In my most recent outing to CA wine country, this time the Santa Ynez Valley – Los Olivos District, I enjoyed a vertical tasting at Vincent Vineyards. It had been several years since I tasted in this area and Vincent Vineyards opened in the interim. A vertical tasting is a tasting of several wines - in this case 5 - that are all the same varietal by the same producer. The only thing that differs among them is the vintage (year). In the case of this tasting, all were different vintages of their Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favorite varietals so I chose this vertical tasting from their tasting menu options.
What I enjoyed on the lovely 75° day, was that you could experience your tasting in their spacious tasting room with plenty of natural light or enjoy your tasting on their expansive patio. We opted for the patio tasting. We chose a table on the patio and shortly after being seated were greeted by the owner, Tony Vincent. As we started to visit, his passion for his vineyard, winery, and wines made our experience most memorable. He showed us the barrel room where they also host private events. One wall of the room had a gigantic mural of him with the Rat Pack. I found Tony (Anthony Vincent Zehenni) most intriguing. Mostly that at 83 and after being successful in many different ventures, he was so passionate and determined about this, his latest.
I had previously noticed the background music in the tasting room and patio and the music (reminiscent of the Rat Pack era) was perfect for relaxation and/or conversation. The mural, though not so subtle, is classic and classy – as is this tasting room and event space.
After our tour, we made our way back to the patio where they set a placemat in front of us, placing each of the 5 tastings on the corresponding vintage printed on the placemat. Along with the vintage on the placemat were descriptors to assist you in your tasting.
The vintages we were tasting were 2010-2014. After tasting, I chose 2 different bottles to bring home, the 2012 Vincent Vineyards Family Reserve and the 2014 Olive Branch.
The 2012 was my favorite the day of the tasting and continues to be. I find myself wondering how aging has affected this wine. Sauvignon Blanc is genuinely consumed younger; and this one would be about 6 years old. It was a light golden color in the glass, and on the nose it possessed tropical fruit notes with hints of stone fruit. On the palate, a pleasant minerality and nice body - perhaps the result of aging on lees and time. The finish was crisp and well balanced.
The 2014 Olive Branch is a much “lighter” representation of the varietal. The color struck me as being sort of a pale celery color. The nose, beyond subtle minerality, was almost non-existent. The wine didn’t offer anything more on the palate and was lacking in fruit and body, almost seeming “watered down”. I think this was attractive to me when we were tasting at the winery as it was almost a palate cleanser. Unfortunately, once home it was disappointing and would get lost in most any food pairing.
I look forward to visiting Vincent Vineyards again. I loved the ambiance and look forward to trying more of their wines. We enjoyed the 2012 Family Reserve on an appetizer night with Crab Rangoon. Try it also with Lobster Risotto. Click the links below to print or save the recipes.
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