- Item #: i_214500Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94Along with Richard Sanford, Steve Beckmen has been one of the leaders of organic and biodynamic grape farmers in the Santa Ynez Valley… and he has the quite the bevy of high scores to show he’s doing things right! The Beckmen family have two properties in Santa Barbara County, but their Cabernet comes predominantly from the estate surrounding their winery. The gravelly, well-drained soil and warm climate is a perfect match for Cabernet Sauvignon. Planted on the hilltops and slopes of the property where there is the least amount of topsoil, the vineyard is planted with higher density to moderate the amount of fruit each vine has to ripen. Also, the vineyard is planted with three great Cabernet Sauvignon clones each adding to the complexity of the finished wine.
2018 has turned out to be one of the best vintages the Central Coast has seen in over a decade! Couple the quality of the vintage, along with this wine’s sub-$30 price point, and the 94-point score from Antonio Galloni, and you have a wine that is making wineries in Napa, Sonoma, and Paso take note to what the Beckmens (and Santa Ynez Valley) are doing right!
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez Valley) is rich and explosive out of the glass. Inky dark fruit, grilled herbs, leather, licorice and a host of earthy notes flesh out in an expansive wine endowed with tremendous depth and complexity. This is such a gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon."
- Item #: i_213910Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 94Roger Bower, the owner and visionary behind Crown Point, purchased the property after recognizing its potential to produce world-class Cabernet Sauvignon. Crown Point is a true vanguard in the region, crafting premium wines that rival the best throughout the world. Nestled in the eastern-most foothills of the east-to-west transverse valley of the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA (American Viticultural Area), Crown Point is blessed with distinct climatic conditions and soil types that provide an ideal growing environment for Bordeaux varieties.
Winemaker Adam Henkel joined Roger in 2013. Adam, who spent 10 years in the Napa Valley, including eight years at Harlan Estate in Oakville, had long been fascinated by the viticultural diversity and geographical grandeur of Santa Barbara County. His pursuit at Crown Point has been to express the unique characteristics and individuality of the region's preeminent vineyards through farming and winemaking at the highest possible level.
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "the deep, inky colored 2015 Estate Selection is a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% each of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec, and the rest Merlot, aged 26 months in new French oak. This beauty boasts a fabulous bouquet of blackcurrants, melted licorice, cigar wrapper, and tobacco leaf, with more spice and dried flower notes coming through with time in the glass. Deep, rich, full-bodied, and elegant, with beautiful purity as well as ripe tannin, it certainly has the class to drink nicely today, yet will be even better with 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for two decades."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2015 Estate Selection is a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, 9% Malbec and 2% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it sings of perfumed kirsch, warm black cherries, cassis and plums with touches of rose hip tea, eucalyptus, baking spices, violets and fragrant earth. Full-bodied, rich and spicy in the mouth, it has a firm, velvety texture and loads of layers, finishing with a lively lift. 509 cases produced."
- Item #: i_214330Bottle Size: 750mlAnybody who has walked into our store asking for a great Cabernet recommendation has sure heard us talking up the Desparada wines from winemaker Valia Esh. Valia is a lady who has managed to understand winemaking quicker and with more detail than many other winemakers...to a point where others are jealous! This year's Soothsayer is comprised of 44% Barbera, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 16% Nebbiolo from Spanish Springs, Star Lane, Luna Matta, and Chelle Mountain.
- Item #: i_227390Bottle Size: 750mlLocated at the far East end of Santa Ynez Valley, the Happy Canyon vineyard is perhaps a bit like the fabled city of El Dorado when it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon. But instead of a city of gold, we have rich soils of clay and loam, providing for smaller vines and more complex fruit-- making it a stellar location to grow warmth-loving grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon. The brilliance of the Cabs we’ve tried from Happy Canyon, in general, and this Ground Effect, in particular, make for an easy call when it comes to 'winning the gold' as our July Wine of the Month!
The scents are rife with classic Cabernet cherries, joined by notes of blueberries, strawberries and rhubarb. Add a touch of white pepper, incense and cedar, brightened by a waft of rose garden air, and it makes for quite the pleasurable palette for the nose. Pavlovian response noted.
