Monday, February 19, 2007

Rideau Vineyard

Rideau Vineyard Tasting Room

During our weekend in Santa Barbara we took a little trip up to Santa Ynez Valley to do some wine tasting. Our favorite during this tour was Rideau Vineyard which was founded in 1997 by New Orleans native, Iris Rideau (at photo to the left). The tasting room is a historical 2 story Adobe built in 1884. Through the years it has served as stagecoach stop, a famous inn, a guest ranch, and a working ranch. Iris Rideau bought it in 1995, after the property had sat abandoned for 10 years, and restored it to it's current condition.
The estate grows exclusively Rhone varietals and we decided to do the Reserve tasting at a $15 cost per person.
The first pour was the 2006 Estate Viognier. It has not been bottled yet so this was a futures sample. Cloudy due to coming straight from the barrel this was a nice Viognier but a little bit to fruity and sweet for my taste. After this we got to taste the 2005 Estate Viognier. A year in the bottle makes a huge difference and this was much more balanced, not to sweet, and had a slight crispness to it. A really good Viognier but at a pretty steep cost of $52.
Next we moved on to another barrel sample, the 2005 Santa Barbara County Syrah. Lush with ripe, dark berries and young tannins. Followed by the 2004 Santa Barbara County Syrah. Again you could taste the difference a year in the bottle makes. The 2004 was more balanced with less jammy fruit, and the characteristic hint of peppar. Both very good Syrahs.
The 2004 Chateau Duplantier, a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, was my favorite red. Beautiful fruit, not to jammy or ripe, with nice balance, a hint of spice, and adequate tannins. What a great Rhone blend!
Last but not least the 2004 Petit Sirah, dark and fruit forward but a little bit more elegant than many other Petite Syrahs. A nice finish to our tasting.
Me and friends in tasting room
Did I mention the very friendly and extremely knowlegable tasting room staff?
This all adds up to a great winery to include in your next tour of the Santa Ynez Valley, and I highly recommend it.

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