Well, all the speculation as to how the rains will affect the vineyards, we are now seeing some great results. Vineyards all were refreshed and while running late, fruit looks great and there is plenty of it.
We are making a small amount of wine this year, focus will be on whites, so let's take a look at what we have.
Sauvignon Blanc: We are excited to be working with a new vineyard this year....Sycamore Ranch. This is a new vineyard off highway 246 in between Solvang and Buellton. Planted in in 2018, the Ranch was used for breeding thoroughbred horses. While still active with horses, a good portion of the property was planted to vineyards. We harvested the Sauvignon Blanc on Friday October 6th. The fermentation is completed, and we will be aging the wine in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak barrels. The date of picking this grape if about 3 to 4 weeks later than normal.
Grenache Rose: We also obtained some Grenache fruit from the Sycamore Ranch as well for our rose. This was also picked on Friday October 6th, and is currently aging in stainless steel tanks. The fruit is also about 3 to 4 weeks later than normal.
Viognier: The fruit for this wine is coming from Zaca Mesa Vineyard in the northern part of Santa Ynez Valley, up Foxen Canyon road which is a new source for us. As of the date of this writing, we are still waiting for the fruit to ripen and get to the desired Brix level. We anticipate harvesting this fruit by the end of October. This is usually about 4 weeks later than normal.
Grenache Blanc: We are sourcing this fruit from a Vineyard that all the fans of Seal Beach Wines know well.....Estelle Vineyard in Los Olivos. The fruit here is also expected to be picked by the end of October. This will be the first white wine that Mike has produced from this vineyard, and we are really excited to taste the results.
Stay tunned, I will update this posting after the harvest is completed.
Feedback from our first was very positive. So we are all set for our next date.
Come join us that day for pizza and wine. We will again offer outside seating as well,
let's just hope the weather is a bit cooler. Working with Chafik the "Pizza Guy" to bring
some more dough and a helper to make the process and bit more seemless.
We will again offer some great glass and bottle specials. Please note, we will not offer the tasting menu after 3:30 that day. The glass and bottle specials will be offered all day. The pizza will will run until 7:00 pm or until he runs out.
We look forward to seeing you on the 23rd.
New Tasting Menu Beginning Next Wednesday
Excited to add to our tasting menu our 2014 Syrah, Clone Estrella - Natalie Grace Wines, Harrison Clarke Vineryard, Ballard Canyon. Well aged wine with a refined nose of bacon, black tea and dry herbs, with a rich mouthfeel and flavors of dark blueberry and vanilla. Tannins are well integrated that build across your palate, finishing bright, with a long lingering finish.
Will only be available for a short time as we have only a small amount left.
Come visit soon and taste all our newest editions.
We have some great new 2016 Vintage wines to share with you that are all tasting just wonderful right now. Our 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from the Estelle vineyard in the Los Olivos District spent 32 months in barrel and is showing very well. Also, you asked and Michael made, 2016 GSM, Taylor Noelle Wines from the Santa Ynez Valley. A delicious blend 60% Grenache, with 20% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre. A lighter body make this a great wine for the summer, paring with your favorite grilled foods. Lively fruit, with some notes of blueberry and cigar box spice, with an earthy finish.
Come visit soon and taste all our newest editions.
Our Summer Hours......
Wednesday & Thursday 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Friday 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm ~ Saturday 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm ~ Sunday 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Our last Rosé of Grenache was a hit, but we think this one is even better!
This fragrant rosé packs in strawberry, candied watermelon, peach, and hints of spice. A beautiful peach blush hue, similiar to the shade of the last rosé but slightly lighter.
Our new Rosé of Grenache has been heralded as "addicting to drink," and "the perfect Summer wine."
Don't believe us? Stop in for a tasting and try it yourself!
Summer Tasting Room:
One of the bloggers I follow who lives somewhere on the East Coast posted last week about all the ways she's preparing for the upcoming "Rosé Season." At first I felt left out; what is this rosé season and why wasn't I in the loop about it? Then it hit me- how lucky we are to live in California, where Rosé season stretches from January-December.
Still, even though we can sip on a refreshing glass of Rosé all year long, there is something particularly appealing about it this time of year. With the sun staying out longer and longer, now feels like the time to host a dinner party and break out a bottle of Rosé.
A pro (and sometimes con) of living so close to the beach is that my house has become to go-to spot for barbecues and potlucks during the summer. I can't wait to show off the new Rosé of Pinot Noir. From the orange-blush color, to the beautiful silhouette of the glass bottle, this is a wine that is sure to impress in every way. Aromas of orange zest and watermelon lead into a crisp fruit forward wine with tastes of strawberries and watermelon, and a tart cherry finish.