In the mouth, the fruits are reiterated from the nose (more cherries, raspberries and cassis) while kept fresh and uplifted by excellent streaks of acidity and light tannins. The palate is wonderfully viscous and adds hints of fruit leather, black tea and cacao toward the mid-palate and finish. Dark chocolate, toffee and blackberries make for a lovely curtain call as the finish lasts and lasts. Drink now and enjoy for years to come.
Geek out note: Happy Canyon is a special and young AVA (2001). It sits at the collision of 2 ranges (Santa Ynez, San Rafael), protecting and regulating the climate.
Blend: 95% Cab Sauv, 3% Cab Franc, 2% Merlot.
- Item #: i_232200Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "This was an incredible tasting with winemaker Matt Dees. This estate continues to produce some of the most impressive, long-lived wines in Santa Barbara."
"The inky colored 2009 El Alma de Jonata, which was made from 70% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot, is no less impressive, exhibiting rich, full notes of cigar, chocolate, tobacco leaf and crushed rock notes to go with a massively built, structured profile on the palate. Very full-bodied and one big wine, it can be enjoyed now or cellared for a decade. Drink now-2023."
- Item #: i_232470Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 97Owned by Stan Kroenke (who also owns Screaming Eagle), Jonata is located in Ballard Canyon, just south of Los Olivos and is focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. The entire Jonata property is comprised of sand, with varying amounts of clay. The vineyards are sustainably farmed (herbicides and pesticides don’t even enter the conversation), and the area enjoys very cool nights due to winds coming off the Pacific Ocean, mixed with very warm days during the summer months. This helps to create wines of exceptional structure, intensity, and ageability...and it’s not uncommon for these Jonata wines to earn 97-100 points from the critics!
Jonata’s winemaker is Matt Dees, and he has the kind of resume that makes other winemakers green with envy. Having previously worked at other noteworthy estates such as Staglin in Napa, and Craggy Range in New Zealand, Matt has learned how to coax the best out of several different grapes grown in a variety of climates.
JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "The 2014 El Desafio de Jonata is a baby that needs to be forgotten for 5-6 years. A blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 4% each of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, it offers terrific notes of blackcurrants, lead pencil shaving, licorice, tobacco leaf and roasted meats. Seamless, elegant and gorgeous on the palate, with a phenomenal texture, ultra-fine tannin, and a great finish, it's a tour de force in Santa Barbara County Cabernet Sauvignon. It will keep for 2-3 decades."
- Item #: i_232400Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 95Vinous Media: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 95ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Ordinarily I might say that I was impressed with these wines from Jonata, but quality is so consistently high now that it excellence is the norm. Matt Dees is one of the most brilliant winemakers of his generation. But Dees is more than just a winemaker, he has also been able to assemble a team around him to help look after Jonata, The Hilt, The Pairing, vast estate vineyards and a new winery facility, plus whatever other projects are on the horizon, and that may be an even rarer talent than knowing how to make compelling wines."
"The 2015 El Desafio de Jonata, the estate's Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend, is dense, powerful and super-expressive, with tremendous textural richness and thrust. Still very, very young, the 2015 is going to need at least several years to come into its own. Even so, it is incredibly impressive in the early going."
JEB DUNNUCK 95+ POINTS - "From the lowest yields since 2004, the 2015 El Desafio de Jonata smells like a barrel sample with its jammy blackberry, blueberry, cassis, crushed rock and lead pencil aromas and flavors. Rich, mouthfilling, plush and textured, yet with loads of underlying tannin, it's going to be another terrific vintage for this cuvee, yet it needs to be forgotten for 5-7 years. The blend is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% each of Merlot and Petit Verdot (there's no Cabernet Franc) aged 20 months in 80% new barrels."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the 2015 El Desafio de Jonata has a deep garnet-purple color and nose of cassis, blueberry compote and warm plums with hints of cigar box, dusty earth, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. The rich, medium to full-bodied palate gives layers of plums, earth notions and spices, with firm, grainy tannins to frame and a long, layered finish."
