Simply Magical -- Or, Beauty and a Benediction

If you read the last installment of the Harvest '11 story, you might remember I promised future tales of Pinot Noir; pasilla peppers; and magic. Wait no longer.

A foggy Pinot Noir pick. Wait, we're making Pinot Noir? I guess we are.

Pinot Noir from the Central Coast. It's been done. Ad nauseam, right? Sideways, and all that? So, why bother? Well, this site, this sandy, rocky, always-cold-microclimate site on the backside of Vandenberg Air Force Base, from whence a Pinot-Noir-loving rocket-scientist-friend-who-shall-not-be-named shares regular debacles ("Whoo! We had to blow that thing up!") -- it calls out and insists: Make. Wine. From. Here.

It's just so pretty

So, we did. Had to. One barrel. Clone 115. Saucy, naughty all-natural fermentation; cool, then hot, then cool again, aromatic as all get-out, pressed to barrel and living in the vein of trouble. It's quiet now, ready for winter, and we'll just see what happens, won't we. In the meantime, after picking those Pinot grapes and before heading home, we plucked some delicious pasilla peppers growing right outside the vineyard, and made a pepper-chorizo-cornbread stuffing dish for someone's 12th birthday celebration.

My spicy girl is 12. Mind-boggling.


This is how we roll.

The Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard is not a "destination." No one visits for fun. It's not like a Sunset guide, wine country, right after I stop by this tasting room with Ionic columns and a golden dome and a special parking lot for party buses, then I'm going to check in on Foursquare at the SBHV! Yeah! No. This place, if you're going there, only to go there, which is the only reason you'd be going there, takes you a long time. It is not convenient. One hour is how long it will take to get to and/or from what most consider civilization, to arrive at this vineyard. Perhaps it is because of this -- and I write the following sentence knowing full well that most who read it will not believe me -- there is magic that happens at the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard. Every time.

After the Electrical Storm of the Uncontainable Rosé of Grenache, what else could happen, really? The weather was calm. In the forecast: an easy pick. Here we go, heading up once again in the dark of night, to bring back grenache fruit for the 2011 La Paloma Libresca. Ah, and though you never call out your favorite child (trust me, don't do that!), I love me some La Paloma Libresca. Translation: The Bookish Dove. Raw, brilliant, beautiful; unexpected, and ready for anything, anytime. The shed that had served as shelter from the storm before the Uncontainable was the landing place once again -- and what should appear but this:

Doves. White doves. A flock of them. Buenos dias, las palomas.

They soared, and dived; they moved across the azure sky in glorious aerobatic unison, putting on a show for a good 10 minutes as we watched, completely gobsmacked. There must have been 20 of them. White doves? What... where... who...? Ours is not, always, to reason why. La Paloma Libresca, 2011, received a benediction this day. Gracious thanks, humble work, and only love.

Until next time, dear friends. Comments, observations, and thoughts always welcome!