The Times Tasting Panel met last week to sample a few wines from each of these vineyards in an effort to gain an understanding of the terroir of each. We blind-tasted three wineries' vineyard-designated bottlings from each of the five vineyards, and it was easy to find common threads in each flight: The terroir was definitely coming through.
The wines we tasted are not all readily available. Several were purchased at the Wine Cask in Santa Barbara, others at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant in Los Olivos. Some are also available at Silverlake Wine in Los Angeles, Mission Wines in South Pasadena and Twenty-Twenty Wines in West Los Angeles.
Joining me on the panel were Food editor Leslie Brenner, restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila, and Times contributor Patrick Comiskey. The wines are listed in the order in which they were tasted.
Westerly/McGinley Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc
2006 Ojai Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (about $30)
2005 Margerum Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc (about $20)
2006 Westerly Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (about $18)
There was a pristine minerality and lively acidity in each of these three wines. With none of the heavy tropical fruit flavors typical of warm climate Sauvignon Blanc, the wines had in common a clean, Sancerre-like minerality.
Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noir
2005 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir (about $44)
2005 Siduri Pinot Noir (about $93)
2005 Loring Pinot Noir (about $53)
Abundant herb and wild berry flavors in this trio came with racy black pepper and an underlying minerality. The delicate flavors that danced in the Cargasacchi and Loring Pinots didn't come through so well in the heavily oaked Siduri wine.
Larner Vineyard Grenache
2005 Kenneth-Crawford Grenache (about $32)
2005 Herman Story Wines Grenache (about $31)
2005 Costa de Oro Dara Grenache (about $30)