2013 Viognier, Estate Grown and Bottled, Santa Ynez Valley
Our wines are made from sustainably farmed grapes that are estate grown, produced and bottled. With over 40 years of grape growing experience in the Santa Ynez Valley, our winemaking and vineyard teams meticulously farm our vineyard to focus on terroir-driven wines. We began growing Rhône varieties in 1978 when we were the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County. Since then, we have learned that grape varieties planted in the Rhône Valley of France are best suited to our estate.
Located just 30 miles from the Pacific Ocean, our vineyard soils are composed of Chamise Loam and Chamise Shaly Loam. They are well-drained soils that developed over gravelly beds of silt, clay, shale rock and other sandy water-deposited materials. These soils are on dissected high terraces (or mesas) with elevations of 1500 feet above sea level. This high elevation combined with cool ocean breezes allow our grapes to retain their natural acidity. Since 1997, the winery has replanted more than half of its original vines with high-density plantings of Rhône varietals with new rootstock and clone combinations.
Growing Season and Harvest
2013 was one of the driest years on record for Santa Barbara County. Perfect spring and early-summer conditions lead to a healthy sized crop despite the lack of rainfall. Summer had intermittent periods of very warm and moderate conditions leading to a harvest that started right on schedule. Harvest was fast and furious, challenging our winemaking team to work long days to bring in perfectly ripe fruit.
After early morning hand-harvesting, our Viognier begins fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Halfway through fermentation we transfer the wine into neutral French oak barrels (8+ years old). The wine was then aged for six months, but not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation. This short barrel aging allows the wine to build texture and mouth-feel while retaining its brightness.
Viognier is a white grape variety indigenous to the Rhône Valley of France. We are so taken with this beautifully aromatic varietal that we have dedicated 18 acres of our estate vineyard to Viognier.
Our Viognier has aromas of honeysuckle and ripe peaches. The palate has notes of peach pit, ripe apricot, melon, lychee and a lingering touch of minerality, a signature characteristic of our vineyard.
"One of the region's Rhone pioneers, this winery delivers aromas of chalk, cherimoya and white flowers on this bottling. It's very clean and crisp on the palate with a sharp minerality and flavors of pear cider, lemon peel and lychee ." - M.K. 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, April 2015.
"Youth proves to be both a boon and a bane here, for while this very solidly varietal effort shows plenty of fruity vitality and depth, it is presently lacking in polish and its bias to acidy firmness leaves it a little stiff and hard at the finish. That said, it's focus and its intimations of citrusy/stoney/floral complexity are the marks of a wine for which we are willing to wait, and we would be more than happy to hide a few bottles away for another year or so. GOOD VALUE" - Olken. 88 Points 1-Puff, Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines, March 2015.
"Juicy and bright, with nice intesity to the Meyer lemon, green pear and nectarine flavors, highlighted by refreshing acidity." -M.W. 87 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine, March 2015.
"Kicking off with a tight nose of lemongrass and limestone, this is a Viognier for fans of Sauvignon Blanc. It keeps razor-sharp focus on the palate, with tart apple flavors and zesty acidity that wipes the flavors clean rather quickly, but verges ever so slightly towards a hint of tropical papaya." -M.K. 89 Points, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Sept. 2014.
"Crisp and refreshing, this offers a mix of lemon, grapefruit and apple flavors, with floral and mineral accents on the finish. Drink now." -M.W. 88 Points, Wine Spectator Magazine, March 2014.
"This 100% varietal wine is one of the best Viognier buys in California. It's dry and crisp in acidity, with slightly oaky notes accenting ripe flavors of peaches, limes, apricots and honeydew. This would be a good buy at twice the price." -S.H. 90 Points, Wine Enthusiast Editors' Choice, Dec. 2013.
"This is Zaca Mesa's best Viognier in at least 10 years. Dry and crisp in zesty acidity, with a firm minerality, it avoids the variety's exotic side, offering streamlined, complex flavors of citrus fruit, Asian pear, peach and white pepper. -S.H." 91 Points, Wine Enthusiast Editors' Choice, February 2013.
"An elegant white, offering lemon, grapefruit, and green apple flavors that show details of apple blossem and celery leaf. - J.L." 88 Points TOP VALUES, Wine Spectator Magazine, August 2013.