This wine pairs well with just about anything, from shellfish to steaks off the BBQ. Grab a bottle, invite over a couple of friends, and welcome the Summer with open arms.
As the sun stays out longer, I too feel a desire to stay out and enjoy the evenings. My favorite summer activity: date night. Below are the 5 date nights I'm looking forward to this Summer, and the wines I'll be pairing with them.
Beach Picnics. There's not much I enjoy more than sinking my toes in the sand and watching the sun go down over the horizon. I'm lucky enough to live by the sand, but if I wasn't I'd still make a point of enjoying the late sunsets once a week. When I'm feeling up to it, I like to pack a cooler full of food, grab a blanket, and enjoy a picnic on the beach. This Summer I'll be tossing a bottle of Viognier into that cooler, and I suggest you do the same.
Dinner Parties. We like to host dinner parties often, especially when we invite over another couple and make it a double date. It makes for a fun (and easy) party when we throw hamburger patties on the BBQ and break out a growler full of Red Blend. This date night has the potential to turn into a game night.
Dinner and a movie, at home. Coming home and seeing that dinner has already been made is a feeling in it's own class. Pair dinner with a movie on the couch and a glass of Pinot Noir, and I'm in heaven. Bonus points if there's a blanket fort involved, and I am a firm believe that you are never too old to build a fort in the living room.
Dinner out. An oldie but a goodie, you can't go wrong with splurging on a nice dinner. Stop by the winery to pick up a bottle of wine first, most places allow you to bring your own bottle for a small corkage fee. I'll be pairing dinner out with a bottle of Natalie Grace Syrah all. summer. long.
Tasting Room. With live music at the tasting room every Friday night, if I'm not working I'lll be dragging the boyfriend here. A glass of wine and live music is romance at it's finest. I'll be pairing jazz with Cabernet Sauvignon and acoustic with Roussanne, just because.
Vintage has a profound influence on the expression of wine even making the same wine from two different years taste noticeably different. Weather plays a key role including amount of sunshine, amount and timing of rain, wind, frost, hail, etc. But insects (in particular yellow-jackets), squirrels, deer and other fauna play a huge role. These factors influence each other and weave together to influence the overall Vintage and of course the enigmatic wine's express: what the French call Terroir.
For the Seal Beach Winery portfolio I will give a quick synopsis of some recent years.
What I remember the most were inconsistencies. My Sangiovese from Estelle never ripened. The Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills seemed to take a very long time to move from Veraison to ripeness (as measured by Sugar levels or BRIX) but at the end went very fast. It rained toward the end of the growing season and many picked early. The Cabernet was more normal in timing not being Harvested until mid-October. And the Grenache came off last November 1st. In Winemaking we have a saying that difficult grapes (stressed) make great wine; and, I believe this will be a very good vintage.
This was the year that everything started to revert back to normal or pre-draught times. It was a very standard year with a good winter rain and a little rain in the spring. It was a cool spring with some wind. There was lots of squirrel and insect damage. The Yellow-Jackets were so bad in Tierra Alta with the Tempranillo that had trouble walking the rows for fear of being stung to death. The squirrels at Estelle would run up one side of a row and strip it of grape clusters but spare the opposite site. There berries looked beaten up and ugly that year and I remember doing a great deal of sorting to eliminate the raisons and damaged fruit. But ugly grapes make fantastic wines. My Cabernet Clone 337 on Block 8 in Estelle suffered Berry Shot (small inconsistent clusters of grapes) and we did not harvest it. Good balance with tannin, alcohol and organoleptics are characteristic of this vintage. Overall, it was a very good year for wines with excellent Reds.
Wet, wet and wet was the motif for this year. The rains came back and Harold the beginning of the end of the draught (it did not official end until the rains of 2018-2019). Overall Harvest was bountiful and a little early. It was warm in the summers to very hot. Most reds were harvested in September. I believe this will be an excellent year across the board for wine.
This was a crazy year. For me, the vintage most effected by the draught. SBW yields were extremely small and everything was harvested on the early timeframe. I remember the very small berries on the cluster especially with the Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay at Harvest was golden with small raison like berries. The whites and the Pinot came off early in late August. The Harrison Clarke Syrahs were very early at first week in September. Cabernet and Grenache was Mid September to beginning of October. Last off was the Cabernet Clone 101 October 8, 2015. These are very concentrated, tannic and superior wines. The reds are amazing across the board. Drink now if you must but these wines will hold up to decades of aging.
