What Are the Best Wines Being Made in Santa Barbara California?

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Pinot Noir

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.

Nebbiolo

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.

Best Santa Barbara Wines and Grape Varieties Being Made | Laura Booras, Riverbench Vineyard and Winery | SommelierQ&A

Sauvignon Blanc

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.

Pinot Meunier

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.

Syrah

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.

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Laura Booras
Laura Booras
A transplant from the Carolinas, Laura has been in the Santa Barbara County wine business since 2004. Raised in a family dedicated to wine importing, distributing, and sales, she was attracted to the wine industry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and after graduating moved directly to Santa Ynez.

Through many years of exploring foods from all parts of the world, Laura has developed an expertise in pairing food and wine. In 2013, she received a Masters in Business administration from Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business. Recently, she passed her Level 3 WSET exam with distinction. A substantial retail background and experience in the local wine business led her to Riverbench, where she has worked as General Manager since 2007.
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http://www.riverbench.com

A transplant from the Carolinas, Laura has been in the Santa Barbara County wine business since 2004. Raised in a family dedicated to wine importing, distributing, and sales, she was attracted to the wine industry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and after graduating moved directly to Santa Ynez. Through many years of exploring foods from all parts of the world, Laura has developed an expertise in pairing food and wine. In 2013, she received a Masters in Business administration from Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business. Recently, she passed her Level 3 WSET exam with distinction. A substantial retail background and experience in the local wine business led her to Riverbench, where she has worked as General Manager since 2007.


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