During my stay in Santa Barbara I visited the tasting room of Sandford Winery in the city center. This was not planned ahead so I did not book a meeting with anyone working with their vineyards of in their cellar. Still the tasting gave a good presentation of their wines and I was able to get answers to my questions about the wines.
Some short facts about how Sanford Winery produce their wines
- They go through 100% malolactic fermentation
- Approximately 14-15 months in oak, of which 40-50% are new
- Fermented in stainless steels
- 100% whole clusters
- 12 to 15 months in oak and approximately 40% new
Tasting notes for the wines from Sanford Winery
2013 Sanford Chardonnay La Rinconada Vineyard
Nice nose with apples and pears combined with pineapple, spices and hints of vanilla. Smooth on the palate with a careful but citric acidity, containing lemon and lime. The acidity gets more intense in the finish. This is a nice Chardonnay with some energy from the acidity and denseness in the fruit, but it lacks some elegance and precision for a top score.
2013 Sanford Chardonnay La Entrada
14,5% alcohol and aged in 40% new oak.
Green pear, apricot, spices and alcohol notes on the nose. Some juicy lemon acidity takes a dominant role on the palate. This is a juicy and rather fresh Chardonnay that unfortunately lacks some precision and focus, especially on the acidity.
2013 Sanford Viognier Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
Very fresh expression, especially for a Viognier. Some stone fruit, green apples and fresh white flowers. Soft and elegant on both nose and palate. Great balance on this rather slim Viognier.
2014 Sanford Pinot Noir La Rinconada Vineyard
Rather warm on the nose, with mainly red fruit from lingonberries and raspberries but also some dark blackberry notes appear. Dense and dark on the palate, especially compared with other Rinconadas I have tried. There are also some pepper notes. Acidity is good and with some lime notes.
2014 Sanford Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard
This wine has layers of fruit notes from boysenberries, strawberries and blueberries, but also some herbal notes adding a freshness. The palate is well balanced with a lime acidity and a velvety tannic structure. In the finish some spice notes also appear. This is a rather complex wine with good balance between the dense fruit and the acidity and structure.
Summary of impressions from visit to Sanford Winery
Sanford Winery own the famous Sanford & Benedict Vineyard and the La Rinconada Vineyard, ensuring them access to amazing fruit. They therefore have a very interesting line up of exciting wines. In general they are rather ripe and dense and show some oak notes.
The Pinot Noirs are rather dark and dense in their character with some notes of alcohol and pepper. The level of acidity is not super high but for the wines I tasted it was enough to create an ok balance.
The different white wines I tasted were quite different in style and my favorite was the Viognier that was surprisingly lively and energetic. The Chardonnays had potential, but I lacked some balance.
My favorites were the Sanford & Benedict Viognier and Pinot Noir, with the Chardonnay from La Rinconada not trailing far behind.