- Item #: i_232300Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94+Jeb Dunnuck: 94Owned by Stanly Kroenke, the same gentleman that owns Screaming Eagle, Jonata has catapulted itself to the forefront of Santa Barbara County winemaking! Their vineyards are sustainably farmed, the wines routinely received high scores from the critics, and it was their "Todos" blend that really struck a chord with us this year! "Todos" translates to everything, and no, Jonata didn't just blend every single barrel of the leftovers. There were fantastic barrels of Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot, etc., so winemaker Matt Dees did blending trials with specific quantities of each varietal, and for the past few years, Todos has been an incredible wine for the money! It has earned 93 points from Wine Advocate and is a great way for consumers to sample the "house style" at a fraction of the price of the top bottlings.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94+ POINTS - "Blended of 47% Syrah, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 3% Sangiovese and 2% Viognier, the 2014 Todos Proprietary Red Wine reveals a medium to deep garnet-purple color and a pronounced blackberries, blueberry pie and cassis-scented nose with an Indian spices and black pepper-laced undercurrent, plus a waft of lavender. Soft, medium-bodied, perfumed and elegant in the mouth, this finely crafted beauty offers great seamlessness and harmony, finishing long and spicy."
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "It's always a fun tasting with winemaker Matt Dees and his team, and they continue to keep this estate at the top of the hierarchy in Santa Barbara County. Located in Ballard Canyon AVA, they pull only from their estate vineyard (planted on incredibly sandy soils) and make a wide range of cuvées, from a red and white Bordeaux blends, to a 100% Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and a number of terrific Rhône blends. The common thread is incredible quality."
"Graphite, pencil, lead, smoked earth, tobacco and assorted dark fruits emerge from the 2015 Todos, and it's its usual, crazy blend of just about every varietal. This beautifully pure, fresh, focused blend has fine tannin and a great finish, and is another stunner from this estate. The full blend is 56% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Sangiovese, 7% Petite Sirah, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Viognier."
- Item #: i_232490Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 96JEB DUNNUCK 96+ POINTS - "Based on 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc, the 2016 El Desafio de Jonata is one of the more firm, focused wines in the lineup. Classic Cabernet blackcurrants, scorched earth, graphite, and crushed rock-like notes all flow to a concentrated, powerful, tannic wine that has considerable baby fat as well as length. It's not going to hit prime time until after a decade of bottle age, but it's a beautiful, remarkable Cabernet Sauvignon from Santa Barbara County that will keep for two decades."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Cabernet Sauvignon takes the leading role in the 2016 El Desafio de Jonata. Graphite, crushed rocks, sage, smoke, lavender and grilled herbs abound in this super-expressive wine. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2016 packs a serious punch. Readers should be prepared to cellar it for at least a few years."
- Item #: i_232250Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 96Jeb Dunnuck: 95ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "The 2017 El Alma de Jonata, the estate's Cabernet Franc-based wine, is bright, aromatically explosive and just striking in its beauty. Bright red fruit, blood orange, menthol and plum race out of the glass in a wine endowed with tremendous energy, tension and pure class. Medium in body, with tremendous aromatic intensity and drive, the Alma is positively striking. The 2017 is one of the very finest editions I can remember tasting. In a word: dazzling."
JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "The 300 case 2017 El Alma De Jonata is the Cabernet Franc-dominated cuvee, a blend of 86% Cabernet Franc, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. Bright cherry, blackberry, ground herbs, lead pencil, and crushed violet notes all emerge from the glass, and this beauty is incredibly seamless, pure, and polished on the palate. With ultra-fine tannins, a great mid-palate, and plenty of structure, it's a more fresh, focused, classic example of this cuvee. Hide bottles for 4-5 years and enjoy over the following two decades."
