The cooler climates of the Santa Maria Valley and Santa Rita Hills lend themselves SO well to this temperamental varietal. The wines are so different from both AVAs but both are really well made and delicious.
I’m not a huge Nebbiolo fan to be totally honest, but the best ones I’ve had from California are from Santa Barbara. I think the cool foggy areas do well for this varietal – Palmina makes some really stellar ones from different parts of the county.
There are some killer Sauvignon Blanc’s from Santa Barbara – Happy Canyon area especially. They have a style all of their own, beautifully full of lush stone fruits and white flowers. I love the local Sauvignon Blanc.
Riverbench planted the first Pinot Meunier in the county and we got out first harvest off of it in 2016. And it’s DELICIOUS. This was some of the most beautiful fruit I had ever seen and I’ve been here for ten years. The young wine is elegant and has some astoundingly unique flavors – it’s so fun. I list it here because I think it has really made a home for itself in the Santa Maria Valley.
The Santa Ynez Valley can do some amazing things with Syrah. It’s truly a varietal that thrives here, whether on its own, in blends, or with a touch of Viognier added for freshness.
The great thing about Santa Barbara is that so many varietals do well here. It’s so diverse and there are so many microclimates that you could answer this question a million different ways. That’s one of the reasons SB Wine country is so interesting.