Good year for yields with fruit forward and early drinking wines. I think the tannin levels were very balanced yielding Cabernet and Pinot that is very drinkable early. I taste through this year and I think these wines are delicious and a bit showy with some star potential. I do not think these are wines that I would age because they are yummy right now; but I think the reds will hold up for a decade. There was very little rain and the growing season was early with whites harvested in August, Pinot in early September and Cabernet in early October. The Tempranillo from Tierra Alta was last off on October 7th, 2014.
Although there was drought the crop levels were good to larger than normal. I would sum up 2013 by saying the wines were good but not exceptional. I did not think it was a bad year but no looking at how good 2015-2018 appear to be panning out makes me downgrade the overall vintage.
I thought it would be interesting to post the notes of a prominent viticulturist in Santa Ynez. Here's a brief synopsis of some past vintages from viticulturist Jeff Newton of Coastal Vineyard Care. Jeff manages SBW vineyards: Harrison-Clarke, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara Vineyard, McGinley Vineyard, Tommy Town, Flower & Vine (Los Alisos) and Boa Vista to name a few.
The 2012 season was a long sunny year, with normal rainfall amounts during the winter months, minimal frost and mild wind during bloom-time. Warm temperatures starting in mid-July and continuing through early October helped ripen the plentiful crop load. This also made harvest for both winemakers and grape growers more intense as many varieties ripened very close together.
The 2011 season was challenging for growers. The spring time began with a damaging freeze which lasted for multiple days. Later cool, windy, and rainy weather at bloom further reduce the crop. The spring and summer weather was mild, creating high mildew and botrytis pressure. The growing season included unseasonable light rain events throughout the spring, summer and fall months. With the exception of a couple of light rain events, the harvest season was warm.
2010 proved to be the coolest season in memory marked by reduced vine growth, low yields and delayed ripening. Both the spring and summer were unseasonable cool with the exception of a significant heat spike in late September followed by early rains during harvest season.
Drought continued for the third year in 2009 leading to both low vigor and low yields. The spring and summer were mild and cool but a late September heat spike pushed the sugars up. The harvest season was challenging due to the October rains which were followed by 90 degree weather.
2008 was a tough year with less than 10 inches of rainfall and a late April freeze that contributed to low yields. Summer was mild with the exception of a late August heat spike. This heat spike lead to an early harvest which was marked by an early October freeze occurring before the completion of harvest.
2007 began with below average rainfall and cold winter temperatures, which in turn lead to late budbreak. Bloom time was cool, followed by an unpredictable summer with multiple heat spikes. The weather created a long hang time and an extended harvest season.
2006 was the second year in a string of wet winters. The spring bloom time period was wet and windy as well. The summer continued to be very mild creating a long growing season with a later than usual harvest.
An especially wet winter created large canopies and a heavy crop load. The mild and cool spring was followed by a hot early summer and finally settled into cool late summer and fall season. This created a long maturing process for the grapes, allowing the pH and sugars to be balanced.
The 2004 season began beautifully with a warm spring which was followed by a mild summer. However a significant heat wave in September accelerated ripening and lead to an early harvest. Early October rains posed a late harvest threat.
Early budbreak marked the beginning of the 2003 season, followed by unseasonable spring rains during bloom which impacted fruit set. The light crop was pushed to early maturity by a significant heat spike in August.
The 2002 season began with average winter rainfall and a cool early spring. The cool weather continued during bloom leading to poor fruit set. Summer and fall continued to be cool, creating a long mild growing season allowing the light crop to hang and develop slowly.
We are thrilled to announce that our new release, the Natalie Grace Syrah, Clone Alban, has won double gold in the 2017 Harvest Challenge!
Our Natalie Grace Syrah, Clone Alban, is 100% Syrah, and was grown at the Harrison Clarke Vineyard in Ballard Canyon.
Clone Alban is kept at a very low yield, and it's strict pruning and deficit irrigation makes it fruit forward with intense fruit characteristics. The fruit intensity is balanced with flavors of coffee, cola, black pepper, and cedar.
The Natalie Grace distinction is one given by our winemaker to his best yields each year. We are proud of this wine, and thrilled that the judges of the 2017 Harvest Challenge awarded our wine the highest honors.
Stop by the tasting room to try our Natalie Grace Syrah, Clone Alban and pick up a bottle.