I recently received a couple sample bottles of wine from Zaca Mesa, a very good family owned winery located in Santa Ynez Valley. They've been making wine since the late 1970's and, through trial and error, found out that French Rhone varietals (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, etc.) worked best with the land and climate. They concentrated on making wines only from those varietals in the 1990's and have really blossomed into one of the best in their category. Here's a short review of the wines I tried:
- 2009 Estate Viognier ($20). I really enjoyed this wine. A really bright light gold color leads you into great aromas of peach and sea salt. More ripe peach is on the palate along with cantaloupe and a hint of lemon acidity. A weighty wine with full body and excellent flavor length. It can stand to age a bit and would be great paired with spicy Thai noodles or a creamy cow's milk cheese like Stanser Rotelli. 91 WCWG
- 2007 Estate Roussanne ($25). Another wine with brilliant gold color with smell and flavor of honey and apricot. There's alot of peach in this one also, with a bit of gold raisin and sweet rye. It has a nice mineral streak as well. The body is medium plus with decent flavor length. I'm thinking herbed lemon chicken with this. 89 WCWG
If you get a chance, try these wines and more Rhone varietals- you'll be impressed!