Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kris Curran moves on from Seasmoke to....

Looks like 2008 is going to be a big year for Kris Curran. After working to make Seasmoke probably one of the most successful names in Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills, she's moving on to help Bill Foley develop a new project. This project will be the transformation of the previously named Ashley's Vineyard,(when Fess Parker owned it) to Las Hermanas under Foley. Just to keep track, this vineyard was sold by the Parkers to John Zahoudanis and known as Gaia for a time. Read more here on that deal.

I know this vineyard can make great Pinot Noir based on my experience with wines sourced from there. Las Hermanas is only 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean on Highway 246 near Lompoc. I believe this makes it the westernmost vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. It certainly will provide lots of cool nights for some exciting Pinot in the future. Considering her track record, we are looking forward to what Las Hermanas will bring in 2008 and beyond.
Kris Curran will also be continuing her work on her own label which you can taste at Trio in Solvang. We also look forward to her further investigation of Spanish Varietals including the still fermenting Grenache Gris we got to taste at Trio.

Since it was still fermenting, it was still cloudy. The color reminded me of guava juice. On the nose, it smelled of melon and spice and it tasted of mango and guava fruit. This is my impression of a still fermenting wine and thus not representative of the final product but it has some pretty exciting fruit and spice already. I’m pretty sure that this was the first time I had any Grenache Gris from Santa Barbara County or from anywhere for that matter. The varietal is also known as Garnacha Rosa or Grey Grenache. Grenache is like Pinot in that there are three color related varietals. ( Noir, Blanc, Gris) According to Kris, this fruit came from Tierra Alta on the top of Ballard Canyon above Stolpman Vineyards and the rootstock was sourced from an 83 year old vineyard in Mendocino. Kris stressed to us that the overwhelming positive reception from her Grenache Blanc indicated to her that wine drinkers are no longer content with ordering a house cabernet or chardonnay. She believes that wine drinkers have a more adventurous spirit when it comes to wine and her new label Santanyana is going to focus on Spanish varietals to continue to encourage the exploration of new wines. We here at WCWC Adventures couldn’t agree more with her assessment. Fun Fact: Santanyana is named for George Santanyana known for his famous quote: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” A useful lesson to remember and an exciting future for Santa Barbara County wines.

WCWC Adventures would also like to congratulation Kris and Bruno for getting married in December. Just to let you know they will be having a Valentines lovers of the vine Winemaker Dinner Event on Feb 8th at Los Olivos Cafe. Wish them well if you get to attend.

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