North! Or, To the Vines, and the Future

"I love coming up to the vineyards, because you never know what's going to happen." – daughter T, age 12

That's true. While everyday life in Southern California has something of a predictability to it, once the jº brix crew hits the Central Coast, anything goes. On the most recent trip to check on vineyards as promised, we had lightning and hail (what is it with us and electrical storms up there?); two vineyards in budbreak and one that wasn't (of which we could be completely sure if the river weren't flowing across the only way to get there); very large animals in the road; and a wedding party.

Spring: It's On

The top-secret project's sprung into action!

All's looking lovely in the Kick On Ranch and Alamo Creek Vineyards, with budbreak in various stages from barely (ACV syrah) to boldly (Kick On top-secret project, above). At the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, the Cuyama River wielded its mighty, muddy power to prevent us from crossing and inspecting our rows up on the Mesa, though there wasn't yet budbreak on the vineyard floor. There was, however, a fresh snow dusting the Sierra Madres. April, such a curious month.

Green grass and snow, and mud up ahead

Good Times in Beasts and Wine

"You know you're in the Central Coast when there are horses in the middle of the road." - son E, age 8

This one, apparently being taught to sidestep in the streets of Los Alamos (and decidedly not liking it) almost took out the side-view mirror as we waited for Flatbread to open.

Easy there, big fellow.

Feeling it might be safer to wait on the restaurant's outdoor patio than in the car (hey, that was a big and displeased horse!), we sat, and shivered, and, surprisedly, saw approaching... none other than Mr. Hardy Wallace: friend, fellow SBHV winemaker, newlywed. Married just the day before to his heart's delight, Kate; Hardy was having dinner with a gang of extended family, and we were happy to gift him a bottle of '10 La Belle Rêveuse. He was kind enough to share pours of his unreleased Semillon and Mourvèdre.

Dirty and Rowdy Wine is in the house!

The Semillon, fermented with half of the juice on the skins in bin, and half pressed in a concrete egg, shows super-exciting and tasty funk – serious texture, and rapidly changing aromatics, and all the things that rock about real wine. The Mourvèdre, the first we've tasted from the SBHV (where we've now made three vintages of Grenache and two of Syrah) had me jumping up and down ...terroir! There it was, undeniably, filling the mouth with the truth that these wines of ours come from the same place – and it's a good place.

We will continue to strive to let it shine. All of it, the whole story, as it unfolds like new leaves and buds on the vine. Thank you, friends, for being a part of this tale.