- Item #: i_232460Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 97Jeb Dunnuck: 97ANTONIO GALLONI 97 POINTS - "The 2017 El Desafio de Jonata is another positively stellar wine in this range. Two thousand seventeen is one of the few years in which Cabernet is so dominant. Rich and explosive, with tremendous vertical thrust, the 2017 oozes with class and intensity. Creme de cassis, new leather, licorice, sweet spice and menthol are some of the many notes that build as this statuesque, alluring wine shows off its pedigree. In 2017, the blend is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Wow...!"
JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "The Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated cuvee is the 2017 El Desafio De Jonata, which includes 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. It's another inky colored wine from this team and offers a brilliant bouquet of creme de cassis, tobacco leaf, cedar, bay leaf, and crushed rocks. Beautifully concentrated and balanced, with a Bordeaux-like structure and regal style, it's a magical Cabernet Sauvignon that's going to benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age yet keep for 20-30 years."
- Item #: i_274740Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 91Jeb Dunnuck: 91Star Lane is a beautiful property located in Happy Canyon on the eastern edge of Santa Ynez Valley. Officially recognized in 2009, Happy Canyon AVA is unique from other AVAs within Santa Barbara County in terms of soil compositions and microclimates. It was while searching for an ideal location to grow Bordeaux varietals that Jim and Mary Dierberg stumbled across Star Lane in 1996 and it was love at first sight.
For over 20 years prior, Jim and Mary had successfully operated Hermannhof Winery in Hermann, Missouri, which was one of the United States' most significant wine-growing regions prior to Prohibition. But it was their love for Bordelaise varieties that brought them to California in the 1990s. Happy Canyon's ability to sustain warmth and Star Lane's varied soil composition and elevation ranging from 750 feet to over 1500 feet proved to be just what they were looking for and the Vineyard was planted. Today, daily operations of Star Lane are a family affair with the entire family and spouses working hand in hand!
ANTONIO GALLONI 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Star Lane Vineyard is dark, racy and super-expressive. Dark cherry, plum, leather, spice, truffle, chocolate, menthol and licorice all infuse this deep, plush Cabernet Sauvignon with notable character and the true essence of Happy Canyon. Best of all, the Star Lane Cabernet delivers superb quality and value by California standards. This is such a gorgeous wine."
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon (87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petite Verdot, 4% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc) is deeper colored and offers a textbook bouquet of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, cedarwood, and earth. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, balanced, and with some chewy tannins and obvious structure, drink this charming, balanced Cabernet any time over the coming 10-15 years."
- Item #: i_273300Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 91Stolpman Vineyards lies on a rare outcropping of limestone in Santa Barbara's newly-established Ballard Canyon AVA. What makes Ballard Canyon so different from the rest of Santa Barbara is that most of the valleys within the county are in an east/west orientation. Ballard Canyon, however, is north/south, which means the region is moderately sheltered from fog and winds. Ballard Canyon is warmer than the surrounding areas, but combined with the soils, this maked for an ideal location for Rhone varietals, such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Viognier. The Stolpman Vineyard has established itself as one of the prized vineyards in this region.
La Cuadrilla is Spanish for "the crew", and the proceeds from this wine go back to the farming crew. The core of the wine is harvested from the crew’s Cuadra, a vineyard block that Vineyard Manager Ruben Solorzano gives the crew each year to encourage proactive farming and decision making. Winemaker Sashi Moorman then blends more of the estate’s wine into Cuadrilla, ensuring the wine accounts for at least 10% of Stolpman's production each year. La Cuadrilla symbolizes the dedication at Stolpman to sustainable year-round employment rather than reliance on migrant labor. This year, La Cuadrilla is a blend of 70% Syrah, 15% Grenache, and 15% Sangiovese
ANTONIO GALLONI 91 POINTS - "The 2018 La Cuadrilla offers lovely freshness and vibrancy in a mid-weight style that is hugely appealing. Floral overtones give this Syrah/Grenache/Sangiovese blend gorgeous perfume. Although not especially complex, the 2018 is a real delight to taste."
- Item #: i_276300Bottle Size: 750MLThree Saints wines are a vivid expression of carefully selected grapes from the Dierberg Family's vineyards which are located in three of Santa Barbara County's premium wine growing regions: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley.