In 1970, Central Valley grower Louis Lucas, also with Al Gagnon and Dale Hampton, established the 800-acre Tepusquet Vineyard. “We were the leading edge,” he admits, “and any time you go to an area that doesn’t have fruit, there’s a risk.” Within five years, however, the caliber of his chardonnay was luring big-name Northern California buyers like Beringer, ZD and Robert Mondavi.
The Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards tasting room offers guests a wide variety of wines to choose from. They craft an impressive array of wines from 26 grape varieties that are grown on their 400 estate acres in Santa Barbara County’s three distinct microclimates, creating a diversity of wine styles to suit every taste preference.
The following three were my top picks of the night. Lucas & Lewellen Blanc de Noirs was my favorite on the night. Nectarines, apricot and brioche. Perfectly balanced. – $30 (great price) Summerland Winery Brut using Sonoma fruit was very crisp, and tasted of granny smiths and lime. $30 While Brewer-Cliftons straight Chard, from their own 3D vineyard, has more mouthfeel and a bit heavier with nutty, yeasty flavors and baked peach. You could age this one for 10 years or so. $50
Santa Barbara Wine Country Pioneer Is Driving Force Behind Lucas & Lewellen Winery
In 1970, when Louis Lucas left his table grape-growing family in California’s hot Central Valley to try his hand at wine grapes in comparably cool Santa Barbara County, the 28-year-old Notre Dame graduate found himself staring at a blank canvas.