You’ve probably already heard of Sanford wine because it is on so many fine dining menus. Interesting I assume readers frequent fine dining establishments! What you may not know about them is that they were the first to discover the Santa Rita Hills as an ideal place to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir back in 1971. Since then, this region has exploded with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards because its climate and soil is so similar to France’s Burgundy region. Richard Sanford was the first to take this unnoticed area and plant grapes that would benefit from the chilled breezes, coming through its rare east-west (that’s right, sideways) mountain range to blanket temperamental grapes like Pinot with cool Pacific Ocean air.
But what makes these wines noticeable is their consistent quality year after year. If you see a Sanford wine on a wine list, you can trust its quality as well as the restaurant that chooses to serve it with their culinary creations. These wines are designed to enliven your taste buds and enrich your meal. Their Sauvignon Blanc goes through half stainless steel and neutral oak to get plush fruit acidity with a full bodied creamy texture. Their Chardonnays are a great sampling of what this grape can do in the Santa Rita Hills. Amazing layers of creamy vanilla and hazelnuts with soft supple pineapple and green apple fruit lead to a long silky finish that has a steadfast backbone as well. Their La Estrada Chardonnay is a bit leaner, edging toward a French style from Burgundy; if that’s what you prefer, this one’s buttery citrus and soft pineapple with a touch of honeysuckle make you feel like you’re in a cafe in Paris.
Their Pinot Noirs please even the most persnickety. A blend of 3 different vineyards has lots of plump red fruit like raspberry, cherry and even bright tart plum with layers and layers of light pepper, vanilla, herbs of sage, and a slight whiff of caramelized shallots. Their Pinot Noir from the Sanford & Benedict vineyard that dates back more than 40 years has green herbal scents of eucalyptus with all that vibrant red fruit that typifies this noble grape and a long leggy finish. This one is for you Pinot lovers! You know who you are. Persnickety gets persnickety.