While the winemakers of Santa Rita Hills (near Lompoc) specialize in good bottles of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wine, there is one local winemaker declaring his winery a House of Sangiovese.
On a beautifully winter sunny Sunday morning, we saunterd into an industrial building in Lompoc where we found winemaker Peter Fraser tinkering in his warehouse. Stepping into his tasting room, you could tell he was ready to lead a journey exploring his wine.
His passion for wine is obvious, and contagious. It was hard keeping up with him as we wrote our notes.
Peter’s passions run red, although he does produce a 2010 Pinot Blanc we enjoyed. Not only does he love Sangiovese, but he enjoys Syrahs, and Zinfandels. He sources his grapes from Foxen Canyon, Santa Rita Hiills and Santa Ynez Valley.
One of the more interesting grapes he enjoys is grown in sand – yes, sand. He’s then blending that wine with grape grown in loam, but you can purchase his 2010 Sand Dune White Hawk Vineyard Sangiovese (we liked it.)
For $10 he offers five tastings. But as he described his wine, and we asked more questions, he became more passionate and began pouring off menu bottles of wine. Here is what we tasted:
2010 Pinot Blanc – Mesa’s Edge, Sierra Madre Vineyard $18 ✰+
2010 Sangiovese – Sand Dune, White Hawk Vineyard $30 ✰+
2009 Sangiovese- Stolpman Vineyards grape from rolling loam $32 ✰++
2011 Sangiovese Reserve, a blend of rolling loam/sand dune $45 ✰+
2010 Cuvee JP, Live Oak Vineyard, a blend of Zinfandel and Syrah $30 ✰+
2010 WHOLL, a one time bottling of Syrah, Sangiovese and Zinfandel $42 ✰+
2010 Syrah, Larner Vineyard $36 ✰+/✰
All of his wines were wonderful, we even ranked his white wine highly (a big deal for us.) So of course, we purchased the ✰++ wine, his 2009 Rolling Loam Sangiovese, sourced from Stolpman Vineyards. It’s beautiful nose and complex texture was the consensus wine purchase for us.
Near the end of our journey tasting wine with Peter he offered this advice, saying 2011 vintage wines should be held and bottle aged. He then suggested the 2013 vintage of wines, “Will be a Killer Year!” We’re looking forward to his 2013 wines.
In hindsight, we left some wonderful wines on table, and walked away. But then again, there are a lot of wonderful bottles of wines to taste here in California. Peter’s wines are part of that journey. You owe it to yourself to explore Santa Rita Hills and of course Scott Cellars.
Bill Hodge & Erin O’Neill-Hodge enjoy a good bottle of wine, visiting and enjoying California wineries from Lake County to Orange County, from the Paso Robles Gold Coast to Gold Country and from Lodi to Bakersfield
Some notes on our wine ranking system.
– -✰ means -What’s next on your list of wines
-✰ means -Not liking it too much
✰ means -We’ll drink this wine, expecially if it’s hosted!
✰+ means -You’ve got our attention and we might buy this wine.
✰+ + means -We’re hooked and we’re going to buy this wine.
When you see -✰/✰+ with a slash, it means we disagree.