Louis Lucas is one of the folks who pioneered grape growing in Santa Barbara County, beginning with his partnership in the historic Tepusquet Vineyard. Back in those early days, planting a vineyard was seen as a risky business. There weren't very many wineries in the county and it wasn't yet clear if the bigger North Coast wineries would be willing to purchase grapes from such a supposedly warm area in Southern California.
We are nearly 75% of the way through harvest. So far, we’ve only had an inch of rain, two heat waves, two fires, and a near frost. Thankfully, the weather was good before and after each of those events so, believe it or not, everything is looking good in the vineyard.
Rose' has become an overwhelming choice for summer sipping over the last few years. In California, with the temperate climate, we drink it year-round. But the fly-over country between the two coasts is finally catching on to how refreshing a delicious rose' can be. It would seem that the popularity of rose' has reached critical mass. I mean, you know that when Apothic, Kendall-Jackson, Menage a Trois, Noble Vines and Dark Horse jump on the rose' bandwagon, the bloom just might be off the rose, so to speak. I'm not saying any of these bottlings are bad; several of them are quite tasty. But in the great scheme of things, many of them are mass produced, marketed to appeal to a certain customer profile and price point.
Wouldn't you rather indulge yourself with a rose' from a Santa Barbara County producer who makes rose' in a style that the winemaker simply likes to drink? No corporate committees or targeted ads; just the best darn rose' that he or she can make every year. Here are some from this year's crop that I enjoyed.