Hills for a weekend with the Winegrowers Alliance Open house

We here at Vino Las Vegas travel
often to bring our readers and viewers a unique and inside look at Food and Wine. One ppellation a that really stands out for us is the Sta Rita Hills located north of Santa Barbara California. This area has not yet been spoiled by many large wineries owned by multinational companys. The appellation has some of the best Pinot Noir , Chardonnay and Syrah in the U.S. if not the world. Recently we traveled to attend the Sta Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance Open House weekend and attended many of the events.

The best way to learn about an appellation is to "walk it". This
year there were two vineyard walks. On the Southside walk , guests joined winegrower Ken "Byron" Brown , Mitchell Klug and
Peter Cargasacchi as they looked at the soil , topography and explained the areas many micro climates at the Salsipuedes Vineyard. Guests on the Northside walk joined Wes Hagan and
Dan Kessler as they walked in the Clos Pepe and Kessler-Haak
Vineyards and discussed the geology and geography of the area.

After a morning walking the vineyards, many of the wineries opened their
doors for an Open House. Some of these wineries are normally open by appointment only. We made a stop at Ampelos Cellars and learned about
bio dynamic farming and then it was on to Alma Rosa winery and lunch
overlooking the LaFond Winery where we enjoyed some barrel samples.

We stopped in at the new winery of D'Alfonso-Curran to enjoy a Food and Wine Experience with
Kris Curran and Bruno D'Alfonso. This was an amzeing event with two extraordinary winemakers and food paired by Chef Kurt Alldredge.

The Gala Reception was a must stop on our list. The reception was held in the historic
Sanford and Benedict vineyard and barn. Many of the wineries such as
Clos Pepe , Sea Smoke and others were there pouring their wines. Wine is best with cheese and The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills and Vinhus of
Slovang did not disappoint us. The location of this historic barn allowed us a great view of the Sanford & Benedict , La Rinconada , Fiddlestix and
Sea Smoke vineyards as the sun was setting over the Sta Rita Hills

For those who wanted more , many of
the winemakers hosted incredible dinners.
Guests could attend a dinner at Clos Pepe, AP Vin and Loring Wine Company or attend a fun casual dinner with Norm Yost and Flying Goat Cellars or eat among the barrels with Pali and Cargasacchi at Pali wine companys new facility.

On Sunday the only place for a Food and Wine lover was the third annual FiddleFest 2008 held in the Fiddlestix vineyard. We enjoyed fiddling music , great wine and food provided by the Hitching Post. This event allows us to enjoy wines from winemakers that craft Fiddlestix designated Pinot Noir.

This weekend alone shows how special this group of
winemakers and winegrowers are. They are a close group and
have been known to help each other when needed. They all have
their own special style of winemaking but when it comes to the
group as a whole, they are close and many are friends.

We feel you can taste the passion and commitment in all of the wines from this appellation and is well worth a trip to see for yourself.

The Sta Rita Hills is one of the smaller AVAs in California, the eastern edge of Sta. Rita Hills is about four miles west of Highway 101 in Buellton and continues to the western boundary, about two miles east of Highway 1 in Lompoc. The southern boundary is the north side of the Santa Rosa Hills, with the northern boundary the south side of the Purisima Hills.

The two east-west oriented valleys are formed by the Purisima Hills to the north, the Santa Rosa Hills to the south and the Santa Ynez River flowing between them to the nearby Pacific Ocean. The valleys and hillsides (centered around Santa Rosa Road and Highway 246) represent some of the most incredible soils and unique climatic influences in the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay world.
The appellation contains a few of the more revered older Pinot Noir vineyards in the state, many of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA vineyards are distinct from those of older wine growing regions. Because most of the vineyards have been planted in the last two decades winegrowers have been able to use new ‘clones’ of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The vineyards and wines have received critical acclaim in a short period of time . When first granted AVA status in 2001, the appellation was known as Santa Rita Hills. The name was officially changed to Sta. Rita Hills in January of 2006, although you may still find wines labeled before that date with the previous name.

Join Vino Las Vegas as well explore the Sta Rita Hills and take you into some of the special events

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Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott