The 2008 harvest produced an exceptional Pinot Gris for TAZ. The growing season started off with an unseasonably cool spring, but warm temperatures arrived soon after and an early summer heat wave ensued. Hands-on canopy management in the vineyards minimized any problems, and the rest of season progressed slowly with plenty of sunshine.
The majority (75%) of the grapes for this wine are grown in our Cat Canyon Vineyard near Los Alamos. Block 1A-S is planted to Pinot Gris of clone 146 on Freedom rootstock, producing fruit with crisp acidity and fresh notes of lemon and lime. The wines from this block have a focused line of minerality running through them – a quality I have always admired in Alsatian Pinot Gris. The rest of the grapes for the blend are from two blocks in our North Canyon Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. Yields in this vineyard are typically quite low and the vines have to struggle to gain flavor in the meager soils, which are predominantly clay loam and some shale. Both vineyards turned out exceptional grapes this year, and there is a hint of tropical fruit, thanks to warm summer temperatures.
The 2008 Santa Barbara Pinot Gris has lush aromas of lemongrass, ripe peach, fresh pear and honeysuckle. The palate is crisp and refreshing, featuring notes of melon and lime zest supported by a backbone of minerality. About 10 percent of the blend is barrel fermented in neutral French oak barrels to fill out the mid-palate; the rest of the blend sees only stainless steel.
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-- Natasha Boffman, Winemaker