American Wine: Mark Your Calendars for a Memorable Evening

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  • By Chris Costales
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American Wine:  Mark Your Calendars for a Memorable Evening

Here is a preview of some of the wines served at the upcoming May 10th Ken Brown-Rick Longoria Event at The Wine Country

 

We have a special treat for our customers on the evening of Friday May 10th as winemakers Ken Brown and Rick Longoria will be visiting the store for a Friday evening tasting of their wines staring at 7:30 for $50.

 

This has been a much-asked-for tasting so we’re very happy to pair these two Santa Barbara legends together for one amazing tasting. Long before the movie Sideways shined a spotlight on this area these two winemakers were creating wines of elegance and setting the high standard, we now know it for. I visited both for the first-time last year during a trip to the Santa Ynez Valley and finally got to taste the wines that our customers rave about. For anyone who hasn’t had their wines yet, this tasting will be a cant miss opportunity as we’re bringing some of the best of Santa Barbara straight to Long Beach.

 

Before wine Ken was busy with a career at IBM in sales but his passion would soon take him to the graduate enology program at Fresno State. While here he was approached by some of the earliest vineyard growers of Santa Barbara to make wine and was impressed by the quality coming out of this then unknown region. In 1977 he accepted the winemaking position at the young Zaca Mesa winery where Ken had a role in designing, selecting the winemaking equipment and setting a consistent high standard for all wines being produced that elevated Santa Barbara into the well-respected region its known as today. In 1984 Ken was ready to branch out and founded Byron Vineyard and Winery with investors to focus on cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay but it was soon sold to the Mondavi family in 1990. By 2005 the first Ken Brown winery small production wines were available, marking the return for Ken to small lot, vineyard focused wines that are sought after and enjoyed immensely by our customers.

 

Rick Longoria had planned to pursue a career as a lawyer but during a year off before he was to start law school he traveled throughout South America where he decided he wanted to have a future in wine. Starting at a low position in the cellar at Buena Vista Winery gave Rick an amazing opportunity as the legendary André Tchelistcheff saw the passion and enthusiasm in his work and directed Rick to lead the cellar team at Santa Barbara’s Firestone winery in 1976. Rick would later have a brief stop as Cellar Master at Chappellet Vineyards in Napa but it would only cement how much he missed making wine in the Santa Ynez Valley so in 1982 he decided to stay for good and started his own brand of wines with his wife Diana that focused on long lived Pinot Noir and Chardonnay full of concentrated flavor.

 

KEN BROWN 2015 PINOT NOIR STA. RITA HILLS

Sourced from vineyards across the appellation blending together cool and warm Sta. Rita Hills fruit for maximum complexity. This Pinot was hand sorted, destemmed and gently punched down on the cap several times a day to extract color and tannic structure. 33% new French oak barrels were used while the wine aged for 10 months. Expect darker colored Pinot in this cooler climate due to high winds. Lighter fruits such as cranberry and cherry are present as well as richer black fruit like black raspberry with a wonderful floral rose petal aroma.

$37.99 per bottle

 

LONGORIA 2013 CHARDONNAY "CUVEE DIANA", STA. RITA HILLS

Rick and Diana Longoria are some of the first pioneers in the valley to show the pedigree of the Pinot and Chardonnay grown here. Named in honor of Diana, this represents the best from Fe Ciega, Rita’s Crown, and Rancho vineyards. Delicate whole-cluster pressed juice is Barrel fermented and aged sur lie for 10 months before blending. 14% new barrel for aging to keep the fruit front and center. This is traditional in style with full body, rich texture and creamy/buttery yellow apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and crème brulee on the long finish. This pairs with full flavored fish, lobster and roasted chicken.

$45.99 per bottle

 

LONGORIA 2014 TEMPRANILLO, SANTA YNEZ VALLEY

Rick Longoria has been impressively representing this Spanish varietal since 2004. Shortly before this time he had taken a family trip to Rioja and Ribero del Duero and had come back home with a desire to emulate the fine wines of those regions. You’ll notice right away the amazing floral intensity of baked cherry mixed with smoke and barrel spice due to 37% new American oak barrels. A small amount of Syrah and Grenache have been blended in for flavor complexity. Longoria does a great job of keeping the powerful American oak in balance with acidity and smooth tannins with 21 months of aging. Ripe and smoky to go with BBQ yet still elegant enough to replace a Pinot Noir at the dinner table.

$34.99 per bottle

 

LONGORIA 2015 PINOT NOIR FE CIEGA VINEYARD, STA. RITA HILLS

Rick and Diana Longoria are some of the first pioneers in the valley to show the pedigree of the Pinot Noir grown here. Fe Ciega is the family estate vineyard, planted by Rick in 1998 and is considered one of the “grand cru’’ sites in the valley. This fruit was entirely de-stemmed and inoculated specifically for the lot. 38% New French oak for 14 months and lightly fined and filtered. This Pinot is dark ruby with floral notes leading to black cherry with classic Fe Ciega hints of sage and cedar. Silky tannins support this sensual Pinot and hints of orange peel and currant dance on the edges of the palate. This pedigreed Pinot pairs with salmon, lamb, duck and rabbit.

$52.99 per bottle

 

LONGORIA 2016 PINOT NOIR "LOVELY RITA" STA. RITA HILLS

Longoria's friendly Lovely Rita Pinot has been a favorite at The Wine Country for many years, due largely to its purity and generosity of fruit flavors. Only 14% of this blend has been in new oak, so the fruit is pushed forward.  Dark ruby colored and medium-bodied with flavors of currants and plums, the moderate tannins give it a succulent, lingering finish.  The winery suggests pairing this Pinot with Mediterranean dishes such as Eggplant Moussaka or Lamb Shish Kebab with Pinot Noir sauce.

$33.99 per bottle

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