Photos from our Winter 2012 Wine Tasting

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KCET for recommends our Syrah as a great wine to sip during the Oscars!


Thanks to Michael Newsome, a wine buyer for Whole Foods, and a contributing writer to KCET, for writing a great article on Syrah…and for recommending our 2009 Syrah Tous les Jours.

Michael described it as, “A perfect example. . .is the 2009 Andrew Murray Central Coast Syrah. Aromas of blueberry and blackberry are dusted with black pepper and hints of bacon. Even with a mouthful of luscious fruit, this wine manages to leave your palate refreshed. This is a great everyday drinker, whether perfectly paired with grilled meats or slowly sipped on the sofa in the soft glow of an awards show.”  Read the complete article here


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91 Points for our 2008 Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard!

Many thanks to Ken’s Wine Guide for a wonderful review of our 2008 Syrah Terra Bella Vineyard. blessed it with  ‘91 Points‘ and described it as, ‘…rich and concentrated…with a  flavor profile of very extracted blackberry with notes of integrated oak, plum, spice, and black pepper.‘  Read the complete Kens Wine Guide here


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Excellent QPR from award-winning Good Wine Under $20 blog!


Many thanks to Dr. Deborah Harkness, who among such trivial things as being a university history professor, a Wine & Spirits contributor, and a New York Times bestselling author (A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night), managed to find time to write a wonderful review of our 2008 Syrah Tous les Jours.

Dr. Deb blessed it with an ‘excellent QPR‘ and called it, ‘…an exceptional bottle of wine for the price.’  Read the complete Good Wine Under $20 review by clicking here…you might enjoy Dr. Deb’s suggested food pairings…and we might just pair it with a good novel…

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Quit apologizing for rich, full-flavored beverages…the craft beer industry certainly doesn’t!

American imperial stout: F. Martin Ramin for the Wall Street Journal

I just finished an interesting article on strong beers in the Wall Street Journal…all about imperial stouts weighing in at 9-11% alcohol. The craft beer industry is falling all over itself to bottle and can stronger and stronger beer, while the wine world (championed by born-again critics and winemakers alike) is busy apologizing for the rich, intense wines (often with higher alcohol levels) it used to bottle; now favoring lighter (color and flavor), higher acid wines! I remember when I was proud to have “graduated” out of light, plonky, fizzy beer with about 3.5% alcohol, to craft beers with flavor, color, and extract. Now, I am made to feel like I am wearing a coat of some rare exotic fur for crafting and consuming rich, full-flavored wines. I am sorry, for NOT being sorry! Some call it a natural progression, I call de-evolution!



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Restaurant week in the Santa Ynez Valley: January 22-28

The Ballard Inn and Restaurant

Come sample some Santa Barbara wine country cuisine January 22-28. Many of our local restaurants are offering 3-course tasting menus for $20.12 (exclusive of tax, tip, and beverages) to celebrate the new year. You can find a listing of participating Santa Ynez Valley restaurants by clicking this link.

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2008 Esperance: Makes the ‘Most Memorable Wines of 2011’ List

How could you not want to read a wine blog with this title, “Wine without BS”? Here’s the blurb about the site:

Welcome to Wine Without BS. Sick of reading wine reviews that fail to sell me on the product itself, my aim is to breathe some much needed normality to an industry neck deep in bullshit speak and wine wank terminology.

Its author is an Aussie who recently spent an extended period in the U.S. sampling American wines…perhaps a kindred spirit…

During his travels, this international man of mystery was introduced to our 2008 Esperance GSM Red Blend, and evidently loved it; he just named it to his ‘Most Memorable Wines of 2011 List’!

Read his complete list of ‘Most Memorable Wines of 2011’ by clicking here.

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2006 Purple Haze Wine Review from Now and Zin Wine Blog

Thanks to Randy Fuller of Now and Zin Wine Blog (along with Now and Zin daily wine radio features) for this entertaining write-up on our 2006 Purple Haze Syrah/Viognier blend … new ‘This is E11even Wines’ coming in February 2012 !

From the post: “Incredibly dark and delicious, Purple Haze made me forget all about the Crosstown Traffic.”  Read the rest of this great wine review by clicking here.

Visit our ‘This is E11even Wines’ page for background on our new label. 

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2008 Esperance: Inaugural wine for Reverse Wine Snob’s new series, “Saturday Splurge”

We are honored that Jon Thorsen selected our 2008 Esperance as the inaugural wine for The Reverse Wine Snob’s new series, Saturday Splurge.

From the post: “Some might find this wine to be a tad over the top but if you’re a fan of big, rich and fruity wines this wine is for you. A perfect wine for our first Saturday Splurge.”  Read the rest of this great wine review by clicking here.

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Red Tape and Wine – An Unpalatable Blend

This is the time of year when I begin to worry that perhaps I need to be medicated.  I come off the heady, frenetic pace of harvest and crush, the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and run headlong into the mire of alcohol-related bureaucracy.  Come January 1, my feet are trapped in the greedy goo of countless reports demanded from a juggernaut of government agencies.  A dark cloud descends over my entire countenance.  Instead of bottling volumes of wine, I’m bottling volumes of red tape.

Every state has a different permitting and licensing process.  Reports must be filed, varying taxes must be paid, permits and licenses must be renewed.  Exporters require their own special documents.  Federal paperwork must be filled out and data must be collected.  Accountants, lawyers, and licensing specialists must be engaged and paid to file and report on our behalf.

As a small winery, I’m the guy who also needs to source all of our glass, capsules, labels (with their concomitant bureaucracy), boxes, and closures.  One could consider these activities equally mind-numbing, but at least they have a direct correlation to the end goal of producing our product, a bottle of wine.

Just as I don’t need to hear actors expounding on foreign policy, you probably don’t care to hear a winemaker talk politics.  But I can’t help but start to feel pretty libertarian at this time of year.  I realize we have some need for alcohol regulation, but honestly, this is ridiculous.  Did you know that we cannot legally ship directly to customers in 12 of our 50 states?  Much of state regulation still contains vestiges of prohibition laws and/or is designed to protect excise taxes and distributor rights.  How does any of this benefit the consumer?

Customers, who have tried our wines elsewhere, frequently ask me why our wine is not available in their states.  My answer is simple, either it’s not legal to ship direct-to-consumer in the state, or the cost to set-up licensing, permitting, etc. in their state is economically prohibitive.  There’s a great website that addresses this topic:  If you’re feeling like a 60’s activist today, you can use it to quickly let your legislators know that you’d like to see changes in these regulations.

And at the end of the day, none of this does much to improve the quality of our product, and it certainly doesn’t reduce prices, nor stimulate the economy.  Thanks, but no thanks, Uncle Sam.

Rant over…cloud already lifting….


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Featured Vintage

Visit Us

We have two gorgeous tasting rooms where you can explore our passion for winegrowing in Los Olivos. First up, we have our newly remodeled Winery & Visitor Center, located at the entrance of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, just minutes away from historic downtown Los Olivos, where you can taste our selection of Rhone style wines. Or, you may choose to check out our newly remodeled and rebranded DTLO (DownTown Los Olivos) Tasting Room, where we showcase our new "Playlist" of E11even Wines, crafted exclusively from Estate Grown grapes. Or, choose the All Access Pass and taste at both locations for a discounted price. Whichever you choose, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Our Los Olivos Tasting Room