Thursday, October 15, 2009

A winery named Curtis

Nestled atop the hills, beginning the wine tasting trail that is in Santa Barbara County, is Curtis Winery. Their tasting room is a must-stop destination to get your tastebuds started before embarking on the windy path through all the great wineries in the area. Their specialties are Rhone style wines cultivated from the fantastic soils of the Santa Ynez Valley that is in Santa Barbara wine country. Rhone wines originate from the Rhone region in Southeastern France. The varietals produced there to make Rhone wines are typically blends of mouverdre, sryah, grenache and cinsault. Curtis nails these wines with excellent depth and varietal expression, specifically with the Heritage Series, which consists of a beautiful cuvee, blanc and rose wine.

The 2006 Curtis Hermitage Cuvee bursts out of the bottle with a huge bouquet. Spice in the nose from the syrah grape along with the rich, lush, ripe fruit of dark cherry and pomegranate add a long silky finish. Its complexity makes this wine a must-try wine for this year, a gift or great food pairing wine for lamb a roasted beef dish, delish!

The 2006 Heritage Rose is an equally complex blend of the same grapes. Mouvedre, cinsault, grenache and syrah lend themselves well to rounding out this wine into to a pleasurable drinking experience. With strawberries, pomegranate and citrus fruit, it has much more structure than normal for a rose, which shows itself in the finish. It is an excellent accompaniment with light dishes such as a spicy halibut or a parmesan crusted tilapia.

Now is the BEST time to visit, seeing as their Calypso Fest is happening this weekend, October 17th. It is a yearly celebration to stop and enjoy wine and food while Curtis has been busy during harvest time. More info can be found at

The assistant winemaker to Curtis Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barabara wine

country is Ernst Storm. Along with crafting fantastic Rhone style wines there, he has been building his own label called “Noble Storm. Ernst embodies the wines he creates from his own cultivated background, working and studying at such wineries as Amani in South Aftrica, before eventually moving from the Sierra foothills in California to find his niche in Santa Barbara.

The limited Sauvignon Blanc is just labeled “STORM”, a fantastic swallow of a citrusy, crisp

fruit in a excitably acidic wine. A California kiss of oak added but more pomelo, grapefruit with some lime zest that bursts on the palate like a soft New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Light and refreshing, this wine from Santa Barbara is hard to come by, but should be on the menu at every coastal seafood restaurant. Oysters, grilled fish, prawns, or even chicken pasta would be an excellent pair for this well-balanced white. And be sure to look for more varietals, like Pinot Noir or Syrah, under this label.

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