Pioneer of Santa Barbara Pops

Trying to condense Saturday’s PIONEERS OF SANTA BARBARA COUNTY tasting at Pico in Los Alamos down into a few entries is no easy task. Even though I raved about the 2000 Brander Reserve Cab early on, there were several other exciting things I NEED to share with you while they are still available. This is a small tasting, now in its third year, but chock-a-block full of great wines and the BEST part: elbow-to-elbow with a veritable who’s-who of SBC wine country: Fred Brander, Richard Sanford, Doug Margerum, Clendenen family, of course Dorés, Gray Hartley & Frank Ostini, Karen Steinwachs, Ryan Deovlet, James Ontiveros, Fabian Bravo, Lane Tanner & Will Henry, Bob Lindquist, and on and on. IMPOSSIBRU!!! I need a whole ALBUM. But I will attempt to pare it down to highlights.

First up absolute WINE OF THE DAY was the 2018 Black Coq sans soufre Syrah from Shokrian Vineyard. A most impressive wine from their new winemaker, followed closely by his 2015 *regular* SY. I don’t know how much of this was made, but if you have a thing for the edgiest Sonoma Coast or Cambrian syrahs, GET SOME OF THIS.


Numero Dos WOTD has to go to Barden’s ‘Forte’ from 2018, a near 30/30/30 CH/PB/PG masterpiece which just drives the nail in further that this lil side-label of Margerum is doing EVERYTHING right. Just a GORGEOUS white wine, hitting all the marks.


Lane Tanner rolled out her Lumen Julia’s Pinot, in my top 5 of the day and one of several from this vineyard being poured, including an 07 from Hitching Post.

In addition to the beautiful–and interesting–lineup of cabs (17 bright and vibrant, 04 not showing too well, 2000 supple and polished, still with lots of life), Brander rolled out a broad spectrum of his Sauv-blancs and Semillion–current releases and vintage selections–proving he (if not Happy Canyon/Los Olivos District also) is the KING of this variety.


The Buttonwood wines ALWAYS impress, and today the Cab Franc was SINGIN. Such an under-the-radar winery. You NEED more Buttonwood in your life.

Foxen, Crawford Family, Fiddlehead Fiddlestix SOOOO many more, plus a champagne-doused VIP after-party, WHY WEREN’T YOU THERE? I gave you PLENTY of notice. Stay tuned for next year

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And for the puritans, here is the only version Instagram will allow me to post:

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