Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Canyon Vineyards: Barrack Brand wines

Santa Barbara County became famous for Pinot because of a certain movie. I agree there are great Pinot's but there's more than Pinot in Santa Barbara County. One of the more exciting developments are the wines from Happy Canyon. Bordeaux varietals are growing well there and they are a great bargain considering the quality of these wines. I 'm betting that it may not be that way for long.

The Barrack Brand's winemaker is Doug Margerum. Tom and Laurel Barrack, through Colony Capital, also owns Ch√Ęteau Lascombes in Bordeaux. I think this gives you a hint of the kind of money and thinking behind Happy Canyon.

I recently had the Barrack Brand Bordeaux blend and it has rich fruit, dark earth, chewy tannins, and just a fabulous velvetly mouthfeel. The Barrack 2004 "Ten-Goal", Santa Ynez Valley is the higher end wine and its a classic blend of cab, merlot, and cab franc. Happy Canyon also has a polo field on it, hence the name Ten-Goal which apparantly means you are an awesome polo player which I suppose is quite rare like the wine.

For the price, I really enjoy the Piocho which is a bordeaux blend( mostly merlot). Piocho is the Indian name for the property and also the name of the owner's polo team. Despite whatever some movie tells you, there are good merlots. Plus with all the Pinot hype, these wines get overlooked and you'll get a bargain. At least they'll be a bargain till someone makes a movie about how much they love bordeaux blends from Santa Barbara County.

I've found these wines at Wade's Wine in Agoura Hills,CA, Wine Country in Los Olivos, and Tastes of the Valley in Solvang.


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